It is not often that we have the opportunity to examine two nearly identical but competing motoryachts side by side. We jumped at the chance to test the newest Mangusta 92 to arrive in the United States and the recently launched Pershing 92, both open-style vessels built in Italy, similar in spirit but different in approach.
Story by Shaw McCutcheon
Side-by-side comparisons of yachts are usually difficult because of differences, subtle or not, as well as each builder’s natural fear of coming out on the losing end of the assessment. But two 92-foot open express cruisers—one a Pershing, the other a Mangusta—offer a remarkable apples-to-apples comparison, and provide a fascinating look at how two boatbuilders approach the same niche market.
Wide Open Interpretation
There is a wide range of “open” motoryachts on the market, but they all have certain common characteristics: a planing hull, high-speed performance, a moderate range and an emphasis on an outdoor lifestyle featuring sleek, aggressively styled pilothouses with large open aft deck areas. Pershing’s American Product Manager Justin Blue describes the “perfect” open-yacht buyer: usually male, in his early 50s, he typically owns his own business or is a CEO. He likes to fly his own jets, drive race cars and generally enjoys the adrenaline-filled aspects of life. A family man with a busy schedule, he only has time to take his family on long weekends and short trips. “He needs to be able to get out there fast, and come back fast.”
Both Pershing and Mangusta have fashioned most of their vessels around the open concept. Pershing has been building fast open motoryachts since 1985, and now builds eight models ranging from 50 to 115 feet, all creations of Italian designer Fulvio de Simoni. The 92 (an extension of a discontinued 88-foot hull design, which later became a 90-footer) is an updated version of a successful and sophisticated model. Compared to the Pershing 90, the new 92 comes with updated styling, different garage door at the transom, a slightly larger sun deck and an optional helm station topside.
Giuseppe Balducci started building Mangustas in 1985, in the family-owned Overmarine shipyard in Viareggio. MarineMax became the company’s exclusive US dealer in early 2011. There are now nine Mangusta models on the water, ranging from 72 to 165 feet (a 205-foot all-aluminum Mangusta is in the tank-testing stages), most of them created by noted yacht designer Stefano Righini (Overmarine does its own naval architecture).
The company’s design philosophy reflects an emphasis on finding the right mix of high-performance, classic design criteria and the quality of various systems and components. “Overmarine has a consistent and enduring design/build philosophy. High technology and performance, no compromises on safety, the finest-quality vendors for all the components and helping clients build exactly what they want,” explains Bob Fritsky, vice president of MarineMax. Overmarine “wants to build [its boat] like a Mercedes, so that it lasts longer.…You’re buying something that looks classic and retains its value for a long period of time both in aesthetics and in its build quality. That’s an important part of the design philosophy.” He notes that Overmarine builds the hull and power plant for the 92 and then waits for a buyer who can totally customize the interior.
The 92 shown at the 2011 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show and the boat we tested is Hull No. 28 of this very successful custom series.
Apples to Apples
The Mangusta and the Pershing have a long list of comparable features and dimensions. The Mangusta is slightly longer and more beamy, but has a smaller draft (please see the side-by-side comparison in the specifications box). Fuel capacity for the Pershing is 2,378 gallons. The Mangusta has 53 gallons less capacity. And both vessels have identical standard power plants: two MTU 16V 2000 M94 diesels.
They do, however, have a number of different features that make the comparison truly interesting. For instance, they have different propulsion. The Pershing 92, like all Pershings (except the 115) has surface drives. For models 92 foot and up, Overmarine equips its Mangustas with Kamewa waterjets.
Full-load displacement for the Pershing is 81.6 metric tons; the Mangusta tops out at 90.2 tons, a difference that is partly due to construction methods. The Pershing’s hull is cored with lightweight balsa, while the Mangusta has a solid fiberglass hull, plus added equipment necessary to meet European requirements for yachts larger than 24 meters, subject to stringent rules that mandate extra equipment. Each builder follows rules of different classification societies. Mangustas also are certified by the French classification agency Bureau Veritas (BV) and built to MCA specifications, which stipulate rigid fire safety and construction requirements. Pershing meets Italian classification society RINA’s specifications.
The day we tested the Mangusta the seas were virtually calm, while several days later when we boarded the Pershing there were two- to four-foot waves. Both boats were running on 3⁄4 fuel loads, with a half tank of water. It should be noted that this was only an informal test using onboard computers, and the numbers we got are approximations that could vary depending on loads and environmental conditions. Pershing advertises the top speed of the 92 to be about 41 knots, while Mangusta states a more conservative 37-knot top speed. On the day we ran the boats, however, the Mangusta managed to get up to almost 40 knots, while the Pershing hit 41.8 knots. Each boat found the minimum planing speed at about 17 knots, but the Pershing’s surface drives required an initial spurt of up to 22 knots to get on plane before settling down at the slower speed. We also conducted an acceleration test and found that both boats went from zero to full speed in about 80 to 90 seconds. And while we didn’t actually test it, we’ve seen elsewhere that jet-driven boats such as the Mangusta can careen from full-out to a dead stop in nearly a single boat length in a spectacular display of boat-soaking sea spray.
In terms of range and fuel use at different speeds, the boats were very similar, although at the mid-range it seemed that the Pershing with its surface drives was a bit more efficient than the jet-driven boat. At idle speed (8 to 9 knots) with both boats, the range was about 850 to 875 nautical miles. The Mangusta’s 17-knot planing speed was achieved at 1,675 rpm, which consumed 104 gallons per hour. The Pershing achieved planing speed at 1,500 rpm, giving it a 96-gallon-per-hour rate. Each company stipulates cruising speeds that provide the most optimum performance and range. For Mangusta, the sweet spot is 32 knots, and Pershing’s is 38. At top speed, the Pershing’s fuel use was 270 gallons per hour; the Mangusta’s was 266. The official range of the Pershing is 385 nautical miles; Mangusta comes in at 300 miles. In our test, the ranges of both came out somewhat differently: At full speed, the Pershing came out with a 368-nautical-mile range; the Mangusta had a 350-mile range.
