The new Pershing 108 from the builder famed for speed revs into high gear and leaves a lot of control at the fingertips of a thrill-seeking owner, while still operating nicely at lower speeds
The seas were quite lively on the day of the sea trial on this high performance yacht with the aftermath of a storm the day before still evident on the water. With waves of perhaps 1.5 metres, the 108 simply powered through them with relatively little motion. It was only at full speed that you become conscious of the waves, and then it was mainly because of the noise from the wave impact rather than the movement of the yacht. The 108 is fitted with the ARG gyro stabilisation system, unique to the Ferretti Group. But this was not used during our sea trial, and it was only at slow speed or when stopped that the waves seemed to have any influence on the hull.
It was a powerful performance from a motor yacht that is designed for high top speeds, but remains flexible on speed as well. The Pershing 108 was equally happy operating at 20 knots when it was still on the plane or when the engine speed was reduced right down to virtually idling speed on the three engines. At idle, the 108 would trundle along nicely at ten knots, which would extend the range out to 1100 miles. An interesting aspect of the design is that the fuel consumption per mile actual reduces as the 108 reaches top speed, demonstrating the efficiency of this hull with its 15-degree deadrise and its surface drive propulsion system. It handles like a sports boat, heeling into turns, but main deck helm station, you get no impression of speed. That can be a little disappointing, but then again, you can get the wind-in-your hair experience by going up to the flybridge, where you encounter the 50-knot gale that is sweeping across the deck. In fact, at full speed, the flybridge would be barely usable.
Designing a very high performance motor yacht that conforms to MCA requirements is quite a challenge, but Pershing has some experience in these matters. This new 108 fits in well between their flagship 115 and their 90, completing a wide range of performance yachts and it would have been easy to follow the trends set by the other yachts in the series. However, it is very evident that Pershing has started with virtually a clean slate when designing this 108 because there is so much innovation in the design. “To create such an innovative yacht and still conform to the MCA requirements was a considerable challenge,” commented Andrea Fabretti the head of Ferretti’s Advanced Yacht Design team.
Fabretti has calculated that the MCA requirements added about five tonnes of weight to the yacht. This extra weight comes partly in the form of the extra equipment required and partly in the weight of the piping and other fittings that are required to meet MCA standards. Fabretti has no complaints about this extra weight because there was no option but to meet these standards. However, it does take about two knots off the top speed with the 108 reaching 43 knots instead of the expected 45. There is one benefit from the extra weight – it helps to keep the yacht glued to the water in lively seas.
When the design of this yacht was being developed, there were several propulsion options to be considered. The Pershing 115 has water jet propulsion, which works well with the gas turbine option offered with this yacht. However the designers felt that for the 108 they would revert to the Arneson drives which is the standard system on all of their smaller performance yachts. Then there was the question of whether to fit the conventional two large diesel engines or to go for a triple engine installation. When the sums were done it became obvious that the triple engine solution was the best.
The designers chose three V-16 engines from the 2000 range of MTU. This yielded nearly 8000 horsepower, while a pair of larger engines from MTU’s 4000 range gave close to 8500 horsepower. The two would balance out in terms of performance because the extra power of the 4000 series engines would add about nine tonnes more in weight so there was little difference there. Two other factors made the big difference however, one of which was the space required for the bigger engines. These engines would have taken away much of the space occupied in the hull by the crew quarters because of the larger size of the engines. Then there was the cost, with two of the larger engines costing nearly €500,000 more than three of the smaller engines. This difference comes about because the larger engines are mainly hand-built, compared with the mass production of the smaller 2000 series engines.
This is an interesting comparison that other yacht designers might want to consider. Certainly by carrying out this study the Pershing designers have come up with the optimum performance for this relatively heavy sports yacht. Extra weight may detract from the top speed but a heavier yacht will have less movement in waves, and this 108 is one of the best high performance yachts tested in terms of sea-going performance. You actually need to look astern and note the massive rooster tail thrown up by the surface-piercing props to the impression of speed on the 108.
The flybridge fits snugly into the profile of the 108, with sculpted side rails adding to the security. The helm station up here is an option, and because there is good visibility from the lower helm station, it is not necessary to have the flybridge helm option. The flybridge is a great open space, with novel fold-out sun loungers making the best use of the space and a large settee and fold-out table making this an optional dining area with a barbecue counter providing the food and drink.
