MARATHON MAN. The real surprise during our long-distance cruise came when we reached the marina and looked at the fuel gauge. Rigged with a pair of 200-hp Yamaha HPDI outboards, we had burned less fuel than most boats with single outboards. At the best cruise, 3500 rpm, we got 2.2 mpg while running at 31 mph. I looked up every 26' to 30' twin outboard-powered monohull fishboat we've tested over the last three years, and they averaged 1.7 mpg. But with 700psi blowing fuel into each cylinder (most other pressure-injection systems produce between 90psi and 450psi) a variable deadrise hull designed by Ray Hunt Associates, the 282 Sailfish outperforms the competition.
The Highs: Awesome fuel economy and capacity. Details like the windshield washer, toerails with hose holder and cupholders, and hardtop life jacket stowage put many competitors to shame.
The Lows: Integrated transom motor bracket puts the outboards far aft; chunkers and bottom anglers will have a long reach to get around them. Single hose clamps on the test boat's bilge and livewell pumps. Check out some other top contenders: Scout's 28'2" Cabrio 260 ($95,580 with twin 225-hp Yamaha outboards), at a cruise of 3500 rpm, tested out at 1.9 mpg while going 34.2 mph. Aquasport's 27'5" 275 Walkaround ($93,045, with twin 225-hp Evinrude Ficht outboards) hit 32.8 mph while getting 2.1 mpg. Most other walkarounds in this size range didn't even come close to the Grady-White/Yamaha HPDI combination. And the 282 Sailfish is quiet, too, producing just 80 dB-A at cruise, compared to 82 on the 275 Walkaround and 87 on the Cabrio 260. This can be attributed to two things: the HPDI outboards and the 282 Sailfish's full transom. The downside? You'll have the usual problems maneuvering fish around those outboards when chunking or bottom fishing. We trolled on test day, but since trolled fish are usually landed on the hip, it wasn't an issue.
MAKE THE GRADE. If you think solid construction and awesome fuel economy are the only impressive details to be found on this boat, you're wrong. Have you looked at that new hardtop- It's slightly crowned, with netting across the bottom for life jacket stowage - they're out of the way but easy to reach in case of an emergency. Every builder should do it. And look at the electronics box. The door is split, so you can fold it halfway and still get an obstruction-free view of the LCD screens. What's more, this helm has true 360-degree visibility, and for my 5'11" height, no windshield frames, supports, or canvas seams were in the way. More proof that the Grady-White guys never stop thinking: The removable oil fills at the transom slant backward. So if you spill a bit as you're pouring in oil, it runs down into the motorwell, not onto the aft bench seat. Also note the fishbox placement. It's abovedecks, not sunken into the cockpit sole. That means no seawater leaking over gutters and melting off your ice, a common problem with fishboxes placed in the sole. If seawater - or, as on test day, rainwater - does enter the cockpit, it drains out fast. How fast? I tried leaving on the washdown for a few minutes, but water never pooled on the deck.