Yachts of this size normally have a crew: The Mangusta has berths for four crew just forward of the engine room; the Pershing has three crew berths in the same area. This said, part of these boats’ sex appeal is that they’re fun to drive. The waterjet controls are rotating throttles that turn each jet in all directions, with sometimes dramatic results astern, while the surface drives require fine-tuning of the trim (with equally explosive rooster tails) to find the optimum performance. For the novice or lazy pilot, the surface drives can be set midway into the water and simply left there, but it’s more interesting to tweak the drive angle to fine-tune the boat. And with both boats, the sense of speed is like an optical illusion: At 40 knots the sea gracefully glides past in slow motion; only when you step outside and feel the wind do you sense how fast you’re going.
Life Onboard: Let There Be Light
Beyond the performance, each boat has a slightly different approach to the overall design and interior arrangements. The open concept that defines both—the comfort of a bright, naturally lit interior—is interpreted in slightly different ways. For example, the Mangusta we saw features a large retractable overhead that brings in sunlight through much of the main-deck salon. The Pershing, on the other hand, has opted to combine the aft deck and main salon into one space by allowing the aft doors normally separating the two areas to drop into the floor. Both boats feature large windows lining each side of the salon and the helm station forward to bring even more bright daylight into the interior.
If living in sunlight is one measure of the “open” motoryacht, then Pershing goes a bit further in this direction than Mangusta. Both boats have large sun pad areas forward. Mangusta customers can prop themselves up on tiltable sun pad sections (a la chaise longue), while Pershing devotes a space between the sun pad and the pilothouse to a U-shaped settee and coffee table. Moreover, Pershing has put a flybridge with another sun pad and a second helm station atop the house. Mangusta has a radar arch over the aft part of the house, while Pershing installed its radars and antennae on an extension of the pilothouse aft. The design lowers the Pershing’s overall profile but puts the forward part of the cockpit area in the shade. A bench seat in the cockpit converts to a sun pad, but the overhead extension tends to keep it in the shade.
Dining arrangements are also somewhat different in each boat. The galleys for both boats are aft belowdecks, accessed through portside stairs. In the Pershing, the owner’s party would normally eat on a table set athwartships in the forward part of the cockpit under the overhead extension. Bench seats on both sides (the forward seat is convertible to the aforementioned sun pad) can seat up to eight. On the Mangusta, the settee coffee tables convert to a dining table, and chairs normally stowed away are brought out to complete the seating for eight. (As noted earlier, a Mangusta buyer can completely customize the interior, and the boat we saw had an additional dining table in the salon.)
Both yachts have garages in the transom that house tenders. The Mangusta’s garage can hold a 13-foot jet-powered tender, but if a personal watercraft is purchased, it’s stowed on the swim platform. A centerline passerelle doubles as a crane to lift both vessels on and off the boat. Pershing, on the other hand, can house both an inflatable tender and one personal watercraft in the garage itself. The swim platform can be submerged so they can be lifted on and off the boat with rollers and a simple electric pulley system.
Generally speaking, the interior arrangements and layouts of each boat are similar: three or four (owner’s choice) staterooms belowdecks forward, while the galley astern belowdecks also doubles as a crew mess. If a family is part of the equation, each builder offers a three-stateroom version that converts the fourth stateroom to a media lounge. The kids can hang out there while the adults play topside. Both companies offer Pullman berth options that can allow up to 10 guests in the four-stateroom versions.
In the end, we found each boat had advantages that reflected the builder’s philosophical preferences. The Mangusta is more heavily built and contains some ship systems more common to larger yachts, but the Pershing is faster and a bit more nimble. The Pershing has more options for hanging out outside, but the Mangusta feels a bit larger inside. The performance of each vessel was similarly predictable: The heavier Mangusta had a bit less speed and range than the lighter Pershing. Both vessels appealed to the Alpha male, and both have family-oriented options. With a range of between 300 and 400 miles, neither is meant for long-range cruising, but both are good for weekend jaunts to favorite retreats. It may be that a buyer looking to choose may be forced to revert to that familiar, time-honored approach to decision-making: eenie, meenie, minee, mo…. ■
For more information on the Pershing, contact the Ferretti Group Flagship Showroom, 954-760-6530, or alliedmarine.com, or internationally, visit pershing-yacht.com
For more information on the Mangusta, contact MarineMax, at 954-347-6769, or marinemax.com, or internationally, visit overmarine.com
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LOA: 91ft. 9in. (27.97m)
LWL: 78ft. 8in. (23.98m)
Beam: 20ft. 5in. (6.22m)
Draft: 5ft. 5in. (1.65m)
Displacement(full load): 89.73 tons
Fuel Capacity: 2,378 gal. (9,000L)
Water Capacity: 317 gal. (1,200L)
Top Speed: 41 knots
Power: MTU 16 V 2000 M94 diesels
Propulsion: Surface drives
Generators: 2 x Kohler 23kW
LOA: 92ft. 9in. (28.27m)
LWL: 75ft. 11in. (23.14m)
Beam: 21ft. 8in. (6.60m)
Draft: 5ft. 3in. (1.60m)
Displacement (full load): about 90 tons
Fuel Capacity: 2,325 gal. (8,800L)
Water Capacity: 370 gal. (1,400L)
Top Speed: 37 knots
Power: MTU 16V 2000 M94 diesels
Propulsion: Kamewa waterjets
Generators: 2 x Kohler 27kW
Classification: Bureau Veritas