At the bow, an integral anchor locker with windlass makes it a cinch to store and deploy the through-stem anchor. Adding to the large, in-floor chamber between them, twin raised compartments provide insulated storage at the bow, as well as cushioned seating enhanced by powered backrests that fold out for reclining, complemented by dual stowable tables.
The cleverly designed forward-console seat hides a cooler underneath and turns into a double lounge with adjustable backrests. A trio of captain’s chairs with folding armrests, flip-up bolsters and lumbar support serve as helm seats. Behind them, an entertainment center with storage drawers, sink with hot and cold water, electric grill, fridge/freezer and cutting board comes in handy for fixing lunch.
The fiberglass, aft-tilting helm incorporates a foldout footrest and an instrument visor to minimize glare on the dash, which affords enough real estate to house a pair of 22-inch MFDs, panel of illuminated switches, and more. A supporting cast, consisting of a Ritchie compass, bow-thruster joystick control, Zipwake trim-system control panel, JL Audio system, USB ports and cellphone charger, are all visible at a glance and within easy reach.
A powered, second-row seating module slides rearward into the cockpit, offering two foldaway, forward-facing seats, and mezzanine seating in back has room for two more, while a removable table turns the entire cockpit into a spacious and inviting social and dining area.
Ladders on both sides of the cockpit provide access to an optional second station. A portside door opens inward for boarding, loading or pulling big fish on board, while an electrically actuated gate on the opposite gunwale drops outward, providing direct water access for divers and swimmers.
All-around coaming bolsters offer padding when fighting fish, and raw- and freshwater washdowns, and a hot-and-cold shower with pull-out sprayer, help rinse off decks, tackle and crew.
Fishing features include lighted transom livewells (36 gallons each) with clear lids to port and starboard, a pair of in-floor fish boxes—with a combined capacity of 66 gallons—augmented by a 68-gallon refrigerator/freezer box in the transom. There’s a tackle center with a storage drawer and four Plano tackle trays on each side, and backing plates and wiring on both gunwales facilitate downrigger installation.
Twelve flush-mount rod holders—eight on the gunwales and four on the transom—come standard. Horizontal racks cradle seven rods on the gunwales and six on the hardtop’s aft end. A stand-up rack holds two in the cabin.
Innovative windows let plenty of light into the handsomely appointed cabin below, which incorporates luxurious features, like an 8,000 Btu air conditioner, 32-inch TV, forward berth, settee with storage, food-prep surface, microwave oven and more. There’s also a private head with shower, vanity and mirror, countertop with sink and faucet, and marine toilet.
Other features include a 5.4 hp bow thruster for maneuvering in tight quarters, an integrated transom platform with a flat motor well for added walking space, and a diesel generator with 24-gallon tank that, with the 70 gallons of freshwater capacity and 22-gallon holding tank, makes the S 428 great for prolonged outings.
Powered by quad Yamaha 425 XTOs, Pursuit’s new flagship displayed plenty of pep. It jumped on plane, sprinting from zero to 30 mph in 8.3 seconds. At wide-open throttle, the S 428 accelerated promptly to a top speed of 59 mph while turning 5,950 rpm. Best efficiency is achieved at 3,500 rpm, where the 43-footer cruises at 31 mph, burning 43.4 gph. Negligible bow rise ensured unhindered visibility from the helm.
The S 428 also gets high marks on maneuverability. It responded instantly to steering adjustments, and tracked well in tight turns.
As for the ride, the Pursuit gets a definite thumbs-up. The sharp entry and 22 degrees of deadrise at the transom comfortably conquered the 2- to 3-foot swells we encountered outside Fort Pierce Inlet, never producing any unsettling thuds or rattling, or forcing us to brace while taking on the occasional larger wave. The reverse chine design deserves credit for knocking down splash, curtailing spray.
All said and done, the latest Pursuit passed our open-water test with flying colors. Anyone looking for an offshore fishing boat with all the comforts and conveniences for overnighting and entertaining, with solid performance and fishability, should consider the S 428.
Length: 43′9″ | Beam: 13′ | Draft: 34″ | Deadrise: 22 degrees | Fuel: 547 gal. | Water: 70 gal. | Weight: 23,600 lb. | Max HP: 1,700 | Price: $990,835 w/ quad Yamaha 425 XTOs | Pursuit Boats: pursuitboats.com
Weather: Partly sunny, 66 degrees | Location: Fort Pierce, Florida | Wind: South West 9 knots | Sea State: 2- to 3-foot chop | Test Load: Four adults, 330 gallons of fuel, 70 gallons of water