More than a decade ago at one of my first boat shows in South Florida, I ran into a photographer who was fond of boasting about his latest trips. He’d say things like, “Oh, I just took a little trip over to such-and-such,” name-dropping some exotic locale that he figured I, a newbie to the yacht biz, had never been to or even heard of. He’d then proceed to rattle off a few other places where he’d soon be shooting. Never one to enjoy the company of braggarts, I quickly grew tired of his blather. So when he walked up to me at the show and said, “Oh, hi, I just got back from Bimini,” mentioning the name of a cruising boat that averaged in the 20-knot range, I replied sarcastically and without missing a beat, “Yeah, that two- to three- hour trip must have been a real chore.”
Chances are you’ll never encounter this photographer, as he’s long retired from the business. But you probably will meet one or two (hopefully not more) fellow boaters who like to boast about bopping over to Bimini for lunch. You can put 'em in their place with the Pershing 90. In fact, you can literally drive circles around them and still make happy hour at a beach bar on another island in the Bahamian chain. And you’ll do so aboard a decidely upscale open yacht that features some novel interpretations of enclosed and alfresco spaces.
So just how fast is the 90? Pershing says she tops out at 44 knots (50.6 mph) and cruises at 38 (43.7 mph) with a light load. If you’re familiar with Pershings, likely you’re not surprised this 69-ton yacht is a speedster—but you will be once you compare these figures with the ones we obtained in 2001 when we tested the 88, which the 90 replaces: a top speed of 35.4 knots, or 40.8 mph, and a best-cruise speed of 20.8 knots, or 24 mph. Part of the reason why the 90 is faster is her engine package: twin 2,435-mhp MTUs, versus the 88’s 1,830-hp DDC-MTUs. One thing that hasn’t changed, though, is the fact that she’s also equipped with Arneson surface drives—specifically ASD 16Ls that are customized for the 90—a standard feature that Pershing president Tilli Antonelli tells me is particularly popular with his American clients.
The 90 may be the replacement for the 88, but unlike some builders who introduce a slightly larger model, Pershing didn’t just add two feet and call her new. Indeed, while the 88 exudes macho muscle, the 90 has a more sophisticated spirit. Her saloon is a good example. Flowing from the aft-deck doors right to the helm (where both a copilot’s pedestal chair and a small chaise lounge to port cater to guests), the space had an airiness that grabs your attention right away, even with an onyx-topped bar taking center stage plus a C-shape leather settee and wenge coffee table to starboard. But soon you’re looking in wonder at the dark-stained wenge sole—that is, if your attention hasn’t already been drawn upward due to pindot lighting in a wenge strip, mimicking a starry evening sky.
This article originally appeared in the February 2007 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.