Express 330 — By Capt. Patrick Sciacca — August 2001
Two Days in a Washing Machine
|Part 2: Grady-White Express 330 continued|
I've seen other boats handle big seas, but oftentimes it's been a white-knuckle, grab-a-rail run. This boat's slick ride is the result of both quality construction and efficient design. Her solid-fiberglass hull bottom is hand-laid, and her C. Raymond Hunt-designed SeaV2 hull form, which Grady started using in 1989, offers a continuing variable deadrise. Forward the angle is a wave-slicing 58 degrees, changing to about 35 degrees below the center helm area, and flattening to 20 degrees at the transom. It's a combination that makes for great stability and a solid ride. In addition she's beamy--11'7" to be exact--and she deflected spray so well, the mist formed a rainbow in our wake as we passed up other boats battling their way out.
We found a weed line that promised some dolphin, so we spread the optional 24-foot Lee Sr. outriggers to troll five Penn International 30SWs rigged with skirted ballyhoos. (The outriggers are the only option on the 330; everything else is standard.) As we went up and down the weed line at about 6 knots, the big, white-topped swells grew to eight and sometimes 10 feet. Yet the 330 was stable both in head and following seas, with relatively little roll. Taking the wheel for a spell, I found her Teleflex SeaStar steering was smooth and responsive. Her helm station's adjustable Pompanette helm seat was comfy, and sight lines were excellent, even if I was looking at nothing but swell and trough.
Weller took back the wheel, and I caught myself spending more time trying to spot finicky dolphin in the weed line and taking in the traveling porpoise show that came our way than staring at the seas. The sun was out and we were fishing, and boy, is the 80-square-foot cockpit geared to fish. Abaft the starboard helm station benchseat, a large, 45-gallon raw-water livewell with overboard drain can hold a substantial amount of live bait (ours wasn't), and underneath, five large tackle drawers can accommodate a regiment of rigs. To port, the bait station kept our two days of frozen ballyhoo rigs cool, and next to it a cockpit sink came in handy for a quick freshwater washdown of the deck, reels, and hands. Underneath the sink and bait station, the saltwater washdown hose was at the ready yet recoiled neatly, a feature I especially appreciated since I've managed to trip myself on a deck hose once or twice. Unfortunately, the large 270-quart fishbox would not be needed this day, as we caught just one mahi mahi, which we released.
The second morning we headed out at 6:00 a.m. to find that a stationary front had confused the six- and eight-footers to the point where the spin, agitation, and rinse cycles were all going at once. Coming out the rambunctious inlet, we were met by a large, lumpy sea with deep pockets--so deep that we occasionally had a couple seconds of hang time as the ocean disappeared from under us. (For those of you who have never experienced this, it's like falling and hitting your coccyx bone.)
Despite the conditions, Neese got the 330 to run comfortably around 20 mph, and we worked our way 40 miles to the fishing grounds far ahead of the fleet. We set up the lines and trolled comfortably in spite of the Atlantic's inability to make up its mind, but still no fish. The afternoon's ocean turned calm, and although I had been impressed by the 330's handling in the day and a half of heaving ocean, it was nice to see a flat sea.
Camp took the wheel from Neese and found a heavy weed line. We managed to bag a nice group of dolphin to 20-plus pounds--enough to fill up that fishbox--before stopping for lunch below. The well-designed cabin features 6'3" headroom and a port-side galley with Origo microwave and electric cooktop. Just forward the Dino refrigerator held our long-awaited cold cuts, while farther on, the V-berth offered sleeping for two--Neese actually managed a nap here. Just abaft the V-berth a seat can be used as a berth if you slide your feet under the forward berth (perfect for kids). Fully aft is another berth for two. You also access seacocks and the standard 5-kW Kohler genset from here.
To top off the trip, once we'd satisfied our hunger and had a flat ocean ahead, Neese took the wheel and let the 330 do her thing. We managed to run back to Ocracoke harbor from 41 miles out in less than an hour.
"Everything comes out in the wash" is an expression I've heard since I was a kid. The only thing that came out in this wash was that no matter how many times our Grady-White Express 330 got wet, rinsed, and spun, she didn't fade.
Grady-White Boats Phone: (252) 752-2111. Fax: (252) 830-8462. www.gradywhite.com.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.