Princess V39 June 2012 Boat News, Review & Advice

30 Янв 2014 | Author: | No comments yet »
Princess V39

Princess V39 (June 2012)

First drive of the latest and possibly greatest of British sportscruisers

HIGHS

— True British sportscruiser experience

— Great performance from a pedigree hull

— Resin-infused hull, with five-star fit and finish

— Latest design lines, interior styling, cachet and class

— High-gloss oak joinery looks wonderful

LOWS

— Anchor wash needs to be fitted locally

— Big ticket sportscruiser, but the boat is loaded

— Bow thruster is otiose given the Joystick

— As ever, sterndrives require preventative maintenance

OVERVIEW

— Is this the best British sportscruiser ever?

UK boating journalists have deemed the new Princess V39 their best sportscruiser ever. But one might expect as much. Blood is thicker than water. A more relevant question is how does the V39 stack up in Australia? Our climate is markedly different to the Old Dart’s and our boating ways as varied as the waterways.

Some background. First. Released to great acclaim at the London Boat Show in January, the Princess V39 is the first sub-40 footer in more than a decade from the Plymouth-based yard. Rather than rest on its laurels, Princess went back to the drawing board to build a smart entry-level boat using the latest weight-saving resin-infusion technology.

Overshadowing competitor Fairline’s 38 Grand Turismo, which is up to 250 hulls, the Princess V39 displaces 9,100kg, some 400kg more than the Fairline rival. The V39 is 85cm longer, 17cm wider, and just a bigger boat all round. The mid or aft cabin gains, as do all the above and below deck living spaces. We like the way the layout flows.

Yet you mightn’t realise the volume after a cursory glance. The superstructure looks edgy, sleek, dare we say even Italian inspired. Tinted hull windows, raked black mullions and flush deck hatches/skylights add to the day-racer look, while a sunroof lets you drive with the wind in your hair for a true British sportscruiser experience. Even Jeremy Clarkson would approve.

PRICE AND EQUIPMENT

— Premium price for a premium product

Alan Paterson, Dealer Principal at Princess Australia, does a great job of equipping each new boat for our markets. In fact, he goes further and is the only importer we know of who makes certain every Princess complies to Australian standards in the electrical department. Thus, the onus shifts from the importer to the insurer should there be an issue.

The V39 we tested has the biggest possible (7kW) generator and tropical strength (12,000btus) air conditioning, but there aren’t engine options. The boat has been built for twin Volvo Penta D6-330 DPs, matched to Aquamatic sterndrives. But there was an optional Joystick docking device and, just in case, a back-up bow thruster that might be considered otiose.

The optional hydraulic swim platform is rated to carry a 2.3m tender and 5hp outboard or other rig weighing under 100kg. Alternatively, use the deep aft boot to house a rollup. An optional extra 10 metres of chain extended its length to a handy 40 metres, while a stainless steel Ultra anchor offers superior holding power.

Our V39, the 17th to be built since its launch six months ago, had a Simrad navigation kit comprising 12in touchscreen with broadband radar. Elsewhere, the importers went for premium leather upholstery upgrades, the best carpets, and a terrific high-gloss light oak joinery that was a nice change from the usual matt finish.

In fact, the V39 was bundled with the works including towels, fender socks, Princess China setting, even David Mellor designer Paris cutlery. Alan explains that this is the way he rigs his boats, so owners can get on with the British boating experience on our waters.

But while this is the smallest boat in the range, the V39 owes nothing to its bigger brethren and sister ships. The build quality, fit and finish do the yard proud. While $761,006 amounts to quite some bills, coming about $100,000 more than the Fairline 38 GT with twin 400hp D6s, this is the latest and greatest in British sportscruisers.

LAYOUT AND ACCOMMODATION

— Evolutionary not revolutionary

The V39 doesn’t break new ground in the layout department. Rather, it refines things in a way befitting of the badge. The result is a sportscruiser that should appeal to the younger generation and the young at heart.

The optional hydraulic swim platform adds to the real estate, the deep boot boosts storage, and there are the requisite hot/cold deck shower, teak steps leading to the portside side decks, and a gate to starboard announcing a broad cockpit. The U-shaped lounge is shaded from the midday sun by a locally-fitted awning, while the solid dinette converts to a daybed.

The centre of attention is the amenities centre, with edgy styling and upmarket finish. It conceals a top-loading fridge, barbecue griddle for seafood, round sink with hot/cold water, more storage and a waste bin. Gas struts and RTM moulded lids add to the quality. The upmarket perforated upholstery on this boat didn’t go unnoticed, either.

Behind the windscreen, a raised C-shaped lounge affords crew views across from the captain and co-pilot seated on separate helm chairs. At rest, the same crew lounge doubles as a chaise. Meanwhile, the designer dash wouldn’t be out of place on a Princess V70. There’s a place for everything and everything has a place.

With the sunroof open, you can drive looking out the top, wind in your hair, doing the sportscruiser thing. At the press of a button the soft-top closes and you’re protected from the elements. Indeed, the V39 is an all-weather boat equally suited to Hervey as Port Phillip bays. Climate control is key.


A sun pad on tracks was to be fitted to the foredeck, which is safely accessed thanks to a bow rail with stainless steel intermediate ‘wire’ reaching back to the cockpit. If you want a deck wash it will be retrofitted. Otherwise, the supplied deck gear has a heavy-duty feel and is neatly integrated.

Rated to 10 adults, the V39 can happily lunch eight in the cockpit with the addition of a couple of loose chairs. For a more likely complement of four, it offers real luxury that extends seamlessly below decks to a two-cabin/one-bathroom layout.

