Pros: Outstanding design, construction and dealer support
Cons: Would like to see a bigger beam in boat of 30+ feet
What can you say about a Grady that hasn't already been said? Well, if you own a 300 Marlin, as I do, there are plenty of things to talk about, but first let's talk about the construction.
All Grady White's are overbuilt, that's a known fact but few if any writers have taken the time to compare it to another manufacturer in this regard.
All Grady White boats are manufactured to meet exacting production standards, as well as owner standards. Owner standards, what's that you ask?
Well for starters there shouldn't be any unfinished fiberglass, hull waves (that is to say defective flaring work) in the glass, hardware that isn't thru-bolted, canvas snaps that don't work, wiring runs that aren't marked properly..by now I think you get the point. You won't find any shoddy workmanship or unfinished construction on a Grady White.
When you buy a Grady you don't have to spend the next three months finishing the work that the factory left for you. In fact when you take delivery of your Grady you should plan on using it that day without any problems.
I live more than 65 miles, using the most direct route, open ocean, inlet to inlet from my Grady dealer in Florida. When I take delivery of my boat I take it home from the dealer, traveling in rough Atlantic open ocean waters and I've never had a problem.
I've taken my Grady 300 Marlin from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Ocean City, Maryland and enjoyed every mile on my boat.
By way of reference my Grady Marlin was caught in hurricane Agnes in the fall of 2003 where it was on a lift 9 feet above the high tide waterline. As you might expect all hurricanes have absolutely no regard for high, or low, tidal lines.
My Marlin was thrown against the dock all night for 12 hours, against a metal boat lift and on the dock pilings, with sustained winds of 85+ MPH. Less than 8 feet away was my in-laws 29 Sea Ray, same model year as my Marlin, same circumstances (wind, sea, piling, dock and lift).
The difference was that his Sea Ray was substantially damaged, including hull damage ( a 28 inch gash mid-ship that you could stick your hand through), transom damage, topside damage, all types of leaks and outdrive damage.
My Grady White Marlin 300 by comparison had a rub rail which came out of the track (it's designed this way and easily is pushed back into its track), a taped boot stripe that was scraped up (about 18 inches in length) and a very insignificant amount of gel coat scratching (an area that was roughly 2' x 2') where it had beat a piling to death all night and most of the next morning.
That was it. No hull breaches, no leaks, no hardtop damage, no platform damage and once I was able to get it back on the lift it ran like a scalded dog. Other than the boot stripe and the gel coat you would have never known it rode through a hurricane and was pounded against a lift and dock pilings during the storm.
Now the ride can be best described as follows. Imagine the perfect hull form, flared at the bow, tapered at the the stern, that cushions your hull against the challenges associated with climbing up the side of a green five footer at speed and then down the backside.
If you enjoy the kind of hull that rattles the fillings in your teeth, scares your kids, makes your guests hold on to anything they can and generally promotes white knuckle boating don't buy a Grady White Marlin 300.
My Marlin 300 rides like it's on an air cushion, no hull pounding, no strange noises, no awkward moments when you wonder whether your knees will buckle or the hull will separate from the pounding. Just a nice quiet ride that is relaxed and comfortable at speed.
The amount of storage on my Marlin 300 is awesome. I also own a 60' Hatteras Convertible and it's amazing how much gear I can store on my Marlin. I can get most of my heavy rods from my Hatt onto my Marlin with room to spare for all of the tackle and personal gear.
Lately I've been using my Marlin to commute the 118 mile distance (one way) between where I keep my Hatt and my Marlin. That should say plenty about my Marlin 300.
One last word. I've owned plenty of boats from plenty of manufacturers who claimed that service and customer satisfaction was their priority. It took me a long time to find manufacturers who demanded that their dealer network maintain high service standards. To date only two have met and exceeded my expectations - Grady White and Hatteras Yachts. In my opinion they have many of the same characteristics.
All the others that came before them, including Wellcraft, Aquasport, Mako, Pursuit, Ocean Yacht and Viking haven't come half as close these two manufacturers to insuring that their customers receive outstanding dealer after-the-sale support.
I don't know about you but when you spend more than $50,000 on any type of vehicle (car, motorcycle, boat, plane or spaceship) I expect to be treated with courtesy and respect. Buy a Grady and you'll get that respect no matter how old, or how expensive your boat may be. To a Grady dealer no customer is more important than any other customer.