I often judge a boat by the sounds she makes coming off waves. Blasting through the Adriatic at 40 knots, I heard no sound as the Pershing 52's deep-V met the water softly. A few bigger seas stirred up by a circling Pershing 88 left me bracing for an impact that never came. There was no creaking, no banging, no hard pounding-only a few fellow guests leaning into the breeze and shouting, "Yippee!
Sure, some other yachts offer a similar experience, but none combine such performance with the yacht-like accommodations this 20-year-old builder produces. Pershing is a production builder, but a fair amount of handwork still goes into each of its eight models, ranging from 37 to 88 feet LOA (and a new 115 in the works). Pershing yachts are fun to drive, but they're also meant to host family and friends for many hours, until it's time to head home.
"If you want to cruise around the coast, the other boats are fine, said Nada Serafini, Pershing's sales manager, standing on Italy's eastern coastline. "But if you want to head to Croatia for pasta, and then back, you buy a Pershing.
The 52's hull, designed by Fulvio di Simoni, has a set of chines flowing from the bow, just above the waterline. A second set begins aft at the lower edge of the swim platform and runs forward. These provided lift and shot her out of the hole quickly during my visit and test, which were courtesy of Pershing.
Our test boat's twin 10-cylinder 1,050 hp MAN diesels coupled with a pair of Arneson surface drives pushed her to a top speed of 47 knots, even in a messy sea state. Pershing also offers twin 800 hp MAN diesels that provide a top speed of 42 knots, according to the builder. The way I look at it, though, if you're going to play, you might as well go all the way.
I've had some misconceptions about surface drives in the past, specifically regarding handling ability at low speeds. But Pershing, one of the largest purchasers of Arnesons, has refined the combination. Because of the 52's high horsepower, skippers may find it easier to engage one engine while maneuvering in tight quarters. I would also use the optional trolling valve, which reduces the idle speed to a manageable level. The standard 7 hp bow thruster certainly makes things easier, as well.
The accommodations and finish on our test boat lived up to Pershing's promise of an entertaining platform, whether it's pasta in Croatia, conch in the Bahamas or steaks on Catalina Island. The 52's helm deck has a U-shape settee surrounding a table. A sunpad is abaft the settee. The walkway between the table and opposite wet bar is wide, even with the table fully extended. Guests sitting in this area, below the windshield, won't be able to see forward while under way, but the sculpted side windows afford great views.