While center consoles may rule among southern offshore anglers, those who live in more northern latitudes appreciate the added weather protection that only a full windshield and a small cabin can provide. Bridging the gap between an open center console and a full live-aboard cabin, walkarounds have proven themselves as perhaps the most versatile offshore fishing boat of all – offering the ability to follow a hooked fish 360 degrees around the boat with far greater protection from foul weather.
For many anglers, the term “walkaround” essentially means “Grady-White Gulfstream 232.” One of the best-known and most celebrated offshore fishing yet, the 232 is the model which effectively built the Grady-White name. For decades this solid, versatile performer has been the yardstick to which all competing designs have been compared. Along the way, Grady-White has continually refined and refreshed the 232 so while it may be a familiar model, it’s by no means an old boat. Indeed, the 2016 model offers a number of fresh features that make it worth a closer look.
To start, the Gulfstream 232 rides on Grady-White’s wide, seaworthy SeaV2 hull, featuring an aggressive 20 degree deadrise to eat waves and tame choppy seas. This innovative hull profile further provides a wide, comfortable interior space with plenty of freeboard for greater safety and comfort. It also lays the foundation for the Gulfstream’s classic lines which so many boaters find immensely appealing.
Step aboard and it’s hard to not notice the roomy cockpit, which far more space than one would expect in a 23-foot boat. In fact, the cockpit is an amazing 56 square feet, which is pretty spectacular for an easily trailerable offshore fishing boat. The wide gunnels with their integral flush-mount rod holders and massive 297-quart insulated fish box with an overboard drain on the transom instantly confirm this boat’s serious fishing intentions, but look around and you’ll see here’s far more to the 232 than initially meets the eye.
For starters, while the fish box may dominate the transom, a closer look reveals that it also conceals a wide and comfortable fold down bench seat. There’s plenty of space here for two adults to ride in comfort. Adjacent beverage holders ensure a cold (or hot) is close at hand. Additional seating can be found along the port side, where a cushioned lid over the 36-gallon live well provides a comfy perch, or to starboard atop the second, 265-quart insulated fish box (also with overboard drain). As befitting an offshore fishing boat, wide coaming pads surround the fully self-bailing cockpit, along with toe holds along each gunnel. Rod storage in the gunnels accommodate spare rods, while the cockpit floor is finished in a secure non-skid finish.
The driver and navigator ride on comfortable pedestal-mount swivelling seats with arm rests, which face a wide console topped by a wrap-around full windshield. Entry to the cuddy cabin is in front of the passenger seat through a bi-fold door. Down below, a small but functional galley features a stove and sink, while opposite, to starboard, is a hideaway head. There are also upper and lower berths and two opening windows with screens, making the Gulfstream 232 suitable for occasional weekend getaways. It’s not exactly the Presidential Suite at the Ritz Carlton, but remember – you’re in a 23-foot boat. Keep that in mind and it’s actually quite impressive.
The helm console is all business, with plenty of space for aftermarket electronics, including large multi-function displays. Convenient beverage holders and adjustable foot rests are a nice touch, as is the 316 steering wheel with hydraulic tilt. It’s not standard equipment, but the vast majority of buyers will order this boat with the available hardtop, which provides further protection from the elements.
With its SeaV2 hull and 4,538 pound dry weight, the Gulfstream 232 is rated to handle up to 400 horsepower of outboard power. With twin Yamaha F200 four-strokes, you’re looking at a top speed of 52 mph and cruising along nicely at about 30 mph, where the twins will burn about 12.7 gallons per hour for excellent . A single Yamaha F350 V8 delivers similar performance while using up a bit less transom space.
Grady-White’s Gulfstream 232 has been an offshore favourite with serious anglers for many years, and it doesn’t take much time aboard to appreciate why. With its performance, creature comforts, innovative design and legendary durability, expect this boat to be around for many more years to come.
Grady-White Gulfstream 232
LOA: 23’ 5”
Beam: 9’ 3”
Dry weight: 4,538 lbs.
Fuel capacity: 141 gal.
Passenger capacity: 10
Maximum horsepower: 400 hp