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Pursuit C 280 center console

Pursuit Boats has updated its entire line of fiberglass offshore fishing and cruising boats during the last few years.

The Fort Pierce, Fla.-based builder offers center console and express models from 23 to 37 feet, and its recently introduced C 280 center console is a case study in the company’s latest design and equipment offerings.

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The 28-footer rides a new hull and comes equipped with such upgraded features as a finished head compartment in the console. “Over the last three years, we’ve worked through the entire Pursuit model line and replaced them with new hulls,” says Matt Colbert, director of engineering and product development at Pursuit. “[The C 280] was replacing a 28-foot center console that had been in our line for quite a while. The new [boat] has a 24-degree deadrise hull, so it’s definitely meant for heavy offshore use.”

Colbert says the C 280 is a true offshore fishing boat, and the resin-infusion construction process Pursuit uses to build the stringer grid system separates the C 280 from its competitors. “It stiffens the hull up, and you can really feel that in the ride,” says Colbert. “The stringers are consistently built. Using an infused stringer system, when it’s bonded in the boat, the whole construction process is more consistent.”

The company doesn’t spray fiberglass chop at any point in the construction process. “There’s no chop in the hull,” says Colbert. “The hull, deck and all the small parts are hand laid.”

Pursuit uses a precise fiberglass-to-resin ratio in laying up the hulls. The company also uses a CNC cutting machine to make “perfect” fiberglass panels, according to Colbert. “The weight of the boat stays in line with what it was designed to be,” Colbert says, summing up construction. “It’s neither light nor heavy.”

While manufacturing seems to focus on precision across the board, the design process is purpose-driven by each model. “The hull is designed to be that specific boat,” explains Colbert. “It’s not also going to be a cabin model boat; it’s designed to be a center console offshore fishing boat.”

Sharing hull designs across multiple models with different boating objectives leads to compromises, Colbert says. “Every hull is designed specifically for the purpose of that boat,” he says.

Where equipment and amenities are concerned, boaters today look for features they didn’t expect six or eight years ago, he says. Examples on the C 280 include a liner for the customary in-console head compartment, a tempered glass windshield in place of the conventional plastic windscreen, and an updated electrical system with Deutsche connectors. (Pursuit builds and bench-tests all wiring harnesses on site, to ensure quality, Colbert says.)

Colbert says the C 280 has a redesigned center console, which Pursuit outfits with a manual head (holding tank, pumpout and macerator); a stereo system; fabric headliner; lighting package and opening portlight; a cushioned forward console seat with a 140-quart cooler beneath; and an electronics panel at the helm to accommodate multiple large displays.

The helm area includes helm and companion seats with flip-up bolsters, with a 52-gallon lighted live well in the seat base. Additional seating is available in the form of molded bow seating and a foldaway stern seat.

Fishing equipment includes a transom rigging station with removable tackle drawers, a cutting board and molded tool holders, and there’s a 45-gallon insulated transom fishbox. A pair of 29-gallon insulated fishboxes is located in the deck.

The C 280 also has a redesigned T-top, with a fiberglass top and powder-coated aluminum supports. Pursuit also changed the anchoring system. Where the builder typically used bow pulpits, the anchoring system now runs through the bow. The windlass is completely concealed within the anchor locker.


LOA: 28 feet

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BEAM: 9 feet, 6 inches

DRAFT: 2 feet, 10 inches (engines down)

DISPLACEMENT: 7,300 pounds

HULL TYPE: deep-vee


TANKAGE: 220 gallons fuel, 20 gallons water, 20 gallons waste

POWER: twin outboards to 500 hp

SPEED: 53 mph top, 29 mph cruise

PRICE: $156,925 (with twin Yamaha F250s)

CONTACT: Pursuit Boats, Fort Pierce, Fla.

Phone: (772) 465-6006.

This article originally appeared in the March 2009 issue.

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