Designing roomy outboard boats under 20 feet in length is tough. Many look stubby and ride hard, especially in the short chop of the shallow coastal bays for which they are built. But those many don’t have the benefit of a SeaV2 hull and construction done by a Grady-White lamination crew. Those folks are now turning out the elegant 191 Coastal Explorer, a small bay boat with a shallow but nice-riding bottom, plus graceful Carolina raised sheer and bow flare.
Want to know what difference that excellence-oriented lamination crew makes? Look at a photo or watch a video of the 191 CE running and note how its reversed chines and lifting strakes turn down spray. The crew has carefully made the hull’s fabric and resin follow the sharp corners of strakes embodied in the design and the tooling (mold). That spray-damping ability is a good index of Grady-White quality. This hull faithfully follows the promise of the SeaV2 hull’s designer.
Our test boat performed well at intermediate speeds, even though the dealer had not yet installed trim tabs. We recommend tabs because this relatively small investment gives the skipper the ability to dial in tab and engine trim, fine-tunes the ride, and allows boats like the 191 CE to deliver a comfortable ride in conditions generally regarded as beyond the paygrade of smaller boats. With prudent attention to weather conditions in coastal waters, a savvy skipper can happily run the 191 CE in seas that would send many 22-footers home. Doing so means learning to run the boat at speeds in the lower 20s and teens, adjusting fore-and-aft trim, and using the hull’s sharp bow entry to cleave seas.
The 191 CE’s interior is fish-friendly with insulated boxes that can be plumbed as live- or release wells placed in the console seat and the center of the stern deck. Fish-box space resides under the leaning post and in the foredeck (a huge space there, augmented by an anchor locker). Both the stern deck and foredeck make great platforms for casting or throwing a cast net. There are four rod holders in the gunwales and four vertical holders neatly tucked into recesses on the sides of the forward console seat, but we’d want at least four more, perhaps installed onto the back of the helm seat.
This boat is designed for versatility. A set of bow cushions and an optional table in front of the console seat turn the 191 Coastal Explorer into a picnic boat. A removable stern pylon sets it up for tow sports, and the standard Yamaha F150 provides a proven track record of power, efficiency and durability. Do you need more boat than this? Think carefully before you decide.