"Mid Size Power Boats": A Guide for Discreminating Buyers - by David Pascoe


Grady-White 24 Voyager


1997


The new and improved version of the Offshore 24 of the late 1980's and early 1990's, this is a much better boat than the Offshore 24 reviewed on this site. The basic hull looks to be about the same, but the deck shell has been greatly refined, from a completely different fore deck to the cockpit. Following the trend, the transom has been moved forward to provide for an external platform and motor mounts. They way they did it is well done and notably lacking in stupid ideas.

Outboards aren't the greatest boats for salt water fishing because the problem of keeping the fish out of the motors. The strong point of this design is that you can stand back there and get a much better view to help you keep the fish from taking the line into the lower units. But you'll note that this single engine boat has a motor well big enough for twin engines, so your walk around space back there is a bit limited, but generally good enough.

In fact, the aft platform area is unsually large.  Eating up even more of the cockpit space is the addition of a bench seat. Some fishinfanatics probably wont like that seat, but I do. After too many years of sitting on the damn gunwale, its kinda nice to have a decent place to sit. Particularly on those all night snapper gigs where resting your butt on a hard gunwale for hours on end is not exactly Comfort City.   But for any kind of serious trolling action, its going to get in the way. There's really no decent tackle box either - the one they give you is much too small - but the underseat storage sort of makes up for it by being convenient to reach. The bait well has been moved from the base of the seat module to the false transom partition, making it tall and deep like it should be (shallow, flat wells will beat the bait to death as the water sloshes around). The side rod coves will hold trolling rods but not longer spinning rods.

Grady-White 24 Voyager Grady-White 24 Voyager

The helm has been redesigned but I felt the wheel was too low and the engine control is poorly positioned for stand up operation. Let's face it, nearly all your maneuvering is done in the standing position. And I still feel that there's too little space between the pedastel seats for comfort. The windshield is now curved and looks to be a very high quality piece of hardware compared to some of the junk we see out there. So, too, are the cabin window ports. All anodized aluminum, but looking like its made to last. The rest of the hardware is all stainless and no plastic junk.

The fiberglass molding work looks top notch, although there's too many hard outside corners that are going to get dinged and chipped. Instead of the usual teak cockpit trim, they've got plastic imitation wood grain trim pieces. Not only are these going to fade, but the locations where they are placed do nothing for the boat aesthetically, and in fact make it look a little weird. A minor thing, but its really unnecessary. The deck has a large, removable plate that affords access to the fuel tank and whatever other stuff is down there. But there are those dang round plastic inspection ports again in the cockpit area and the motor wells, which is all the access you get to the bilge pumps. Good luck trying to fix something with one arm in a small hole. Try to rewire a bilge pump? Forget it, you need Houdini for the job. Things like this yank my chain because I don't like paying $60.00/hr to do a job that should only take a few minutes, but you pay for hours because they can't reach anything.

Its also got rolled and pleated vinyl belly bands, and rear seat backs. A nice adornment, these things get beat to hell in a hurry and almost no one will pay the high cost of replacing them. So in a few years your boat looks bad because of $600 worth of upholstery that you don't want to write a check for. For all you folks who don't cover your boats -- and that includes just about everyone after the first year of ownership -- the seats at least have removable cushions. You can store them in the cabin so they don't go to rot and ruin. But the upholstered belly bands (perhaps we should call them "thigh bands because they hit  my leg just above the knee), you pay a lot of money for something that isn't going to hold up.

The cabin area is basically the same old same old; not much you can do with a space that small and you'd be better off chucking the cushions and just using it for storage, which is all you really can do. They've also raised the bow rails up high enough where they are actually of some value. Earlier models have a rail that is nothing more than an ornament. This one had one of those Mickey Mouse anchor winches on it.  These things are nothing but rope retractors and not worth their weight in water. I particularly like they way the machine twists the line up into hopeless knots.

The fore deck design is a whole lot better than the older models, which I thought basically rendered the walk-around concept useless. It was hard to stand up and gave you nowhere to sit. On this arrangement, the forward cabin trunk is raised up high enough that it gives you a place to sit while fishing. But deck space is still too small to permit easy movement. Personally, I don't like the walk-around style because of the way it pinches both the forward cockpit area AND the cabin space. The walkways are very narrow and not easy to negotiate, and there's no good reason to have two narrow ones on each side. This design might be improved by having a catwalk only on one side, which would allow the foward cockpit area to be a little wider. The beam remains the narrow 8'6" for trailering.

As you can see in the above photo, the helm area is equally narrow and cramped. They've added a recessed electronics cabinet, with a hinged plexiglas cover and no gasket that isn't going to keep the water out. The cabinet is much to small to put anything but mini instruments in there, and there's no place else to  mount anything either. This won't please anyone who wants to add a decent sized chart recorder. I don't know about you, but I'm not a fan of small instruments with microscopic buttons on a bouncing boat.

Still, I find that there are a lot of folks who love this design, and the Voyager 24 is a vast improvement over the older models. You'll also find that reflected in the price which is up by about 50% over 1992 models. At today's prices, its coming close to high end. Its a nice boat to be sure, but I think the serious fisherman would like something a little less cluttered and cramped than this one. Its fine for bottom fishing or casting, but I can imagine what would happen with two guys aboard and running into a school of dolphin. They'll be in each others face.  Saltwater fishing three or four guys in this boat is out of the question.

Its a fine choice for the casual fisherman, but fishin fanatics will find better layouts in other boats the same size. I'll give it four stars on overall quality, but knock a tad off for a layout that's only going to appeal to a limited audience.

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Posted July 11, 1998

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David Pascoe Power Boat Books

Buyers' Guide to Outboard Boats Surveying Fiberglass Power Boats (2E)

David Pascoe - Biography

David Pascoe is a second generation marine surveyor in his family who began his surveying career at age 16 as an apprentice in 1965 as the era of wooden boats was drawing to a close.

Certified by the National Association of Marine Surveyors in 1972, he has conducted over 5,000 pre purchase surveys in addition to having conducted hundreds of boating accident investigations, including fires, sinkings, hull failures and machinery failure analysis.

Over forty years of knowledge and experience are brought to bear in following books. David Pascoe is the author of:

In addition to readers in the United States, boaters and boat industry professionals worldwide from over 70 countries have purchased David Pascoe's books, since introduction of his first book in 2001.

In 2012, David Pascoe has retired from marine surveying business at age 65.

Biography - Long version

Articles at
docksidereports.com

 

David Pascoe's
Power Boat Books

Mid Size Power Boats Mid Size Power Boats
A Guide for Discriminating Buyers
Focuses exclusively cruiser class generally 30-55 feet
With discussions on the pros and cons of each type: Expresses, trawlers, motor yachts, multi purpose types, sportfishermen and sedan cruisers.
Buyers' Guide to Outboard Boats
Selecting and Evaluating New and Used Boats
Dedicated for offshore outboard boats
A hard and realistic look at the marine market place and delves into issues of boat quality and durability that most other marine writers are unwilling to touch.
Surveying Fiberglass Powewr Boats
Surveying Fiberglass Power Boats
2nd Edition
The Art of Pre-Purchase Survey The very first of its kind, this book provides the essentials that every novice needs to know, as well as a wealth of esoteric details.
Marine Investigations
Pleasure crafts investigations to court testimony The first and only book of its kind on the subject of investigating pleasure craft casualties and other issues.
Readers
Worldwide
Over 70 countries
Countries List
Links to Each Chapter Contents with Excerpt at:
David Pascoe Power Boat Books davidpascoe.com

 

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