Freedom to go where you want - performance to get there fast!
Introduced at the New York Boat Show in January 2012, the new Freedom 285 from Grady-White is a brawney big bow rider that features a surprisingly spacious enclosed head under the starboard side console, has 65 square feet (6.04m2) of wide-open cockpit space, an optional electric grill and plenty more features to delight the whole family.
Grady’ prefers to call the design a dual console and Grady-White customers are showing great enthusiasm for dual console boats, in large part because this style is so well suited to families who participate in a variety of water sports and leisure activities.
One look tells you this boat was built to fish and the Freedom 285 has many great fishing features, but it can do a lot more. This boat can handle coastal conditions in BC or the St. Lawrence around Montreal in comfort and it could also sprint through the Trent Severn or the Rideau taking you from one resort to another. Not everyone wants to sleep onboard. Stay at a waterfront B&B!
This new 28-foot Freedom 285 is a full foot wider at the beam than her sistership, the Freedom 275, and with the 65 square foot cockpit space, people have room to roam for socializing plus there is generous storage space to carry all types of gear; not just for fishing but diving, camping, tubing, wakeboarding or skiing.
Yes, it’s a big boat, but with twin Yamaha 250s this boat can handle just about anything. The acceleration is overwhelming; plenty to plan off a load of passengers or pull up skiers. You have a sizable wake at boarding speeds and yet at slalom ski speeds, the hull lifts enough that the wake is manageable.
The Grady-White 285 Freedom features a SeaV2® hull designed by C. Raymond Hunt Associates and the ride and handling are impressive. Our test boat had the twin Yamaha F250 Offshore models which are 250hp V6 engines with big displacement, twin overhead cams and electronic multi-point fuel injection. These are very quiet, smooth and powerful; able to run trolling speeds or race up to 50mph top speeds.
The big Yamaha’s are a key part of the Grady-White’s versatility. You can actually order a 285 Freedom with twin Yamaha 300 hp V8s, but the 250s deliver stellar performance and will likely save some fuel.
Or, maybe you want to extend your range! This rig gets close to 2mpg at cruising speeds in the mid-20’s.
It is a boat that can really go places. Spending a day on the water is realistic thanks to the enclosed head under the port side console. An adult can change clothes in this console area according to the builder, so you can go from a day on the water direct to a waterside restaurant for dinner.
If you order the optional grill arrangement, you can feed the crew and Grady-White includes a standard removable table that fits either the bow or cockpit.
The bow area starts with the Lewmar electric windlass and covered anchor locker to make mooring out much easier. There is seating for four around the removable table, drink holders, speakers and abundant storage under the seats. An optional insert turns the bow into a fishing platform or a perfect sunning station. We really liked the sturdy bow handrails that are recessed a bit for safety.
A folding door securely blocks the wind from blowing into the interior if the weather is cool or rainy and of course, the windshield swings closed and latches. In addition to the head, the lockable port console includes a compartment that runs forward, underneath the bow seating, for storage of rods, skis or other long items and in the starboard side console under the helm, there is more lockable storage space. There is even a handy pullout drawer under the helm for odds and ends.
The helm area is protected by a large windshield and there is a deluxe adjustable pedestal seat and a footrest. Optionally you can get an electronically adjustable helm lean bar seat. Behind the helm seat is a sink, storage drawer and trash compartment. The sink can be replaced with a 1300-watt grill which is a great option although a portable BBQ can mount in a rod holder if you don’t want to sacrifice the sink.
The cockpit seating is also very versatile with a port side lounge seat that’s electronically extendable to become a sunlounger augmented by Grady-White’s patented aft bench seat that easily folds away. The cockpit goes from family entertaining to serious fishing in a snap.
There are four gunwale rod holders and a horizontal rack for three rods on deck. A 32-gallon livewell is available with interior light, a full column distribution inlet, and 1100 GPH pump.
Most owners will choose the optional hardtop with its storage nets, two speakers and spreader lights. The standard insulated 185 quart aft fish box with cutting board and 135 quart forward starboard fish box both drain overboard.
For water sports of all kinds, there is a swim platform accessed through a fiberglass transom door with heavy-duty positive locking latch. The four-step boarding ladder is easy to deploy and there’s a freshwater shower at the transom which is especially appreciated in salt water areas.
Like every Grady-White, the Freedom 285 is self-bailing through scuppers and the boat is foam-filled for flotation. From our experiences with both the new 285 Freedom and several other Grady-White models before that, the boat shows evidence of high quality in all the fittings and feels rock-solid on the water. Whatever your summer interests may be, this is a boat that could be a great companion!
Engines: Twin Yamaha F250 Offshore, 250 hp 4.2 L / 254.4 ci four-stroke V6 engines with dual overhead cams, 24 valves with variable camshaft timing (VCT) and multi-point electronic fuel injection.
ENGINE RPM SPEED MPH
CRUISING SPEED rpm / mph
3,000 / 24.5
LENGTH: 28' / 8.53 m
BEAM: 9'6" / 2.89 m
WEIGHT Without Engines: 5980 lb / 2713 kg
FUEL CAPACITY: 218 gal / 825 L
PRICE: $166,190 USD
Test boat and performance data provided by and price quoted by: Grady-White Boats, www.gradywhite.com
By Andy Adams
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