Princess 60 Motoryacht July 1998 Boat News, Review & Advice

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Princess 60

Princess 60 Motoryacht (July 1998)

One of the most impressive production motor yachts in the world, the Princess 60 delivers scintillating performance, stylish accommodation and a finish befitting its royal mark

Shrugging off the confused 1.2m chop that was Southport Seaway, the Princess 60’s twin V-eight diesels were purring unobtrusively away at a tad over 2000rpm, the GPS’s log locked on 26kt. That’s an impressive performance from a near-19m long, fully-equipped 22 tonne luxury motor yacht.


As the seawalls slipped barely astern, suddenly defined, closely-spaced swells stood up another foot or so in height — thick and green enough to make their presence felt.

It was about then that the smiling madman at the sedanbridge helm twirled the wheel hard a’starboard, with ne’er a slackening of the throttle, nor consideration given to the sea conditions, or proximity of the hard granite blocks that joined the South Pacific Ocean and the Gold Coast’s famous Broadwater.

Well, it is his boat. At least I won’t have too far to swim when he hits the rock wall, I only half joked to myself.

I braced myself for the inevitable — for the engines to bog as the rudder came hard on, for the vessel to lurch drunkenly, for the panic to take hold as our skipper realised his attempt to impress this hardened (not!) boat tester had gone horribly wrong.

So what did happen? Amazingly, none of the above!

In fact, the long, low Brit looker dropped barely a rev, leaned into the turn like a sportsboat half its size and carved hard enough so that with an opposite twirl of the Momo Marine wheel we’d performed a perfect Z-shaped wake of which the Zurich admen would be proud.

Indeed, with a further tweak of the MANs’ throttles we headed seawards, untroubled, accelerating quickly to a GPS-confirmed 35.5kt!

Now I knew why he was smiling — it was indeed, a royal command performance to impress even the staunchest republican.

LONG LIST OF LUXURIES

In the rarified world of $1m-plus pleasure craft the standard equipment lists are long and comprehensive. Few luxuries are missed and quality furnishings, intricate timberwork, leather appointments, air-conditioning, surround sound stereos, galleys to rival the best homes and enough electronics to confuse a 747-400 flight engineer are all commonplace. The $2m Princess 60 is no exception.

However, all too often it seems the basics are glossed over, or worse still, forsaken. Elements as important as seakeeping ability and true all-weather cruising performance sometimes seem almost secondary as builders scurry to construct more and more luxurious V-hulled apartments.

After just a short day aboard the Princess 60, it’s obvious that the British marque’s parent company, Marine Projects (Plymouth) Ltd, has not lost sight of the important part of luxury boatbuilding — the boat.

Princess was established in 1956 and has been based in Plymouth in the south of England ever since. Europe’s largest production motor yacht builder, the Lloyds Register Quality Assurance and ISO9002-certified company has built over 300 vessels per year for close to 20 years.

Such is the success of the marque that this year will see the 1000-strong Princess workforce launch more than 500 vessels from a line-up that kicks off with the 10m Princess 34 pocket motor yacht and includes the stunning V-series 40 and 55 foot power yachts and a range-topping Princess 22 Metre super yacht.

A relatively new name Down Under, Princess Yachts Australia is keen to impress upon prospective owners that these are luxury vessels that are built for go as well as show.

Given the prevailing conditions of the maker’s home waters, one shouldn’t be surprised. Unlike the calm conditions Asian, Caribbean, Mediterranean and US inland cruisers are largely confronted with, the seas off the south coast of the Ol’ Dart are often, in a word, horrible.

It’s in these short, sharp and often treacherous waters that Princess’ chief naval architect Bernard Olesinski designs the marque’s hand-laid deep-V planing hulls to excel. After that, the flat water stuff’s easy.

Featuring unique full-length flared chines and prop tunnels that are designed to lower the powerplants for better space utilisation, reduce shaft angles and draft, and provide better stability and greater lift, the Princess designs are both soft riding into a head sea and confidence-inspiring downsea.

