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SeaTrial
Pursuit S 280 Sport
GUARANTEED TO GET THE VOICES IN YOUR HEAD TALKING
BY CAPT. TOM SERIO
AS I WALKED DOWN THE DOCK and got my first glimpse of the new
Pursuit S 280 Sport, I heard a voice: “Fish me, fish me” resonated
in my head. Stepping aboard, the voice bellowed, “Fish Me!” Taking
a glimpse around, now I understood. The Pursuit S 280 is a boat
designed and built to fish, and that’s what it wants to do. Cruising
is its other forte, as you will discover.
The latest edition to Pursuit’s
Sport Series and the little sister to
Pursuit’s S 310 may start a case of
sibling rivalry, as the S 280 can mix
it up on the fishing grounds with larger
boats.
If you want a big livewell, it’s here
and if you dream about a forward
casting area, no problem. It also has
dual in-deck fishboxes, included. If you
want to get to the fish fast and have
a stable platform underfoot, then you
need to pay attention. But don’t let
the size fool you. Pursuit packs more
features in this 28-foot center console34 SEA / NOVEMBER 2009
styled fishing machine than you
would think possible.
Along with standard features such
as a command console with an
integral teak-lined footrest, a custom
extended fiberglass hardtop supported
by a structurally sound powdercoated aluminum frame and an
enclosed compartment with freshwater sink, a manual head and 20gallon holding tank, the fishing
features will have you doing a doubletake.
Under the gunwale and forward
you’ll find locker rod storage with
padded reel protectors (a nice little
feature), a tackle center with three
slide-out removable trays, a bait prep
station complete with molded rigging
cutouts and a sink with a freshwater
sprayer hose. Twin in-deck, insulated
fishboxes (29 gallons each) with
pumpout macerators will keep your
catch, and the four stainless steel
gunwale holders will keep your fishing
rods. A locker under the helm seat is
large enough for several stacked 5gallon buckets, and five lure tubes are
mounted in a plastic holder on
another locker door. Opt for the 45gallon insulated, recirculating Oceana
Blue livewell with a hinged and
piston-assisted clear cover (the cover
stays open, freeing your hands to
reach for bait), and you have
everything you need for fishing,
except the fish.
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Outriggers can easily be added
thanks to the beefy aluminum
mounting plates built into the
underside of the gunwale structure.
You can fish from just about
anywhere on the S 280. The cockpit
has ample padded coaming bolsters
around the gunwales and also a
leaning post on the aft of the helm
seat.
A fish can be worked around the
boat, but may be a little tricky around
the aforementioned hardtop frame as
it mounts to the gunwale and not the
console. This configuration does offer
more shade and sun protection, so
the trade-off may be worth it.
Just forward is the optional bow
casting platform, which is a one-piece
molded fiberglass deck that sits flush
between the forward seats. It converts
the forward seating area to a clean
casting/baiting/fish-fighting deck. Cool
idea for the serious fisherman. It’s
hinged to allow access to the deck
storage. When out for a cruise, toss
on the fitted sunpad for room to relax
and soak up the rays or remove the
deck entirely to allow for forward
seating.
Speaking of cruising, the S 280
packs in a few surprises here, also.
Foldout padded bench seats in the
cockpit are cleverly hidden out of the
way when closed. Pop them open and
they offer generous seating areas.
The helm accommodates two,
either standup against large bolsters
or on padded seats with backs and
armrests when the bolsters are folded
down. Seating is adjustable fore and
aft for optimum comfort.
The Command Console has
everything at your fingertips in a clean
setup. Our test boat has a Raymarine
E120 electronics package with one
display, but the dash can easily house
a second E120 display. Digital engine
tach, speed and fuel displays fit in the
dash also, all just above a row of rocker
switches for lights, horn, bilge pumps,
wipers and such.
In the overhead console there’s a
lockable compartment that takes up
about two-thirds of the space, with
the other side space usable for
electronics, perhaps a VHF radio. The
hardtop includes a canvas storage
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An Inside Look
TESTER'S OPINION
“You'll be hooked
on the new Pursuit
S 280 Sport before
you even set the
hook on a fish”
The Pursuit S 280 Sport is packed with standard
features including an Isotherm stainless steel
refrigerator, a 140-quart cooler under the forward
seat and more. The command console has
everything at your fingertips in a clean setup.
pouch, six LED tricolor lights, four
molded speaker mounts (with Clarion
stereo and CD player) and spreader
lights fore and aft.
Thankfully, there’s a tempered glass
windshield that curves around the
dash as it gives you a spot to duck
behind once you get the S 280
screaming across the water.
Firing up the twin Yamaha 250
electronic outboards and motoring out
of the marina, my test captain, Eric
Hess of Pursuit Boats, opened it up.
Let me tell you, using a word like
“exhilarating” would be an understatement. A check of the speed log
had us cooking along at 52 mph, at
around 5600 rpm, burning 45 gallons
per hour.
I had a turn at the wheel, running
over the 2-foot chop at breakneck
speed. Whitecaps streaked by in a blur,
but I felt in command the entire time,
thanks to the Teleflex hydraulic
steering, with an adjustable 14.5-inch
comfort-grip stainless wheel and
speed knob. In part, that commanding
feeling is because it takes almost eight
revolutions of the wheel to go from
click-to-click. This way, at high
speeds, a sudden jerk of the wheel
doesn’t send the boat careening off
course. It’s good to know the S 280
has the speed to run for cover and
the ability to do it in adverse offshore
conditions, if necessary.
