Yacht Class n°13 (june-july-august 2018)
P for Pershing, but also and on top of it, for performance. The latest born of the range, the 9X, definitely honours this well-deserved reputation. But it would be a mistake to catalogue her in the sporty class since she is also designed for comfortable cruising.
Written by Alain Brousse – Photos : All rights reserved
1985. The trio Tilli Antonelli, Fausto Filipetti et Giuliano Onori registered the name Pershing and launched their first model, a 45 foot, in collaboration with the architect and designer Fulvio de Simoni, who will become the brand’s talented signature. All of them committed to the sporty open category all the more enthusiastically since speed was back then a very popular criterion. And as soon as the surface drive has proven to be an efficient system to add a few knots (an aft centre of gravity close to the water surface), Pershing adopted it. It is now a part of its prestigious trademark, thus we were unsurprised to learn that this Pershing 9X’s two MTU 16V2000 M96L (2 x 2 638 hp) were coupled with such transmissions, from Top System. To complete this assembly, the shipyard opted for Rolla’s propellers, a brand famous in the offshore races world. With such a state-of-the-art technology, the 9X has no margin for error. And we were there to verify it.
Two magic numbers
We started our trial with a major test : the manoeuvres to leave our berth. Even fitted with surface drives, not famous for their docility and efficiency (hence the switch to the bow and stern thrusters), the Pershing 9X has a useful joystick. Crab steering, a 360-degree pivoting… it manoeuvred with an ease and accuracy close to the pods’ one, as we could see from the Pershing’s sportfly helm station. With on starboard, a post card landscape, Porto Venere, and south, the horizon, conditions were perfect to see if surfaces drives have become more efficient over the years during the lift-off initial phase. And the result was actually pretty good since it took sixteen seconds to reach 20 knots from standstill. Yet, then, we had to be patient (almost a minute) to discover the two magic figures : 43 knots, one more than those provided by the shipyard. Even if we are now reconciled with the idea that speed is being outshone by environmental protection, we definitely appreciated the moment the Pershing seemed to fly above the water. The highlight was actually to have a look at the liquid parabola forming at the transom, especially when the sun is bright. We are among those who appreciate the show delivered by surface drives. Note that the captain can either use the trim manually or in automatic mode. In the first case, a seasoned pilot can manage even better results. The hull deep V is a bit sensitive, but it remains acceptable, especially since the Pershing shows a fierce determination. We must admit that the hydraulic steering system facilitates the mission of the captain. However, the electrically adjustable seat seams high for the wheel. Note that she has a correct visibility for safe piloting. This place also displays an impressive console, conceived in collaboration with the design studio Poltrona Frau. According to the performance curve, we estimate her “economical” cruising speed at 1 800rpm (a good 560 l/h !) which represents 27 knots and a 433 miles range.
Hats off to exterior comfort
When admiring her in profile, her silhouette does not immediately disclose the upper space. Yet, the Pershing 9X offers a sportfly of about 30m2. With its U-shaped settee (a table can also be set up there) and vast sunbed for six, this place calls for idleness. We must also mention the helm station : three chairs and a dashboard adapted for long navigations. For those who might regret an inverted windscreen, do not forget that this equipment alters the exterior design. Fulvio de Simoni has also understood the potential of a foredeck. Thus, the Pershing’s was designed to ensure the comfort of passengers, be it at anchor or in the port. Such as her rivals, she offers a sunbathing area and an outdoor salon, but it must be recognized that this one is very generous in terms of comfort. Last place to review for us testers : the cockpit, which stands out thanks to its generous and unique conception. The saloon area with its square table for six to eight and its L-shaped sofa standing against the bay window. Above the stern is located a sunbed. The hydraulic swim platform in teak immerses itself to facilitate the launch of the tender or the jetski, yet it does not dive too deep because of the surface drives coming out of the transom. Note that it is possible though to turn this place into a beachclub.
Well-conceived and decorated cabins
Usually, open hardtops feature a unique space generally gathering the main salon, the dining area plus a raised open wheelhouse. The Pershing is no exception. This space is ergonomic and pleasant, thanks notably to the decoration conceived by Poltrona Frau, a design studio recommended by the shipyard and mandated by the owner. Note that despite the horizontal reinforcement bar cutting in their middle the halfway up windows, this place is bright, which should delight passengers. On starboard, a staircase leads first to an independent toilet space before serving four en suite cabins (with his & hers bathrooms in the master). The nearly oversized master presents seducing volume (a well above average headroom) by its conception and decoration. It offers many cabinets (dressings and drawers), plus a nice sea view and small opening portholes to let salty air in. The forward cabin, a VIP, features a double bed placed obliquely, which left some free space for a spacious bathroom with an independent shower. To complete this lower deck, two twins but also a crew area with two cabins (three berths in total), accessible via the portside of the cockpit.
With this 90-foot looking like a “thoroughbred”, performant hulls enthusiasts should be more than satisfied. Especially since the Pershing 9X also offers appealing indoor and outdoor layouts.