In September, while on a flight back from from Europe, I read an in-depth and interesting article on the state of the yachting industry in a well-respected financial newspaper. There was certainly nothing earth-shattering in the piece, which reported on the state of sales in the superyacht industry. But as I bounced around at 35,000 feet, trying to figure out if I should go with chicken or pasta, I came to a line that struck me as a bit odd. The author stated that the yacht market will improve once "conditions become morally acceptable" to purchase a boat. Ouch, morally acceptable. I'm going to be out of a job!
Look, I'm empathetic to the sentiment and sensitive to the time we live in, but I'm sorry to say that owning a boat-especially one like the Pershing 64-may never be morally acceptable. Something this fun to drive, with such unapologetic styling, knows jack all about a moral code-this rocket ship has sin city written all over it! This Italian's design is all about self-indulgence. Let's say you're in Ft. Lauderdale and have the hankering for some fresh conch and a Kalik-just point your bow east. With the Pershing 64 under your feet, you can arrive in Bimini's crystal-blue waters in about an hour, armed with a hearty appetite. Or if you're in New York and need to attend a morning meeting in Manhattan, but promised the kids a weekend at the beach, Block Island can be in your sights in about three hours. Sinning has never felt so good. Of course, this path of hedonistic excess is weather permitting, but the Pershing 64 won't scurry back to the barnyard at the first sign of foul weather. Indeed, it wasn't that long ago that a rough passage on a boat powered by surface drives, which the Pershing uses, could test the operator's skill and patience. In order to keep the boat glued to the water in the rough stuff, the drives had to be trimmed down, thus increasing the load on the engines and eventually the temperature. Before you knew it, alarms and bells were blaring in a symphony of confusion-an engine failure always loomed on the horizon.
However, advancement in both engine and surface-drive design has cancelled this horror show. "Most people who complain about surface drives have never driven them," says Darren Datson, Pershing's U.S. director of sales. Datson's point-that in the marine world strongly held convictions are sometimes based on misinformation-is unfortunately quite true. I admit that I had a not-so-pleasurable experience many years ago delivering a smaller boat with surface drives, and formed a flawed opinion. Driving the Pershing 64 off the south of France was the antithesis of that ill-fated looking at ways of reducing that in the future," he offered. I had to wonder if I'd be as hyper-sensitive to such noise on a bridge boat, and we were also hitting more than 40 knots in a fetching swell-a small price to pay for a little sin.
While at cruising speed, we opened the sunroof and the stowaway after bulkhead, and turned this hardtop express cruiser into an open model. Pershing's engineers have done an admirable job of eliminating wind noise in these open areas at higher speeds. This clever arrangement also provides interior versatility by allowing the salon to double as an indoor/outdoor space. Unlike the 62, which the 64 replaced, the upper deck is finished with more wood and interior appointments, and feels less like an exterior space On the 62, a lower salon was offered, which I always felt was strangely out of the way and not that functional. On the 64, there is no need for this area. During the day, you'll want to open everything up to join the aft deck with its L-shaped settee, teak table, and a sunpad. Guests can easily converse between the two spaces. At night, when you require a more intimate atmosphere to kick back, the aft area can be closed off, allowing guests to relax and dine around the U-shaped settee to starboard. The straight buffet that's opposite camouflages the retractable flatscreen television.
The helm setup for the North American version will feature two separate helm chairs, versus the bench seat on our test boat. Regardless of which continent you're boating on, either version will have a stellar line of sight thanks to the expansive, one-piece windshield. This is a key element in a yacht designed for high-speed endeavors.
The galley is tucked away on the port side and presents an optical illusion of sorts. At first, I thought, hmm, kind of small. Upon further inspection, I realized I was wrong. There is more than enough counter space to make most meals. Our test boat featured a microwave, refrigerator, freezer, and a dishwasher. On the U.S. model, a pocket door will slide across the top of the galley steps to hold back any stumbling youngsters.
Below the salon deck, the master stateroom expands across the entire beam. Two large side windows run nearly half the distance between the sole to overhead, flooding the area with light. This treatment combined with the light joinery avoids the cave-like atmosphere of similar express designs. There is a his-and-hers head arrangement and a large hanging locker with dressing area.
Two guest staterooms are forward, including an en suite V.I.P. cabin tucked into the bow. The twin-berth guest stateroom offers another en suite head and the U.S. model will have access from the passageway to the head.
With the introduction of the Pershing 64, the builder now offers nine models ranging from 46 to 115 feet, although Datson acknowledges that the 64 will most likely represent the "entry" level Pershing for buyers in North America-that is, if you find such a boat morally acceptable. Sinner.
Allied Marine Group, (954) 462-5527; www.alliedmarine.com