Preaching to the Choir: Grady-White Adventure 208
The walkaround is nothing new. At the start of the 19th century, owners of open boats often added a small, raised structure called a “hunter’s cabin” up forward, encircled by low, narrow decks. It gave some shelter for overnighting while keeping the rest of the boat open for fishing.
The idea surfaced again in the early years of fiberglass, when most cuddies had cabin sides that went right out to the gunwales to maximize room below. But anglers found it awkward to handle ground tackle or to fish, so the walkaround was born with narrow, recessed side decks and foredecks for access and safety. These first appeared on trihulls, the most popular hull form at the time. The squared-off bows gave plenty of room down below, but they pounded and threw spray.
Seeing this, the folks at Grady-White, who were mostly building runabouts at the time, thought: Why not do the same on a softer-riding V-hull? In 1974 they took one of their 19-footers and crafted what would become the iconic look of what we think of as a walkaround. A year later the 204-C Hatteras Overnighter was launched. There was still plenty of deck space aft with only a little sacrificed for accommodations. Plus, it made the boat an easier sell to the wife and kids.
No, Grady wasn’t the first with the walkaround concept, but it has certainly stayed with it the longest, continually improving it for the next 36 years. Want to see where it all started? Today’s adventure 208 is a direct link to the 204-C, and along the way it has garnered a huge following. How huge? Just try and find a used one, and if you do, be willing to pay.