3800 Express — By Richard Thiel — March 2002
|Part 2: Pursuit 3800 continued|
We had the wind and waves on our nose or port bow most of the way over to the Bahamas, but the 3800’s high windshield and optional hardtop and enclosure–and that extra bow flare–did a fine job of keeping us dry, even after the wind backed to our beam. A three-pane affair, the windshield has a composite fiberglass frame, and all three panels have wipers–even the center opening one. The console (which tips out on hinges for easy access) handily accommodated our electronics package–hardly your average arsenal, with three Raymarine displays, two autopilot control heads, two VHFs, and two GPSs.
I knew from the Tiara 3800 that the Pursuit’s entire bridge deck can be raised for the ultimate in accessibility (there’s also a centerline day hatch), but I was too busy fishing to explore the mechanical area until we returned. However, I did spend time checking out the saloon, which is nothing like the Tiara’s and has a configuration ideal for a fishing/sometime-cruising boat. Perfect for a cruising couple, it can also accommodate a sextet of anglers–with privacy. The big V-berth can be closed off with a privacy curtain that retracts into the port head bulkhead, and there’s a port-side settee abaft the head whose back flips up and hangs from the overhead to form bunks. While there’s a retracting privacy curtain and the berths are comfortable, the poor guy in the upper has to contend with an air conditioning outlet blowing on top of him. The lovely inlaid table for the starboard L-shape dinette between the galley and V-berth can be dropped to form another double berth.
Thanks to a smooth ride, our thoughts repeatedly turned to eating during our transits. And while I didn’t prepare anything more complex than a turkey sandwich, I made use of the not-quite-U-shape galley. There’s scads of Corian counterspace when the fillers for the single sink and double cooktop are in place, and an undercounter refrigerator and freezer, microwave, and built-in coffee maker are all standard. Of course, we’d made sure the boat was well stocked, not a problem given the generous galley cabinet stowage. But the best space for food and drink turned out to be the full-height pantry to port of the companionway, which put everything in sight and at our fingertips. You can order this as a rod locker instead (there’s rod stowage under the saloon sole), but it’s such a useful, easy-to-access space, I can’t imagine being without it.
Indeed, there’s stowage everywhere on the 3800, including under the V-berth (it’s hinged for easy access), settees, and even beneath two of the three steps leading to the bridge. Lift the third step and you have automatically lighted access to the electrical panel. It’s a good concept but needs something to hold the step open while you’re working the panel.
If you know anything about either Tiara or Pursuit, you know they’re famous for their finish work, and the 3800 is no exception. The combination of teak bulkheads, teak-and-holly sole, and elegant brass lamps (not just spotlights) makes for an unfishy interior. Everything is perfectly finished, and you can shove your hand up behind any cabinet and not worry about fiberglass splinters. Indeed, the only place I saw anything short of perfection on the 3800 was in, of all places, the engine compartment, where I found some wiring tie-wrapped none too neatly. Nothing unsafe, mind you, but on a boat as well crafted as this, it stood out. Access from the day hatch is good enough for normal maintenance, although the aft-mounted Racors and raw-water strainers were not easily visible.
A day and a half of all-weather running tells you a lot about a boat, in this case that the 3800 is about as flawless a performer as you’ll find. She tends to ride a bit bow high, so you’ll probably run her with a little tab most of the time, unless you’re in a following sea, in which case you’ll want a good deal of tab. Other than that, she’s capable of handling just about anything the sea can throw at you. And after having had everything thrown at me for a day and a half, I know what I’m talking about.
Pursuit Phone: (561) 465-6006. Fax: (561) 465-6177. www.pursuitboats.com.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.