Review: Princess V72

By: Allan Whiting, Photography by: Jack Murphy

Presented by
  • Trade-A-Boat

Editor Jeff Strang and Allan Whiting teamed up for an evaluation of the Princess V72 luxury sportsyacht. They’re both working on ways to get one…

Review: Princess V72
PRINCESS V72

The global economy may be shaded by clouds of doubt but the luxury boat market seems to be sunning itself quite nicely at the moment. However, the successful players are operating from a sound financial base and Princess Yachts is certainly doing that.

Founded in 1965 in Plymouth, UK, Princess Yachts became part of the giant Moët Hennessy-Louis Vuitton (LVMH) group in 2008, along with Dutch-based superyacht maker Feadship. Christian Dior, the luxury goods company, is the main shareholder in LVMH and, collectively, the 60 brands – including De Beers – within this group probably know more about the global luxury goods scene than any other conglomerate. In April this year, Australian icon R.M.Williams became part of LVMH.

Princess Yachts recently received a £GB4.5 million grant awarded by the UK Government’s Regional Growth Fund, to help fund a new £GB35 million superyacht hall. Exporting 90 per cent of its production, the company is already Plymouth’s second largest private-sector employer with just under 2000 employees and was awarded the title of Business of the Year in the Plymouth Herald Business Awards 2013.

In 2010, Princess became the first major European boatbuilder to be awarded ISO14001. Also, every Princess model up to 26m in length meets the Royal Institution of Naval Architects’ Green Plus (Y) notation. This notation is granted to new vessels that make a significant investment in design, onboard equipment and operation in order to contribute to an improvement in environmental performance beyond the minimum levels required by international regulations.

 

PRINCESS V72

The Princess V Class Sports Yachts range from 39 to 85 feet and puts the 72 in the upper bracket, but at around two-thirds the price of the big fella.

Although any vessel in this size bracket is one you take control of with some trepidation, the V72’s size shouldn’t daunt an owner who’s had some background helming large cruisers.

Vision all around the boat from the saloon steering station is very good and there’s an aft station on the portside of the cockpit to make berthing even easier. Powered Lewmar rope capstans flank the aft mooring cleats and fairleads on both sides of the V72, and rope lockers under the cleats keep mooring-line tails out of sight. A nice touch in the bow is a fairlead with an angled access slot that prevents a mooring line jumping out of the bowroller.

The two-person helm, faced by black leather powered seats offers a commanding view of the instruments, displays and water beyond, with quick access to the starboard deck via a FRP cantilever door. The giant windscreens are cleared by a pair of pantograph blades and freshwater washers.

Interestingly, there’s a shallow chart recess with plexiglass top for those of us who like to mimic electronics data with some old-fashioned paperwork. Under its false floor is a battery of circuit breakers, making it easy for the helmsperson to reset a circuit without moving from the steering station.

If the allowances made for more traditional paper-based navigation practices were surprising then the reason soon became clear. At sea the V72, which looks and feels like an oversized sportsboat at the dock, transforms entirely off the coast.

Its 42 tonnes displacement, almost 3500 horsepower and high wave-piercing bow work together to produce what could be Trade-a-Boat’s Ride-of-the-Year so far.

With a significant sea building we took the V72 out into the blue of the Gold Coast for an extended run while helicopters flew overhead shooting the spread which graces these pages.

It was an exhilarating experience at speeds up to 35kts (the boat is capable of almost 40) that left all stirred and none shaken. In contrast, the crew of the 50-plus-foot vessel that accompanied us complained of repeated potholes on a vessel we also know to be a renowned offshore performer.

 

TRUE LUXURY

Standard equipment in a Princess motoryacht is comprehensive, the V72 boasting all the equipment an owner would expect in a boat of this class. However, the specification of this boat reflected Australian-market experience on the part of distributor Grant Torrens International Marine.

Our evaluation boat was fitted with a larger-than-standard generator, to ensure plenty of auxiliary systems have power when away from shore connection; hydraulic bow and stern thrusters to allow prolonged, stress-free operation and fin stabilisers that control rock and roll even when the boat is anchored. In recognition of our insect-plagued environment the kit included oval mosquito screens for the owner’s cabin and bathroom!

Stepping aboard the V72 could hardly be easier, thanks to a full-width, teak-faced swimplatform that allows easy boarding from aside or astern. Two teak-planked staircases ascend to a teak-finished cockpit via low gates.

From the cockpit level two sidedecks run to the foredeck area, which features twin sunlounges with adjustable teak backrests and a forward-facing lounge for two or three, with a removable table. Large-diameter handrails run the full length of the boat, so moving around in a seaway is quite safe.

The swimplatform rises and lowers hydraulically and can be fitted with tender chocks to allow easy launching and retrieving. When not in use, the tender hides behind an electro-hydraulic transom garage door. The swimplatform has a lifting capacity of 400kg.

Beside the garage door is an unobtrusive hatch entry to the twin-cabin crew quarters that have air-conditioning and an en suite. There’s steering gear access behind the crew-cabin stairway.

The cockpit lounge could seat eight sprawlers, while another four sunbathed on the lounges. A wetbar includes a sink, fridge, electric barbecue and storage space. The coachroof is set forward, allowing ample sunny seating, but can be shaded by extending an electrically-operated awning. For protection in a seaway the cockpit can be sheltered by a tonneau cover.

 

IN THROUGH THE OUTDOORS

Sturdy stainless steel doors roll back and a glass pane descends, removing the barrier between saloon and cockpit – ideal for an onboard party. The saloon can also become alfresco by opening the forward sunroof.

