I haven’t had this much fun in a boat since I was 16, driving a little D Class hydroplane, royal blue with a white centerline stripe, that I’d lovingly built over the winter in my brother’s garage. That little race boat was about 80 feet shorter than the Pershing 92 motoryacht that I recently tested and had about 5,200 fewer horses, but it was a screamer whose responsiveness seemed at times an extension of my body as I crouched in the cockpit.
In the Pershing, I found that same sense of being-one-with-the-machine that generally fades as boats get bigger and more luxurious, and — let’s face it — as we get older. This stylish yacht loses none of that sense of performance, capturing the undiluted thrill of a smaller boat while providing considerably more space and safety, as well as sumptuous creature comforts. The Italians have a phrase for such a vessel — barche da sogno — and this is indeed a dreamboat. It brought a broad smile to the craggy face of this most jaded of old boat drivers. Good thing there were no lovebugs swarming Miami’s Biscayne Bay that day, because I’d have been picking them from my teeth all the way home.
The Pershing 92 is very much an international star, Italian-built but clearly as at home in the Americas and Caribbean as she is in the Mediterranean. She is built to a European electrical standard but has converters for U.S. shore power, as well as dual receptacles to handle locally purchased appliances, whether here or abroad. She also is fitted with extra air-conditioning for comfort in Southern waters. When I raised the question of building to Euro standards with U.S. converters vs. building to U.S. standards, Justin Blue, Pershing’s stateside program manager, was quick to respond. He quoted convincing figures on the percentages of yachts in this category making seasonal treks between the waters of the United States or the Caribbean and the Med, both for the owner’s use and to follow the charter trade. Thus, it makes sense that such a yacht, for maximum utility, should have the capability to operate without restrictions in both areas.
Evidence of that international flavor was on full display in the belowdecks galley, at the stern and just forward of the engine room. The galley also serves as the crew’s mess and lounge, convenient to their two cabins, each with en suite head, and is one of the most stylish yet functional arrangements I have come across in a yacht of this size. The complete suite of high-end Miele appliances includes a full-size washer and dryer, oven, cooktop, dishwasher and full-height refrigerator. There are also half-height Miele freezer drawers paired with matching Ernestomeda drawers and cabinets. The drawers open easily and close securely with intuitive recessed latches hidden in between the upper and lower cabinets. Stainless-steel fiddles help keep food on the countertops and off the deck.
Just abaft the galley and easily entered through a watertight door is the engine room. Even with the two big MTU engines and a recess at the top for stowing the tender, everything is reasonably accessible, save a part of the starboard side where the shore-power cable bin intrudes a bit. Routine maintenance is still a snap, though, and for major work, there’s a soft patch over the two 20kW generators The tender’s stowage compartment lifts off completely too.
Pershing’s commitment to choosing the best supplier for each piece of equipment is nowhere more evident than in the lower helm seats, which are a cooperative effort by two specialist companies. Besenzoni manufactured the solid and reliable mechanical components, while Poltrona Frau styled and fabricated the upholstered portions of the seats. Besenzoni also built the passerelle and the two easy-opening pantograph doors to the side decks. Much of the remainder of the interior decor is also by Poltrona Frau, which, like Pershing, is an Italian company with a significant presence in the United States. The company’s website opens with the words “timeless elegance,” and that’s what was apparent throughout the yacht’s interior. Modern and attractive yet eminently functional, the salon and dining area lie just abaft the helm. The salon boasts a spacious area of seating to starboard, with a large L-shape settee and a couple of loose ottomans to provide some flexibility in seating arrangements. A cabinet along the port side houses a pop-up flatscreen TV. The dining area is defined not just by its higher overhead, but by its 45-degree offset arrangement, which parallels the stairway to the guest accommodations forward. An option that incorporates a bar is not yet finalized but should be available on future orders.
Our test boat had the standard arrangement of four staterooms for guests, but an option offers a lower lounge or office in place of the second twin cabin to starboard. Each of the twin cabins on the test boat included pullman berths, and with the largest of the staterooms in the bow and the amidships master, brought the sleeping capacity to 10. Both of the larger staterooms had berths mounted on central recessed supports so that the soft underlighting made them appear to float in space. That lighting, by the way, along with the nicely recessed overhead lighting , is provided by strings of low-wattage LEDs. They are more power-savvy than incandescent light ropes and are safer, because they’re less prone to developing hot spots.
On the main deck, there’s a huge lounge forward, flanked by convenient fender and line stowage compartments. Doors in these compartments provide access to the backside of the lower helm for electronics maintenance. The table, settee and sun pad are inviting, but if this were my yacht, I think I’d spring for the optional Bimini top, which folds into its own stowage space. On the other hand, if you want shade, there’s another table and two benches on the afterdeck, under the overhang of the flying bridge. An additional sun pad resides here as well, atop the tender stowage compartment, with gate-protected steps on either side down to the oversize swim platform. The platform protects the big ZF SeaRex surface drives that so efficiently turn horsepower into knots for this 92-foot speedster.
Up the hatch-protected stairway to port is the flying bridge, a feature that is not readily apparent from the profile of the yacht. That’s even truer now that streamlined fiberglass moldings, styled and gelcoated to blend into the bridge sides, have superseded the stainless-steel railings of earlier builds. The bridge’s helm folds up for use and down for a sleeker appearance at other times, and the back of the helm seat swings forward hydraulically to create additional seating at the table, or down completely to create another sun pad. An immense U-shape settee surrounds the high-low table, and if you reverse the helm seat, the area can accommodate up to 13 guests.
I could go on and on about the clever folding/sliding bulkhead at the after end of the salon — it opens completely at the touch of a button — about the fitted drawers for the Christofle crystal and flatware, and about the good traffic flow patterns and clever space utilization. They’re all important points, but they’re not what’s truly at the heart of the Pershing 92.
What I remembered best, at the end of the day, was Rich Jones, Ferretti’s senior corporate captain, suggesting with a smile that I let go of the wheel and grab the tiny joystick that sat unobtrusively at the center of the console. Wheeeee! I was instantly back in my D Class hydroplane, but this was a 92-foot, 90-ton missile hurtling across Biscayne Bay at a little north of 50 miles per hour. Far faster than I could ever spin the wheel, the stick swung the drives from side to side for turns that threatened to blow out the props and send us into a spin, but didn’t. The 92 was carving donuts as though she were a PWC, so much so that the thought of wake-jumping crossed my mind: But there are, after all, limits to my insanity. Quite simply, it was — as my grandchildren would say — one of the “funnest” days I’ve had in a long, long time. Thanks, Pershing, for a boat capable of reminding me that the heart of a kid still beats inside.
Pershing Yachts, 954-462-5527