There are grabrails in all the right
places and diamond-pattern nonskid
decking will help keep passengers in
a vertical posture, not flopping all over.
The generous bow flare keeps the sea
outside the boat by pushing it away
from the hull, resulting in a dry ride
at most any speed. Backing was true
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Pursuit
S 280 Sport
SPECIFICATIONS
LOA
28 ft.
Beam (max)
9 ft., 6 in.
Draft
34 in. (motors down) 19 in. (motors up)
Fuel
220 gals.
Water
20 gals.
Engines Twin F250 hp V-6 gasoline Yamaha
outboards (500 hp total)
PERFORMANCE SPECS
(from sea trial) – Hazy, 73 degrees, wind north
at 20 knots, 2-foot chop in bay, 1/2 fuel and
water, 2 persons.
6.6 mph @ 1450 rpm
10.9 mph @ 2500 rpm
28.3 mph @ 3500 rpm
39.1 mph @ 4500 rpm
52.3 mph @ 5600 rpm
STANDARD EQUIPMENT
5-year hull/deck structural and blister-free
warranty, 2-year limited warranty, six 8-inch
flush cleats, through-hull bow roller for anchor,
cockpit coaming bolsters, saltwater washdown,
telescoping boarding ladder, drawer
refrigerator, 140-quart cooler, fiberglass
hardtop and liner, storage pouch, compartment
with manual head & holding tank, rod storage
racks, two in-deck storage boxes, tackle center,
prep station, hydraulic steering, three batteries
with switches, 110v dockside power
connection, Lenco trim tabs with indicators,
two bilge pumps and much more.
OPTIONAL EQUIPMENT
Windlass, Delta anchor, 45-gallon baitwell,
Raymarine E120 electronics package, hull color
selection, electric head, Sirius satellite radio,
bow casting platform, outriggers,
console/engine covers.
CONSTRUCTION
Pursuit S 280s are built with standard or
colored gelcoat, hand-laid fiberglass with
vinylester resin. Resin-infused one-piece
fiberglass stringer system is bonded into the
hull with methacrylate adhesive for strength
and rigidity. Methacrylates offer excellent
impact resistance, flexibility, peel and sheer
strength compared to epoxies and urethanes.
BUILDER
PURSUIT BOATS, Ft. Pierce, FL
(800) 947-8778; www.pursuitboats.com
WEST COAST DEALERS
Island Marine Center, Lopez Island, WA
(360) 468-3377; www.islandmarinecenter.com
West Coast Marine, Newport Beach, CA
(949) 673-2060; www.westcoastmarine.com
Parker Marine, B.C. Canada
(250) 334-4808; www.parkermarine.ca
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BEHIND THE SCENES
Pursuit Boats are built on the east coast of
Florida in Ft. Pierce. A sprawling facility houses
the company’s assembly line-style production
process. Hulls and deck sections are built on
custom cradles that can be rolled between work
stations and locked in place for fitting out.Pursuit
builds each model with premeasured cable and
piping runs to eliminate waste.Chase tubes and
anti-chafing padding on a bulkhead passthrough protect wires and hoses.
An overhead gantry lifts the deck components
and places them in the completed hulls.Bonding
agents as well as stainless steel screws placed
about 6 inches apart all around the seam
produce a strong and firm joint, adding rigidity
to the entire structure. Rubrails are mounted over
the seam for protection and aesthetics.
With final commissioning completed,hulls are
rolled into the hanger where each and every
Pursuit boat goes into the“pool.”Below waterline
components are examined and checked for leaks
as well as ensuring all water-related items (i.e.,
pumps,engines,discharges) are in proper working
order.
Ready for delivery,the Pursuit S 280s are shrinkwrapped and trucked to dealers across the
country.
to the direction the outboards were
turned, with the bow following very
close to the track and virtually no
backwash over the transom into the
cockpit.
The hull shape offers a fast but
stable platform. Hess took me back
to the factory after our sea trial for
an underside look (see sidebar for the
Pursuit building process). This deepV with a 24-degree deadrise and
reverse chines has the right stuff for
biting into the water while staying on
track and not skipping. Recessed trim
tabs help to keep the running surface
clean. Two lifting strakes that run from
the bow to about halfway back help
to get this speed demon up and out
of the water.
Adding to its slightly raised
sheerline and low-profile bowrail that
produces a fast-looking style is a
through-hull bow roller with an antichafing chute that keeps the anchor
just below the sheer and not dangling
off the end of a davit from the bow.
It’s also one less thing to snag a fishing
line or cast net.
Electrically speaking, the S 280
takes 110v/60 cycle shore power
mainly for the 20 amp battery charger.
Most everything runs off 12 volts,
supplied from three batteries. Below
the nonskid deck in the aft section is
a mechanical area that contains the
batteries and bilge pumps, water
pumps, fuel filters, baitwell strainer
and through-hull connection.
Convenient that it’s all together in one
area.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention
the niceties, such as the molded 140quart cooler under the forward seat
complete with cushion and backrest,
an Isotherm stainless steel drawer
refrigerator, two 12v receptacles at the
helm with an MP3/iPod jack, six 8inch flush pull-up cleats, saltwater
washdown, 20-gallon freshwater
system, front and side helm curtains,
split bow seating and a boarding ladder.
You’ll be hooked on the new
Pursuit S 280 Sport before you even
set the hook on a fish. And listen to
those voices: Sometimes they know
what’s best.