PUR­SUIT S 328

A Lav­ish Plat­form That Looks Good and Fishes Even Bet­ter

Sport Fishing - - SF BOATS - BY CHRIS WOOD­WARD

When I first heard the 6- to 9-foot-seas fore­cast for our Florida Keys fish trial on April 11, I pic­tured our crew drift­ing over a shal­low pile of rocks in Pur­suit’s new 32-footer, pulling on a few dink grunts as we rode a buck­ing ocean. Not quite the best test for a taste­fully equipped off­shore fish­ing boat.

Thank­fully, those seas mag­i­cally shrank to 4- to 6-foot­ers, and this sleek new cen­ter con­sole gave us a note­wor­thy day on blue wa­ter. Granted, the run from Caribee Boat Sales and Ma­rina on Is­lam­orada to pro­duc­tive grounds is rel­a­tively short. But on a stiff east wind, no piece of wa­ter seems shel­tered.

BEAT­ING THE ODDS

I met our crew — Pur­suit mar­ket­ing direc­tor David Glenn and his wife, Nathalie; videog­ra­pher Nate Har­ring­ton; and Sport Fish­ing group pub­lisher Scott Sa­ly­ers — at Caribee at the rea­son­able hour of 8 a.m. We loaded food, ice, tackle and cam­era gear aboard the S 328,

em­ploy­ing the spa­cious cabin be­low the con­sole and the re­frig­er­a­tor in the helm seat­ing unit.

Capt. Billy Har­baugh, our lo­cal guide, had al­ready sup­plied pilchards and pin­fish for the 24-gal­lon cylin­dri­cal re­cir­cu­lat­ing livewell in the star­board aft cor­ner. We cast off lines and idled out of the ma­rina’s chan­nel.

A fresh breeze met us as we turned south

to­ward the open ocean. Soft rain freck­led the glass wind­shield. Har­baugh flipped on the wiper and be­gan pick­ing his way through a con­fused, choppy sea. The S 328’s mod­er­ate dead­rise and broad beam meant tak­ing a slightly more re­served path at re­duced speed, but the ves­sel per­formed safely and comfortably as the waves grew.

About 15 min­utes later, Har­baugh idled the twin Yamaha F300s in 105 feet of wa­ter and peered at the Garmin sounder, look­ing for a small wreck. The S 328’s con­sole face can be equipped with an op­tional Garmin elec­tron­ics pack­age that in­cludes two 12-inch dis­plays, which leaves plenty of room for ad­di­tional ac­ces­sories.

Sa­ly­ers grabbed a rod rigged for bot­tom­fish­ing, clipped on a weight and pinned a pilchard to the hook. The leader setup in­cluded 40 feet of fluoro­car­bon, so we could de­ploy only one bait at a time. But leader-shy mut­ton snap­per re­quire such stealth.

As we drifted, I stepped away from the over­stuffed bol­ster of the com­pan­ion seat and stood in the cock­pit. The 10-foot-10-inch beam meant the roll mo­ment was long and gen­tle. I had no trou­ble stand­ing without a hand­hold.

MUL­TI­FAC­ETED DE­SIGN

back sev­ered. Some­thing toothy, likely king­fish, Har­baugh said, kept lib­er­at­ing the bait. We con­sid­ered a wire trace but de­cided on plan B: trolling.

As we mo­tored to­ward a weed line, I be­gan in­spect­ing the mul­ti­tude of ameni­ties for fish­ing, wa­ter­sports and cruis­ing that this Pur­suit of­fers. Coam­ing pads en­cir­cle most of the in­te­rior — in­clud­ing the top of the port­side board­ing/dive door — ex­cept where the tuna door notches the tran­som.

The ex­pan­sive stan­dard hard­top fully shades the cen­ter of the ves­sel and in­cludes a large hatch plus front and side wind­shields, with a track for isin­glass to en­close the en­tire helm seat­ing area. An op­tional elec­tri­cally ac­tu­ated sun­shade ex­tends from the aft edge of the top, pro­tect­ing any pas­sen­gers who might perch on the fully backed, foldup tran­som bench seat or a bench that folds out abaft the helm seat­ing unit.

The sun­shade sup­plants the rocket launcher of­ten at­tached to a ves­sel’s hard­top, but an­glers still find plenty of rod stowage — ver­ti­cal and hor­i­zon­tal — along the tran­som bulk­head, in the gun­wales, be­neath the gun­wales to star­board, be­neath the port and star­board hard­top edges, and in­side the con­sole cabin.

