Pursuit OS 355

In pursuit of innovation.

by Alan Wendt
When you test boats nearly every week for a living, you become leery of formulaic advertising boasting “new features,” “improved performance” or “innovative design.” But when Bruce Thompson, vice president of operations for Pursuit Boats, leaned over at a new products dealer meeting and personally wanted to point out the OS 355 with at least 80 significant design features and engine changes, out came the reporters pad, on went the polarized sunglasses, and I said, “let’s go.” I’ve known Bruce for 25 years; not just from his stellar career heading up design at Sea Ray and Pursuit, but as a father, fellow boater, angler and diving enthusiast. We’ve enjoyed many non-work boating weekends on the Great Lakes, in the Bahamas and Florida Keys. He’s creative (has six boat patents), inspirational and is a boater who actually develops new models based on real experiences, coupled with the latest building methods, materials and technology.


  • LOA: 37'11"
  • Beam: 12'
  • Draft: 2'2"
  • Weight: 16,620 lbs. (dry)
  • Fuel Capacity: 375 gals.
  • Water Capacity: 50 gals.
  • Power: 700 hp
  • Price: Contact dealer


Efficient workmanship

Brand new from the keel up, the OS 355 maintains tradition in offshore design, with calculated updates to the model it replaces, the OS 345. Perhaps the most stunning and visible improvement is a single-piece, laminated optically clear windshield. Sourced in Italy, the marine glass has curved double glazing composed of chemically hardened panes, offering one of the broadest, clearest, unobstructed helm views free of hardware extrusions on a boat this size. The glass is similar to panels used in European high-speed bullet trains. It won’t implode into tiny pieces like tempered glass, so it will keep water out of the boat in a catastrophic incident.

Pursuit incorporated a number of lean manufacturing techniques during the recession. Among the processes, the entire hardtop and window enclosure are now engineered and assembled as a single piece in house. Comprised of fiberglass material infused with resin, the one-piece top is much stronger and lighter weight.

The back end

But I’m getting ahead of the tour, which begins at the transom where you board. With an industry-wide move to beefier outboards (even though they are dropping in weight), Pursuit experimented with finding a sweet spot not just for speed, but fuel consumption, performance and noise abatement. The solution, Thompson says, was a raised motor well to accommodate the twin 350 Yamaha engines. This required development of a patented transom reinforcement grid built on a five-ply resin infused composite transom system.

While most of us just go and have fun, Thompson knows all too well that at some point you have to clear a prop tangled with monofilament, deal with someone else’s lost anchor rode, or worse yet, change a prop. By designing a catwalk free of steering cables and fuel lines, then creating an island pocket on the transom and providing enough room for the engine shaft to tilt forward and clear the water, you can easily accomplish these tasks without getting in the water. Not a big deal in the warm Florida Keys, but on Lake Michigan in May, even a member of the Polar Bear Club is likely to grimace. Should you go for a swim, on purpose or accidently, boarding is much easier with a four-step telescopic boarding ladder. That extra rung is much appreciated, as boaters of advanced years can attest.

Adjacent to the port transom entry door is a lighted, 28-gallon Oceana Blue livewell, which can be pressurized to protect the bait from sloshing around.

What’s unique about this positioning is the incorporation of the fold-down aft seat that neatly recesses into the transom wall. This accommodates a plush, supportive back bolster that doubles as a leaning rail and a comfortable seat when using the cockpit for dining and entertaining. The adjustable backrest is patented. An added bonus is the voluminous, deep storage area now created behind the aft bench. Use it as a fish box or for storage of fins, lines, hoses and anything else that comes aboard wet and needs to drain overboard.

In true Ronco TV fashion — but wait, there’s more! Tucked away on the starboard side transom wall are two glide-out tackle drawers.

A pair of identical molded single seats flanks the two steps up to the helm area. Underneath both is insulated storage and to port is the outdoor chef’s area. A Kenyon electric outdoor grill is flush-mounted into the cabinet, with sink, hot/cold faucet, cutting board and storage.

