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 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.
The 8X features 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.
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.
According to Pershing’s test results, the new 8X delivers speeds in excess of 47 knots with optional, 2,638-hp MTU 16V 2000 M96L diesels—which is the propulsion package we had in our test boat.
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 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 Ferretti CCO Stefano 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. —Louisa Beckett
Displ.: 147,710 lbs.
Fuel: 1,638 gal.
Water: 343 gal.
Test Power: 2/2,638 MHP MTU 16V 2000 M96L
Cruise Speed: 30 knots
Top Speed: 47 knots