At the bow, the S 328 re­ally shines as a com­fort­able liv­ing space for fam­ily and friends. The fore­peak locker fea­tures an in-stem an­chor (with a sel­f­right­ing shackle) and wind­lass for easy de­ploy­ment and re­trieval. The bow is rimmed with cush­ions that ter­mi­nate at elec­tri­cally ac­tu­ated back­rests.

Pur­suit has placed mul­ti­ple cup hold­ers and stereo con­trols in this zone. Be­tween the bow loungers,

two re­mov­able ta­bles com­plete a con­ver­sa­tion-and-din­ing theme.

MAHI MELEE

Sa­ly­ers and Glenn each grabbed a trolling rod and placed them in ver­ti­cal hold­ers on ei­ther side of the cock­pit. Be­fore long, one schoolie dol­phin, and then an­other, hit.

At one point, Nathalie Glenn, Sa­ly­ers and Har­ring­ton all bat­tled schoolies along the tran­som. Though the Yama­has hang on an in­te­grated bracket, they never ob­structed the lines. Had the an­glers needed to, they could have stepped out the tran­som door and onto one of the ex­ten­sions that flank the en­gines.

Sev­eral of the larger mahi came home for din­ner; David Glenn stowed them in the star­board 45-gal­lon in-sole fish box.

As the bite waned, we ti­died up the rods and Har­baugh pointed the bow west. “All right, let’s see what this sucker can do go­ing down-sea,” he an­nounced. Surf­ing the waves, the ride was smooth as but­ter; the ves­sel showed ab­so­lutely no ten­dency to bow steer.

We set up to troll again, and picked

up a few more schoolies — to about 10 pounds. I felt a lit­tle guilty that we’d blood­ied the decks of this lux­ury ves­sel, but I shouldn’t have. This S 328 is as fishy a boat as it is in­dul­gent.

On the ride back in, I checked out the cabin, which is ac­cessed through a slid­ing door star­board of the con­sole. Step­ping down to the hard­wood sole means most an­glers will find am­ple head­room. The cabin fea­tures an aft­fac­ing set­tee that ex­tends to a full berth, a sink and a head. With the berth folded to a bench, you’ll find tons of stor­age for gear and rods.

My test boat also came with an op­tional gen­er­a­tor to power the on­board air con­di­tion­ing in the cabin and at the helm.

FIN­ISH­ING TOUCH

Once we en­tered calmer wa­ters north of the Teat­able Key Chan­nel, we tested the boat’s speed and fuel-con­sump­tion char­ac­ter­is­tics. Har­baugh tucked in the twin F300s, fit­ted with 15¼-by-18 Salt­wa­ter Se­ries II-SDS props, and punched the throt­tles.

The boat — loaded to the gills — planed in 10.7 sec­onds. It reached the 30 mph mark in 12.2 sec­onds. (Yamaha, test­ing with a lighter load, timed the zero-to-30 speed at 11.3 sec­onds.)

Turn­ing 5,700 rpm, the out­boards gen­er­ated 49.7 mph, achiev­ing 0.9 mpg. Op­ti­mal cruise came in at 30.2 mph and 3,900 rpm, for 1.4 mpg and a range of 420 miles.

I took the helm for a pi­lot­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and found a per­fect con­ve­nience: The shelves tiered into the bot­tom of the con­sole be­low the wheel not only serve as footrests when the helms­man is seated but also fold down to cre­ate an el­e­vated plat­form for stand­ing.

The S 328 leans into ef­fort­less turns and runs at a proper at­ti­tude without trim tabs, mak­ing it not only a se­ri­ously good-looker, but also a grace­ful per­former and a stout off­shore-fish­ing plat­form — well worth adding to a short­list of prospects.

The S 328 — part of Pur­suit’s Sport line — of­fers all the com­forts of a cruiser with all the fisha­bil­ity of a se­ri­ous off­shore troller.

Top right: A cylin­dri­cal 24-gal­lon livewell re­sides in the port aft cor­ner. Above right: The elec­tri­cally ac­tu­ated sun­shade pro­tects the cock­pit-area benches when it’s time for so­cial­iz­ing. Be­low: Three an­glers can eas­ily fight fish in the ex­pan­sive cock­pit.

Pur­suit’s David Glenn and one of the many schoolie dol­phin trolled up be­hind the S 328 in the Florida Keys.

The cabin be­neath this cen­ter con­sole opens us­ing a slid­ing door at the star­board side of the helm. The helm face hinges for­ward for easy ac­cess to wiring and elec­tron­ics.

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