True World Marine TE288

Discover why this 28-footer is such a favorite among fishermen

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In the True World Marine lineup that includes boats from 16 to 29 feet, the TE288 is the perennial favorite, which should really come as no surprise. Anglers are quick to pick up on quality and value, and the seaworthiness, comfort and economy of this 28-footer set it apart. Powered by a single Yanmar diesel jackshafted to a MerCruiser Bravo X sterndrive, the TE288 boasts a 400- to 500-mile range on the standard 130-gallon fuel tank. Figure about three miles to each of those gallons, even when cruising at 3000 rpm, and you get the picture. That's plenty of range to make a canyon run and back, with enough fuel left over for a wide safety margin.

Part center console, part express boat, the forward deck boasts broad, 16-inch walkarounds as you step up from the cockpit. Once up front, a one-piece, stainless, welded bow rail provides exceptional security. The cabin roof projects upward just enough to provide a comfortable seating area, especially with the optional cushions.

At the helm, a full wraparound windshield, extended sides and integral hardtop create a pilothouse of sorts, open at the rear. The hardtop is solid enough to hold a radar, and the hollow construction allows for all wires to be concealed in molded-in chases. The integral overhead radio box includes a wired bus for installation of electronics. The wraparound portions of the windshield are Plexiglas, while the front sections are tempered glass. Side windows channel air into the enclosure while underway and open easily with one hand.

The helm sits to starboard, while steps to port lead down to the cabin. The cabin features a large vee-berth/ dinette combination and a galley area to port aft with fridge, sink and room for a microwave. Opposite the galley is a full head with shower.

A clear hatch in the center of the ceiling and six portholes along the sides let in plenty of light and air, accentuating the roomy feel of the cabin. Storage areas along the hullsides above the berth hold a variety of things that need to be kept handy without being knocked around - not that this hull does much bouncing.

¿ SPECIFICATIONS LOA: 29' 6" Beam: 9' 3" Draft: 22" Deadrise: 18 ¿ Fuel: 130 gals. Dry weight w/o power: 5,600 lbs. Base price w/ 315-hp Yanmar 6LPA-STP diesel: $119,600

Our test day found a moderate chop on upper New York Bay, but the steady ferry traffic created enough big, rolling wakes for the TE288 to prove its sea-keeping abilities. The fuel tank sits on the centerline behind the engine, which rests just aft of the leaning post. Fuel and engine are about equal in weight, and this creates a balanced center of gravity that makes for a solid feel. The sharp, 26-degree bow slices through seas, and the combination of broad running strakes and 18-degree transom deadrise make for an exceptionally smooth and solid ride. The hull is completely foam-filled, so it will not sink even if cut in half.

The TE288 comes on plane quickly, with no appreciable bow rise. Cruising at 3000 to 3200 rpm will burn six to eight gph and moves the boat along at 23 mph, according to figures provided by the manufacturer. A top-end 4100 rpm yields a speed of just under 39 mph. The standard 12" by 12" tabs worked positively against the hard-running tide pouring through the Verrazano Narrows. The counter-rotating props on the MerCruiser outdrive provided fast and accurate backing, nimble enough to aid in fighting fish.

In the cockpit, a 17-gallon live well is centered in the transom, fed by a Par-Max 3 pump. Hatches in the port and starboard transom corners feature lift-out bins that provide access to the pumps and batteries. Under-gunwale rod holders keep tackle secure, and between the rocket launcher and flush-mount rod holders on the gunwales there's room for eight additional rods. Twin 35-gallon fishboxes in the cockpit sole drain through macerated pumps. A salt water washdown bibb is located beneath the gunwale in the rod-storage recess to starboard. Tackle storage is available on the port side of the leaning post, which is molded to accept individual trays, and a huge amount of dry-storage space is available inside the post.

With this combination of comfort, security and just plain design-for-fishing, it's easy to understand why the TE288 has been the most popular boat in the True World line for nearly a quarter century. There's a lot of fishing boat packed into these 28 feet. True World Marine, Little Ferry, NJ; (201) 451-0010; www.trueworldmarine.com.