Issue: December 2000
In inimitable Italian tradition, Pershing sportscruisers look sleek and fast even standing at rest, while the luxurious finish and decor makes a conspicuous statement about the lifestyle and success of the owner. The entire range reflects that standard, starting with the smallest model – the 37 – and running right through to the stunning and very spectacular Pershing 88.
A relatively new face on the world stage, Pershing was established in 1988 and joined the internationally renowned Ferretti Group in 1998. It has since been one of the leading lights in the development of sportscruisers in Europe, placing emphasis on a distinctive styling. The oval-shaped portholes of the Pershing 54, the company claims, are the world’s most copied design feature. As well, the Pershing 72 boasted the first use of a turbine engine in a production sportscruiser.
The Pershing 37 was premiered in Australia at the Sanctuary Cove and Sydney Boat International boat shows by Australian importers and dealers Southern Aurora Australia. It proved one of the eye-catchers at both of shows.
The $560,000 price tag may seem expensive (when compared with the likes of the locally built Mustang 3650 at $300,000) but it is wrong to draw comparisons. The Pershing is a different kettle of fish and it’s unlikely that someone in the market for a 3650, or even an American import, will be looking at the Pershing. The craft is a boat for a select few. It is designed to look stunning and is finished to the highest and most luxurious of standards. The cockpit is planned solely around a life of relaxation. It’s a haven in which you wine and dine and entertain friends, or simply sit back and soak up the sunshine. Should you summon the energy for some water-based fun, the generous aft boarding platform will make life easy.
Styling is a very delicate subject, with a fine line existing between something that is stunningly successful or downright ugly. Take the ubiquitous radar arch for example – do you rake it forward or aft ? How high and thick should it be ? For what it’s worth, I think the Pershing designers have got it just about perfect! This arch blends very smartly into the hull lines to enhance the appearance, as well as providing the base structure from which the biminis are installed.
A U-shaped lounge provides ample seating, supplemented by two forward lounge seats. The table, raising from its flush-fit into the cockpit sole, enables snacks or a small meal to be served for two to six people. Handily placed too is the wet bar opposite, while the galley is just a few steps away inside the saloon. The saloon is a knock-out! Its light tones emphasise the spaciousness, and the contrast that results from the light cream leather upholstery, linings and carpet, against the clear high gloss cherry wood trims is pure class.
The configuration is time-proven. A large open-plan saloon extends either end into double berths; one raised in the bow and screened off with curtains, and the second (a transverse berth) tucked under the cockpit sole. A large U-lounge wraps around the forward area of the saloon, so you need to step over this lounge to get into the bow berth. The lounge also doubles up as the dinette, although the table would probably be best for serving snacks or an intimate dinner for two. A compact but fully equipped galley, with plenty of storage space, is located to port. The bathroom is opposite, a feature of which is a moulded seat built into the shower recess (anyone who has tried to keep their feet while showering when the boat starts rocking will appreciate its usefulness).
On the business side of things, the Pershing comes standard with a pair of shaft drive 350hp Caterpillar diesels. These are good for a top speed around the 36-knot mark and will produce a nippy 30 knots at the recommended cruise RPM for these Cats. Access to the engine room, which also houses air conditioning, gen set, hot water etc, is quite direct, with the electronic hydraulic rams raising the complete aft sundeck. There is also extra storage space available.
From the driver’s perspective, there are aspects of the Pershing that are quite different to what we’re used to seeing. First, there’s the portside helm station – not unique but certainly rare. Then there’s the latest in electronic throttle and gear control, which are extremely light and smooth to operate. It only takes the slightest movement to instigate an immediate response from the engines. The controls also feature an electronic touch-pad for engine synchronisation, over-riding the dual throttle controls to allow one lever to work both engines. There were a few times that I found myself accelerating or shutting off power more suddenly than I would normally want to do, throwing both myself and those on board off balance. But after becoming familiar with the operation of the synchronisation, and the throttle’s sensitivity, I found the controls a real delight.
Also catching me by surprise was the mid- to high-speed turning characteristics of the Pershing 37. The first time I put the boat into a turn, I began to pull more lock on the helm as the boat healed – to my astonishment, instead of pulling tighter into the turn, the boat kept running straight. Pulling the power back and coming to a stop I turned to dealer Mal Hardwick with a look of complete bewilderment, only to see him smirking back. He apparently was used to seeing this response from first-time drivers of the Pershing. This boat needs the throttles to help turn her. Ease power down on the inside engine and keep it up on the outboard engine, and the hull comes around like a thoroughbred. Again this all takes a little familiarity, but soon the peculiarities of hull performance and handling become second nature to the skipper.
The Pershing 37 is the boat for the owner who doesn’t just want to attract attention – he wants to retain that attention. He wants a boat that says he has made it, and a boat that looks distinctive, looks very European, and extremely luxurious. As a harbour boat, an entertainer’s boat, the Pershing has few peers in its size range. It is also a high performance bluewater boat with the facilities to provide the ultimate in comfort and intimacy for a weekend away.
Story by David Toyer