They also offer surprising stability offshore, are very dry and, thanks to the absence of hard reverse chines, have none of the incongruous at-rest slip, slop, slap of some larger high-ticket vessels.

The designs’ efficiency is proven by the 60’s performance figures. We’ve already mentioned its 2400rpm 35.5kt top speed. Even more noteworthy is the fact that here is a boat that is well onto the plane at just 17kt (1420rpm) — in fact in less time from rest than it takes to read this sentence.

Mind you, you’ll have trouble determining the actual point at which the vessel is planing, so flat is its transition. There’s no climbing out of the hole with this royal — even with its 2800lt-plus fuel and near-800lt water tanks close to three-quarters full.

THE LARGEST FEET

The 60 constitutes the largest of the maker’s non-Metre Series boats — only the 22 Metre and 20 Metre are larger. A relatively low profile machine, it has been designed by Princess as a fast yet fully-appointed motor yacht. To quote the maker: it can sustain an effortless 25 to 30kt even in quite testing conditions.

Initially built as a 58-footer, the 60 is a spacious three stateroom design offering two twin-bedded junior staterooms, a day head/bathroom and a master stateroom forward with island berth and a full-size en suite.

Living areas comprise a large airy saloon, a raised dinette and main helm station and a sunken galley with attendant utilities room.

Accessed from the cockpit via a wide sliding glass door, the open-plan main deck saloon features a large oval-shaped lounge to starboard and a smaller two-seater corner lounge to port — both upholstered in the finest Connolly leather. Also on the port side there are a brace of curve-faced cabinets that conceal a bar area with icemaker, fridge and audio-visual paraphernalia.

Though I glossed over the cabinetry in my introduction (excuse the pun) the workmanship on this vessel is truly superb.

The natural cherry finish of the testboat is one of three options available and is crafted and finished to a mirror-like gloss by Princess’ own artisans before it is installed in the vessel. A closer look also reveals fine timber inlay work in a trio of contrasting timbers. Superb.

The rich timberwork continues as you move towards the bow, climbing two steps up to the next level from which the sunken galley is accessed (down a few steps), as well as the (one step higher) portside U-shaped dinette and starboard side main helm. This comes complete with its two Bentley or Rolls Royce-style timber-backed bucket seats — all Connolly covered, of course.

The suede and ostrich leather headliner rises in concert with the change in floor level, further adding to the airy feel of the saloon.

The galley features all the mod cons — as you’d expect in a vessel with the Princess’ pricetag. Benchtops are stone-finish Avonite and behind more exquisite cherry cabinetry there’s plenty of storage. There’s also Princess monogrammed glassware, cutlery and Villeroy Boch crockery.

An interesting feature here is the galley’s utility room. Accessed directly from the galley level, the room can be configured to suit the purchaser’s wishes, including additional refrigeration and laundry facilities.

Centrally located, the sunken galley works well. Just a short trot from the saloon, sedan bridge companionway, dinette and helm station, it’s low enough to hide any clutter yet not too deep to make the chef feel he or she has been consigned to the pit.

If you’ve ever sat in a Jaguar, Bristol, TVR or similar British sporting saloon you’ll feel at home at the 60’s burl elm faced main helm station.

Suffice it to say, the full gamut of instrumentation and electronics are on hand. Princess offers a range of single and dual level controls (the testboat had dual lever) and electronics options — again everything required for true long distance cruising is standard equipment, including radar, autohelm and VHF radio.

And when it’s time to berth, there’s a 7hp bowthruster hiding up front.

PALATIAL SURROUNDINGS

Five richly carpeted steps down from the helm level is the forward companionway and the two junior and main staterooms.

The master suite is again beautifully appointed with ample natural light thanks to a large circular hatch.

The layout features a king-sized bed (under which are stored two leather upholstered incidental stools for use upstairs and down), dressing table, two large wardrobes with hanging space and shelving and a portside fully-featured teak-floored en suite.

The junior staterooms are mirror images of each other with twin berths (that can be converted to full-size doubles), a wardrobe and plenty of other incidental storage. They share a starboard side bathroom that is a mirror image of the master en suite.

