Back and Better than Ever
When Grady-White pulled their classic Adventure 208 and Seafarer 228G walkarounds off the market, many loyal Grady fans, myself included (I’ve owned six Gradys during my boating life) were saddened by the sudden absence of these twin fan favorites. The 204/208 series Adventure was a fixture in this North Carolina boat builder’s lineup for almost 50 years! That diminutive, ubiquitous 20-foot walkaround that introduced so many coastal families to the saltwater life was suddenly gone…it was history, along with many other things that life passed by like black and white TVs, transistor radios, 8-track stereos, etc. When I spoke to the Grady management team after the Adventure 208’s swan song, the myriad reasons for its departure were due to old tooling, lack of manufacturing floor space and consumer demand shifts towards dual consoles. Things changed at the 2022 Miami Boat Show, when reliable unnamed sources in the Grady-White booth hinted that my wish for a downsized trailerable walkaround might soon be coming to fruition. And here we are today, with the next-gen Adventure 218, which takes a huge step up the evolutionary ladder in form and function, fitting perfectly in between the older 20 and 22-foot walkaround models that it replaced.
Impressive Standard Features
As is the norm with all Grady-White boats, the list of standard features on this debutant is a nautical mile long. Necessities that many other competitive boats offer as added-cost items are part of the basic equation on this new Adventure 218, so she’s ready to fish and have family fun from the get-go.
The roomy cabin is complete with comfy cushions and welcome storage areas under the bunks. There’s a dedicated area for a portable head on the starboard side of the interior layout. The vee-berth offers enough space for overnighting at your favorite beachside hideaway, or for children to get out of the elements when they’ve had too much sun. Side windows combine with a Bomar hatch overhead in the cabin’s forepeak to provide fresh air and natural light down below.
Other definitive Grady-White features include cockpit storage spaces, drop-in boxes below the aft seats that provide easy access to the bilge and batteries, twin insulated fish boxes (120-quart starboard and 126-quart port), plus storage for 10 rods, six stainless pull-up cleats and overboard-draining stainless cup holders strategically placed throughout the boat. The dash panel features room to mount a 12-inch multi-function display, engine monitoring gauges and more. Cockpit coaming bolsters are standard, as is a built in engine flushing system with hose attachment aft.
Since Grady is a Yamaha OEM partner, standard power on the Adventure 218 is an in-line, 2.8L four-cylinder F200 four-stroke. Rigged accordingly, this Carolina girl will hit a top speed of 39.4 mph at 5,900 rpm. Optimum cruise occurs at 4,100 rpm, where the SeaV2 variable deep-vee running bottom will hit 24.5 mph at 7.6 gallons per hour, a net of 3.2 statute miles per gallon. Throttling up to 4,500 will increase her cruising speed to 28.2 mph at 9 gph for a bottom line of 3.1 mpg.
The only reservation that I have with the F200 is that if you load up the boat with her max of eight passengers with associated gear, you’ll have to wind her up at high revs to make solid headway. Accordingly, I’d probably opt for the 4.2L F250 V6 as my preferred powerplant, which offers two additional cylinders and significantly more displacement to get the job done. Turning a 15-inch pitch SWSII wheel, the V6 will hit a top speed of 45.3 mph at 5,900 rpm, but really shines in the cruising band getting 25.1 mph/7.9 gph at a relatively sedate 3,500 rpm while netting 3.2 mpg, identical to the F200’s numbers but at 600 less rpms. Advancing the throttle up to 4,000, the Adventure 218 will turn 29.7 mph/10.8 gph for a 2.8 mpg bottom line. At 4,500 rpms she’ll get you a fast lane speed of 33.8 mph at 13.4 gph that equates to 2.5 mpg, which is still reasonable fuel economy.
The Grady-White engineering team figured that some Adventure 218 owners might want to press the distance envelope in nice weather and installed a generous 100-gallon fuel tank that will give her nine hours of cruising range at 4,000 rpm at almost 30 mph. The fuel cell is installed under a removable water-tight cockpit sole hatch, which is a real plus if you ever have to service the tank.
One of my favorite standards on this newbie is her 100% fiberglass composite stringer system and transom. I also like the 25-inch cockpit depth, integrated swim platforms and pivoting aft seat backs. Reversible seat bottoms convert the twin corner jump seats into flat aft casting decks that afford more room for an angler to fight fish while also providing easy access when the family’s aboard.
For more info, visit gradywhite.com.