Performing Pardo

The Pardo 50 has an exciting blend of performance and style.

August 29, 2019
Pardo 50 Yacht from above
The Pardo 50’s carbon-fiber hardtop can be outfitted with an electrically operated SureShade to cover the cockpit’s dining area. Courtesy Pardo Yachts

The Pardo 50 is part of a new generation of mega-size walkaround yachts. Instead of a center-­console cabin with a ­portable toilet, there are two ­staterooms, two heads with showers and room for a civilized single-berth crew cabin with its own head.

Is this a long-range cruiser? Nope, but the Pardo 50 is built for long weekends at Bimini, Nantucket or Catalina Island. Even just for afternoon outings with family and friends, there are user-friendly features, including 30-inch-wide teak side decks that lead forward to a 7-foot-6-inch-wide sun pad with pillows, a removable overhead sunshade and pop-in speakers. The bow also features twin couches with a removable table, creating a perfect spot for relaxing after dropping the hidden, retractable anchor.

The teak-clad cockpit is the yacht’s social center, with a six-person wraparound ­settee and a teak table that rises and lowers on a chrome pedestal, and unfolds like origami from cocktail size to a dining table. Just forward is a console with a sink, a two-burner Schott induction cooktop and two fridge drawers.


Name Recognition

Pardo Yachts may be new to North American skippers, but it’s been in the European market since 1973. Cantiere del Pardo has built more than 4,000 vessels, including the Grand Soleil line of sailing yachts to 80 feet. Known for its willingness to customize a design, Pardo builds powerboats using vinylester resins with foam-filled carbon-fiber stringers, solid fiberglass bottoms and foam-cored topsides.

All of this is shaded by a carbon-fiber hardtop mounted on sweptback pylons that are as rakish as the single-piece windshield. The hardtop has six darkened moonroofs, and my test vessel had an electric slide-out SureShade to cover the settee and dining area. Abaft that entertainment area was another sun pad, with adjustable backrests.

Pardo 50 belowdecks interior
While primarily a dayboat, the Pardo 50 has a nearly king-size master berth for overnights and weekends on the hook. Courtesy Pardo Yachts

The sense of volume and light surprised me as I descended belowdecks. The 50’s brightness is aided in part by pale Alpi “timeless oak” paneling and opening ports in each stateroom. The master has 6-foot-3-inch headroom and a nearly king-size berth (80 inches by 65 inches) with walkaround room; it’s 5 feet from the berth to the stateroom door. The en suite head is equally civilized, with a shower measuring bigger than 3 feet by 3 feet. The vessel sink is trendy, and there are Euro-style fixtures. A pullout drawer under the berth, plus hanging lockers with shelving and self-closing drawers in a bureau, provides stowage for a long weekend. This stateroom also has a mini fridge, limiting trips to the galley for a snack.


Forward Thinking

One look at the inverted bow, and an experienced skipper might imagine dings and chips from anchoring, but an entire section pushes outward, carrying a sturdy roller assembly along with a Quick anchor. A video camera tucked in the rode locker, viewed on monitors at the helm, gives the captain a view of what is going down or up. The watertight bulkhead in the chain locker is good protection against collision too.

Like the master, the guest stateroom has over 6-foot-3-inch headroom, a pair of 34-inch-wide berths that slide ­together to form a double, a nightstand, a hanging locker and direct ­access to what doubles as a day head with a shower. No tiptoeing around in the corridor to reach the loo.

Pardo 50 interior from top
The sense of interior volume on the Pardo 50 can be ­deceiving when viewing the yacht from the outside. Belowdecks, there is 6-foot-­­3-inch headroom in the master and guest staterooms. Courtesy Pardo Yachts

But this is a yacht for outside living, with the option for a transom garage that holds a 9-foot-6-inch Williams TurboJet 285 tender that reportedly makes about 44 knots. Abaft the garage, which has rubber rollers for the tender’s launch and retrieval, is a hydraulic swim platform wide enough to stow a PWC.


Given that a crew cabin and a ­tender garage are space eaters, I expected the engine room to be minuscule, but it wasn’t. I dropped down the five-step ladder into the engine room and soon realized I wasn’t alone: There was a Volvo Penta service tech at work. And we weren’t cramped.

Proven Power

The Volvo Penta IPS800s on the Pardo 50 are powered by the Volvo Penta D11, a diesel revered for its use in trucks. The marinized version is an inline six-cylinder with twin entry turbos; a supercharger for low rpm response; and a common-rail fuel system for optimized fuel injection. To maximize engine-room space and lower the 50’s profile, the D11s are linked to the pods using jackshafts, a setup that keeps weight amidships.

I won’t tell you there’s standing headroom (it’s 4 feet, 8 inches), but the walkway between the engines is wide, and he had room aft to kneel sideways, which is why I didn’t see him. The engines on this Pardo 50 were the optional twin 600 hp Volvo Penta IPS800s. Standard power is a pair of 435 hp IPS600s, and an in-between option is 550 hp IPS700, but I’d opt for the 600s as on our Pardo 50—in for a penny, in for a pound.


With the engine package, skippers get joystick controls as well as the Volvo Penta Interceptor vertical trim tabs that automatically adjust to the best running angle. This Pardo 50 also had a Quick gyrostabilizer, adding to stability without cramping the engine room, and a 4-kW Cummins Onan generator.

Pardo 50 moving in the water
The transom sun pad measures 7 feet, 6 inches wide. High gunwales and 30-inch-wide side decks are designed for safe transit around the yacht. Courtesy Pardo Yachts

I settled into the bolstered helm seats abaft the dash with twin 16-inch Garmin multifunction displays, and I put the hammer down. The 50 planes at 12 knots, and 38 knots comes up quickly. This Pardo 50 ran from Miami to Palm Beach, Florida, in lumpy Gulf Stream 3-­footers at a steady 30-knot cruise that was comfortable and dry for everyone aboard. I was told that with 23 people aboard and full fuel during the Cannes Yachting Festival, this same Pardo 50 hit 35 knots.

For the dayboat enthusiast seeking performance, panache and the muscle to back it all up, the Pardo 50 is worth a look.

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