There’s something reassuring about riding in a dual-console boat when the weather kicks up, especially if it has a hardtop. Being able to close off the centerline walkway to the bow and the center pane of the windshield helps a lot to ward away spray and rain. If the boat has a set of fitted weather curtains to seal the gap between top and windshield, it can even make early spring and late fall days on the Chesapeake tolerable for hardy folks who love to extend those seasons.
On our test day last fall, the facilities on Pursuit’s new DC 246 prompted exactly that reassurance on a choppy lower Chester River. With its digital Yamaha F300 purring, the boat showed off a sweet hull design, running easily within its best efficiency range of 19–28 knots (4100–4700 rpm). Top end was 45 knots at 6,000. The Pursuit lamination crew’s craftsmanship showed off in a solid feel at all speeds, with sharp bottom strakes and broad chines damping all spray. Even with 21 degrees of deadrise in the running bottom, motion was easy on the drift, thanks to those steadying chines.
This is a top-quality boat, built to high standards by experienced teams using modern design, engineering, and manufacturing processes at Pursuit’s long-time plant in Ft. Pierce, Fla. Because the company has an extensive working relationship with Yamaha Marine, that design process carefully developed the DC 246 for good balance, performance, and efficiency with their F300 outboard. At 25’8″ length overall, it’s large and able enough to handle any weather a prudent Chesapeake skipper should venture out in from the Virginia Capes to the Susquehanna Flats. Even so, it’s small and simple enough, with a single engine to be economical to run, maintain, and even tow on a dual-axle trailer for exploring a variety of waters on the Bay and its rivers.
Pursuit began as a fishing boat brand of the Slikkers Family’s S2 Yachts, Inc. in Holland, Mich. in 1977. Production shifted to Ft. Pierce when they built their original plant there in 1983. The company produced its first dual-console models in 1992 and has been refining those offerings ever since. In 2018, Malibu Boats acquired Pursuit from the Slikkers family and began a two-year expansion of production facilities in Ft. Pierce. The company has won a CSI Excellence award from the National Marine Manufacturers’ Association every year since 2003.
With its dual-console layout, the DC 246 serves well for pure boat rides, picnics, and tow sports. A concealed, telescopic bow ladder invites visits to beaches and sandbars. Twin bow lounges, comfortable helm and companion seats, an innovative aft-facing seat with pullout lounge to port, and folding seats for three at the transom serve the former use, while a rugged but easily removable tow pylon serves the latter. A 60″-long centerline locker between the consoles stores boards, tow toys, and other large gear when not in use. There’s a big storage locker in the starboard (helm) console, along with secure racks for the tow pylon and a table for the bow cockpit.
The port console holds a head compartment/changing room with a choice of portable or mounted toilet, the latter with a holding tank. It also offers a freshwater sink, a counter, and storage boxes in the door. That door curves overhead to ease the process of backing into the space, though we found the headroom tight for tall people while sitting.
A sturdy transom door to starboard provides access to a broad stern platform wrapping around the engine. To port, the platform holds a storage compartment for lines. To starboard, it houses a telescopic boarding ladder for swimming and towing. The Yamaha’s digital electric steering and HelmMaster EX digital electric throttle and shift controls all run neatly through one conduit, making for compact rigging that keeps the whole transom platform clear for walking around.
But Pursuit builds fishing boats, and the DC 246 is no exception. This boat would adapt to any Chesapeake fishery except the flats of Tangier Sound or the Poquoson River. Add the optional four rod-holders on the hardtop’s legs and four more on the top’s after edge to supplement the four in the gunwales. The hardtop and rod holders offer multiple rigging options for trolling, including streaming planer boards. The transom holds a 15-gallon, blue, insulated livewell to port and a 31-gallon insulated fishbox in the center. Opt for a wet bar behind the helm seat for a cutting board and freshwater sink, with a 45-qt. Yeti cooler beneath. Bow and stern cockpits offer plenty of space for anglers to jig over a reef or cast to breaking fish while the skipper watches the (optional) Garmin 8612XSV display with Airmar CHIRP through-hull transducer for charting and fish spotting. There’s plenty of unobstructed space in the bow to throw a cast net for filling the livewell. The standard through-stem, galvanized 14-lb. plow anchor with 150′ of ½” rode and 10′ of chain provides holding power for bait-fishing trips. A windlass and stainless anchor are optional.