The North Carolina builder’s evolutionary new center console proves that you don’t need to reinvent the wheel to create a successful model.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to magazine making. One side favors leaving a style and structure untouched for years and then launching into a grand redesign that has the potential to create a lot of buzz. The other side—the school of thought I subscribe to—says it’s better to constantly evolve the look and feel of your product so it never gets stale. In today’s highly demanding media climate, most companies can’t afford to get stale and stagnant.
The more I learn about Grady-White’s 336, the more I realize the company shares that same ethos. Originally launched in 2008, the North Carolina builder has sold hundreds of the 33-foot center console. You don’t reach that kind of mass-demand by resting on your laurels; 2020 marked the second time this model underwent a refresh.
When the team at Grady-White reviewed this model and what they might want to change, they crossed one thing off the list immediately: the hull. Dubbed the SeaV2, this bottom design has earned a reputation for a soft ride by discerning owners who fish hard—thanks to a deadrise that starts at 20-degrees at the transom then deepens to 30-degrees amidships and becomes damn near knife-like at the bow with plenty of characteristic Carolina flare.
Hull design: Check.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock you know that boaters today demand more power than ever. Grady is offering just that by allowing for triple engine configurations with horses from the Yamaha barn ranging from 300- to 425-hp. A redesigned helm configuration boasts space for two 17-inch MFDs.
In terms of systems, the 336 is now being offered with a Seakeeper. Some serious salts may scoff at the idea of adding a stabilizer to a 33-foot center console. Now, does the 336 need a stabilizer? Probably not, but then again, does a center console need a combined 1,275 hp? Probably not, but it’s certainly nice to have.
The new 336 really shakes things up is the helm area. Where once the T-top had its legs spread out and planted into the deck—posing a very real tripping hazard to those hooked up to a sizable catch—now the walkways are clear thanks to a single integrated design with a full glass windshield. The wraparound glass, with a small electrically opening vent on center, should make the triple helm seats more comfortable than ever.
Comfort. That’s what Grady-White says the calling card of this model is.
“Our fishing features go in first, then we ask, how do we make this boat so comfortable that everyone wants to spend time on it?” says Shelley Tubaugh, vice president of marketing. “You can sit on our cushions all day. They’re made of a high-quality material that feels good and drains quickly. You can put in the casting platform [forward] with a cushion to make a large sunpad; there are stainless-steel cup holders everywhere and you can shower in the console.”
It’s true that the console serves as an adequate head, but that’s only part of the story. My favorite feature in this space is a bench seat that folds down to form a berth that can allow a couple to overnight aboard. I imagine this will be a popular spot for kids to lounge away from the sun, watch a movie or catch a quick nap.
“You always look at the marketplace and, first and foremost, you look at the 336 as a fishing boat. We were always more of a family-oriented brand,” says Tubaugh. “We’ve found more and more that the whole family is involved with the boat. The wife, the kids and grandkids want to use the boat, especially in the age of Covid. They always liked the boat; now they really like it.”
The new features and aesthetic choices on the 336 have trickled down from Grady’s other models, as well as feedback from the vehemently loyal customer base. That base that loves this boat so much that owners continually trade in their older 336 for a newer model like people trade in cars. “Every product has a life cycle, but [the 336] is a good size; most people feel comfortable taking it out themselves,” says Tubaugh. “This is still a signature Grady-White. They’re unsinkable, and they have the true self-bailing cockpit; the sheerline, the look of the boat, the quality, the customer satisfaction is all what you expect from us. Partner that with all our little upgrades, and maybe now you get a more complete package.”
Grady-White 336 Specifications:
Weight w/o engines: 10,100 lbs.
Fuel: 361 gal.
Power: twin or triple Yamaha outboards from 300- to 425-hp