In all cases, lighting and aircon outlets are unobtrusive yet effective. All berths offer underbunk storage and mattresses are proper innerspring affairs. Once again Princess completes the package, supplying fitted quilted bedspreads and monogrammed towels.

Owners can, of course, choose from a range of upholstery fabrics, carpets, interior finishes and curtains from a colour-coordinated range.

While Princess’ home port may not be blessed with the best weather in the world, the maker has not forgotten the alfresco part of cruising.

Firstly, there’s a large teak-laid aft cockpit complete with four-place lounge and wide swim/tender platform accessed via a portside stern door.

A polished stainless steel (and teak) infra-red remote-controlled Cooney electro-hydraulic passarelle is standard equipment and doubles as a davit with a useful 350kg payload — enough for the biggest three-seater PWCs.

Also of note are the electrically-controlled (foot-switched) docking winches on each side of the cockpit. These are concealed behind hinged and hydraulically strutted hatches along with substantial deck hardware and fender storage.

Accessed from the cockpit sole is the engine room (more on that later) and a huge lazarette with (optional) twin-berth ‘crew’ cabin.

In the case of the testboat, the Airlie Beach (Qld)-berthed personal vessel of one of the principals of Princess Yachts Australia, this area houses laundry equipment and extra refrigeration — and there’s still enough room to party, albeit on your haunches!

Much better for partying, however, is the sedanbridge level which is reached either from the aft cockpit or directly from the saloon via an internal semi-spiral stairway.

Up forward there is a central helm with two-place bench, a single seat to starboard and aft, a large U-shaped lounge.

The helm station is fully equipped with controls and repeaters, including a bow thruster and autopilot. Meanwhile, the back of the helm seat incorporates (wait for it) a fridge, wet bar and electric barbecue!

Adding versatility to the sedanbridge on the testboat was a locally-sourced full-length bimini, complete with clears. This will be standard fare on all Australian-delivered Princess motor yachts.

The foredeck sunpad is factory fitted and can be easily accessed via wide sidedecks — either from the aft cockpit or the starboard side sliding ‘wheelhouse’ door adjacent the master helm.

HIDDEN TREASURE

Head back to the aft cockpit and lift the strutted engine hatch and you’re confronted with a sound and heat-proofed engine room as neat as the main saloon.

Twin 800hp D2848LE403 MAN V-eights take pride of place. These are coupled to Twin Disc transmissions and via Temet shafts to four-bladed 32-inch diameter Teinbridge wheels.

An 11kw Westerbieke generator is standard equipment ex-factory, however for the Australian market the importer beefs up this part of the equation to cope with our unique cooling and refrigeration needs.

On the subject of electrics, Princess uses a fully breakered set-up which boasts a wiring loom that is quite literally a work of art. There’s a sub-board which is easily accessible in the forward companionway while the full board is accessed via the starboard side junior stateroom.

Also standard fittings on the 60 are automatic fire suppression systems for the engine and generator spaces, and a host of minor items that many manufacturers leave to owners and retailers to supply.

It’s this attention to detail, both from a mechanical and ancillary point of view that goes a long way towards justifying the UK-built vessel’s hefty pricetag.

ON THE PRODUCTION LINE

Princess’ production system sees the vast majority of the vessel manufactured completely inhouse — even items such as window frames and bow rail components.

A team of assembly craftsmen follows each vessel through its various stages, taking ‘ownership’ of the craft from day one right through to sign off.

As each vessel is sea trialled from Princess’ own docks prior to internal fitout, sea trialled again upon completion and poured over by independent marine surveyors prior to handover to the local distributor, the Princesses are true turnkey propositions when they arrive Down Under, says the importer.

Parallels with other quality products from Great Britain, such as Bentley, Dunhill and the like are easy comparisons to make in the case of the Princess.

Quite simply, it’s my impression that in the Princess 60, the UK maker has possibly presented the best engineered and executed production motor yacht in the world.

PRINCESS 60 MOTOR YACHT

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