Pursuit 3000 Express
With roots that date back to the 1950s
wooden runabouts of Leon Slickers, Pursuit
Boats of Fort Pierce, Florida, is one of the
most respected builders of mid-sized boats.
Although most of Pursuit’s models are
designed and marketed primarily as fishing
machines, the Pursuit 3000 Express offers
the extra advantage of a small but luxurious
cabin suitable for a couple or small family
overnighting or weekend cruising.
The Pursuit 3000 Express was introduced in 1998 and remained in production through 2003. This model should
not be confused with the 3000 Offshore.
Offered during the same period and only
a few inches longer, the 3000 Offshore
is a foot-and-a-half wider than the 3000
Express and is not comparable.
Although the hull of the 3000 Express
is only slightly more than 30 feet in length,
the molded, integral bow pulpit increases
the overall length to 32’ 8”. The beam
is a modest 10’ 6” and draft is 2’ 10”.
Fuel capacity is an adequate 210 gallons
although water capacity is marginal at only
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30 gallons, and
the waste-hold-ing capacity is
a mere nine gallons — hardly
enough to get through a weekend without
having to stop at the pumpout station.
The materials and overall quality of
construction of the 3000 Express rank
among the best of production boatbuilders. The bottoms are solid fiberglass and
resin strengthened by a stout fiberglass
composite grid system. The hull sides are
fiberglass composite with a balsa wood
core for strength, rigidity and light weight.
Attachments are neat, without the jagged
edges found on lesser-quality boats.
The only potentially serious problem
I’ve encountered is elevated moisture in the
hull sides below the engine room ventilators. In at least one case, the balsa core was
also found to be separated from the outer
fiberglass laminate. The problems result
from the manner in which Pursuit mounts
the engine room ventilators through the
hull side without removing and sealing the
balsa core at the penetration. Depending
on the model year, either 3-M’s 5200 or
Plexus, a structural adhesive, was used
to mount the ventilators. If the seal is
not perfect, sea water spray can get into
the balsa core. If this happens, the repair
is further complicated by the 5200 and
Plexus materials used in the factory. The
bond is so strong that ventilators are likely
to be destroyed in the process of removing
them. Although Pursuit has shown a willingness to work with owners to solve this
problem, the molds for the ventilators were
destroyed by one of the five hurricanes that
struck Florida in 2004; matching ventilators are not available for replacement.
The cockpit arrangement of the 3000
Express is likely to satisfy cruiser and fisherman alike. Although not huge, it will
accommodate three or four anglers easily
with the transom seat stowed out of the
way. There is a large fish box across nearly
the full width of the cockpit at the transom,
a bait prep center, tackle storage chest, sink
with icemaker below, and very sturdy transom door for bringing in the big ones.
Visibility is excellent from the bridge-deck, which features a lounge seat to port
and helm seat to starboard. The arrangement for engine instruments and available
space at the helm for navigation instruments is also very good.
Below deck is a comfortable, albeit
small, cabin with more than six-foot headroom. There is an enclosed head and
shower to port followed by a counter with
single-burner galley stove, small sink, and
microwave oven. Forward is a double
berth offset diagonally across the forepeak.
Along the starboard side is a traditional
dinette that converts to an extra berth
for a single adult or two children. There
is a small hanging locker forward of the
dinette. The quality of craftsmanship and
materials used for the interior is as good as
can be found on production boats.
Depending on the model year, either
300-hp Mercury or 320-hp Crusader gasoline engines were the standard power
package for the 3000 Express with 250-hp
Cummins diesel engines as an option. The
bridge deck raises up for engine access, but
the opening is small and access is limited,
particularly outboard and forward of the
engines, and especially if an optional generator is installed aft of the engines.
There’s not much difference in speed
between the various power options with a
cruise speed between 23 and 25 knots and
a top speed right around 30 knots. The
boat is quite dry and the 21-degree deadrise hull provides a smooth ride.
There are more than 40 Pursuit 3000
Expresses currently offered for sale on the
Yachtworld.com website with prices ranging from under $50,000 to over $120,000.
Only six were diesel powered. I was able
to find only three reported sales within
the last several months, with selling prices
ranging from $55,000 to $110,000.
Compared to some of the bargain-basement buys available in these tough
times, the price of the Pursuit 3000 Express
model is a bit on the high side but buyers
are undoubtedly getting higher quality
which will translate to greater longevity and
good value. — Jack Hornor
Jack Hornor, N.A., is the principal surveyor
and senior designer for the Annapolis-based
Marine Survey & Design Co. www.msdco.com