Dual-console boats are one of the fastest growing runabout styles on the market. For starters, they capitalize on the new enthusiasm for outboard power and its easy maintenance. Second, dual consoles provide the cruising comforts of a bowrider but with the ruggedness and smooth ride of an offshore boat. Third, they incorporate the best of all possible fishing features to make them as fishable as they are fun. The Freedom 235 sets the bar high in this category, blending all three important characteristics in one finely designed boat.
For anglers, you have an optional livewell on the transom with Grady’s signature plenum circulation system that eliminates pesky standpipes and improves circulation. There is also a large fish locker in the transom for keeping your catch fresh — or to keep your drinks cold. Gunwale rod holders provide plenty of tackle options for trolling or bottomfishing too. If you need to guide a big bruiser around the outboard, there is a wide, beefy transom door giving access to the port to starboard platform. The walkway is clear, with concealed lockers for stern lines and anchors.
That platform and its ladder will be especially appreciated when you pop up the optional tow pylon for pulling the skiers in your crew. The 235’s deep-V hull can turn up some remarkable wakes.
Most impressive is how quickly the cockpit converts to comfortable cruising with the fold-down transom seat — open it in a second, stow it just as quickly. The port side of the cockpit features back-to-back seating ideal for watersports. Touch a button and the footrest slides out from the aft-facing seat, completing wraparound seating or a lounge for when you’re cruising instead of fishing. The helm seat is a custom bucket with armrests, and the helm itself is designed with a coastal mariner in mind, leaving tons of space for electronics. Did I mention the generous head?
The other players in this category are in for some competition.
* Fusion stereo provides stirring sound quality.
* Wraparound windshield and wind dam close the cockpit for inclement weather.
* Grady-White makes seacocks easy to operate with lever extensions.
* Battery switch and breakers are easily accessible in the coaming cabinet.
How We Tested
Engine: Yamaha F300
Drive/Prop: Outboard/Yamaha Salt Water Series II SDS 15.5" x 17" 3-blade stainless steel
Gear Ratio: 1.75:1
Fuel Load: 80 gal.
Crew Weight: 400 lb.
$101,980 (as tested)
Grady-White Greenville, North Carolina; 252-752-2111; gradywhite.com