2019 Pearl 80

Players in the sport yacht market take heed: The game has changed. Pearl Yachts has quietly reinvented the way we should think about luxury cruising boats. The North American debut of the British builder’s Pearl 80 brings a new offering to the segment, essentially ditching the “sex sells” cliché in favor of a more well-rounded, space-centric take on the cruising lifestyle. That’s not to say the Pearl 80 is without sex appeal. She’s got it in spades.

The interior scheme by Kelly Hoppen MBE (Pearl Yachts’ exclusive design partner) is striking and offered with three themes: “Studio,” “Taupe” or “Luxury.” Studio is bright and fresh, characterized by stripes and rich browns. Taupe has pale joinery contrasted by calming earth tones, from ivories to warmer grays. Luxury has the aura of a chic modern penthouse with polished surfaces, nickel and black accents. Regardless of the theme, the interior is traditional yet contemporary, with clean lines and neutral undertones. Contrasting fabrics and woods further augment the interior’s visual depth, and glossy white-lacquered ceilings enhance the feeling of spaciousness.

With the 80, Pearl Yachts reimagined the conventional full-beam salon, with the space now entirely dedicated to an open-plan lounge area of low, modular sofas. “In many boats of this size the salon is dominated by a large dining area, but we found our clients rarely ate there, instead preferring to eat on deck or on shore,” said Pearl Yachts’ Managing Director Iain Smallridge. “By opting not to force the dining table, we get an even larger entertaining area.”

At the forward end of the salon is a bar that provides one cozy interior dining alternative, in case of inclement weather. Two steps up from there is the galley, with a bulkhead panel that opens to the salon, adding fluidity to the living space and a social component to meal preparation. The helm station is located just forward of the galley. Extensive specialized glazing and skylights bathe all of these areas with light.

Overnight accommodations are on the lower deck and adjoined by a small entryway. Situated amidships, the full-beam owner’s suite features a walk-in closet and a well-proportioned master bathroom. In addition to the plush king-size bed, a sofa, a vanity and plenty of additional floor space indicate a yacht with volumes that behave much larger than her 78-foot, 5-inch LOA.

Taking the helm from the flybridge, I found the 80 to be a trustworthy high-speed planing motoryacht that tracked well and felt nimble. She came up on plane at around 14 knots and carved up S-curves with ease on a comfortable bank. I clocked her at 35.6 knots with the throttles pinned, exceeding her quoted top speed by half a knot—impressive performance, considering her tanks had full water and 60 percent fuel, and there were eight guests on board. Test power was a pair of 1,800-hp MAN V12 engines with V-drives, which produce cruising speeds from 18 to 28 knots, with 20 knots a sweet spot for speed versus fuel burn.

Once aboard, the Pearl 80 surprised me, and continued to do so over and over again. Whether it was her inventive interior, her well-appointed yet uncluttered deck, her easy handling or a combination of the three, the Pearl 80 struck me as something very fresh and stimulating—just the thing we need more of here in the Americas. —Andrew Parkinson

Pearl Yachts, +44 (0) 1926 491069; pearlyachts.com

[dt_fancy_title title=”Specifications” title_size=”h3″ title_color=”title”]

LOA: 78’5”
Beam: 19’6”
Draft: 5’3”
Displ.: 121,254 lbs.
Fuel: 1,386 gal.

Water: 330 gal.
STD. Power: 2/1,150-hp Caterpillar C18
Opt. Power: 2/1,800-hp MAN V12 with V-drive
Cruise Speed: 20 knots
Top Speed: 35 knots