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BOATS

BOAT TESTS

Grady-White 366 Canyon

Performance. After spending two days onboard the Grady-White 366 Canyon in some wicked 20-knot-plus winds, I concluded that this word pretty much sums up this mammoth center console.

The first and most obvious reason for this opinion came from the fact that my test vessel was outfitted with three, monster-size, 804-pound, 350-hp V8 Yamaha four-stroke outboards. Twin 350s are standard with the boat's $361,000 base price; the third engine will run you a $41,000 up charge. According to Grady-White, the 366's average cruise speed with twins will be about the same 35.8 mph I recorded on test day, but the 55-mph top-end speed I measured will drop by about 10 mph.

Either way, I found her big motors, which occupy the transom of this beamy (13'2") beast, to be quite efficient. With the trio humming along at 4000 rpm (they're rated at 6000 rpm), the 366 cut cross the North Carolina's Pamlico River at cruise speed while burning a total of 35.4 gph for 1.01 mpg. With her 420-gallon fuel capacity and a ten-percent reserve, this gives the boat a 365-statutemile range. At WOT, the 366 drops to 0.53 mpg and her range is reduced to 191 statute miles. Nevertheless, firewalling the throttles is serious fun to do now and then.

This vessel's big beam, which carries well aft, combined with her Hunt-drawn SeaV2 hull, a continually variable-deadrise design with a sharp entry for slicing and modified aftersections to enhance lift, provided my test boat with a stable ride at all speeds.

I spent a good amount time at her wheel on day two, running her in a confused seas at the confluence of the Alligator and Pamlico rivers while that big wind pushed in from the East. Yet the 366 did a solid job of running arrow-straight while cutting down the chop. In fact, during a good hour-long run across the whitecapped water at a steady 35 mph, salt-spray drops hit the wraparound composite windshield just once.

Her standard Teleflex SeaStar power-assisted steering inspired enough confidence that I confidently put her into a series of quick S-turns, and some hardover ones, too, while running at 4100 rpm. She handled it all with aplomb though I noted a 300-rpm decrease on all three motors when we were really leaning into her two-boatlength turns. That said, even with her engines trimmed up just above their midway point and running at 35 mph-plus, I couldn't get her props to vent.

Another noteworthy feature was her running attitude. As the owner of a mid-30-foot center console that can do a bit of squatting coming out of the hole, I found Grady-White's 366's trim angle at all rpm to be exceptional. This boat never displayed serious bowrise coming onto plane or a rocketship-like running attitude underway. I measured her maximum trim angle at four degrees at 3000 rpm, this without significant input (about one-quarter to onehalf) from the standard hydraulic Bennett trim tabs. At cruise, her angle flattened out to three degrees.

And not only was my test boat's speed and range impressive, her layout will please even the most discriminating center-console buyer. There's full walking space around the air-conditioned (optional) helm console, which in addition to being protected by that composite windshield, can be further sheltered with optional wing enclosures. There's also 360 degrees of standard coaming padding in the cockpit.

In addition, I found NBA-class headroom under the standard cambered hardtop, which features molded-in spreader lights. While my test boat (Hull No. 1) had two helm lights in the hardtop, production models now feature four and can be set to display in red, white, or blue. Other changes for production 366s include reduced camber in that hardtop, cargo-net stowage above the helm, and a shorter electronics box. There's a large retractable electronics console at the helm that on my boat housed two Raymarine C140W (W for wide) displays. Other helm electronics include Raymarine's 218 VHF and ST70 autopilot.

Just aft of her helm seats were the Imroned rocket launchers, which matched up well the hull's cream-colored gelcoat. A baitprep station, complete with pliers and knife stowage is also here, while just below is the optional grill for the catch-and-cook crowd (a sink is standard), flanked by two 41-gallon livewells that will be welcomed by live-bait sailfish and kingfish anglers.

If you're someone who likes bring home the meat, you'll appreciate this boat's three fishboxes. Two 263-quart insulated ones are forward of the console, to port and starboard, while a third 291-quart one is in the transom; it can be set up as a refrigerator or freezer. Radial hardtop-mounted 15-foot Taco Grand Slam outriggers are also optional and rounded out my boat's fishing amenities, which also includes around 20 rod holders.

