Yacht Class n°22 (sept-oct-nov 2020)
Pershing – Ferretti Group
With peaks at 50 knots, the notion of cruise takes on a special meaning. The space / time relationship is turned upside down and we are in the urge to multiply the stops. Especially since the comfort and refinement of the facilities lend themselves to contemplation, for which the time saved in navigation is rightly taken advantage of.
Written by Philippe Leblond – Photos: All rights reserved
The new Pershing 8X is part of the fairly limited caste of yachts, which save time at sea to better enjoy dream moorings and shore excursions. To do this, she uses a hull with fine water inlets, a mass contained thanks to the carbon construction, and above all surface propellers – the mechanical architecture in Pershing’s DNA – which beyond the speed they provide to the 8X, allow her to sign economic returns. Invited to a test in real condition in the bay of Cannes, we were more than happy to take a seat on board. Embark with us for this beating drum test !
The magic of surface propellers
With the help of the stern and bow thrusters, the regular engine idling speed, the smoothness and precision of the electronic throttle and reverse gear controls, port manoeuvres are less delicate, even with surface propellers, a device not really favourable to this type of exercise … In the hands of her captain, the long Italian cigar of 84 feet leaves her location without incident. The technical director of the Ferretti Group takes advantage of the time that separates us from the 300-meter coastal strip, to make it clear that the 8X is not derived from the Pershing 82, but is entirely new, from the keel to the fly. Adding that the construction is 100% carbon fibre (hull, deck, superstructures) to obtain a better weight / power ratio and lower the centre of gravity. Our test boat is the hull number 4 and her planning hull, which displays an angle of 20° at the transom (therefore a rather deep V for a yacht of this size), accommodates two MTU diesels of 2 638 horsepower each, or the optional ride, the basic version being content with the same 16 cylinders in V, but “deflated” at 2 435 horsepower. The powerful German engines here drive shaft lines with surface propellers specially calibrated by Top System for this Pershing. The least we can say is that the result is convincing since we are going to note 50.7 knots at a maximum speed of 2 450 rpm, where the yard announced 48 knots…
A great performance, therefore, which validates a sporty and very pure hull design, with parallel strakes surmounted by a lively chine, but also the weight saving achieved thanks to the carbon fibre construction. This lightness (57 tonnes all the same!) allows the 8X to hover from 1 500 rpm, or 16.5 knots. In the process, the Pershing spreads her wings (like those which support her fly), accelerating energetically as soon as the two propellers have “screwed”, after the usual and necessary phase of ventilation, which makes that the boats equipped with propellers of surface are quite slow to plan. From 1 500 rpm to 2 450 rpm, it’s only happiness, we enjoy seeing the endless foredeck flying over the waves or when looking aft the wake where the propellers tear the sea to erect a crest of foam several meters high, which tilts at the whim of the inner heel of the hull in the large curves that we do one after another with pleasure at the controls of this reactive and precise hull. A delight!
Another argument in favour of surface propellers, their efficiency once the boat has launched. Realize that from 1 750 to 2 450 rpm, or the first significant cruising speed at maximum speed, the returns are almost the same with, whether at 26.1 knots or 50.7 knots, an autonomy that revolves around 300 miles! Therefore, experiencing the top speed of the 8X becomes tempting. After all, at this pace, Calvi is only two hours away from Cannes… A real ride, which can be just as relaxing for the pilot who can, by reducing the speed to 40 knots, control with one hand with the joystick. A first with surface propellers, with electronic attitude control (trims, flaps), as well as the virtual anchor (inaugurated with the 9X). Another measure is that of the sound level. At 1 900 rpm, our sound level meter reads 81 decibels in the master and 77 in the wheelhouse, rather high values, but to relate to the speed, which is already… 35 knots. Well installed in front of his dashboard, both aesthetic and functional, the captain can interact with two “co-pilots” since the 8X offers three beautiful Poltrona Frau leather armchairs. Visibility is excellent thanks, in particular, to discrete fly uprights. Also appreciable, the two side doors giving direct access to the gangways… Despite the presence of the flybridge, part of the roof, above the wheelhouse, opens electrically to ventilate the lower level. The upper cockpit provides almost the same comfort as that of the main deck with three comfortable seats, too. Back at the port, let the crew secure the moorings to take a closer look at the 8X in her static aspect…
Underwater sound system
Yes, but even off, the Pershing seems to be moving! This is thanks to her dynamic profile, due to the expert hand of Fulvio De Simoni, official designer of the brand created by Tilli Antonelli in 1985. With her allure of sport-fly which, while exploiting the upper surface to offer a second position of piloting and a large solarium avoiding invasive superstructures, the Pershing with her metallic silver colour turns heads. Not to mention the rear side wings, which add a “spaceship” dimension. In short, it is difficult not to succumb to this advantageous “figure”, illustrating the philosophy of this project, which has always been geared towards speed. The large swim platform is served by two wide staircases, via 8X logo doors, framing the tender garage where a Williams semi-rigid is housed. The cockpit (22 m2) has a huge solarium, which is added to those of the foredeck and the fly, this triptych of idleness offering an unusual surface. A small salon and a large bench complete this place of relaxation that allows you to appreciate the aesthetic prowess that is the integration of the staircase leading up to the fly in the port carbon wing. Qualified as a sundeck, the fly therefore offers a large sunbed keeping company on the upper helmstation. Still outside, the foredeck consists of a comfortable lounge and a large-sized solarium, all of which can be shaded by the presence of a bimini stretched by four carbon poles. The latter will be appreciated when the lounge is converted into a dinette.
Inside, the layout of the main deck is hardly surprising: between two generous bay windows, there is a large U-shaped sofa, a dining room for six (eight squeezing), then the wheelhouse. Dining room which, on request, can be replaced by a bar with high stools. It should be noted immediately that the kitchen is located on the lower deck, accessible by the staircase, which serves the crew quarters comprising two cabins (one with double bed for the captain, the other with two berths for the sailors) sharing a shower room. As for the guests, they are divided into three double cabins (a VIP in the bow and two twins), each with a bathroom while the owner occupies a large suite, full width, in the centre of the ship: small office, dressing room, refined bathroom frame a 200 x 180 cm bed. Two large “windows” provide natural light. This yacht has everywhere a headroom of two meters.
Finally, it is the Italian company Videoworks who installed the video and sound equipment for the X8, the must being the “Music-Hull”: the possibility to listen to music underwater when swimming or diving near the boat thanks to an innovative Hi-Fi system…