+SEA PursuitS280 Nov09 9/30/09 12:22 PM Page 34 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. +SEA PursuitS280 Nov09 9/30/09 12:24 PM 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 Page 35 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 WWW.SEAMAGAZINE.COM 35 +SEA PursuitS280 Nov09 9/30/09 12:24 PM 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 36 SEA / NOVEMBER 2009 Page 36 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.