Pursuit's Denali series has been around for many years. These rugged, no-nonsense boats have sometimes been called sport utility vehicles for the water. As you've probably noticed lately though, SUVs have gone upscale. That's the reasoning behind Pursuit's Drummond Island boats, the Runner and the Sportfish.
After sea trialing a Drummond Island Sportfish, I think these newest members of the Denali line definitely have a style that puts sport in a utility vessel.
The two models are essentially the same, with the exception of some cockpit features in and around a large island console aft of the helm seats. The Runner is configured for cruising and has a country kitchen setup that includes a cooktop, a sink and a top-loading refrigerator. At the aft end, an electrically operated bench seat converts to a sunpad.
On the Drummond Island Sportfish, the island console is all business. It's an elaborately outfitted bait- and catch-preparation station called the Pursuit Angler's Edge (trademarked). There's a 45-gallon livewell, a stainless steel refrigerator, a sink with fresh- and raw-water sprayers, a fillet station and a bait cooler. The cooler has a removable, perforated stainless steel tray that keeps rigged bait cold yet away from direct contact with water. Each side of the console is lined with cabinets that have plenty of drawers and sliding tackle boxes for all your gear, including leader and line.
There's lockable rod storage in the gunwales on both sides of the helm on the Sportfish as well as racks in the cabin ceiling. The Runner has a permanent bench seat with storage compartments under the cushions that spans the transom. The Sportfish has a fold-down seat here instead, as well as at the aft end of the cockpit console.
The Drummond Island boats have a raised helm station that provides excellent visibility from a pair of comfortable, individually adjustable, electrically operated seats. The large instrument panel has space for a pair of 10-inch electronics displays, such as the Raymarine E Series unit on our test boat. An overhead electronics box molded into the hardtop provides room for additional gear, while a powered vent panel in the windshield opens to provide fresh air when needed. You can get additional airflow from a pair of small hatches in the hardtop.
Despite the large island console, there's ample room to move around the aft cockpit when fishing. Insulated fishboxes run along each side and there's a large access hatch in the center where you can get at just about all of the boat's pumps and plumbing. Another fishbox/cooler is located in the transom. An attractive stainless-steel framed-teak access door through the transom leads to a teak deck on the integral motor bracket. There's also a hot-and-cold transom shower, along with a fold-away three-step boarding ladder.
The Drummond Island Sportfish's teak-appointed cabin features an extra-long V-berth with custom embroidered and fitted sheets. A lighted cedar-lined hanging locker sits high in the aft port corner. A microwave oven is mounted just beneath it. The standard audio-video system includes an AM/FM receiver that's Sirius satellite-ready, a six-disc CD/DVD changer and a 15-inch flat-screen TV. A 7,000 BTU air conditioner as well as a 3 kw generator are optional equipment. The stand-up head compartment features a teak shower grate, a stainless steel sink, a Corian countertop and a VacuFlush macerated head.
You can customize the look of your Drummond Island Sportfish with one of four optional hull colors and three boot-striping pairs, as well as a choice of three standard canvas palates.
The 3480 Drummond Island Runner as well as the Sportfish are built on a remarkably fast and comfortably riding hull that Pursuit designed for its 3480 Center Console. I tested that boat last year in some very sloppy sea conditions. A 24.5-degree deadrise and notched transom made light work of the waves, allowing us to "enjoy" an otherwise nasty day. We certainly could have used the protection of the hardtop and side curtains that are standard on the Runner and Sportfish.
The Sportfish I was on had the same Yamaha 250 four-stroke outboards as the Center Console. Although the Sportfish carries additional weight due to accessories and superstructure, handling and acceleration were equally impressive. The boat did 48 mph at wide-open throttle. "Smooth and quiet" is the best way to describe the ride through a moderate chop. The 3480 hull is a heavy one compared to others in her class, so the ride is also very solid.
The boat's heft doesn't impact fuel economy. At a 40 mph cruise, the pair of Yamahas burned 29 gph. Dialing back to 30, the total fuel burn was 21 gph. Based on the Sportfish's 300-gallon tankage, at that speed you can go more than 400 miles before running dry.
Tracking is stable both in turns and on a straight line. The wind had no effect on handling. As with the Center Console, I was able to do a turn at about 20 mph in less than two hull lengths. I can attest to the Sportfish's excellent ability to perform evasive maneuvers. While cruising at around 35 mph, I caught a glimpse of something hovering just below the water's surface about two boat lengths ahead. A quick twist of the wrist averted an untimely meeting between a large log and the boat's lower units.
One more feature of the 3480 Drummond Island Sportfish that impressed me was her electrical system's design. The boat has four batteries, not the usual three. There's one for starting each engine, a house battery and another dedicated to the helm electronics. All are kept at peak condition using a voltage sensor relay that automatically detects low voltage in any of the batteries and recharges it.
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