Pursuit 3800 Express: Sea Trial
Pursuit 3800 Express: 'Gentleman Jim's sportfisher' is ready to take you offshore.
What do you call a serious sportfishing boat that’s built with all the sporty styling and interior niceties of an express cruiser?
“We call it ‘Gentleman Jim’s sportfisher,’” explained Jeff Helsing of The Crow’s Nest, the Pursuit dealer in Newport Beach, California. The boat he’s referring to is the new Pursuit 3800 Express, the first Pursuit sportfisher ever to be built at parent company S2 Yachts’ Tiara manufacturing facility.
Tiara yachts, of course, have a reputation for being the seagoing equivalent of personal luxury sports cars. With head-turning styling, peppy performance and interiors that are comfortable enough for overnight or weekend adventures along the coast, Tiaras have long been West Coast favorites.
Helsing has a lot of experience with Tiaras, since he is the company’s top-selling Tiara sales representative worldwide — and he has held that honor for six years. There’s a lot of Tiara in the Pursuit 3800 Express, Helsing explained — but you won’t mistake it for a Tiara express cruiser. This bad boy is born to fish.
First in the West
We tested the Pursuit 3800 Express on a sunny winter day, with Helsing and three other representatives from The Crow’s Nest. This was the first 3800 Express to arrive on the West Coast, and our sea trial cruise was the first time this brand-spanking-new boat had ever left Newport Harbor — so, understandably, everyone was eager to see how this eye-catching machine would actually handle in open water.
Our test boat carried a full load of fuel, although the water tanks were empty. Our passenger load probably more than compensated for the weight of a full tank.
We cruised through Newport Harbor at no-wake speed, using just one of the boat’s twin 450 hp Cummins diesels. Maneuverability was excellent with only one engine — and the boat held a straight course, with total steering control.
Since it takes about 45 minutes to get out of the harbor, we had plenty of time to talk about what’s new aboard this all-new sportfisher.
The 3800 Express hull is built with prop pockets and centerline keels. Few boats of this size are built this way, Helsing explained. The hull also offers a “Carolina flare,” to give it a dry ride and better handling in rough water.
Designed for the serious sport angler with a family, the Pursuit 3800 Express has all the weekend cruising amenities families demand, with all the hardcore fishing features a real offshore angler needs. “Our competition forgets the hardcore fisherman,” Helsing explained.
“This boat has everything Pursuit is famous for — Pursuit design, and true offshore fishing capability.” The construction quality, the fit and finish, and the interior design of the 3800 will stand up admirably against any other boat of this size — of any configuration, he added.
While the boat is stylish and comfortable enough for day cruising, most buyers will be taking the 3800 fishing — and more than half of all buyers will want the optional sportfishing tower, with a compact upper bridge that has room for two.
“The Pursuit 3800 Express is not only well suited for an optional sportfishing tower, it’s designed to be a tower boat,” Helsing said. In fact, around half of all Pursuits sold — and those in the process of being constructed — are built with towers.
Sea for Ourselves
Once we left Newport Harbor, it was time to hit the throttle and see what this fast-looking boat was made of. Our test boat cruised at 24.6 knots at 2,300 rpm, and we quickly reached a top speed of 32.2 knots at 2,600 rpm.
The 3800 tracked solidly and gave us a solid, stable ride — even as we ran through boat wakes and choppy water. We loved the sports car-style handling. This midsize boat was extremely responsive to the wheel and turned on a dime, banking self-assuredly into turns — even at 29 knots.
We ran the boat from the cockpit helm station, situated right over the engine room. Access to the engines is simple — but not while you’re standing in the cockpit, because the entire cockpit deck lifts at the push of a button to provide complete all-around access for anything from an oil change to major maintenance.
Even at high speeds, the boat remained quiet enough for easy conversation at the helm.
The one-piece helm console was nicely arranged, with full instrumentation by VDO, a handy beverage holder, easily accessible and well-labeled rocker switches, an electrical control panel, and plenty of additional space to add electronics. We also had optional heating/air-conditioning outlets at the helm, for all-weather comfort.
The Crow’s Nest offers an exclusive black helm console — which not only looks cool, but also eliminates glare on sunny days under way. Our test boat also had Teleflex CH5600 chrome-plated zinc-finished throttle controls with gold knobs, which operated smoothly and had a good feel.
The power helm seat also had a nice feel to it, and it is wide enough to seat a couple. It features a roomy storage compartment in the base, and is positioned just forward of a counter that conceals a compact wet bar with an optional Icer-ette ice-maker underneath.
