There was no mistaking the two siren bursts from the USCG vessel that had just turned around and was headed back toward our stern. The crew of Coasties tied up to our port side for a routine safety check. I meandered to the bow area to stay out of the way, and the serviceman standing on the forward deck of the rigid-hull inflatable asked, “Hey, what kind of boat is that?”
“It’s the new Pursuit 26-footer,” I said. “We’re actually out here on a boat test.”
“A Pursuit?” he said with a bit of surprise in his voice. “Man, they’re building some really nice boats these days.”
Coming from a person who spends every day on the water looking at nothing but boats, I’d say that’s about the best endorsement you could ask for.
Gallery: Pursuit S268
After looking at the expiration date on the flares in the ditch bag, checking for PFDs and noting registration and hull ID number, we were free to go. We thanked the crew for all that they do and were happy to run out the mouth of Ft. Pierce Inlet into calm Atlantic waters. With twin 200-hp Yamahas, the boat powered onto plane and found a comfortable 28-knot cruising speed at 3,800 rpm. The running angle of the hull did not require the use of trim tabs whatsoever. This is an easy-driving hull. I turned to Mark Taiclet, Pursuit’s director of brand management, and said, “I could run like this all day.” But this was a boat test, and I wanted to know how fast we could push the S268. I slid the throttles down, trimmed the motors up a bit and registered a top end of 44 knots with a full load of fuel and four people on board. Pursuit has long had a 26-foot center console in its lineup, but with the popularity of the company’s sport series, they decided it was time to make some notable changes to the layout and add even more functionality. The first thing I noticed when walking up to the boat at Safe Harbor’s Habortown Marina was the oversized T-top with powder-coated pipes and lots of hand holds. The top not only throws an abundance of shade, it also houses four speakers—two aft facing and two forward facing. There’s a large storage box above the helm and a VHF speaker. Our test boat had swing-out outriggers mounted to the top, just one of many fishing features on the S268.
Another stand out feature is the extended aft steps on each side of the twin outboards, stretching the LOA to 27 feet, 4 inches. The steps make it easy to board the boat from the dock or the water thanks to a pull-out ladder on the starboard side. The extended steps also make it easier to pop the engine covers off, and Taiclet said you can even swap out a prop right from the step. There’s a transom gate to keep everyone safely in the boat while underway.
Pursuit reconfigured the cockpit to create more space for fighting fish or entertaining. A transom mounted fold-down bench tucks away quickly, and a removable table can be mounted to the deck. (The same table can be used in the bow.) The cockpit is a versatile, workable layout, more evidence that Pursuit excels at offering a bit of everything for its owners.
There’s plenty of room to bring a wide range of fishing rods, thanks to a five-rod transom rocket launcher, gunwale rod holders, four-rod rocket launcher on the T-top and under-gunwale rod storage. The leaning post offers a cabinet with room for a small cooler and a drawer facing aft. A cabinet to port houses several tackle trays while the 12-volt switch panel is found in the cabinet on the starboard side. There are two fish boxes in the deck and a very functional mechanical space with easy access to pumps, fuel filters and batteries. The amount of deck space is roomy for a boat of this size, but if you plan to troll with rigged baits, you’ll likely need a cooler on deck somewhere, and that could cause a bit of a traffic jam. A 28-gallon lighted livewell is built into the transom.
I enjoyed the amount of space between the two-person helm and the steering wheel. You could actually stand and drive with the bolsters down, something you can’t do comfortably on a lot of center consoles in this size range. The helm had a 12-inch Garmin 8612 display mounted on one side with room to mount another if you so choose. The boat also sported a JL Audio System with four speakers and an 8-inch subwoofer, more than enough to rock the boat. The tempered-glass windshield with wiper gives the console a clean look and makes it easy to have a conversation while running. The windshield is an option that I’d say is worth opting for.
The console houses a head with a respectable amount of room as well as space for the optional table and bow sunpad. A small window lets in some light. The bow area of the S268 is all about enjoying the open space. There’s easily room for six adults in the bow with a double bench on the front of the console and seating on either side of the bow with backrests that swing out of the way when fighting a fish up on the bow. An optional sunpad transforms the forward area into a V-berth, and Pursuit offers a Mediterranean-style shade to keep the sun at bay.
Like the other boats in the Pursuit sport series, the S268 does a lot of things very well. This boat is more than happy to troll the deep, enjoy a picnic with the family, pull a skier or spend a day at the sandbar. Whatever is on the boating agenda, this boat can make it happen.
Pursuit S268 Test Report
Pursuit S268 Specifications:
Displ.: 6,770 lbs.
Fuel: 139 gal.
Water: 20 gal.
Power: 2/200-hp Yamahas
Base Price: $163,665