At the 2018 Miami International Boat Show in February, the distinguished judging panel from Boating Writers International faced a dilemma. Pursuit had entered its new dual console in the prestigious Innovation Awards contest. To win, a product must be a game-changer for the marketplace and best in its class. Trouble is, this rapidly growing class of boats didn’t fit any of the contest categories such as center console/walkaround or cabin cruisers.
Regardless, the 365 DC crashed the party and ran off with the center console/walkaround innovation prize.
Why? Well, you can’t deny the value of great engineering and the popularity of the hull style. The big-horsepower dual console market is expanding faster than traditional center consoles and walkarounds because duals offer more comfortable forward seating and a wider, protected cockpit compared with many other hull styles.
And that’s exactly what many saltwater anglers want. They might sneak offshore for only a few hours to fish, but then they could dive, beachcomb or cruise to a ritzy eatery. Even for serious fishermen, boats must often do more than just fish.
Yet fish we did this past December during my test out of Miami. And though catching was weak, thanks to post-full-moon lethargy and days of offshore winds, the fishability of the boat, powered by triple Yamaha F300s, was anything but weak.
We had decided to bump-troll liveys for sailfish, but the VHF chatter reported only a brief mahimahi bite that morning. Maybe the conditions had become too perfect, with relatively calm seas, finally, and a sky so blue, the sun at 8 a.m. already had a burn to it.
In my experience, though, you learn more about fishing boats when you’re not catching than when you are. You try harder and use more of the boat’s features.
Four rod holders were well-situated in the gunwales, unsurprisingly, since Pursuit’s engineers and marketing team are hardcore fishers. Five rod holders spanned the transom bulkhead, increasing our options.
A 28-gallon livewell kept our bait fresh all morning, and it was still going strong at lunch, when the team changed crews. A 26-gallon fish box portside drained using diaphragm pumps.
We initially hunted for tackle storage before somebody pulled out a drawer below the mezzanine seat, exposing enough space for everything the mate would need on a typical day. The rest can be stowed in the many compartments around the boat.
Open, Strategic Design
Fishing an outboard-powered boat requires a partnership between angler and skipper due to the extended transom and engines. You can’t easily work a fish astern. Instead, the skipper must manage the boat position relative to the fish. That’s where the 365’s wide-open unobstructed cockpit helps. No bulkheads block the way. Further, side windows give the skipper a panoramic view aft of the helm so he can keep the boat ideally positioned for angler success. If the skipper wants more elevation to view fore or aft, a step folds out of the helm station.
It’s during a fish battle that you notice the comforts designed into the cockpit. Mezzanine seating, we’ll call it, on the port side is shaded by the hardtop. Ahead of it, a lounge extends forward to the bulkhead and is cushioned for reclining, facing aft.
A wide seat aft on the lounge features a foldaway armrest on the walkthrough side so one can slide in and out easily. The skipper is also blessed with a dual-station seat that can swivel for side-facing seating while at anchor.
Assuming the battle is won, the captain can pull the fish aboard through the starboard gunwale door. From there, he slides the fish right into the fish box in the cockpit sole. There’s a stowable dive ladder for the gunwale door, and for safety, a ladder pops out of the transom. Once deployed it’s accessible by a swimmer in the water.
Comfort Seating Throughout
In the cockpit, not just one but two benches fold out for comfort. The stern seat folds up; its seat back converts to a leaning bolster for more-comfortable fishing. I was impressed by how easily they both flipped away, thanks to leveraged scissor hinges.
One of Pursuit’s most innovative features is the integration of the hardtop. Using extended hull structures to frame the glass and then mate and bond to the hardtop gives the 365 an extremely durable, rigid top that offers even more amenities to make the day pleasant. Or, you can fully enclose it with the standard Strataglass side curtains.
Within the top, an optional sun shade electrically extends over the cockpit. You can fish in shade and fight a fish unobstructed by upright supports. If you must make overhead casts, retract the shade and swing away. More sun protection is available forward with a stowable, optional Mediterranean Shade featuring support poles that lock into the forward gunwales.
Or, put it all away and open the hardtop’s sunroof. The opening measures about 6 feet wide and 4 feet fore to aft. With the center windshield panel locked open, you’re essentially outdoors.
My test boat featured a single, gimbal-mounted 16-inch Garmin display. Pursuit offers a pair of 16-inch Garmins as an optional package, and the factory will flush-mount them. Or, you and your dealer can opt to mount other brands.
The compartments below deck were impressively large for a dual console. On the port side, the cabin comes with a forward hatch that opens to the bow-seating base, offering extended space for locking up fishing rods. But that’s not the highlight of this amenity. That would be the wood-tone construction of fine cabinetry, solid-wood steps, and fore and aft berths. The space also features a TV and room for a microwave and coffeemaker.
The starboard head compartment is equally spacious for comfort with a shower, sink and toilet. The area is approachable from the side of the starboard console.
For dining and meal preparation, look to the main deck. I found a galley with a sink, grill and refrigerator, standard with the entertainment center.
Circuit breakers and battery switches are conveniently accessible in the mezzanine area, where the light is strong and the reach to them is short.
Keep it Cool
With standard AC throughout the cabin and head, and optional AC at the helm deck, owners will want a genset. Pursuit installs only diesel gensets because they produce very little carbon monoxide, adding an extra layer of safety. There’s a separate fuel tank to supply the genset.
The whole point of a dual console, though, is to offer spacious forward seating, much like that found in a bowrider. On the DC 365, this zone was not just comfortable, it was also practical.
Deep cushions forward add comfort, and cup holders were handy. Recessed bow rails can be easily reached for safety but remain low profile should a fish pull an angler to the gunwale.
All cleats bow and stern recess. A center step to the forepeak offers a great spot to cast a net. Underneath the step is a cooler. Under the forepeak hatch lies a windlass with a through-stem highly polished stainless-steel anchor, controls and a washdown. Captains can also control the windlass from the helm. Even more important to safe operation in seas: The foredeck area drains overboard.
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In addition to the portside storage connected to the berth below, a deep compartment under the starboard seat comes with dive-tank racks. Aft, a large central hatch in the cockpit provides access for pump and genset maintenance.
The Pursuit DC 365 is designed to be fishable, cruise worthy, and practical for plenty of passengers. Quality hardware and vinyl and a track record for finely tuned, repeatable, and reliable assembly procedures mean the 365 will give more pleasure per dollar than others trying to run in this pack.