The raised helm at the forward end of the lounge is impressive, dominated by three adjustable helm seats. This is the focus of the action at high speed, and with its Arneson Drives this is a yacht that needs some human input to maximise the performance. There are levers everywhere: two for the flaps, three for adjusting the trim of the Arneson Drives, three throttle levers that can be combined in one and a tiller steering option as an alternative to the wheel. Matching the complexity of the controls are the displays, some for monitoring, some for navigation and one for the video cameras. This complex of controls emphasises that this is very much a yacht built for owners wanting some fun at the wheel.
On the main deck aft cockpit area, a table, settee and chairs offer an outside dining option, while the main dining area is at the aft end of the saloon where there is a beautiful tooled leather table that can be served from the galley one deck below. This dining area can be connected directly to the cockpit because the saloon doors can be made to disappear downwards into the deck.
The main part of the saloon is for lounging, but the settees here are set too low to allow an outside view, which might be frustrating. This is one area of compromise in the design, with the outside styling proving more important that the view from inside. It would also be good to see some handholds installed in the interior to make it safe for guests to move around this high performance yacht at speed.
Down below on this version of the 108, the owner has opted for a three-cabin layout with the space that would have been occupied by the fourth cabin used as an office as part of the owner’s suite. Large side windows give a lot of natural light down here, which is just as well because the customised décor features a lot of black leather and darker textures. The wood panelling used throughout is a sycamore, which has a nice warm finish and which is a good foil for the dark leather. The interior styling on this 108 was done by the owner’s own designer Elaine McBride of Platform 9, so it was a very personal choice. It also demonstrates that this yacht can be built with a relatively high degree of customisation.
The crew’s quarters are aft with two separate access points, one outside and one inside. The crew cabins are adjacent to the galley and the crew mess room is in fact part of the galley, with access to the engine room close by.
The three engines fit remarkably snugly into the engine compartment, and there is good access to all the maintenance points. There is a lot of pipework associated with the engines and the auxiliaries, and this is a bit spaghetti-like. But it is all well-ordered and arranged, and you sense there are very high engineering standards here. Many of the auxiliaries are in a separate compartment forward of the main engine room, which acts as a good sound barrier. Combine this with the good insulation, and the result is very low noise levels throughout the yacht.
In profile the designers have maintained the Pershing style but with a sharper edge to the curves on the 108. The superstructure extends well aft and the hull is very deep and the whole is finished in the new Pershing colour, a pearl white, which looks silver in some lights. The topsides have secondary chines let into the surfaces to reduce the size impact and the windows combine large rectangular section with smaller oval portholes.
The yacht has tenders and toys in the main garage located aft, which is enclosed by an ingenious door that opens up into a slipway for launching the tender. There is a fuel pump installed in the garage to refuel the Williams diesel tender. Forward, there is a secondary garage in the coachroof with a lid that lifts and tilts to reveal two personal watercraft and the stowage for much of the MCA equipment and a crane for launching. A portable standing shower can be clicked into place to provide a proper shower on the aft swim platform.
In a world now focussing on green issues, the Pershing 108 might seem to be an anachronism. But the design makes a great deal of sense. You can get the excitement of high performance and burn a lot of fuel when the mood takes you, but the 108 offers options. You can run economically at displacement speeds and the design copes with this. The triple engine installation reduces weight, which improves the economy and it is only the extra weight demanded by the MCA requirements that adds to the fuel consumption. Performance yachts raise many complex issues but Pershing has found a quite remarkable solution in this new 108.
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Technical Specifications – Pershing 108
LOA 33.23 m
LWL 30.25 m
Beam 6.7 m
Draught 1.83 m
Displacement laden 112.68 t
Engines 3 x 2638 hp MTU Series 2000 V-16 diesels
Propulsion 3 x Arneson Surface Drives
Propellers Rolla 6 blades
Speed (max/cruise) 43/35
Fuel capacity 12000 litres
Range at 35 knots 380 miles
Bow and stern thrusters BSC
Stabilisers 2 x ARG gyros
Generators 2 x 40 KW Kohler
Watermakers (Manf, litres per day) 180 litres per hour Idromar
Freshwater capacity 2000 litres
Communication/navigation electronics Furuno and KVH
Entertainment systems Bose
Owner and guests (number) 6
Crew (number) 5
Tender(s) Williams and 3 personal watercraft
Construction Sandwich composite with SCRIMP
Classification RINA Unrestricted Maltese Cross plus MCA
Naval architect (name/company) Advanced Yacht Design - Ferretti
Exterior styling (name/company) Fulvio di Simoni
Interior designer (name/company) Elaine McBride – Platform 9