Small but furious thunderheads appeared out of nowhere, cutting off our return to the island. Calm water roiled into whitecaps in a matter of minutes. We pointed the bow into the mess and waited for it to blow over. Was I worried? Not one iota. In fact, while riding out this summer storm on Grady-White's new 282 Sailfish, my worst fear was getting my only pair of deck shoes wet.
HEALTH NUT. Why such confidence in a boat I had been on only once before? Because that day involved a 90-plus-mile cruise from Palm Beach, Florida, to Walker's Cay, Bahamas, a trip that revealed the numerous impressive aspects of the 282 Sailfish. For starters, we encountered two-to-three-foot rollers in the blue water and a tight chop riding over the Bahamas Bank. The boat shrugged it all off; the ride was as comfortable as any 28' monohull I've cruised. Most striking, however, was the boat's stability when riding between wakes. We were with a group of 27 boats going in the same direction. Translation? We were going to wallow between wakes. But the 282 Sailfish was extremely stable. Credit goes to the variable deadrise hull, with 20.5 degrees at the transom. That's enough V to slice up the waves, without sacrificing too much stability. It's no surprise that the 282 Sailfish feels solid underfoot, doesn't rattle or vibrate in sloppy seas, and takes rough weather well. After all, we've come to expect that from Grady-White. But the 282 Sailfish holds plenty of surprises, too. This boat isn't just a makeover of Grady-White's 272 Sailfish. That may have been the original idea, but Grady-White had a whole new deck designed and built. The company then added a new cabin. A new hardtop came next. But things still weren't quite right. A new dash panel, cabin berth, rigging station, helm station - in fact, the only similarity between the 272 and the 282 is the boat's length and beam. And their construction techniques. Grady-White still uses conventional glass-encapsulated XL-10 rot-resistant plywood stringers, with enough foam belowdecks to float the boat plus another 30 percent of its weight. Other construction highlights include a polyester/vinylester-blended resin, backlit rocker switches on the carbon fiber print dash panel, Pompanette helm seats, and a 1"-diameter stainless-steel bowrail. You want even finer details? Check out the standard windshield wiper. Most builders skimp here, providing a flimsy, jerky wiper that only seems to work for half a season. Not so on the 282 Sailfish. In fact, the wiper even has a windshield washer, so you can spritz away salt buildup without ever leaving the helm.