50 Express Cruiser — By George L. Petrie —
|Powering up in the shallows or punching through seas, the newest Pershing packs a wallop.|
Be careful what you wish for. This timeless adage struck me as I recalled the remark I had made a few days earlier, when Shannon McCoy, marketing director for MarineMax, asked me what the plan was for testing the new Pershing 50. Ignoring the apparent contradiction in my reply, I said, “Let’s try to find some decent-size waves so we can see how she handles a seaway and some flat-calm water to do our speed runs.”
As test day dawned, the wind was blowing like stink out of the southeast, and had been for several hours. Official weather advisories put the seas at six to eight feet in the Fort Lauderdale area, with the prognosis that it would get worse before it got better. Heading out of the Fort Lauderdale inlet, I got a sense that the weather advisory was a bit on the low side. Darren Datson, Pershing’s product manager, and I were the only ones heading out. Big motoryachts that would normally run up and down the coast were keeping to the Intracoastal, and even battlewagons were heading in. Working the 800-hp MANs between 1200 and 1400 rpm, we muscled our way out of the inlet, thinking that the precipitous waves might abate as we got offshore a bit.
Wrong. In mountainous seas, we more than once launched the entire hull off the crest of an oncoming wave, briefly lost in a trough, only to have the bow rocket skyward as the next breaker roared in. Two things impressed me most. First, the hull never seemed to slam or pound, its V bottom landing in the troughs as gently as a cat on thick carpet. Second, though there was plenty of wind-blown spray, a wide chine and generous bow flare kept the foredeck surprisingly dry.
There was little doubt we had fulfilled my first goal, finding “some decent-size waves” to assess the Pershing’s abilities in a seaway, and taking the seas head on, she was more than equal to the task. Just for a moment, as we prepared to turn back toward the inlet, I wondered how we would fare when we put those towering seas on our beam. No time to worry about it, and no need either, as it turned out. We did a quick 180, poured on the juice, and dashed for the inlet on the crests of the following sea, with nary a cause for concern.
Finding “some flat-calm water” for our high-speed test runs necessitated a 90-minute trip south on the Intracoastal to an open stretch just north of Miami Beach where we could run at full speed. Along the way, I learned what Pershing was trying to achieve with the new design, particularly in relationship to its existing 52-foot model. In short, the builder had three objectives: updated styling, an improved drivetrain, and more competitive pricing.
Since the company’s inception, Pershing has maintained a consistent styling theme that makes it one of the more recognizable brands on the water. Over the years, most recently with the introduction of the Pershing 76 Next Generation, the style has evolved but has never radically changed. And so it is with the Pershing 50, also in the Next Generation lineup, the next step in the company’s evolutionary chain.
Some of the styling changes are subtle, like the rounded tail fins and faux vents near the stern on either side. Other nuances combine functionality with eye appeal; for example, a tiny rail of stainless steel placed behind each mooring cleat not only looks classy, but it keeps dock lines from rubbing on the deck edge and scuffing the fiberglass.
This article originally appeared in the May 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.