Pursuit launched the OS 325 less than a year ago, but they’re keeping the new model train rolling with the introduction of the 2016 OS 355. And even though this model follows closely on the heels of its smaller sibling—and takes advantage of several similar design advancements—there’s plenty of 'new' to talk about here.
First, let’s consider the changes which are akin to those we’ve seeing in other models introduced lately by Pursuit. The transom design is a biggie. First seen on the DC 325, the OS 355 has transom wings which extend aft all the way to the back of the outboards. These extensions not only make boarding one heck of a lot easier, they make it possible to reach the prop when you tilt up an engine at sea. You can remove fishing line that’s wrapped around the prop, or even change a propeller, without the usual perching, stretching, cursing, and praying.
Another advancement we can find on the newest Pursuits is the hard top and windshield design. Before we even saw the boat, the folks from Pursuit were making a big deal about this "single piece of optically clear laminated glass.” But until I sat in the helm chair, its significance didn’t really strike me. Visibility is far better than the norm, because it eliminates the usual mullions in the windshield. Sure, you get used to peeking around these. But when you sit behind a windshield that doesn’t have any, you realize what a huge difference eliminating all those little blind spots makes. Better yet, the forward and side hard top supports are built into the infused fiberglass frame, right along with the glass. It looks slick, the only down-side being the loss of any side window vents. But Pursuit mitigates that by adding an electrically-actuated center windshield vent.
If entertaining is in your game plan, you’ll also like the optional fold-out gunwale seating Pursuit has added to new models. More or less like a folding transom seat, it swings down on hinges to provide bench seating for a couple of passengers during a cocktail-cruise and folds flush against the inwale to open up the cockpit come fishing time.
More about the seating, in general: it’s uber-comfy. If you’re seriously considering a Pursuit you already know they use top-shelf materials and of course, the fabrics and foams are heavy-weight varieties. Naturally, there are also folding arm rests, adjustable backrests, and adjustable footrests you won’t find on most other boats. What you may not realize until you actually park your butt here and there is that the seating on this boat also has some designed-in perks that set them apart from the norm. The transom bench seat, for example, feels like anything but a bench due to a base that's extended by several inches—yet you can still fit your feet underneath when the seat is folded away, since the backrest adjusts upwards (and serves as a transom coaming bolster) when you do the folding. The helm station footrest is just as tricked-out, flipping down to become an elevated platform for captains who may be a bit vertically-challenged.
Another thing you already know if you’ve been considering a Pursuit: those top-shelf materials and the advanced designs don’t come cheap. Depending on how it’s rigged the OS 355 will start at around $425,000. The good news is that this price tag includes most of the goodies you’ll want; the standard features list is a mile long, and many things that other builders would list as cost-boosting options, like the bow thruster, anchor windlass, and 8.0 kW generator, are all included.
Though most die-hard anglers may prefer the center console arrangement, as far as outboard-powered expresses go the OS 355 hits solidly in the fishing department. Clearly designed for offshore waters, a pair of aft-facing seats flanking the steps to the bridge-deck are ideal for watching baits as you troll. Flip the seats up to access coolers underneath.
There’s a 28-gallon lighted livewell in the transom, as well as a center transom stowage compartment with a removable liner that provides access to the batteries. I wish that liner was insulated to serve as a bait tray, which would be more convenient then using the coolers under the seats to house the ballyhoo. (When the cockpit’s full of anglers, you’ll be asking someone to move every time you need to get to another bait). I also wish the port-side entertainment center was more geared towards fishing and less towards entertaining—but that’s just me. Truth be told, the vast majority of the boaters out there will be glad to see the built-in electric grill, sink with hot/cold water, cutting board, and stowage underneath.
Once you’ve hauled your catch over the gunwales, if you don’t intend on filleting it and sending it directly to that grill, it’ll almost certainly fit into the integrated fishboxes in the deck. They hold 68 gallons each, and are evacuated by dedicated diaphragm pumps. Those are the ones that don’t break or clog when you send a load of fish scales and bones down the drain.
Another nice touch in the cockpit is the top-opening refrigerator/freezer. This is actually located on the bridgedeck, but it’s accessible from the starboard-side bait-watching chair and the area immediately around it. That means it can be easily accessed by anglers without having to walk up onto the bridgedeck, yet it still benefits from the protection of the hard-top—a smart move since water often finds a way to get into top-opening units that are exposed.
Window to the Future
Belowdecks you’ll find a major departure from other Pursuit models, even the latest and greatest: large hullside windows. No doubt putting these in increases labor time and costs, but I’m glad they did it—the resulting natural light belowdecks is well worth it. Another interesting departure from the norm can be found in the head. There’s a linen closet with a bi-folding door, which swings out and open to create a shower compartment. Nifty.
Interestingly, Pursuit opted to leave the mid-cabin under the helmdeck completely open. There’s no curtain, much less bulkhead, dividing it from the main cabin. In truth this will make it easier to get items like fishing rods in and out of here—the reality is that the mid-cabin usually gets relegated to bulk stowage—though folks who plan to go weekending may wish for the ability to create some measure of privacy.
What about the forward berth? That, my friends, is as tricked-out as it gets. When you walk into the cabin you’ll see a dinette up forward, but if you reach up and flip a switch on the bulkhead, the dinette table silently lowers itself below the seats. Then reach down and press a switch just forward of the galley, and those seats slide together to create a large island berth. It’s so slick you almost expect the stereo to start playing Barry White music while a disco ball drops down from the overhead. And while some practical-minded boaters may not be enamored by the extra worm gears and moving parts, the wow-factor is enormous.
Speaking of wow-factor: sit at the helm, grab the throttles, and unleash the 700 Yamarabian horses hanging on the transom. The OS 355 leaps forward, shooting from zero to 30 in about 12 seconds and topping out at over 46 MPH. Cruising speed is a solid 33 MPH.
Will Pursuit keep advancing through the model line, rolling out one new model after the next? It seem like a sure bet. Today’s consumers—boaters included—expect evolution to continue at a break-neck pace, and Pursuit seems quite adept at keeping up with the times. The OS 355 is proof. And if you’re looking for a new 30-something outboard-powered express fishboat, chances are this model will also be making an appearance on your short-list.
Other Choices: the Boston Whaler 345 Conquest is going to be a natural competitor of the OS 355. Same goes for the Scout Abaco 350.
For more information, visit Pursuit.
See Pursuit OS 355 listings.
|Fuel capacity||375 gal.|
|Water capacity||50 gal.|
|Test conditions: calm wind and seas, 3 POB. Performance data courtesy of Pursuit.|
|Power||Twin Yamaha F350 four-stroke outboards, swinging 16.25" X 15" three-bladed stainless-steel props.|