Brave shipyards need brave owners, who buy off plan with nothing to go on but sketches and the sales spiel, trusting the yard to deliver on its promise. For Pershing, whose boats are sometimes a little out there, finding a brave first customer to take the risk on a new model has been crucial to its business, and the owner of the Pershing 140 Touch Me is one of the bravest. The first Pershing 88, which launched more than 20 years ago with a stunning silver paint job—that was his.
The first Pershing 115, four years later, was a massive gamble for the shipyard—he bought that one too.
The 140 is the biggest, most powerful and riskiest Pershing yet—a four-engine, aluminum monster with jet drives and an unfolding beach club, a snub nose and a forward relaxation area with sunbeds and a hot tub hidden beneath heavy electric-hydraulic hatches. Like most Pershings, the 140 seems to offer an intoxicating mix of marvelous and completely mad, before revealing itself on closer inspection to be, in fact, admirably cool and quite rational.
The salon is a clear, comfortable and uncluttered space, because the galley is down on the lower deck, along with the crew cabins. The owner’s suite is on the main deck, with a private lounge area and head, while the four guest cabins, two double and two twin en suites, lie below in a hull which carries its beam well forward. Up top, a bar and spacious seating area sit in the shade of the hardtop, behind the upper helm station. The engine room is packed with machinery as you would imagine, but well fitted out. The inner jet drives are fixed; the outer ones steerable.
When I caught up with Touch Me in La Spezia, Italy, her captain, Guillaume Raoust, a Frenchman who has worked for this Milanese owner since 1998, had already spent a busy summer with the owner cruising from the shipyard in the Adriatic, stopping off in Croatia, Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica on the way.
As befits the captain of a yacht with virtually unlimited horsepower but a finite fuel capacity, he had most of the pertinent facts about its range and cruising speeds committed to memory. “At 2,135 rpm the third turbocharger is engaged, and that gives us a cruising speed of 28 to 29 knots,” he explained cheerfully. “Consumption at that speed is 14 gallons per mile.”
Still, with a 25-ton fuel capacity the 140 can cruise for around 500 nautical miles at that speed—although Guillaume tends not to fill the tanks to the brim to save weight. Her realistic maximum speed in cruising trim, with the 18-foot Williams RIB and one PWC stowed in the stern, is 35 knots. On their long summer shakedown they cruised at 27 knots, visited 25 ports of call—including five for refueling—logged 1,800 miles and burned 27,200 gallons of diesel.
That’s a lot of numbers. And there’s another one that has a bearing on this story. After being the first customer for the 88, and the first for the 115, this owner was actually customer number two for the Pershing 140. Another owner must have seen how much fun he was having, and got to it first.
Pershing 140 Specifications:
Displ.: 551,156 lbs.
Fuel: 7,925 gal.
Water: 1,056 gal.
Cruise speed: 30 knots
Top speed: 35 knots
Standard power: 4/2,600-hp MTU 16V 2000 M96L