Just over two years ago, Pursuit introduced its biggest fishing hull, the 3000 Express Fisherman. It was "an out-of-the-park home run," in the words of Jay Check, a research and development specialist with Pursuit. It continues to be a hot seller, but, "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."
Our 3400 test boat ran out of the jetties to head northeast into a light easterly sea. With the Pursuit's twin 370B Cummins diesels, I couldn't accuse our test boat of being underpowered. The diesels rivaled gas engines for responsiveness and pushed the heavy hull onto plane in four to five seconds with very little bow rise - and that with tabs in the up position.
Although this hull has achieved nearly 40 mph with the tower, full fuel and a crew, figure on close to 35 mph top speed depending upon conditions and sea direction. At a comfortable 2,400 rpm, the 3400 cruises at about 30 mph. The 350-gallon fuel capacity offers a range of 500 miles when cruising at 25 mph.
The 3400's 16,000 pounds doesn't make her a particularly heavy hull for her class, but that's plenty of weight for a solid feel, as you might reasonably expect. But I felt something else difficult to put my finger on. "Busy" might best describe the ride on a light chop. A surprising description for 8 tons of boat, yet the taut suspension of a sports car came to mind. Somehow, without discomfort or hard banging, the hull at cruise seemed to translate even small nuances of motion to the helmsman.
In turns, the boat handled decisively. Again, I have to return to the sports car analogy since I couldn't sense even a slight steering lag: Just as soon as I'd start to spin the wheel, the boat started its turn with the immediacy of a 20-foot outboard. But once in the turn, her mass became evident as she heeled over hard.
About 12 1/2 feet of beam, providing 9 full feet of width, coaming to coaming across the cockpit, and 7 feet from transom to bridge should make even multiple hookups manageable. Though we didn't hook them up simultaneously, we did raise some sails during our test day. High gunwales (28 inches - mid-thigh for tall adults) and super-heavy nonskid helped us during the fight and leadering/ release - and should keep anglers upright even in heavy seas. Channels about 2.5 inches deep around cockpit hatches keep the deck dry. The transom door is generous enough for a big bluefin.