The new 21-foot Grady-White Freedom 215 model was said to borrow design elements from the larger 33- and 37-foot Freedom models while adding a few twists of its own, and that it does.
Grady-White Boats raised a lot of eyebrows earlier this year when the company announced an all-new 21-foot model in its popular Freedom series of dual console runabouts. With more storage space and occupant protection than traditional center consoles, yet still riding on Grady-White’s legendary offshore hull, the dual console Freedom line has quickly become a best seller for the Greenville, North Carolina-based boat builder.
It’s hard to walk through the Grady-White Freedom 215 without constantly raising your eyebrows in astonishment and blurting “Oh wow, that’s really cool!”
At the dock the Freedom 215 looks gorgeous, with its open cockpit and spacious bow with plush, inviting seating that seems especially roomy for a 21-foot boat. You can’t help but notice the width, as Grady-White carried the boat’s full eight-foot, six-inch beam far forward of the windshield to provide such generous accommodations. The bow seats accommodate both forward-facing and rear-facing passengers, with seat back cushions on each of the dual consoles and a supportive backrest across the front, right behind the anchor locker. Grady-White says you can comfortably seat five adults here, and I would believe it. Each of the bow seat cushions lift to reveal a 56-quart insulated fish box on each side, either of which could easily double as a cooler. Installing a filler cushion can further convert the bow to an inviting sun pad.
Four stainless steel cup holders, retractable cleats, a recessed stainless steel grab rail and a pair of stereo speakers round out the bow, and speak to Grady-White’s attention to detail here.
The dual consoles support a full walk-through windshield to protect against spray and cool breezes. The passenger console houses the premium stereo – included as standard equipment – and opens to reveal a surprisingly large and roomy head compartment. This is a surprising find in a 21-foot boat to say the least, and a big selling feature.
The neatly designed helm console offers a large storage compartment in its base, and an elegant dash with space to flush-mount multi-function displays of up to 12 inches. The helm seat is a comfortable pedestal-mounted deluxe chair, which can be adjusted vertically and horizontally to fit drivers of all sizes. This can be upgraded to a deluxe contoured chair with a flip-up bolster. Buyers have a choice where the passenger seat is concerned, with the option of a pedestal seat to match the helm or a comfortable back-to-back sleeper seat with storage in its base. A lounge seat with sliding backrest is also available.
Standard features in the Grady-White Freedom 215 include horizontal rod storage holders under the gunwales, four vertical rod holders, and a 64-quart cooler at the transom, which can be replaced with an optional a 16-gallon live well. There’s room to mount an optional ski pylon as well.
The transom corner seats each feature reversible, self-stowing seat cushions with non-skid bottoms. But what’s really cool is how the back rests swing away for walk-through access to the rear swim platforms. Said to be an industry first, this is a brilliant arrangement that works very well.
A Yamaha F250 four-stroke outboard represents maximum power on this boat, delivering a top speed of 48 mph at wide open throttle and a comfortable cruising speed of just under 30 mph when throttled back to 3,500 rpm. At cruise, the Freedom 215 enjoys excellent fuel economy of 3.4 mpg. For even better fuel economy, give up a few mph of top-end speed and select the F200, which will still push the boat to 42 mph at wide open throttle while delivering fuel economy in the range of 4.0 mpg at 24 mph and 3,700 rpm. That’s very impressive performance for a big water boat that seats eight people.
Grady-White’s Freedom series is a global best seller, and the new Grady-White Freedom 215 shows why. This is a well designed and versatile family boat that’s very hard to resist.
Grady-White Freedom 215 Specs
- Length: 21’ 3”
- Beam: 8’ 6”
- Dry weight: 3,150 lbs
- Fuel capacity: 80 gal.
- Passenger capacity: 8
- Maximum power: 250 hp