Princess distinguishes itself with the details — the leather-bound rail descending the companionway, for example — if not the surprising volume that belies the external lines. Thanks to opening portlights (lacking on its Fairline competition) you don’t feel closeted away, and the light-oak joinery and matching flooring add an in-vogue feel.

The immediate landing area puts you before the dinette to port, where a high/low light-oak table contrasts with mocha leather lounges. Converted to an impromptu double bed, you can then spend a rainy day sprawled out here. The entertainment centre with wall-hung television and drinks cabinet is opposite, alongside the galley.

Handy to the companionway, the open-plan galley is traced by solid Avonite counters and underside and overhead lockers. Amenities include two-burner stove, microwave/convection oven/grill, and bench-height fridge with freezer tray. We noted two GPOs for appliances and a water gauge at the 12/240V control panel. Crockery is held in dedicated cupboards to prevent breakages at sea.

Of course, the stateroom with island berth is forward, but thanks to the skylights it feels bigger that we expected. You get hanging space, leather trim, opening portlights, a small dresser, drawers, ducted air-con and a separate 19in television and AV system. Movies anyone?

There are twin doors to the en suite/communal bathroom with impressive separate shower stall, instead of just a sliding curtain or acrylic screen. Timber trim, mirrors, designer fittings, a porcelain sink and big but unobtrusive vanity add to the British class. The 330 litres of water should last a long weekend.

Yet the aft cabin vies. It’s truly roomy, with twin transverse single berths that convert to a double — perfect if you have another couple aboard or want to remove yourself from the water-slapping on the chines up front. There’s a handy lounge abutting a lowboy, hanging locker, big windows framing views and crossflow ventilation thanks to opening portlights. Chic bedding was the icing on the cake.

Princess V39

MECHANICAL AND HULL

— Terrific hull with pedigree

The V39 hull hails from the pen or, rather, CAD software program of British naval architect Bernard Olesinski, who designs all Princess boats. Having critiqued his handiwork in the past, we can only add that the V39 carries on the V Class tradition of providing high performance, smooth riding, dry and sporty craft.

Typical for an Olesinski hull, the boat travels high but flat, squeezing the spray out laterally thanks to aggressive strakes and chines. With a good trim range available, you can do pretty much anything from skate across flat water to carve through rough stuff.

We trimmed the legs in, jumped the boat to plane, then ran it pretty free. But for the Swedish-made Volvo Penta D6 engines, this is a true British sportscruiser transported to a better place.

Engine access is via a cockpit hatch and short vertical ladder. The installation and wiring are tidy, with checker-plate alloy mounting boards where other mass-produced European yards use unsealed marine ply. The twin interconnected alloy fuel tanks and Onan generator are midships where they have the least impact on trim.

The common skin fitting for the plumbing lines is a nice touch, removing the shotgun approach seen on lesser boats peppered with skin fittings. Both the fuel filters and sea strainers, the latter with clear inspection lids as provided by Volvo, are easy to inspect.

ON THE WATER

— Fast but frugal, smooth on the cruise

The fly-by-wire Joystick docking device that controls the Aquamatic sterndrives is intuitive. As ever, you get the best result using it incrementally rather than jumping on the controller. A gentle push, then release, then a push and the boat ‘slid’ out the tight berth.

Following our exit from Hope Island, the serpentine Coomera Rivera was next at, ahem, the six-knot speed limit. Finally, sun beaming, top down, Gold Coast Broadwater ahead, we planted the electronic throttles and whooped at the response.

In the cruising groove, we noted 23-24 knots for 74 litres per hour in total. Range is therefore in the order of 200 nautical miles — plenty enough for a sportscruiser. In keeping with that intent, the boat delivered beautiful off-the-wheel handling, banking tight in the turns without falling over. Suffice to say, one is loathe to relinquish the sports wheel.

Other figures of note were 26-27 knots at 2800rpm for 80 litres per hour, where the engines are just so smooth, 29-30 knots at 3000rpm for 90 litres per hour, 32-33 knots fast cruise at 3200rpm for 106 litres per hour, and a top speed of 38-39 knots at 3500rpm for 136 litres per hour. So our test boat was true to Prinjcess’s published claim of a 38 knots top speed.

Trip computer software relayed these consumption figures to a 2.5in digital engine monitor, as the Simrad colour 12in displayed local cartography. Meantime, Princess Australia ensured optimum day and night vision by adding a no-glare dash mat before the windscreen. You see plenty of the road ahead on the V39.

VERDICT

— True British sportscruiser, heir apparent

There’s not a lot left to say other than Princess reigns supreme in the UK sportscruiser market. This all-new 39 marks a triumphant return for the marque in the sub-40 footer class. Princess hopes it will be a feeder boat, getting owners on the path to its bigger models, but the V39 could also be all you need.

With Australian specification and big backing, the V39 is a beautiful fit anywhere from downtown Docklands in Melbourne to the sub-tropical Gold Coast and beyond. Seaworthiness is such you can explore offshore islands like, say, Moreton or Rottenest, nearby ports of call and distant bayside towns. And the sterndrive legs let you get in tight to the shore. The Brits don’t know what they’re missing out on.

Specifications:

Price as tested: $761,006 as a turn-key sportscruiser with standard 330hp D6 Volvo Penta engines, hydraulic swim platform, generator and tropical-strength air conditioning, Volvo Joystick, bow thruster, Simrad 12in touch screen with broadband radar, teak cockpit, upgraded upholstery and soft furnishing, full crockery, cutlery, towels and loads more.

Priced from: The V39 is imported as a complete package as tested above with standard 330hp D6 Volvo Penta engines.

LOA: 12.98m including pulpit

Princess V39
Princess V39
Princess V39

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