REVIEW: GRADY WHITE 307 FREEDOM

By: KEVIN SMITH, Photography by: KEVIN SMITH

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  • Trade-A-Boat

There’s a $400K fee ... but you won’t worry about that once you experience life aboard the Freedom 307.

Grady White 307 Freedom 2

HIGHS

  • Superb finishes throughout
  • Hull layout and design
  • Long-range offshore capabilities
  • Versatile – suited to entertaining, families or serious fishers

LOWS

  • Price, due to strong USD

REVIEW: GRADY WHITE 307 FREEDOM priced from A$398,919 (twin Yamaha F300s)

Grady White 307 Freedom 6

Grady White boats are among my favourites from the States. I had a tour of the factory in Greenville, North Carolina, a few years back and saw the build quality for myself. Established in 1959, the brand has countless awards for customer satisfaction and that’s understandable, given Grady White’s consistent innovation, classic styling, refined finishes and that bulletproof build quality across the range.

When it comes to complete luxury/crossover family and serious offshore fishing weapons, Grady White is well and truly on top of its game – a prime example is the latest 307 Freedom I tested recently on the Gold Coast.

The 307 Freedom is an easy boat to identify from a distance, with stylish American lines combining classic and modern aesthetics that just don’t date. Added to pristine all-around finishes and the Freedom’s innovative bowrider-styled entertaining layout and offshore fishability, it’s quite eye-catching – and the twin 300hp Yamaha four-strokes on the back only enhance that.

FREEDOM TO MOVE

Grady White 307 Freedom 7

Having tested the big girl of the range – the Freedom 375 with triple 300hp Yamahas – in the US a few years back, I had no doubt the new 307 would be just as appealing and if anything more suitable for the Australian market when it comes to price, functionality and the Australian lifestyle.

The Freedom 307 is set up as a bowrider design, and a big one at that – 9.3m (30.5ft) long, with a 3.23m beam – so not something you’re going to hitch up to your ute. But what really appeals to me is how innovatively Grady White incorporates the bells and whistles into its boats to make them full equally suited to serious fishing with long-range offshore capabilities, while combining luxurious comfort and sophisticated styling throughout for entertaining – this is the freedom in the name.

Grady White 307 Freedom 8

A bowrider with big fishability? Your scepticism is justified but this is where it all comes together and makes sense. In the past – to an extent still today – you’d find half or full-cabin boats being promoted as the ideal weekenders or overnighters. In a sense they are, though I reckon 90 per cent of the time they’re not used for overnighting, so those cabins end up as gear storage or junk traps.Grady’s larger Freedom models exhibit more of a ‘thinking outside the box’ design approach – the 307 is a prime example, with a well thought-out and tasteful layout including a hinged screen and console door that opens to the bow, with full seating and table options, dual consoles within the hardtop, an enclosed head, single berth, spacious and ergonomic helm, deluxe bar with plumbed stainless steel sink and fridge, bulk storage throughout, dual seating options, and even an electically assisted rear lounge conversion.

Grady White 307 Freedom 4

As an entertainer and family boat, space on the Freedom 307 is far from an issue, even with the maximum 10 people aboard. You get numerous creature comforts as standard but you can spec it up with an electric extendable stern shade, gen-set, electric grill and even air-con to take it to the next level.

Meanwhile, the serious fisherman’s needs are always a priority at Grady White, and this shows with the numerous fixtures and accessories incorporated into the layout, such as the colossal insulated kill tank/hatch in the stern, plumbed bait tank, outriggers, copious rod-holders, gear storage, and many more standard and optional features.

LONG-RANGE RUNNER

Grady White 307 Freedom 10

Whether it’s a daytrip to the islands or game-fishing off the shelf, the 307 has the capabilities to do it, and do it in comfort. Despite weighing close to 4.5 tonnes wet and measuring more than 30 feet in length, she’s surprisingly nimble, and an absolute rocket on the water with twin Yamaha 300hp four-strokes delivering 40-43kt at WOT in varying wind and tide conditions within the Gold Coast Broadwater.

As for the ride and offshore capabilities, the 307 Freedom sports Grady’s exclusive SeaV² hull design with continuous variable V or deadrise from bow to stern. There are no two places on the hull with the same deadrise and this, combined with engineered strakes, chines and a big flared bow, produces consistent tracking, a superb soft ride, and a dry and stable platform whether at rest or underway.

Grady White 307 Freedom 1

For the weekend entertainer and family boater the Freedom 307 is smooth to drive and handle in any conditions, and most certainly a boat to make you and your family feel safe if the weather turns foul.

If big gamefishing is your forte, this hull will deliver a solid performance. That 600hp of Yamaha grunt on the back provides a gutsy holeshot for crossing bars and effortless comfort in the ride at above-average cruise speeds – 26-30kt is no problem in fairly rough conditions without battering you or the crew. Economy isn’t out of control either, with 20-30kt speeds using from 58 to 90 litres per hour, combined. Knocking the throttles back to 1500rpm gives you 8kt and many hours of comfortable trolling at 13L/h.

THE WRAP

Grady White 307 Freedom 3

The dual-console Freedom 307 shines as one of the more practical and innovative boat designs of this size on the market. I love the open bowrider up front, the multitude of seating options for entertaining and fishing, and the creature comforts built into these hulls. There’s little to complain about when it comes to either the overall fit-out or the performance of the Freedom 307.

Starting at a touch less than 400-grand the Freedom 307 is by no means a budget boat. But considering the size, the multi-purpose design, refined finishes throughout, build quality, high-end performance and the brand’s strong resale values, well it’s not too bad at all.

The test 307 was shipped to a customer in New Caledonia a few days later and he spared no expense when it came to options – $80K of top-end Furuno electronics, FLIR camera, satellite compass and SURE electric cockpit cover listed at $12,353 to mention just a few highlights. 

SPECIFICATIONS 

PRICE FROM

A$398,919 (twin Yamaha F300s)

OPTIONS FITTED

Twin Yamaha F300s; bow thruster; Furuno electronics, twin transducers (incl 3D), FLIR camera, satellite compass; SURE electric cockpit cover

PRICE AS TESTED

$536,854

GENERAL

Type SeaV2 Hull (Raymond Hunt hull design)

Material GRP foam-filled for positive flotation (NB – not foam-cored)

Length 9.3m (30’ 6")

Beam 3.23m (10’ 7")

Weight 3561kg (hull only, dry)

Deadrise Variable (19.5° transom, bow entry 57°)

CAPACITIES

People 10

Berths 1

Rec HP 2 x 300hp

Max HP 2 x 350hp

Fuel 780L

Water 121L (plus 38L holding tank)

ENGINE

Make/model Yamaha F300 x2

Type DOHC, 24-valve 60° V6

Weight 253kg (each)

Displacement:4169cc (each)

Gear ratio 1.75: 1

Propeller 15.5x17in

SUPPLIED BY

Game & Leisure Boats

Factory 1, Runaway Bay Marina,

247 Bayview Street, Runaway Bay, Qld 4216

Email sales@gandlb.com.au

Phone +61 (7) 5577 5811

WEB www.gandlb.com.au

 


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