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January 30, 2006

Pursuit 3480 Drummond Island Sportfish

I don't care whom you speak to among the cadre of knowledgeable marine journalists who test boats, they all agree on one thing:

Idon't care whom you speak to among the cadre of knowledgeable marine journalists who test boats, they all agree on one thing: Only rarely do we see things truly new and innovative. Following the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show, the Drummond Island Sportfish became the talk of the town. This model, based on the Denali line, sports a full, fixed windshield and centerline helm, for all intents and purposes making this an express without a raised bridge deck.

You couldn't have asked for a more challenging day to test an offshore fishing boat. With a 20-knot wind out of the northeast and 4- to 6-foot seas, well ? no boat can bluff its way through those conditions. In the calm of the inlet, a pair of Yamaha 250-hp four-stroke outboards lifted this behemoth onto plane in three seconds - much faster than I expected and with no measurable bow rise, either.

At 25 mph (3,700 rpm), the Drummond Island SF ran smooth as silk while beam-to the seas. We topped out at 6,000 rpm running 48 mph and burning 43.2 gph. A comfortable cruising speed of 33 mph turning 5,000 rpm used 27.5 gph total. Both inshore and off, the Drummond Island runs like a much heavier boat. It doesn't launch easily and comes down gently after crossing a wave crest. With both engines in gear at 600 rpm, idle speed produced a 31¼2-mph trolling speed while burning a scant 1 gph total - perhaps an ideal live-bait speed headed up-current, but a tad too fast downstream. One engine works fine then. The 3480 falls off and drifts directly beam-to the wind with a relatively short roll moment and remarkably gentle transitions. All in all, I'd call it stately performance.

But wait - there's more! Yamaha's new LAN-based Command Link gauges present all sorts of excellent engine-performance information. And the unique Volvo Penta QL trim tabs work perfectly. Lower the bow and the Drummond Island slices through the oncoming waves neatly. Obviously, in a 20-knot wind, if I really pushed it I could get spray up onto the windshield. However, I honestly couldn't find a point of sail that was unsafe or uncomfortable. 

In a hard-over emergency turn, the 3480 dips the inside bow, bleeds speed quickly and carves a 180-degree course change in about one boat length. But make sure you check the horizon around you before executing such a turn, as the hardtop effectively blocks your view of anything to the side in the process.

I can't begin to list all the 3480's innovations. The enclosed, lockable rod storage in the bulwarks to either side of the helm is great, but the center island represents the true innovation. 

Like the island in a modern kitchen, this work block takes into account every possible function a seasoned angler could want. On its starboard side, a locker opens to reveal a machined metal bar holding spools of leader material. Just below that, a larger, similar compartment hides large spools of line. An ample tackle drawer pulls out below these compartments. On top, a sink with fresh- and rawwater spigots and a rigging station takes up some of the space, while a cutting board in an elongated recess with a drain uses most of the portside top. The cutting board both lifts out and tilts via a strut beneath it. Tilting raises the outboard side just enough so that when you're skinning a fish, your knife blade clears the outer edge of the island. Absolutely ingenious.

The island also holds a refrigerator/freezer; an insulated bait box with a removable, perforated stainless bait tray; lockers for many take-home tackle boxes; stainless drink holders; and a leaning pad on the aft end. As if that weren't enough, a well-hidden aft-facing seat flips out from under the pad for unsurpassed bait-watching comfort. (Another, wider foldaway seat hides in the transom.) Additional island features include a shallow tilt-out drawer for knives, ee-pokers and other tools, and numerous deep tackle drawers.

Finally, you'll find more rod storage under each gunwale and two large, in-deck fish boxes with a lazarette between them, offering access to the optional generator as well as pumps, thru-hulls, etc.

As you find with any Pursuit, the interior woodwork is perfect. A small seat at the bottom of the cabin stairs represents about the only real sitting area below. Also belowdecks are a stand-up head with integral shower, more than adequate cabinet storage space and a very healthy double V-berth forward with overhead rod storage. A flat-screen TV comes standard on the forward bulkhead, though I don't know where you'd sit to watch it unless you were alone.
 As for construction, Pursuit installs foam-filled fiberglass stringers into a hull composed of knitted biaxial fiberglass cloth, more expensive vinylester resins that prevent osmotic blistering, custom-blended gelcoats and Deutsch waterproof connectors combined with tinned copper wiring for undeniable electrical-system longevity.

Thank you, Pursuit, for taking the calculated risk and coming out with such a dramatically different - and vastly improved - new boat design.


LOA 34 ft. 5 in.
BEAM 9 ft. 6 in.
MAX HP (2) 300-hp OB
DEADRISE 24.5 deg.
HULL DRAFT 1 ft. 10 in.
FUEL 300 gal.
WEIGHT 9,200 lb. (w/engines)
MSRP $242,800 (w/T 250-hp four-strokes)

Pursuit Boats
Fort Pierce, Florida

YAMAHA 250-hp Four-stroke
TYPE 60 deg. V-6
DISPL. 204.6 cid
MAX RPM 6,000
WEIGHT 592 lb.
ALT. OUTPUT 45 amps
MSRP $20,235

Notable Standard Equipment
• Electric helm chair
• Island bait-prep center
• Windlass
• Volvo QL trim tabs w/indicator
• Flat-screen TV
• Fiberglass top w/full canvas enclosure

Understated elegance in a fully functional and very innovative fishing machine.