The Dusky 278 Open Fisherman is a purpose-built offshore fishing machine. The boat has a transom bracket with integrated swim platform that optimizes the boat’s performance with twin Evinrude E-TEC G2 150 H.O. outboards, while also allowing a full transom for enhanced safety in the cockpit. Each Dusky 278 is built for its individual owner, and can be outfitted as a fishing, diving, or cruising platform. The twin Evinrude E-TEC G2 150 H.O. outboards provide good low- to midrange torque, efficient operation, and many additional features, including the iTrim automatic engine-trimming system, dynamic power steering, and more.
- Transom bracket with integrated swim/dive platform
- Twin Evinrude E-TEC G2 150 H.O. outboards
- Center console and T-top
- Step-down console interior
- Forward seating
- Instrument panel with rocker switches and fuses
- Built-in console forward seating
- Three-piece hull construction
- In-deck storage
- Anchor locker
|Length Overall||27' 8'' / 8.43 m|
Acceleration Times & Conditions
|Time to Plane||5.0 sec.|
|0 to 30||7.8 sec.|
|Props||15 3/8x18x3 rebel|
|Load||2 persons, 1/2 fuel, no water, 50 lbs. of gear|
|Climate||82 deg., 75 humid.; wind: 15-20 mph; seas: <1|
2 x 150-hp Evinrude E-TEC G2 150 H.O.
Contents of Report
The Dusky 278 Open Fisherman is a center console designed with offshore fishing as its primary mission. Dusky is a factory-direct manufacturer. Each model is built to an owner’s specifications. Our test boat was equipped with some comfort features, including bow cushions and a fold-away transom bench seat. The efficient 150-hp Evinrude E-TEC G2 outboards combined with the stepped deep-V hull support the boat’s mission by providing powerful thrust and noteworthy range.
• Dusky-Drive Transom Bracket. The custom transom bracket allows a solid transom for safety and improved performance and maneuverability.
• Deep-V Hull Design. The design of the hull with a sharp bow entry, hard chines, a 20-degree transom deadrise, and running strakes deliver a relatively smooth dry ride.
• Twin Evinrude E-TEC G2 150 H.O. Outboards. These outboards deliver punchy acceleration and clean rigging on the bracket thanks to an integrated steering system.
• Forward Seating. The forward seating doubles as a casting platform when the cushions are stowed.
• Center Console. The center console provides a step-down storage compartment and has a well-organized helm dash.
• Custom Leaning Post. The test boat came with a custom leaning post with aft-facing seating and a built-in livewell.
• Retractable Transom Seating. The transom bench seat folds away for aft cockpit fish-fighting.
• Three-Piece Construction. The hull and liner are bonded together forming a solid structure. The deck-cap adds the gunwale with space below for a toe rail and rod storage.
• T-Top with Grab Rails. Built-in grab rails add safety to the T-top and console windshield.
• Low Price. Because Dusky does virtually no advertising and has a minimal overhead and infrastructure, a small workforce, no dealers, minimal collateral literature, has no boats in inventory, and only builds to order, it can sell its boats for less than most builders.
The Dusky 278 Open Fisherman has a length overall of 27’8” (8.43 m), and a beam of 8’4” (2.57 m) with an estimated dry weight of 4,500 lbs. (2,041 kg).
Top Speed. With the twin 150-horsepower Evinrude E-TEC G2 150 H.O. outboards turning 15 3/8 X 18 3-bladed Rebel props, turning 5800 rpm, the Dusky 278 Open Fisherman reached a top speed of 45.4 mph.
Best Cruise. The best cruise came in at 3500 rpm and 26.1 mph. At that speed, the 10.2 gph fuel burn translated into 2.6 mpg and a range of 230 miles while keeping 10% fuel in reserve of the 100-gallon (379 L) total fuel capacity.
The Dusky 278 Open Fisherman got on plane in 5 seconds, and she accelerated from zero to 20 mph in 5 seconds as well. She accelerated from zero to 30 mph in 7.8 seconds.
Evinrude E-TEC G2 Advanced Technology. The Dusky 278 Open Fisherman is available with the Evinrude E-TEC G2 150 H.O. There are several reasons why these outboards are so economical while providing exceptional torque across the power band.
Among these attributes are an efficient combustion chamber design, a state-of-the-art direct-injection system, placement of the injectors near the spark plugs, a low-friction design, and many other elements, all of which make the Evinrude E-TEC G2 engines some of the most fuel-efficient outboard engines whether compared to other 2-stroke or 4-stroke outboards on the market.
2-Stroke Technology. The Evinrude E-TEC G2 2-stroke design allows for a power stroke on every turn of the crank shaft, while 4-stroke engines have only one power stroke out of four strokes and two turns of the crankshaft. Since every other stroke is a power stroke, roughly twice as much power is applied to the prop shaft than with 4-stroke engines with the same horsepower in the low and mid rpm ranges.
The lower unit is more streamlined, but it also incorporates larger gears, made possible through a simplified electronic control system that uses a small solenoid to actuate the shift function. These and other elements help make the Evinrude E-TEC G2 engines some of the most fuel-efficient outboard engines whether compared to other 2-stroke or 4-stroke outboards on the market.
Match the Boat
The cowls are color-matched to the boat and that’s an easy thing to do as these engines come with the ability to choose separate colors for the top panel, side panels, and even the trademark Evinrude swoosh.
