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January 28, 2009

Pursuit OS 345

This luxurious pocket-size fishing yacht will still satisfy the fishing fanatic.

What an ugly day! Running out of Fort Pierce Inlet on Florida's east coast, seas hit six feet inside the inlet and up to eight just outside. It's not a day I'd choose to go out normally, but one that certainly can test the mettle of any boat with "offshore" in its model designation.

We had no opportunity to run wide open offshore, but at prudent speeds, I found the 345 performed admirably. While it didn't like running straight into head seas without any tab, just the slightest trim down made the ride much smoother and drier. The OS 345 handled every other point of sea with aplomb; it tracked down-sea back into the inlet straight and true and both ran and drifted in beam seas very comfortably. In fact, drifting beam-to caused much less roll moment than I expected given the conditions. One crucial performance   ability - especially in heavy seas - is a quick, sharp turn at slow speeds so you can reverse direction between waves. The 345 handled every turn predictably and in  perfect control.

Back in the Intracoastal, the 345 with twin Yamaha 350s hit just more than 48 mph at 5,900 rpm, burning 66 gph. Optimum cruise proved to be 30.2 mph at 4,000 rpm, using just less than 30 gph total. But I'd really like to see Yamaha develop a four-blade prop for these big-block behemoths to replace the current three-blade-only Saltwater Series XL offerings. A four-blade would increase low-end torque and trim-angle ability and reduce any tendency toward ventilation.

Pursuit installs a Lewmar bow thruster as standard equipment, and I promise that you won't find a condition or space wherein you can't handle docking with these twin outboards and the thruster.

The 345 sports a big, 45-gallon livewell in the transom with what the company calls an "Oceana blue" interior. Supposedly, fish find that color more serene. The livewell works well with a gasketed lid and compression latch. I would personally install a Y valve in the outflow so as to pressurize the well ever so slightly, thereby protecting the baits from sloshing around while under way.

The height of the gunwales suited me perfectly for fighting fish. A slight stretch to the water's surface to revive releasable fish should be no problem. Those you plan to keep will have plenty of room to rest in twin 40-gallon, in-deck insulated boxes. Additionally, Pursuit reinforces   the gunwales with aluminum plates to support mounted downriggers.

Pursuit constitutes the fishing-boat member of the Slikkers-family boat-  building empire. And the engineers at the Fort Pierce plant spend plenty of time using the products they build, so they know what works. The modules at the  forward end of the cockpit work nicely, hiding a very well-executed rigging station and tackle storage. As for rod storage, you needn't walk more than a step or two in any direction aboard to find rods, both above and belowdecks.

If you want to grill your fresh fish, Pursuit even provides an 8 kW diesel   generator to power an electric grill in the cockpit. The genset also powers the cockpit's 38-quart refrigerator/freezer. And should you choose to walk to the bow with rod in hand, you'll discover adequate handholds and the ability to keep your center of gravity inboard.

Design and Construction
Though you may consider it a small item, I appreciate the telescoping swim ladder deployable from the water. A friend fell overboard recently and quickly realized he couldn't get back aboard. He remembered the hidden ladder in his transom and climbed aboard. Without it, this athletic guy might not have survived. His survival allows us to laugh about it now.