Reviewed by Richard Crowder
Grady-White has serious intents. It is serious about building coastal, big water boats and it is serious about building safe boats. Grady-White hulls have high forefoots with a significant bow flare to handle big water and deflect waves and spray from the cockpit, plus deep cockpits to protect passengers and keep them safe. All Grady-White’s have foam sprayed into the hull around the stringers providing not only thermal and sound insulation, but also to provide basic or even level flotation to keep the boat afloat even if hull integrity is violated. Grady-White is dedicated to true self-bailing cockpits where water is directed overboard through gravity and not having to rely on electric pumps. You can leave a Grady-White at the mercy of the weather and rain knowing that any accumulated water will drain overboard, not into the bilge.
Grady-White’s Freedom series consisting of six models from nineteen to over thirty-feet is brand new for 2011 and all are dual console and full walk-thru windshield bowriders. The Freedom 255 Dual Console not only upholds the traditions of big water intent and of safety, but expands upon them. The cockpit of the 255 is above the waterline and sealed so that any water coming onboard drains overboard through four cockpit drains.
Even the standard 165-qt insulated fish box (which can alternately be used as storage) under the starboard-side bow seat cushion drains overboard – as does the 80-qt storage area under the portside bow seat cushion – as do all nine drink holders aboard! Now that’s dedication and that’s attention to the finest of details. And for any water that does manage to get into the bilge for whatever reason, the Freedom 255 has not one, but two automatic bilge pumps.
But the Freedom 255 is much more than just about big water and safety. This is one rugged, good-looking family hauler, fisherman, watersports, cruiser, or in short, all-round boat. It almost begs to be put to use as opposed to just sitting around at the dock. It is loaded with amenities to suit all of the above on-water intentions and everything on board has a purpose and has been designed and placed with a great deal of forethought.
All inside gunnel surfaces are padded for family comfort and padded backrests are provided for the bow seating. Both horizontally and vertically adjustable individual chairs are provided for both the helm and companion seating. Grady-White’s patented fold-away aft bench seat with cushion holds another two passengers, or folded away, opens up cockpit room for fishermen or watersports enthusiasts. A portside fold-down sleeper seat with storage is optionally available for the passenger helm seating.
The passenger console area contains a lockable private head compartment with porta-potti, or use it for additional dry storage. Additional lockable storage is found on the starboard side of the cockpit. For family enjoyment, opt for the starboard wet bar which provides not only a sink with 20-gallon fresh water capacity, plus additional storage and a trash compartment, but also adds an electronically-operated helm lounge seat.
For the fisherman or children on board, safety toe rails are provided in the cockpit to help prevent overboard falls. Fishermen also get six horizontal rod storage racks and six gunnel rod holders. All users of the boat will enjoy the integrated outboard mounting area which allows for a small but usable swim platform with ladder and ease of access to the cockpit through a transom door.
Even though it’s an option and you may choose not to choose it, the Freedom 255 looks so good with the factory hardtop with spreader lights and an inside storage net. It just seems to add so much to the business-like nature of the 255 and frankly, is so practical for Canadian climes. Full canvas enclosures can be added with or without the hardtop.
The Freedom 255 is rated for a maximum of 350 horsepower, whether that total comes from a single or from twin outboards. Grady-White’s website provides performance results from three motor combinations; a single Yamaha 300 hp Four Stroke, a single Yamaha 350 hp Four Stroke, and twin Yamaha 150 hp Four Strokes. Unfortunately, the as-tested weights of the three boats varied widely as the single 300 had no hardtop and weighed 6,912 pounds, while the single 350 had a hardtop and weighed 7,781 pounds, and the twin 150’s had a hardtop and weighed surprisingly less at 7,153 pounds.
Based on these weight and wind-resistance variables (because of the hardtop in one case), a true comparison is difficult and perhaps even meaningless, but suffice it to say, in summary, the single 300 was the lightest but the slowest with a top speed of 43.5 mph; the single 350 was the heaviest but fastest at 47.0 mph; and the twin 150’s, in between the other two for weight, had the best fuel economy at optimum cruising speed of 12.0 (US) gallons per hour while its top speed was down only marginally from the fastest at 46.3 mph. You be the judge as to which way to go and get some good advice from your dealer too.
The Grady-White Freedom 255 is a very safe and purposeful boat, but also a fun boat that the entire family can enjoy for every on-water activity imaginable - and a boat you can be proud to say you own too. Life can’t get much better than that.
|Length:||24' 9"||7.54 m|
|Draft:||1' 8"||51 cm|
|Dry weight:||4459 lbs||2023 kg|
|Fuel Capacity:||153 US gals||579 l|
|Engine / Drive:||Single or twin Outboard|