But while my vessel was clearly geared towards the hardcore fishing crowd, creature comforts were not forgotten. Because the console area is so large, there's space below decks for a berth for two as well as an optional 15-inch flat-panel TV with DVD player and a microwave for hot-food fans. An optional 4-kW Fischer-Panda diesel genset, which runs off a 12-gallon fuel tank, resides in a soundshield under the centerline cockpit hatch leading to the lazarette. I wish this could be placed somewhere else so it's not exposed to potential saltwater coming through the gasketed hatch, but there's only so much available space. A retractable foredeck table for lunches on the hook is an option.

Now some people may look at a $400,000-plus, 36-foot (nearly 37-foot) triple-outboard center console like this and think she's aimed at a real niche market. But I think that the 366 Canyon is actually all-purpose. She's a fishing machine that can get you offshore and back in a hurry. (And who wouldn't like more fishing time?) She has a draft of just 3'7" with all three engines down (2'10" with twins), so even though she's big she can easily navigate in shallow water. The 366 could even be at home as a megayacht tender or a dive boat. And when you outfit her with helm-deck air conditioning, the foredeck dining area, and the below-deck cooking and comfort options, she could also work as a Bahamas weekender.

So while I may have summed up this mid-size vessel with the word performance, perhaps versatile, adaptable, and many-sided, would fit rather well, too.

BY THE NUMBERS

rpm mph (knots) gph mpg (nmpg) sm range nm range decibels trim (degrees)
1000 6.3 (5.5) 4.0 1.56 (1.38) 570 497 65 0.0
2000 9.5 (8.3) 12.6 0.75 (0.66) 273 237 75 3.0
3000 22.4 (19.5) 23.7 0.95 (0.82) 342 297 85 4.0
4000 35.8 (31.1) 35.4 1.01 (.086) 365 318 87 3.0
5000 44.4 (38.6) 58.0 0.76 (0.66) 277 241 89 2.5
6000 55.0 (47.8) 104.0 0.53 (0.46) 191 166 94 2.5

PROPULSION: 3/350-hp Yamaha four-stroke outboards w/ 1.73:1 ratio; 16 1/2 x 19 s/s XL three-blade props
Conditions: temperature: 75?F; humidity: 68%; wind: 20-30 mph; seas: 2' chop; load: 420 gal. fuel, no gal. water, 3 persons, 200 lbs. gear. Speeds are two-way averages measured w/ Stalker radar gun. GPH measured with Yamaha electronic fuel-monitoring system. Range: 90% of advertised fuel capacity. Decibels measured on A scale. 65 dB is the level of normal conversation.

NOTEWORTHY

Express Option

The 366 Canyon center console was derived from her sistership, the Grady-White 360 Express ("Bluewater Bound," August 2005). And for those who enjoy the performance and versatility of midsize, outboard-powered vessels but want a little more room for the family, the 360 Express, which starts at a price tag of $495,350 with twin 350-hp outboards and runs about $536,545 with triples, may be the option for you. She adds comfort with sleeping arrangements for four, as well as a full galley with an electric cooktop, dinette seating for four people, and a separate head with shower. You may not have the full walkaround room you do onboard the 366, but she does have additional bridge-deck seating and a chartstowage area. Two traits they share are performance and fishability.

THE VITALS

STANDARD EQUIPMENT: 2/350-hp Yamaha four-stroke outboards; Teleflex SeaStar hydraulic steering w/power assist; Yamaha electronic controls; LED cockpit lights; 6-hp Lewmar bow thruster; cockpit shower; 3/fishboxes; 10/rod holders; under-gunwale rod stowage; transom door; Sirius satellite radio; Bennett hydraulic trim tabs; 41-gal. livewell w/ light; 3/bolster-style helm chairs; rigging station w/ 41-qt. cooler; lure stowage; VacuFlush MSD

OPTIONAL POWER: 3/350-hp Yamaha V8 four-stroke outboards

OPTIONAL EQUIPMENT ON TEST BOAT: 6,000-Btu Marine Air A/C; casting platform w/ insert cushions; aft fishbox w/refrigerator/freezer; 4-kW Fischer Panda diesel genset; electric cockpit grill; Contoure microwave; Taco outriggers; 15" flat-panel TV; 6-gal. water heater w/ hot cockpit shower; 2/Underwater Lights LED lights; foredeck cherrywood table

This article originally appeared in the November 2009 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.