Barry Thompson flew to Italy by Cathay Pacific, to review the Pershing 56, on the azure waters off Senigallia on the Adriatic Coast.
Intense performance, a rich and multi-faceted temperament and luxurious comfort – the Pershing 56 is a craft that stands out immediately for its decisively aggressive profile and captivates any audience with the versatile variety of its innovative contents.
These words in Pershing’s press release on the Pershing 56 aptly describe what the boat is all about. When I think luxury performance boating I immediately put the Pershing brand in the same context. Italian to the finest degree of style and innovation, Pershing boats are a harmonious blend of everything that I like in a big, fast, ballsy boat: speed, style and engineering excellence.
The external profile of the Pershing 56, dominated by its bright white and silver colouring, is a prime example of Pershing style. A mere glance at the boat is enough to appreciate the harmony of its profile, made even more aggressive by its distinctive black band and inserts.
The craft’s immensely powerful character is truly expressed through the emotion of speed. Thanks to two MAN 1360hp engines coupled with Arneson (ASD 12L) drives, the Pershing 56 can cruise comfortably at 46 knots but runs to a staggering 49.5 knots, even when fully loaded.
I was in Italy for a few days to look over some of the Ferretti Group products and do a couple of boat reviews, one of which was the Pershing 56. In calm waters off the picturesque town of Senigallia, Pershing’s resident ‘test pilot’ Marco Lanari introduced me to Planet Pershing! No sooner had we left the confines of the small marina, the throttles were nailed and immediately the 56 reacted with amazingly rapid acceleration as 2700hp was unleashed. From zero to 49 knots took 55 seconds and 30 knots to 45 knots, just 10 seconds.
Right from the start you appreciate the agility of the hull and how it responds instantly to commands. It tracks as if on rails and turns without excessive heel, while all the time providing a safe and secure feeling for those aboard. Although Pershing advertises a 48 knot top speed I managed to get 49.5 knots @2350 rpm on the GPS. At 1560 rpm it was running a sedate 28.5 knots and at the designated cruise range around 2100 rpm was back up to 44.5 knots.
Designer Fulvio De Simoni’s has produced an interior design layout that exploits space optimisation to the extreme. The layout is ample and spacious, thanks to the ingenious three-level structure that maintains lofty cabin heights and offers an amazing interior layout.
The Pershing 56 is available in either a three-cabin or a two-cabin layout. Whilst the three-cabin is more popular in Europe and certainly in Australia/New Zealand, the two-cabin is very much built for the US market.
The main difference in the below decks layout is that the two-cabin version has a lot more space generally, as the central guest cabin has been removed. The layout consists of two large cabins with en-suite bathrooms and a third day head and a lunch area that combines the galley and dinette into one large open space.
The dinette is fitted with an extendable table seating eight people and an L-shaped straight facing sofa. Here an attractive innovation is the translucent glass and aluminium partition that separates the galley from the living area. This has the advantage of separating the area completely without giving the impression of less space.
The galley has a stylish stainless steel worktop, inbuilt sink, microwave and four-element ceramic glass hob. There is also a large Bosch fridge and freezer plus dedicated racks and stowage for utensils and crockery.
On the same level, in the bows, is the VIP cabin with a large double bed in the centre, two large, built-in wardrobes and a comfortable en-suite bathroom.
Moving further down to the intermediate level there is a handy access area with a daytime head and a stairway to the starboard cabin with twin single berths.
Situated at the centre of the boat in a sideways position, is the vast master cabin suite, which is spacious and luxuriously furnished. If you feel like really relaxing in style, the head of the bed can be raised to transform it into a chaise-lounge.
The cabin displays the Pershing’s class and top-level design in every detail. The highly original open space design is achieved with another sliding translucent partition that separates the en-suite while still allowing light to filter through from the large side windows.
In the two cabin version this master stateroom is even bigger, with an extra sofa and a large chest of drawers, and the traditional wardrobe has been replaced by a generous walk-in closet. Even the bed is bigger, and a series of compartments enable even the corners to be used to the full.
The interior fittings are in pearwood, with wengé (dark oak) undersides and inserts in ivory lacquered wood. A matt finish is optional and all flooring timbers are teak. The coloured acrylic basins have also been carefully chosen to fit in with the style of the interiors and add an extra sense of design to the furnishings. Thanks to the translucent elements that characterise these areas, the spacious master cabin bathroom is kept discreetly separate and even when completely open it reveals only the furnished parts to maintain the sensation of a totally open space.
A few years ago when I reviewed my first Pershing I was impressed with the full opening cockpit roof, with a fabric screen that slid fore and aft on sail tracks. Pershing has taken that a step further now, with a light carbon fibre hard top that slides back electrically to open the area to the sky. The forward facia and high-tech instrument panel are finished in a matt pearl grey so as to absorb reflected light.
The Pershing 56 has a number of functional and innovative features guaranteeing safe and easy access that immediately catch the eye. The side walkways leading to the bows and an ample sun cushion are wide and comfortable to walk on. The forepeak anchor locker is fitted with the Pershing “chain airbag” system, which ensures the chain runs smoothly and doesn’t move when underway.
Space has been optimised in the stern garage too, which houses a 3.20m Zodiac hydrojet tender with a telescopic gangway that also acts as a crane for launching. At the centre of the stern deck is a practical hydraulic ladder that makes it easier to get in and out of the water.
Right from the moment of boarding every aspect of the craft is extremely inviting. The stable and practical gangplank leads past an ample sundeck on the left, straight into the spacious, comfortable cockpit, boasting dimensions as big as a real flybridge. From there you enter the living area, furnished with two L-shaped sofas, one on the right and one on the left, an extendable table that can seat eight people and a cabinet fitted with an outdoor kitchen including a barbecue, sink and fridge.
Part of the second sofa on the left lifts up to give access to the crew cabin that is directly below and fitted with its own private facilities and wardrobe. Further towards the bows is the helm area which includes the command console. In addition to the two pilot and co-pilot seats, this area also includes on the opposite side a comfortable high sofa that combines with a chaise-lounge to form an “L” shape.
Under the seats there is also an icemaker, which completes the many commodities available to those entertaining in the cockpit area. There are a number of innovations that have been introduced with regard to previous models. These new features again underline the ultramodern style of every element installed aboard the Pershing 56.
With its aggressive outer profile and the soft cosiness of its interiors, the Pershing 56 is a superb combination of design solutions. Ample spaces and decisive technological innovations, high level performance and special design features, all come together to make this model the ideal choice for those seeking a luxuriously appointed performance cruiser.
- Boat Design Name: Pershing 56
- Year Launched: 2006
- Builder: Pershing S.p.A
- LOA: 18.10m
- LOH: 17.60m
- Beam: 4.80m
- Draft: 1.35m
- Displacement: 26.7 tonnes (Unladen)
- Max Speed: 49.5 knots
- Cruise Speed: 45 knots
- Construction: GRP & Composites
- Fuel Capacity: 3200 litres
- Water Capacity: 740 litres
- Engines: Twin 1350hp MAN
- Drive System: Arneson ASD 12L