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October 26, 2001

Pursuit 3400 Express

"One thing we heard some people wish for was a windshield and more speed. Well, the new 34 has a windshield and it's faster."

Beneath the hinged lid of a large bait prep station between cockpit and bridge on the port side, you'll find a deep sink with both fresh water (faucet) and raw water (sprayer), and beneath the large cutting board, space for the optional, deep bait freezer. Beneath that, several built-in drawers hold tackle. Under the lid of a matching station to the starboard is the 36-gallon oval, insulated live well. The top of this offers still more working surface area, but it also provides a natural spot for setting things down - and because of that, it could use a lip to keep those things from sliding off. About the only thing the cockpit could use more of: rod holders. Two standard gunwale-mounted holders on each side offer the only secure places to put rods in the cockpit; rocket launchers on the optional tower hold six more rods. But some under-gunwale horizontal holders would be welcome.

This is a skipper's boat; on the 3400, the captain's helm is certainly his castle. With no seating or obstructions behind the tall, pedestal pilot seat located centrally on the raised bridge (15 inches above the cockpit deck), the 3400's 360-degree visibility proves better than most in her class. High bench seats, thickly padded and exceptionally comfortable, form an L around each stern corner of the bridge. However, when seated, passengers leave little walk space between their knees and the pilot seat. That becomes particularly noticeable when anyone needs to move through the bridge - such as from the molded-in chart table to the left of the helm or the cabin companionway to the right - in a hurry.

The 3400 trolls easily. At less than 7 knots, she kicks up very little white water; once over 7 knots, clear alleys between white water become more well defined. When called upon to back down, yet again she proves more responsive than her size would seem to dictate. And turned hard, the hull swivels tightly around either stern corner.

Pursuit has worked hard to keep its 3400 relatively light but strong. Toward that end, the plant in Holland, Michigan, which constructs larger Pursuits and Tiara Yachts, makes extensive use of balsa coring. For the stringers, that means Deco-Lite, sheets of balsa with a thin fiberglass face.

"The beauty of this is that the fiberglass face becomes part of the stringer structure," says Dan Springer, director of engineering R&D in Michigan.

In addition, virtually all hull and deck surfaces above waterline have been balsa cored. This approach costs more, but saves further weight while maintaining stiffness and strength.

Pursuit's provided access to the 3400's engines via a day hatch in the bridge deck for routine maintenance or a quick visual check. But for serious access to the engine room, dual electric lifts raise the entire bridge deck. However, with the generator between engines, don't look for much space to work in. If you can't do without a generator, consider Power Technology's 5-KW engine-mounted A/C generating unit which takes up virtually no space.

The cabin is meticulously finished. You'll discover storage everywhere - beneath each of the three hinged steps, in lots of cabinets ( with rod space above), in under-berth compartments and a tall hanging wet locker. The V-berth's 6.5 feet make it deceptively long - deceptive perhaps because it's so wide.

As a dealer add-on, the optional tower will vary in design, but the tower on our test boat, made by Hi-Seas in Stuart, Florida, was a pleasure, easier to climb and descend than many I've been in and particularly comfortable to cruise in. I can't imagine ordering this 3400 without a tower.