Hustle & Flow
When an 84-foot yacht goes over 40 knots in the open ocean, it’s a marvel of maritime engineering. After a breathtaking sea trial in the Atlantic off Ft. Lauderdale, I can attest that the new Pershing 8X ably carries on the shipyard’s tradition of building Italian yachts that run like the ballistic missiles they are named for.
Not only is the 8X a speed demon, but it also is a blast to drive. “It’s a fun owner/operator boat,” said Capt. Joe Yaghy, who accompanied us on the sea trial. “It’s like flying a plane.”
The 8X has both upper and lower helm stations, and they each offer a different driving experience. The lower station is like the cockpit of a private luxury aircraft, except that there are three ergonomic helm seats so you can have two co-pilots. The sightlines are excellent through the huge, one-piece windshield (an engineering feat unto itself because it has no center upright) and the sweeping salon windows. Overhead is a large electric sunroof. Pantograph doors on either side open to the walkaround side decks to facilitate docking.
Gallery: Pershing 8X
On our test boat, four large Simrad monitors displayed the state-of-the-art system the Ferretti Engineering Department developed in collaboration with surface drives manufacturer Top Systems and other vendors to integrate the yacht’s monitoring, navigation and propulsion, and let the driver control it all with the touch of a finger. Also available in the larger Pershing 9X, this system includes a Xenta joystick control that ties the surface drives and thrusters together for enhanced maneuverability while docking and departing. Capt. Yaghy gave us an impressive demonstration of this while extricating the 8X from its slip in the Ferretti Group’s hangar-like Ft. Lauderdale headquarters and then rotating the boat neatly in its own length into the adjacent canal.
The navigation and monitoring systems on the 8X are seamlessly integrated by the Naviop Loop system and displayed on the Simrad monitors. Our yacht featured a Dynamic Global Positioning System (DGPS) that enables it to station-keep in one place while the driver is waiting for a bridge to open or a spot at the fuel dock.
The 8X also featured a new version of Top System’s innovative EasySet system, which optimizes the yacht’s trim by automatically adjusting its level depending on the sea state. The control panel for this system, which is displayed on one of the Simrad monitors, allows you to bypass EasySet in favor of manual control when desired.
Our yacht was equipped with two Seakeeper 9 gyros. The captain demonstrated their efficacy in sloppy 3-foot seas by positioning the boat beam-to and then switching the Seakeepers off, which allowed the 8X’s deep-V hull to roll. When he switched the gyros back on again, the yacht snapped upright and level once again.
Operating a high-speed yacht with surface drives can be daunting, but all these advanced-tech systems combined to make driving the 8X significantly more manageable. Doing so from the upper station on the flybridge added yet another level of exhilaration to the experience. With no hardtop and just a venturi-style windshield for protection, “wind in your hair” took on new meaning. The upper station also has three comfortable bucket seats—the helm is on centerline—and features a pop-up helm electronics array with two large Simrad MFDs.
According to Pershing’s test results, the new 8X delivers speeds in excess of 48 knots with optional, 2,638-hp MTU 16V 2000 M96L diesels—which is the propulsion package we had in our test boat. The wind and waves picked up during the course of our sea trial, so we were unable to run all the way through the speed curve in both directions, but I did see 46.5 knots on the GPS display.
In addition to the yacht’s monster MTUs, carbon fiber construction is the reason this large cruising yacht is capable of such speeds. The interior features luxurious amenities, but all the cabinetry and other components (apart from the heavy one-piece glass windshield) are carefully engineered for ultimate weight savings.
In addition to performance, Pershing’s other mission statement for the new 8X was style. “The design goal was to make it look fast when it’s not moving, making you go, ‘Wow!’” said Ferretti Group Chief Commercial Officer Stefano De Vivo.
The yacht’s “go-fast” exterior styling was created by the Ferretti Group’s in-house team in collaboration with yacht designer Fulvio De Simoni. A particularly distinctive design element is the 8X’s port “wing”, which artfully combines form and function. Gracefully sweeping out and over the walkaround, this unique, carbon-fiber structure incorporates the stairway to the flybridge from the aft deck. This is quite a departure from the stairs on the Pershing 9X, which are solidly integrated into the yacht’s superstructure. The tradeoff is it provides more space on the aft deck, allowing for a larger alfresco dining area.
“Most Americans dine outside on the aft deck,” said De Vivo, explaining that many of the design decisions on the 8X were made with U.S. customers in mind. “Pershing’s number one market is the U.S.,” he said, adding that nearly 50 percent of the yachts are sold here.
The “wing” stairway design also opens up the back of the salon, which has a massive glass sliding door and retractable window. Traffic flows into the yacht’s contemporary interior co-designed by Italian leather furnishings brand Poltrona Frau. The 8X’s helm station, appropriately, is upholstered in Poltrona Frau’s “Interior in Motion” leather. Minimalistic and chic, the 8X’s interior looks more like an urban penthouse than a beach cottage. “The Pershing customer likes design first of all,” De Vivo said.
In the spot where the formal dining table would be on most yachts in this range, the 8X has a bar with built-in sink, refrigerator and icemaker, perfect for entertaining. The galley is down and amidships, accessed by a separate stairway with a door to prevent cooking odors from drifting up to the salon. It’s nicely laid out and fully equipped for owners who prefer to do their own cooking, but due to its proximity to the crew’s quarters, it functions as more of a service space than an owner area.
The yacht’s sleeping accommodations lie at the foot of a private stairway forward. The 8X is available with four staterooms, but De Vivo said Pershing’s American customers typically prefer three. The fourth cabin on our test yacht was converted into a media lounge, where owners can have private time away from guests on the main deck, or where kids can play games and watch TV.
Opposite the media lounge is a twin stateroom that has its own private access to the day head. The VIP stateroom forward, and the large, full-beam master stateroom amidships, each have large en suite heads. All three staterooms also have rectangular windows looking out at the sea. This is a priority for Pershing’s customers, said De Vivo, along with practical considerations such as storage, which is maximized throughout the 8X.
“It’s aimed to be used at sea when you are out with family and friends,” he said.
Pershing 8X Test Report
Pershing 8X Specifications:
Displ. (loaded): 147,710 lbs.
Fuel: 1,638 gal.
Water: 343 gal.
Test Power: 2/2,638 MHP MTU 16V 2000 M96L
Price: Upon request
The Pershing 8X features an innovative new entertainment system called the “Music ∙ Hull” which turns the yacht’s hull into a high-definition speaker. The system was designed by the Ferretti Group Engineering Department in collaboration with Videoworks to let swimmers and divers near the boat listen to music underwater. The yacht’s VOTIS infotainment system lets guests select and play their favorite tunes via a device that integrates all the remote controls on board the boat, and they also can operate the system via their phone or tablet. Yacht Rock never sounded so good!