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Boat & Motor Reviews


Grady-White’s new Freedom 285 Dual Console appeals to fishing families that also enjoy water sports.
By Capt. John N. Raguso
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Last season, the Grady bunch went through a paradigm shift, consolidating a spirited group of dual console craft into one cohesive family brand that they appropriately named the “Freedom” lineup. A year later, these multi-function sport utility boats have truly lived up to their namesake and for 2012 have added yet another member to their growing family (19’, 20’, 22’, 25’, 27’ and 30’ models) in the form of the newly minted 285. This latest addition to the line offers a size that many Fisherman readers will find to be “just right” for taking a half dozen friends out for the day in comfort, style and safety.

The helm area features a large windshield and instrument panel with a bulkhead mounted compass, so operator visibility is excellent. Standard helm seating is a deluxe adjustable pedestal seat and a footrest. Available as an option is an electronically adjustable helm lean bar seat. There’s a sink, storage drawer and trash compartment set aft of the captain’s chair and the sink can be replaced with an optional 1,300-watt grill, so you can catch ‘em, clean ‘em and cook ‘em right on the spot. To port, Grady’s patented lounge seat extends out at the push of a button electronically to accommodate sun worshipers or one of the crew looking for a short catnap. There’s additional seating courtesy of the foldaway aft bench, plus comfy raised bow seats port and starboard. An optional insert turns the bow into a fishing platform or a perfect sunning station.

When it’s time to bend the rods, four gunwale-mount rodholders and a triple horizontal rack under the coaming will come into play. A 32-gallon livewell is available, supplied by a 1,100-GPH pump. The optional hardtop includes a radio box, storage nets, two speakers, spreader lights and also includes outrigger plates and an overhead rocket launcher for additional rod stowage, with a 15-foot outrigger kit available. The insulated 185-quart aft fishbox with cutting board will chill out your day’s catch, with a second icebox set under the forward starboard bench seat. Like all Gradys, both drain directly overboard whether underway or at rest - a nice safety feature.

Grady-White, like many other top-shelf builders, paired up with Yamaha outboards many years ago by offering factory pre-rigged engine packages and their OEM relationship continues to flourish. With Yamaha’s advanced 4.2L V-6 outboard breaking into its third calendar year of operation, its popularity has increased to the point where it is now standard issue on many single-, twin- and triple-engine outboard hull installations. The standard twin outboard package offered on the Freedom 285 is a pair of F250s, with the slightly hotter F300s available as an added cost option. Since these are essentially the same engine blocks with similar net weights, there is no penalty or weight advantage of selecting one versus the other. According to some recent factory tests, the top speed with the Yamaha F250s spinning a pair of counter-rotating 17-inch pitch SWS II three-blade S/S props was clocked at 51.5 mph. Optimum fuel economy occurred at 500 rpm, where this 28-footer hit 30 mph on the GPS while drinking 16.4 gph, for a net of 1.83 mpg. Bumping the twin fly-by-wire electronic throttles up to four-grand produced 35 mph of headway at 22.2 mph, for a bottom line of 1.57 mph. Need to get to your fave watering hole before the crowd? No problem, dialing in 4,500 revs will get you there at 39 mph gulping 28.5 gph for a net of 1.37 mpg. Going with the F300s and a set of 19-inch pitch props, top speed will increase to 55 mph and optimum cruise will happen at 3,500 rpm, where she’ll get almost 31 mph at 16.4 gph, for a net of 1.88 mpg.

Other notable standard features on the Freedom 285 include an easy access swim platform, sturdy fiberglass transom door with heavy-duty positive locking latch and a four-step boarding ladder. There’s a convenient freshwater shower at the transom and the Freedom 285 DC is completely self-bailing and foam-filled for flotation. Every piece of deck hardware is premium 316-grade stainless and the proprietary SeaV2 hull design delivers a smooth, dry and comfortable ride, whether speeding across the bay or slugging it back from an offshore adventure.

Length- 28 feet
Beam- nine feet, six inches
Weight- 5,980 pounds (dry, without power)
Draft- 20 inches (engine drive up)
Water Capacity- 20 gallons
Fuel Capacity- 218 gallons
Max Power- 600 HP