The Pershing 70 hits the marks on performance, aesthetics and cruising comfort.
By Alan Harper
Ever heard of the Lockheed Lancer? Thought not. How about the Republic Rainbow? Grumman Super Tiger, anyone? All these great-looking aircraft had one thing in common: They never quite made it, because it’s not enough to look good. You also need to deliver on form and function—you need to have beauty and brains. That’s a concept Pershing Yachts has embraced in its more than 30 years of building yachts, and with the new Pershing 70.
While nothing is more fundamental to a performance yacht than performance, the practicalities of cruising life are just as important. The Pershing 70’s twin 1,623-horsepower MTUs and straight-line speed of more than 46 knots are only part of the story. Light on the helm and perfectly poised underway, the 70’s handling inspires confidence, tracking precisely in the hardest turns while heeling like a runaway car on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
The 70 also exhibits the latest in performance thinking, with Italian-made Top System 85P surface drives and an automatic trim system controlling the drives and flaps—and removing all the guesswork, whether you’re easing the yacht onto plane or trying to run at the most efficient cruising speed. Pershing began fitting the automatic trim system after learning that some captains weren’t achieving the figures that test crews recorded, because subtle changes in drive trim can have a disproportionate effect on speed and fuel efficiency with surface drives. The software is calibrated to maintain engine load at an optimum 80 percent, raising and lowering the drives according to water density. During our sea trial, even in turns, the inner drive raised and the outer one lowered much faster and more accurately than most humans could manage. A NaviOP display keeps you informed on the positions of drive legs and trim tabs, while two green lights indicate when the engines are operating at the requisite load.
Like all Pershings, the 70 is designed to reward the skipper, and clever innovations add to the fun of taking the helm. But she is also a cruising yacht, offered with two- or three-cabin layouts. In both layouts, a small, practical galley is below to starboard, keeping the deck salon unencumbered. The master suite is amidships with big hull windows and a cool, cantilevered berth, while the VIP in the bow can only seem modest by comparison. The twin-berth third cabin on our test boat was a reasonable size and had plenty of stowage, although opting for the lower salon in its place would add a luxurious sense of space to the lower accommodations area.
Folding tables designed in-house at Pershing are a nice addition to the salon and cockpit, and an external handrail along each side of the superstructure is so cleverly incorporated into the design you might not realize it’s there. The descending glass cockpit bulkhead, too, is something of a Pershing trademark, cleverly and seamlessly joining the main deck spaces. Huge windows and a large opening sunroof help to create a salon with vast amounts of natural light.
The interior décor is similarly characteristic of the shipyard’s style, with beautifully executed detailing, plenty of chrome and leather, and reflective surfaces used intelligently to maximize the sense of internal volume.
And somehow, there’s still more. Distinctive “wings” that wrap around the sides of the cockpit look like a design indulgence, but they add privacy and security to the aft areas as well as funnel wind past the cockpit when underway, canceling out the “station wagon effect” that sucks spray back on board and covers everything with a dusting of salt. Whether this was the intention when these swooping forms took shape on the drawing board, Pershing isn’t saying, but they look great and they work, and that combination typifies the Pershing approach.
As we returned to port from our test run, I ran a finger across perfectly dry and salt-free cockpit cushions. The moment only reaffirmed the conclusion I had already drawn: This is a yacht with beauty and brains.