Whether you outfit her for cruising or fishing—or a little bit of both—this new offering from Pursuit should be one goin’ machine.
Once I’d finished touring Pursuit’s Sport 378 at the Miami Boat Show earlier this year, it seemed pretty clear to me—Chris Gratz and company had a hand (and most likely a wholly dominant one) in the creation of this sleek new cruise-worthy fishboat. Gratz has been the vice president of product development and engineering at Pursuit Boats for several years now. A young naval architect with parents who are long-time Pursuit owners, Gratz’s steady climb from one leadership role to the next at Pursuit has been highlighted by a succession of forward-leaning, albeit practical, ideas. Today, his boss, Pursuit President Bruce Thompson, calls him “one of the smartest guys” on the marine scene.
I spent a half hour or so talking with Gratz after stepping ashore via the 378’s ample swim platform. He’s a real boat guy, I’d say, and (by his own rather proud admission) drove his first Pursuit when he was 10 years old, with a mahogany box under his feet so he could see where he was going. A seriously educated naval architect? Yeah for sure, but the guy’s also a seriously practical engineer.
What impressed me most during my time aboard the 378 was the incorporation of something totally new—a pair of what Pursuit is calling “Vista View” windows. They’re located on either side of the in-console cabin and, because they line up perfectly in terms of width, height and positioning with two opposed hullside windows, they admit an unusual (especially for a center console in this size range) amount of natural light. The upshot of all this, I discovered, while checking out the cabin’s V-berth area in air-conditioned comfort, is that you can cool your heels inside the 378 but still keep tabs on what’s going on outside. You know, sunsets, sunrises, waves washing (or blasting) past. That sort of thing.
“We always do cardboard mockups before we actually build anything,” Gratz explained, “and a few of us were standing in the mockup of the 378’s cabin one day when we had this idea. Pursuit’s been doing hullside windows on the offshore boats for quite a while—why not put hullside windows into the 378 so you could actually see something through the cabin windows? A lot more interesting than looking at a fiberglass bulwark or coaming.”
The next thing I wanted to talk about with Gratz was the molded-fiberglass entertainment center located directly abaft the 378’s helm seat console. Outfitted with a sink (with hot and cold mixing faucet), electric grill, top-loading refrigerator/freezer, cutting board and GFI-protected outlet, all hidden under a fold-down fiberglass lid, it slides aft electrically to provide access abaft the console for a chef or bartender. Certainly, sliding this nifty piece of work toward the transom reduces the square footage of the cockpit somewhat. But not by much. And hey, the fishboxes in the cockpit sole are not thereby obfuscated, and the center’s aft-facing benchseat (with backrest, armrests and stowage below) easily retains its stretch-out comfortability.
“Our mockup played a part with the entertainment center, too,” said Gratz. “We wanted to optimize square footage for both fishing and socializing. And I think we’ve done that. Retract the entertainment center and you’ve got a really large cockpit with all the fishing essentials. Move it astern and you’ve got lots of room for gather-round entertaining.”
“And,” I added, “there’s nothing wrong, I suppose, with a couple of friends being able to kick back on an aft-facing bench so they can watch the wake stretch off toward the wild blue horizon.”
“Yup, that’s right,” said Gratz with a grin.
The final bit of engineering that had piqued my interest was the 378’s Yamaha powerplant. For starters, it’s a triple application which, to my mind, makes the most sense where Yamaha’s Helm Master joystick system is offered as an option. After all, to accomplish close-quarters joystick maneuvering, both thrust forward and thrust astern are necessary. Thrust going astern, however, is typically much weaker than thrust going forward. So, two engines operating in reverse with the other going ahead really helps to maximize the leverage necessary to walk a boat sideways or diagonally as the case may be.
Additionally, the Yamaha Digital XF425s (the one and only engine option on the 378) have exhaust cutouts so engine-related gases vent to the side, not through the hubs. Through-hub exhaust, of course, typically produces unwanted forward thrust when an engine is in backdown mode. And what’s more, Pursuit puts a bow thruster on the 378, even for an owner who opts for the Helm Master system. The reasoning behind this is sound, in my opinion. The boat’s transom deadrise of 22 degrees coupled with a total of 1,275 horses in the barn undoubtedly makes for a rousing offshore performance. But efficiently walking such a sharp-bottomed vessel sideways with a joystick in significant wind or current will most likely require a thruster.
“There’s one other powerplant thing I’d like to mention,” said Gratz as our confab drew to a close. “You may not have noticed this, but we’ve extended the sides of the swim platform, made them about 6 inches longer than we normally do. And this allows an owner to tip the motors up, and remove a cowl quite easily if he wants to or even change one or all of the propellers right from the platform.”
“Very practical,” I said while turning to check out the platform extensions Gratz had just mentioned. But then, what else would you expect from a guy who started boating with a box under his feet so he could see?
Pursuit Sport 378 Specifications:
Draft (motor down): 3’2”
Displ.: 18,000 lbs.
Fuel (gasoline): 427 gal.
Fuel (diesel): 24 gal.
Water: 45 gal.
Power: 3/425-hp Yamaha outboards
Generator: 8-kW Fisher Panda diesel
Cruise speed: 28 knots
Top speed: 52.3 knots
Base price: $690,735