Our boat’s black windshield frame and black canvas package matched the helm console. The windshield was topped by a removable enclosure that utilizes windshield glass instead of soft plastic, to prevent distortion.
The test boat also featured a hardtop — a factory option that adds $20,915 to the price of the 3800. It’s money well spent, for the added sun and weather protection. “These days, we don’t sell too many of the bigger boats without hardtops,” Helsing said.
Halogen spot lighting is built into the hardtop, and integrated grabrails are thoughtfully placed overhead.
Adjacent to the helm, an L-shaped settee and a pop-on extension seat offer comfortable seating for up to five adults. There’s ample storage underneath for a variety of gear. A beverage holder console and an adjacent chart area are immediately forward.
Aft, the cockpit has nicely padded coamings, rod racks and plenty of room for four anglers to fish without getting in each other’s way. It features a transom gate — and our test boat had two popular options: an aft fold-down seat and a bait prep center with a sink and a 50 gallon livewell. An optional bait freezer is also available — and there’s room to mount a fighting chair.
More Than a V-Berth
You enter the 3800 Express through a screened sliding door, adjacent to the helm console. Step down into the boat’s interior, and you’ll find much more than the typical fishing boat cabin. In fact, this boat sleeps up to six adults — comfortably.
The interior is elegantly trimmed in abundant teak, has a traditional teak and holly sole and is accented by numerous portlights and overhead halogen spot lighting.
To starboard, the compact galley area offers an L-shaped Corian-topped counter, an under-counter refrigerator/freezer, a sink with a designer faucet, a microwave oven, a coffee-maker and a two-burner range. Opposite the galley, to port, is an optional flat-screen color television on a convenient swivel, allowing it to be viewed throughout the cabin.
The television is mounted next to a convenient rod cabinet that’s about the size of a phone booth, with a tempered glass door. It can be replaced with a pantry, if the buyer prefers.
On the other side is a comfortable settee that converts to a pair of bunk-style berths. The settee area can be transformed into its own mini stateroom with a track-mounted sliding privacy curtain that stows away in a pocket.
To starboard, forward of the galley, there’s an L-shaped convertible dinette, next to a solid teak high-low table inlaid with a brass fish design. A full-size head compartment — with a VacuFlush head, a sink and vanity, a stand-up stall shower and a teak grate — is to port.
Forward, the boat’s master “stateroom” features a roomy pedestal-style double berth with storage below, a hanging locker, two reading lights and a mirrored bulkhead. A privacy curtain separates the forward stateroom from the rest of the cabin.
If you’re looking for a tournament-ready sportfisher, but your family is asking for a sleek weekend cruiser, the Pursuit 3800 Express is one boat that will make everybody happy — including you.
Pursuit 3800 Express
|Fuel capacity||438 gallons|
|Water capacity||110 gallons|
|Propellers||26-inch by 30-inch pitch three-blade Nibral|
|Price as tested with twin 450-hp Cummins 6CTA C450 diesels||$479,005|
|Top speed||32.2 knots|
|Miles per gallon at 24.6 knots cruising speed||88|
|Fuel cost for 100 miles at 24.6 knots cruising speed||$123.86**|
|Range at 24.6 knots cruising speed||348 miles|
|Sound level at 24.6 knots cruise||88 dB A|
Questions for Your Dealer
What electronics options do you recommend?
Which available sportfishing accessories best match the type of fishing I do?
Hand-laid knit fiberglass hull with balsa-cored topsides and fiberglass bottom, ply-foam stringer system, plywood bulkheads, premium gelcoat and blister-resistant vinylester resin skin coat below waterline.
Teak and holly sole in interior, solid teak table with brass fish inlay at dinette, vertical rod storage cabinet with tempered glass door (can be replaced with a pantry, if preferred by customer), PSS dripless shaft seal system, Teleflex CH6500 controls, Teleflex hydraulic steering, VacuFlush head, VDO instrumentation, AM/FM cassette stereo system, Corian countertops, microwave oven, two-burner electric stove, coffee-maker, refrigerator/freezer.
Options on Test Boat
Hardtop, Onan 9 kw generator with sound shield, Marine Air Systems air conditioning, helm console cool air option, Reverso oil changer, bait prep center (with 50 gallon livewell, sink, rigging board and tackle storage), outriggers, Glendinning Cablemaster, 5 inch and 11 inch flat screen color televisions, VCR, cockpit shower, power helm seat unit, ice-maker under cockpit sink.
For more information:
Pursuit, a division of S2 Yachts
Fort Pierce, FL