Blustery winds gusting to 25 mph with gusts up to 30. Seas at 5 to 7 feet are frothy and confused. Big swells, topped by foaming white caps, are common everywhere. Not what you’d call a great day to be out on the water.
As we poke our nose out of Fort Lauderdale’s deep-water cruise ship channel into the big, blue Atlantic, we brace for the steep rollers marching towards us. The first, a six-footer breaking, hits us bang on quarter. Salty spray pours over the bow.
Robb Report: More
It’s time to get going. Push forward on the throttles, feel the thrust of 3,200 horsepower, and in seconds we’re slicing and dicing the waves at an impressive 37 mph, water cascading off each side of that towering bow.
Our ride for the day was the sleek Pearl 72 from Britain’s boutique builder Pearl YachtsHigh-luxury, design-focused yacht express that oozes style and innovation.
Pearl has been in business since 1998. Today, they make a line for flybridges. motoryachts It also includes a 62-footer, an 80-footer, and a 95-footer from its yard in Xiamen (China). This all-new 72-footer was presented at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. A few weeks later, it was ready for us to take it out on the water.
The 72 is moored at the dock’s stern-to. It exudes style. Bill Nixon, a long-serving Pearl naval architect, designed the exterior and running surface. He also filled the superstructure with large swathes of dark-tinted glasses.
This profile has as much glass as fiberglass. It features huge salon windows that extend to the ceiling and large, twin panes with windshield glass. There are miles of windows that run along the hull. The bulwarks have glass-filled cutouts.
The hull is filled with cool innovations. Like the cavernous transom garage—extremely rare in a 72-footer—that’s big enough to swallow a Williams 345 jet tender plus a jet ski. This, along with the hydraulic swim platform and powered, drop-down side terrasses for easy access to water toys.
What’s the best place to be in your home? That would be the big comfy sofa on the oversized foredeck, with a sunpad in front that’s big enough for sun worshippers. The second best seat? Flybridge behind the wheel.
The flybridge layout features smart organizational design, including a full outdoor kitchen, large wooden dining table and U-shaped sofa at the helm. There are sunpads at each end with the option to add a jacuzzi tub. One Really Cool feature is the built-in, industry-first powered sunshade in the flybridge.
It can be opened and closed with louvers such as those found in large Venetian blinds. You can adjust the angle of your blinds to let in the right amount of sunlight.
It’s inside, however, where the style really shines. The whole interior is the creation of British interior designer-to-the-stars Kelly Hoppen, who has given the yacht the vibe of some hip, urban Manhattan loft.
The salon has a large, open, full-beam galley. There is a dining area in the forward section under the huge glass windshield. To enhance the indoors/outdoors feel, there’s an oversize sofa and chairs close to the aft deck, accessed through big sliding doors.
Take the stairs down to the staterooms and here’s another surprise: twin master cabins. Ideal for couples who want to cruise together but don’t need the smaller cabin. The 72 is compact enough to fit two additional en-suite double cabins and crew quarters.
This boat stands out from the rest. Throw off the lines, ease into the narrow canal leading out into the Intracoastal Waterway—made easy thanks to standard bow and stern thrusters—and we’re gliding under Fort Lauderdale’s 17th Street Bridge for the ocean.
Standard power for the 72 comes in a pair of 1,400 hp MAN V12s. But most buyers will choose the twin MTU V10s that pack 1,600 hp each. The power is felt when the accelerator accelerates and you can feel its desire.
Flat out, they’ll punch the Pearl to that 37mph top speed, and cruise serenely, and near-silently at 28, giving a range of around 250 nautical miles from its 1,100-gallon tanks.
You can feel the Bill Dixon hull design’s mastery when you spin hard for a series figure-eights. Even in the big swells the 72 feels stable and responsive to the controls. Playing in the swells, we stay out about half an hour.
Prices start at $3.4million for the 1,400 horsepower MANs. The price will rise to $4.6 million with the MTUs, plus a few options like a Seakeeper Gyro stabilizer, and second generator. The warranty on the yacht is five years.
After our Atlantic escapade, it’s clear that this is a fast cruiser, with great style, design, and lively performance. We love the boat’s impressive big-water handling.
Click here View all photos of Pearl 72.
Best of Robb Report