If you’ve never heard the name Pardo before, don’t feel bad. The Italian motoryacht brand launched just four years ago with a 43-footer, following it up in 2019 with the Pardo 50. But this is no Johnny-come-lately boat manufacturer—Cantiere del Pardo, based in Forlì, Italy, has serious yachtbuilding cred. Since 1973, the independent shipyard has manufactured the internationally renowned Gran Soleil racing and cruising sailing yachts, producing more than 4,500 hulls up to 80 feet in length.
Pardo is Gran Soleil’s lean, mean powerboat brother. Designed by Cantiere del Pardo in collaboration with Zuccheri Yacht Design, and featuring an aggressive reverse bow, edgy lines and wide-open cockpit, the Pardo 50 attracted a lot of attention during its U.S. boat show tour. Although it was developed with the luxury express cruiser market in mind, the 50 takes the express cruiser concept and stands it on its head. For one thing, its profile is angular rather than sporting the traditional curves Americans are used to seeing on express yachts. Instead of having a multi-level cockpit, it has a flush, open deck that can hold 25 to 30 people. (We recommend doing this only at the dock.) And, while it has two staterooms and a hull designed for offshore performance, this yacht’s design brief is clearly more luxury dayboat than long-range cruiser.
In the main cockpit—the heart of the Pardo 50—is a generous, U-shaped settee with dining table. It is served by an outdoor galley, concealed in cabinets built into the carbon fiber hardtop supports. Galley equipment includes a grill, sink, refrigerator and optional icemaker; two freezer drawers pull out from either end of the settee. An electric shade extends from the hardtop to shield this area from the sun. It’s easy to envision owners and their guests hanging out in this cockpit from dawn to dusk, and beyond.
The Pardo 50’s belowdecks layout offers two staterooms and two heads. The headroom below is impressive—over 8 feet in the companionway and 6 feet, 2 inches in the master stateroom—something you would never guess when looking at the yacht from its exterior. Skylights contribute to an airy ambiance. The generous master stateroom with queen berth and en suite head with separate shower lies forward. The guest stateroom, which has twin berths (and lower headroom due to the cockpit overhead) has private access to the day head. The interior decor is minimalist but elegant, with leather accents incorporated into the furniture and cabinetry.
The engine compartment, which lies beneath the cockpit, has surprisingly high headroom: 5 feet, 7 inches at its entry. Then, you have to duck. Even so, access to the engines and equipment is easy and well thought out. The Pardo 50 that I sea trialed has upgraded engines—twin, 600-hp Volvo Penta IPS800s instead of the standard 435-hp 600s—and they still fit neatly in the space allotted. The boat also is equipped with a Cummins Onan generator and an air-cooled Quick MC2 X gyrostabilizer, and there is still plenty of elbow room to work in the engine compartment.
Out in the Atlantic, in calm seas, we opened up the throttles until the boat hit a top end of 35 knots. Backing down to an easy cruising speed of about 28 knots at 2600 rpm, I cranked the wheel into several hard turns; the driving experience, cushioned by the Pardo’s comfortable helm chair, was first-rate.
According to Babarovic, Cantiere del Pardo is now able to produce as many as 100 Pardo motoryachts per year. Delivery time for the Pardo 50 to the U.S. is approximately six months after you sign the contract; shorter, if you fly to Forlì, take delivery of the yacht at the shipyard and cruise the Med before shipping it home—a delightful option. —Louisa Beckett
Displ.: 32,849 lbs.
Fuel: 520 gal.
Water: 132 gal.
Test Power: 2/600-hp Volvo Penta IPS800
Cruise Speed: 28 knots
Top Speed: 35 knots