Marlin 300 — By Capt. Ken Kreisler —
Variation on a Theme
|Part 2: The transom fishbox, borrowed from big sister 330’s design, is also a welcome addition.|
The changes start at the integral pulpit, where the anchor is now dropped and retrieved through the center of the pulpit instead of off a roller at its tip. This is a typical big-boat feature and was so well received on the Express 330 that Grady incorporated it on the 300. I also noted 316 stainless steel latches and hardware that Weller informed me was an upgrade from the previous 306-grade stainless steel and plastic hardware.
The helm area has significantly more space for electronics, as Grady offers a newly designed, optional flush-mount kit. While the helm is slightly larger, this kit makes all the difference. It not only enhances the units’ visibility but also provides a cleaner look. There’s more space for gauges right above the 300’s wheel, an improvement over the previous design that clustered them there. To create the extra room, the design team simply moved several switches into the cabin.
And that’s where I found most of the changes, starting with a companionway door that used to be a bifold design but has evolved into one whose bottom edge folds up and then, along with the rest of the door, slides up and disappears underneath a ledge. A counterweighted safety latch slips into place, so there’s no way it can come loose. Inside I also found a teak-and-holly-sole replacing the long-standing white fiberglass and carpet insert, a table of teak instead of Formica, and teak accents on all stowage cabinets and bulkheads instead of just plain cabinets.
In order to provide more counter-space in the port-side galley for the Corian cutting surface, as well as more stowage, Grady pushed the interior bulkhead area up to the hull sides. Another change taken directly from the 330 is the fabrics and colors. The starboard head is unchanged, with ample headroom and space.
Weller also pointed out the transom. Where the old boat had a built-in seat, there is now a fold-down one that when secured allows easy access to the bilge through a hatch. The transom fishbox, borrowed from big sister 330’s design, is also a welcome addition, especially as our trip produced a rather hefty wahoo.
Hardin hooked it and, being the gracious Southern gentleman that he is, promptly handed the rod over to McGee, who managed to get it close enough for us to gaff. I wasn’t as lucky as them. While I was able to quickly hook another wahoo and get it to the transom, it broke free. And with the transom seat folded down and out of the way, well, it was a lot easier to deal with this skittish fish that it would have been with the old fixed seat design.
Back at the dock, as Hardin dressed out our fish, the rest of us pitched in to clean the boat, during which I noticed considerable exhaust residue from the optional 5-kW Fischer Panda diesel genset. Besides the necessity of carrying a separate tank of fuel for the genset, keeping the port side near the stern clean was the only drawback I saw to this setup.
Seeing the new plant, fishing the redesigned Marlin 300 offshore, and being able to compare it to the old 300 I’d fished allowed me to see how one company turned a good boat into a better one. According to Weller, the 300 is already a hit, as is the Express 330. With these two boats under its belt, Grady-White’s next variation on a theme just might be a larger one.
Grady-White Boats Phone: (252) 752-2111. www.gradywhite.com.
This article originally appeared in the February 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.