On-Engine Oil Tank. The oil supply is integral to the engine and incorporates an easy-fill oil funnel, eliminating a messy external tank and hose. Most owners will be able to run a full season on a tank of oil. The Evinrude E-TEC G2 offers a simple and easy way to monitor the engine lubrication with an available in-dash oil-level gauge system. There is no need to remove the cowling and check oil level before every use.
With the integrated steering system, the outboard has no hydraulic cylinders, rams or lines to clutter up the stern, just a connecting single hose joining control lines and a fuel line, and four bolts to mount each outboard to the bracket.
The Dusky 278 Open Fisherman is ready for many missions, but her intended use is offshore angling. On our test day we ran in windy, rainy conditions on a protected bay, where she powered through the chop and knocked down the spray from the occasional wake.
At the bow, padded seats wrap around the entire foredeck area. Storage is under all of the seating. The bolsters serve as seatbacks and beverage holders are in the caprail. Aluminum bow rails can be spec’d for added safety.
All Boats Should Have Anchors. While the mission of the Dusky 278 Open Fisherman can be for pleasure boating or fishing, owners should not forget that all boats must have at least one anchor suitable for holding securely in wind and sea state. The type of bottom – mud, grass, sand or rock – requires different styles of anchors. Some anchoring situations also call for more than one anchor to be used simultaneously.
The helm features a center-mounted wheel that our test captain would like to see moved to one side. An electronics box is above with room for the VHF alongside. The compass is in the center at the top of the panel. The main panel on our test boat had a covered storage bin with room for a 12” (30.5 cm) display alongside. This can be swapped out for more dash space for displays.
Rocker switches are at the lower panel and to the left with beverage holders abaft, which will probably put the observers to that side. Analog gauges are above the wheel and the Evinrude ICON control binnacle for the engines is to the right. These controls allow for a host of features including cruise-assist speed control, single-lever operation, and engine sync matching the speeds of all the engines. We also appreciate the neutral detent and the indicator lights as additional feedback.
Our test boat had the Evinrude ICON color touchscreen display on centerline. It’s a versatile display that gives a wealth of information at a glance and also allows for the user to customize the steering and engine trim. If they want the steering to be more responsive with fewer turns lock-to-lock, that can be set on the system.
The iTrim system helps dial in the engine position for every throttle setting and sea condition. And all displays can be repeated on your smartphone or tablet.
The stainless steel steering wheel is mounted to a fixed base, and the four turns from lock-to-lock are, remember, totally adjustable with the ICON touchscreen.
The cockpit starts with open space and two storage boxes in the corners. There’s a bench seat across the transom, but as we said, Dusky builds each boat to the owner’s specifications, so we can opt for removing them and adding a flip transom seat that will allow for even more room for fishing. Even better for anglers, we can consider the transom livewell.
Integrated Steering. With the steering integrated into the engine, there are no hydraulic cylinders, rams or lines to clutter up the stern.
Color Matching Cowls. The cowls are color matched to the boat and Evinrude makes this an easy thing to do. These Evinrude model engines come with the ability to choose separate colors for the top panel, side panels, and even the trademark Evinrude swoosh.
Boarding Ladder. ABYC standards call for all boats to have a re-boarding ladder deployable by someone in the water. It must reach a minimum of 22” below the waterline.
Dusky builds its boats to order, and this gives its customers the opportunity to design their boat to some degree the way they want it. Dusky encourages customers to follow their boat going through the production process by taking weekly photos of the boat in production and posting them on their online forum.
By buying direct from the manufacturer, customers deal with Dusky directly for any questions and/or concerns they may have. Dusky will consult with customers on what features are right for them.
The Dusky 278 Open Fisherman is built with three-piece fiberglass construction, the boat deck is bonded to the boat liner by glassing the two pieces together, which Dusky says provides a stronger, more secure bond between the two pieces, and minimizes shifting components. The overall effect is a more comfortable ride and stronger side walls, says the builder.
In three-piece construction, the liner is pushed directly against the hull. This can equate to as much as 6” to 8” (.15 m to .20 m) of additional cockpit deck space. Three-piece construction allows a “toe kick” area in which anglers feet (and knees) can slip under the gunwale, allowing for increased stability when fighting a fish.
Contact Dusky Factory Direct for warranty information.
Options to Consider
Dusky is a semi-custom boat builder. Customers specify exactly what they want on the boat and Dusky builds the boat to those specifications.
Rugged and reliable are two things that most offshore fishing enthusiasts look for in a center console boat. The Dusky 278 Open Fisherman, with twin Evinrude E-TEC G2 150 H.O. outboards, should meet those expectations. Many anglers prefer the redundancy of two 150s rather and a single 300.
The Dusky-Drive transom bracket adds safety with the enclosed transom and more aft cockpit space for fish fighting. Its downside is the extra distance between angler, wire, and fish that will have to be carefully led around the outboard engine.
Dusky usually has a display at the Miami Boat Show and that is a good place to check out their boats.
Dusky’s three-part construction enhances hull strength while opening space under the gunwales. The hull design with sharp bow entry, wide bow flare, hard chines, lifting strakes, and a 20-degree deadrise at the transom make a smooth, dry ride that everyone will appreciate. The Dusky 278 Open Fisherman delivers performance and reliability that transforms into offshore confidence.