Saltwater Sportsman - - Table Of Contents / Departments - BY ALEX SUESCUN

AAt a time when boat­builders launch in­creas­ingly larger mod­els, Pur­suit re­cently splashed one heck of a mid­dleweight con­tender, the S288, with the aes­thet­ics and all the tools to quickly be­come a fa­vorite of dis­cern­ing an­glers.

A 30-footer, thanks to its twin in­te­grated plat­form ex­ten­sions astern, the new boat is the fourth model in Pur­suit’s pop­u­lar Sport se­ries of lux­ury cen­ter-con­soles, and while it of­fers the ameni­ties, de­sign el­e­ments and ac­cents that appeal to boat own­ers who place a pre­mium on re­fine­ment, it’s also built for the rig­ors of blue wa­ter with the pur­pose­ful fea­tures that an­glers re­quire for se­ri­ous off­shore en­deav­ors.

Con­ve­nience be­gins with the ded­i­cated anchor locker up front, equipped with a raw-wa­ter wash­down and wind­lass to de­ploy and re­trieve the anchor at the press of a but­ton.

A pair of raised com­part­ments with sub­stan­tial dry stor­age in­side and cush­ions on the re­spec­tive hatches pro­vide seat­ing at the bow, with coam­ing bol­sters serv­ing as back­rests. Re­move the cush­ions and the com­part­ments make suit­able cast­ing plat­forms, or flip the fold­away back­rests to port and star­board and turn the seats into twin lounges.

A spa­cious, in-deck com­part­ment ahead of the con­sole stows bumpers or other large gear, and the con­sole’s for­ward seat — with flip-down arm­rests — houses a cooler un­der­neath. Twothirds of the con­sole’s split fa­cade swings open to al­low en­try to a step-down head com­part­ment com­plete with sink and fresh­wa­ter faucet, Co­rian coun­ter­top, van­ity, and vac­uum-flush toi­let with dis­charge pump.

Am­ple space be­tween the con­sole and gun­wales en­ables crew to move about freely or fol­low a hooked fish. The in­te­grated hard­top is a thing of beauty: a molded fiber­glass top and full-height for­ward beams with grab rails, tem­pered glass wind­shield with wiper, pow­der-coated alu­minum aft sup­ports, tri-color LED over­head lighting, fore and aft spreader lights, in­te­grated stereo speak­ers, acrylic hatch for ven­ti­la­tion or ac­cess to an op­tional sec­ond helm sta­tion, and ded­i­cated mount­ing lo­ca­tions for out­rig­gers, radar, ra­dio an­tenna and spot­light.

The busi­ness side of the con­sole boasts an aft-tilt­ing helm with in­stru­men­ta­tion vi­sor, fixed footrest, in­te­grated glove box with 12-volt out­let and dual USB charg­ers, top­side com­pass, and an elec­tron­ics-mount­ing sur­face that ac­com­mo­dates two 12-inch mul­ti­func­tion dis­plays, Yamaha Com­mand Link Plus dis­play, wa­ter­proof stereo, Lenco trim-tab con­trols, 20 il­lu­mi­nated-rock­er­switch panel and more.

Dual ad­justable helm seats with fold-down bol­sters and arm­rests dou­ble as a lean­ing post, with teak ac­cents lend­ing an el­e­gant touch. The helm seat­ing mod­ule in­cor­po­rates draw­ers and ded­i­cated tackle stor­age, 12volt main dis­tri­bu­tion panel, two drink hold­ers, and an aft-fac­ing fold-down bench with the same di­men­sions as the one fac­ing for­ward on the tran­som, next to a 24-gal­lon livewell.

Four flush-mounted rod hold­ers on the gun­wales and four more on the tran­som al­low for a siz­able trolling spread, and racks with reel pads cra­dle three ex­tra rods un­der each cov­er­ing board. Coam­ing pads on both sides of the cock­pit let an­glers shore up to bear down on surg­ing fish, and to ice down the catch, the Pur­suit in­cludes two 45-gal­lon in-deck fish boxes with di­aphragm pumps in the cock­pit, where a port­side door makes board­ing and loading at the dock eas­ier and also helps boat tro­phy fish with­out forc­ing the gaf­fer to clear the gun­wale.

A tran­som door to star­board af­fords ac­cess to the in­te­grated tran­som swim plat­form with re­tractable board­ing lad­der, and to keep the cock­pit clean and the crew cool, the S288 comes with an aft raw-wa­ter wash­down and a pullout fresh­wa­ter shower.

Pow­ered by a pair of Yamaha F300s, the Pur­suit was any­thing but slug­gish dur­ing our test run. It av­er­aged zero to 30 mph in 7.9 sec­onds, with no no­tice­able bow rise, and topped 54.9 mph run­ning wide open at 5,800 rpm.

More ef­fi­ciency-minded an­glers will rel­ish the fact that, at 3,500 rpm, the 30footer cruised at 29.9 mph while burn­ing 17.9 gph, which trans­lates into a range of ap­prox­i­mately 400 miles on a full tank of gas, more than ad­e­quate for both is­land hop­ping and tour­na­ment fish­ing.

As for the ride, the sharp en­try com­bined with the 24 de­grees of dead­rise at the tran­som ne­go­ti­ated the 2- to 3-foot swells out­side of Florida’s Fort Pierce In­let mat­ter-of-factly, cut­ting com­fort­ably through the wakes of large pass­ing ves­sels, even at a fast clip (5,000 rpm), with­out pound­ing or de­mand­ing a death grip on the grab rails. The Pur­suit also gets an A on ma­neu­ver­abil­ity, be­cause it was quick to re­spond to the slight­est turn of the steer­ing wheel and ex­e­cute tight curves, in­still­ing the con­fi­dence at the helm that comes from a safe, re­spon­sive ride.

Any­one in the mar­ket for a plush, mid­size cen­ter-con­sole equally ca­pa­ble of tack­ling big game or week­end re­treats should give the Pur­suit S288 se­ri­ous con­sid­er­a­tion.

BUILT TO FISH: The S288 lacks in noth­ing when it’s time to head off­shore.

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