In the cockpit sole, twin 68-gallon insulated fish boxes with separate diaphragm pumps (rather than macerators) to pass snaps, hooks and the like without clogging. All are supported by gas-rams and secured in place with heavy-duty 316L stainless steel latches. Just to keep everything and everyone clean, there’s a raw water outlet in the cockpit with quick-connect fittings and a 25-foot hose, plus a freshwater wash with hot/cold valve and pull-out sprayer.

Fit for the captain

Phew! That’s just for starters when it comes to the innovation behind the Pursuit OS 355. On to the next treat: The raised bridge and semi-enclosed air conditioned/heated seating area. I’ve already mentioned the incomparable unobstructed view. Pursuit carefully listened to boaters moving up in size and those downsizing, and combined those thoughts into a most pleasing array of electronics, steering and seating.

Aside from the captain’s swivel chair, no one else typically has an armrest. But this molded port bridge lounge seating sports a large backrest, folding arm, molded footrest and port articulating armrest.

Far less showy is the helm. Twin flat screens, digital instrumentation, throttles, forward bow thruster joystick and rocker panel accessory switches (pleasantly arranged around the Teleflex tilt sport helm wheel with textured grip and control knob), signify that this boat is agile enough for single-handed piloting. Even your restless feet won’t get tired, thanks to a foldout fiberglass footrest/platform.

A place to rest

One look below inside the cabin, however, and it’s a pretty safe bet that you won’t be spending much time alone on the OS 355.
The tongue-and-groove wood floor is as smooth as “Up Town Funk’s” fresh jar of Skippy. This tone-setter is an invitation to relax after a fun afternoon spent exploring Traverse City, Mackinaw, or staying up for a glimpse of the lighthouse ghost at Presque Isle.

Your James Bond moment is achieved with an electrically actuated, custom V-berth seating with fixed cushions that converts into a queen-size Berth. Not only does the bed accomplish a parting of the seas moment, but the solid wood table is also electrically actuated for height adjustment. Okay, so I’m easily amused. It’s still cool.

Center stage, the portside galley comes complete with all  the necessities: 240v dual burner glass cook top, microwave oven, 12v refrigerator, ample storage drawers and cabinets, sink and Corian countertop.

Head and shower are starboard, while the full-size aft berth and 6-inch recessed wood framed, inner spring mattress promise a good night’s sleep. Here, you’ll also find dedicated storage for four rods — out of sight and away from temptation when you’re tied up in the marina.

It’s the little things…

“Now, what didn’t you see?” Bruce quizzes me.

The answer is screws. Somehow, the design team at Pursuit has managed to hide darn near every fastener behind doorframes and surfaces to provide a big boat finish. And it’s not just above decks; as we crawled into the mechanical space, the innovation and attention to detail suggests Pursuit has made it a mission to not only comply with American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) standards but also exceed them.

All water lines are home runs, eliminating known leak areas. Everything is labeled and color-coded. The electric system is built in house. Harnesses fit with no excess wire or crimps. You won’t see this, but everything is labeled on the backside of the separate AC and DC electric panels, making the technician who troubleshoots your boat a very happy camper. Assuming, of course, you have a problem. This near fanatical attention to detail is a hallmark of Pursuit.

“We looked at 10 years of warranty data and removed nearly every failure area possible,” Thompson explains. “From something as simple as beefing up a door jam on the head to an inch-and-a-quarter to keep it super straight, to adding an extra hidden failsafe fireproof enclosure around the electric grill, every inch of this boat is truly new, innovative and designed for improved performance.”

And with that, we finally cast off lines for a test ride. Needless to say, I wasn’t disappointed. Twin 350s made easy work of an unkind sea — the best conditions for nit picking. Honestly, they all run great when the water is flat. Despite my best efforts to create mayhem in the cockpit, with more twists than a weekend marathon of NCIS, the floor storage held watertight. Another Pursuit innovation: The inner liner stays dry, with water being managed before it can reach storage compartments.

Bring a notepad to the dealer and see if you can find all 80 innovations. If the boat meets your budget and needs, I’ll bet you’re convinced long before you even get to 40. 



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