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Pardo GT52

Like its first ever GT model, the Italian boatbuilder is set to shift into high gear.

It’s hard to compete with the Italians when it comes to vino. In northern Italy, the Emilia-Romagna region especially is renowned for its gastronomic and wine-making tradition, so it’s a destination for the bon vivant set. But it’s also home to one of the most fertile grounds for a different kind of varietal: boats. With Bologna acting as the seat, this stretch of land is home to grapes, yes, but all manner of world-renowned shipbuilders as well, including Cantiere del Pardo, which has been perfecting the art of sailboat craftsmanship for decades (for proof, see Grand Soleil). In fact, next year is cause for celebration as it marks the company’s 50th year in business.

Thankfully, there is a lot to celebrate—and not just where the wind blows. At press time, the Pardo GT52 has splashed, and is already undergoing sea trials in the Adriatic. GT, of course, stands for gran turismo, which is a nice indicator of where the company is heading. Pardo Yachts entered the market in 2016 with the Pardo 43, a walkaround cruiser, and quickly followed it up with a 50 and 38. All three are marked by a T-top and plenty of sunpads, and who can forget that unmistakable inverted bow? Such an eye-catching signature on the stem has made its way to the new Pardo Endurance 60 and now the GT52. (Or, if you want to be really cultured, the cinquantadue.) But that’s only the beginning, as the two are merely the precursor of soon-to-be-expanded ranges that will undoubtedly push the powerboat side of the company in a couple interesting directions.

If the E60 is emblematic of long-range cruising, the GT52 has a need for speed. That’s evident in the arrow-straight, well-proportioned lines, which are the right kind of sleek and sporty and worthy of the gran turismo designation. That’s all thanks to the naval architects at Zuccheri Yacht Design, who have developed every Pardo powerboat since the 43 with the exception of the E60; however, they liberally borrowed some ideas from the Endurance line to keep things all in the family. (Il sangue non e acqua, as the Italians say.) There’s the same reverse-raked windshield as found on the E60 that assists with reducing glare. It also helps with water run-off, which is good for a boat that has a projected top-end of over 30 knots, and to my mind, just looks right on the GT52.

The GT52 is based on the same hull as the Pardo 50, and has the same engine options, starting with the Volvo Penta IPS650 and increasing in power with the IPS700 and 800, “but it’s a totally different boat,” said designer Edoardo Zuccheri. “It has a larger interior volume, of course the deck is completely different and it’s got a superstructure that the Pardo 50 hasn’t.” The difference between the two (both outfitted with the most powerful engine package) should be a couple knots. If true, that’s an incredible feat of engineering considering the GT52 has to contend with a smaller, lighter T-top on the 50. “Of course, if you’re not interested in going fast, you can choose the smaller IPS,” added Zuccheri. “But I think a majority of customers will option the 800.”

And yet, it’s not all about horsepower. Pardo is deeply committed to providing comfort for its clients, too. For help with almost everything above the waterline, the builder collaborated with Nauta Design, who previously designed the interior spaces on the E60. With the fully enclosed hardtop, walkaround sidedecks and large al fresco dining area in the cockpit, the GT52 is really a melding of the best features taken from Pardo’s existing cabin cruisers and Endurance line.


Pardo has fielded an array of client feedback to help determine how the GT52 will be utilized. As you might expect, they received a ton of differing responses depending on who was asked, be it overnighters, weekenders or the day crowd. Their answer? Make an already versatile segment even more versatile, with a sliding salon door that opens up the interior, and an al fresco area that can convert to a sunpad to rival the forward area. It also doesn’t hurt that the swim platform has been engineered to safely handle a Williams Turbojet 325 and even a jet ski. “We tried to consolidate everything inside a single boat,” said Marco Gugnoni, a designer in the technical department at Cantiere del Pardo. “It’s quite complicated [laughs].”

I haven’t even mentioned the attention-grabber yet, which is a built-in option for a galley up or galley down. When asked, Zuccheri mentioned he personally favors the galley-down version, but Pardo has received about equal interest for the galley-up—including the American owner of hull number two. “The galley up is more for a weekend, or shorter length uses. In general, what’s the big benefit of the galley up? You save time. No need to climb up and down,” said Luca Pedol of Nauta Design. “The galley down allows the upper area to be fully devoted to lounging, which is nice for those spending longer durations aboard.”

As for those interested in spending more time aboard, they’ll be happy to know the GT52 comes with three cabins: an en suite master, a VIP and a crew cabin with bunks that works double duty for younger boaters. The master is situated in the bow, with a lateral-facing bed to gain as much interior volume as possible, while the VIP and crew cabins are located amidships. Altogether, the GT52 can sleep at least six people in comfort. Not too shabby for a 54-foot-long yacht.

Cantiere del Pardo has already sold 11 hulls of the GT52, which will be making its U.S. debut at the Ft. Lauderdale boat show in October. Production is ongoing at their Forlì facilities, where over 100,000 square feet of space is used to manufacture both sailboats and powerboats side by side. At present, the company produces more than 30 sailboats and 120 powerboats a year, according to Gugnoni. But they want to get up to 50 and 200, respectively.

“We want to increase production without sacrificing quality,” he said. To that end, a 30,000-square-foot addition is in the works to provide enough room for their skilled laborers to churn out more yachts than ever before. And they’ll need that additional room to hit such lofty numbers, including plans to build 20 to 25 GT52s next year alone. An Olympic-sized test pool was added recently, as the former could only accommodate a maximum of 60-foot yachts. “We built a new one because for sure we are going to produce a new boat in the range from 60 to 80 or 90 feet,” added Gugnoni. That means an expansion on all three model lineups in the short term. And yes, he assured me even the superyachts will have that same inverted bow, the one “you can recognize with just one look.”

Zuccheri echoed his sentiments: “I can only borrow a phrase from Frank Sinatra that the best is yet to come.”