As first impressions go, were it not for the row of vertical rod holders on the transom and the livewell (open and with bait in it), I could have sworn I was boarding a luxury yacht when I first stepped onto Pursuit’s new S 408.
It took me a moment to realize this model is sort of a hybrid. The builder smartly incorporated a lounging area forward of the sizable center console with a step-down cabin below, giving the boat the feel of a walkaround, further enhanced by the hardtop, which brings the seating module into the mix and turns the helm area into more of a salon.
At the bow, an anchor locker with a through-stem anchor roller and overboard drain hides a windlass with a remote switch, and raw- and freshwater washdowns. A pair of symmetrical compartments stow safety gear or tackle up front, and cradle three rods in removable racks on each side. The tops of the compartments are cushioned and combine with a removable jump seat to form a U-shaped seating area that, with the removable teak table, becomes the ideal spot for drinks or lunch alfresco.
Slightly to starboard, the center console allows portside entry to the air-conditioned cabin where all-around seating with storage beneath converts into a comfortable V-berth. A 28-inch TV and Fusion DVD and stereo provide entertainment, and a side galley, the convenience of a microwave and fridge. Mood lighting adds to the appointments, and skylights let ample daylight in both the cabin and the head, which has a porcelain toilet, vanity, and hot and cold water faucet and shower.
The dash accepts a pair of 16-inch displays along with Command Link gauges, stereo controls and lighted switches. Tilt steering is to port toward the centerline. The trim-tab switches, throttle and optional Helm Master joystick are next to it.
Bolster seats with armrests accommodate the skipper and two companions at the helm. A/C vents on the console and the helm seating module keep them and any crew members sitting behind them cool or warm as needed. The module also has a fridge for snacks and beverages on one side and storage drawers on the other.
A mezzanine seat on the aft side of the seating module lets three crew members take a load off and offers a great vantage point to keep tabs on the trolling spread. Horizontal racks under the port gunwale accommodate three rods while a door on the opposite side simplifies boarding and pulling in big fish. A centerline hatch enables entry to a spacious lazarette with access to the systems and the bilge, and two insulated in-deck fish boxes with diaphragm pumps and a 122-gallon total capacity stretch to port and starboard. As an option, both can be refrigerated.
On the transom, a lighted and insulated 44-gallon livewell with a viewing window in the lid rests to starboard. On the port corner, a transom door makes it easy to step to and from the swim platform. A rigging station with tackle storage takes up the rest of the transom and doubles as an outdoor kitchen complete with a Corian cutting board, electric grill, sink with hot and cold water faucet, and 47-gallon refrigerator/freezer with digital thermostat controlled from the cabin.
Clearly, a lot of thought went into the 408 design, and to say the list of standard features is long would be an understatement. Aside from all the aforementioned, the boat also comes with a bow thruster, eight flush-mounted rod holders, trim tabs, cockpit raw-water washdown, hot and cold water cockpit shower, boarding ladder and much more.
On the structural side, the vacuum infused fiberglass one-piece stringer grid is reinforced and, along with Pursuit’s proprietary transom reinforcement grid, provides extraordinary integrity. The hull and deck are joined with a strong adhesive and mechanically fastened with aluminum backing plates and through bolts at all cleat locations, so the boat felt solid, even when taking on 3- to 4-footers at high speed during the test ride.
It took the 408 nine seconds to reach 30 mph from a dead stop, not bad for a boat of its size and weight. The vertically challenged may find the slight bow lift briefly limits the view from the helm during takeoff, but the console’s integrated footrest pulls down, becoming a booster step that solves the issue and makes a case for Pursuit’s attention to detail.
The wind blowing against the tide kicked up a chop the Pursuit diligently carved without any hard pounding. Despite its massive footprint, the boat felt limber and quite maneuverable. It performed tight turns easily and was quick to accelerate, maxing out at 51.3 mph. Spray was minimal. Only with a beam sea, which coincided with the wind direction, did the breeze blow some spray over the gunwale at cruising speed — a pace of 32 mph with the trio of F350s revved to 4,000 rpm and burning 39 gph — which yields a splendid range for island hopping or chasing the billfish or tuna bite up and down the coast.
Blending comfort and purpose is a tricky proposition, but Pursuit sure figured out the right mix. The S 408 is spacious, plush and sporty, plus it incorporates a wide spectrum of features that make it as viable an option for serious anglers as for those more concerned with spending quality time on the water with the family.