Inside the boat the ambience is typically high-class-Brit, with subdued elegance in contrast to in-your-face boats that have sometimes-garish Italian or heavy North American décor. If you alighted from your Roller, Bentley, Aston Martin or Range Rover to board the Princess V72, the transition would be almost seamless.

In the saloon the use of tessellated, shagreen leather on the coffee table and buffet tops and on handrails is both beautiful and practical, while needing none of the protection owners have to give to high-gloss surfaces. At the saloon entrance and steering station the flooring is more practical wenge (African rosewood).

Echoing these dark highlights are ebony-wave wood-pattern cabinet doors, bottega black weaved leather wall material and black ceiling light recesses. Contrast comes from a white deck head and carpet, reflecting the light entering this glazed area. At night the ceiling lights bounce off light-coloured venetian blinds adding subtle illumination to this elegantly finished interior.

Saloon occupants can sit at an L-shaped settee or at a round, raised dinette that fits between the helm station and the curved stairway that leads to the galley and cabins below. The round table becomes an open-air diner when the overhead sunroof is open. Two pouffes store under the dinette seats.

Although no attempt has been made to hide the array of Bose speakers that are fashionably surface mounted the look works, adding an extra touch of tech to the tasteful tones. We are happy to say the fit and finish in all areas is meticulous.

 

ALL CLASS BELOW

Descending the curved stairway is made safe by a shagreen leather covered handrail that provides ample grip and leads to an apartment-like galley, fitted with marble bench top and floor tiles. What looks like a wood-faced cupboard is actually the two-door fridge/freezer, and galley equipment includes a four-spot ceramic cooktop and convection microwave oven. A lift-up panel in the galley floor exposes a deep storage bin.

On this mezzanine-deck level are two luxurious cabins: a twin-berth opposite the galley, with an en suite and separate shower, and a forward one with double bed and similar en suite. The en suite for the twin-berth cabin does double duty as a dayhead, having a hallway door as well as one into the cabin. The starboard twin cabin can be fitted with a powered sliding berth to create a third double.

It would be easy to assess the forward cabin as an owner’s retreat, given its luxurious furnishings, echoing the dark wood and leather of the saloon, lightened by white carpet and deck head, and daylight streaming in through the deck hatch and large oval ports. There is ample wardrobe space, as well as cupboards and shelving, plus a leather-topped desk and wall-mounted TV. The bedhead is finished in a silken treatment that shouts opulence and venetian blinds provide a luxury bedroom feel.

Flash as the forward stateroom is, it pales somewhat when you descend to the lower deck and enter the real owner’s cabin – passing a cupboard containing the washer/dryer on the way. There’s also a display of cabinetry excellence in the form of a curved-face, beautifully crafted cupboard under the winding staircase. The owner’s full-beam bedroom is lit naturally by light from eight vertical ports – two opening – that give it the touch of a home on the water.

To port is a full-sized desk with normal chair and opposite it a two-seat leather lounge. The colour scheme is similar to that in the forward cabin, but there’s more wardrobe and cupboard volume and the en suite would do an apartment justice. The shower can splash two at a time and there’s ample shelf space below an opening oval port and venetians for privacy when docked.

It would be relatively easy to cram all this living space into a fat Scuffy the Tugboat shaped craft, but to do it in a streamlined, low-profile rocket like the Princess V72 takes some doing. Inevitably, there are some compromises and they’re obvious when you lift the heavily insulated cockpit access panel and descend into the engineroom.

The twin Caterpillar C32As – each rated at 1723hp – take up most of the space and virtually everything else that’s heat-exchanging, mechanical, electrical and hydraulic fits in around their considerable bulk. We couldn’t see any items with blocked access, but the Princess engineers have packed a lot of auxiliary equipment into the V72’s engineroom. It is a big ask to get all this equipment into the space provided but the engineers seem to have succeeded, although it would certainly be advisable to let things cool down before attempting any serious work down there.

 

THE VERDICT

It is generally accepted that Princess Yachts still rules the roost when it comes to British boatbuilding but even knowing this in advance, the Princess V72 still surprises with its class.

Of course such styling and detail are expected at this level yet the boat does make you feel slightly underdressed. Indeed a cocktail dress code would suit this vessel perfectly.

That its on-water performance was so impressive was a surprise because we don’t normally associate ocean-eating abilities with sportsboats –  even big ones like this.

If V stands for Victory then we are pretty sure Churchill would agree the Princess V72 is another triumph for this esteemed institution.

 

[HIGHS]

› Brilliant exterior styling and interior design

› Performance and handling

› Equipment levels

› Fit and finish

 

[LOWS]

› Some deck moulding irregularity

› Crowded engineroom

 

[TRADE-A-BOAT SAYS… ]

It is generally accepted that Princess Yachts still rules the roost when it comes to British boatbuilding but even knowing this in advance, the Princess V72 still surprises with its class.

 

 

PRINCESS V72 SPECIFICATIONS

PRICED FROM

$4,458,988

 

GENERAL

MATERIAL Resin-infused FRP

TYPE Planing monohull

LENGTH 22.26m (overall); 21.74m (hull)

BEAM 5.38m

DRAFT 1.6m

WEIGHT 42,000kg

 

CAPACITIES

BERTHS 2 doubles and 1 twin; 3 doubles (optional)

FUEL 4400lt

WATER 755lt

 

ENGINES

MAKE/MODEL 2 x Caterpillar C32 ACERT

TYPE Electronic turbo-diesel

RATED HP 1723hp (each)

PROPS Five-blade

 

SUPPLIED BY

Grant Torrens International Marine,

Sovereign Islands,

Gold Coast, QLD, 4216

Phone: +61 7 5577 2299

Email: sales@granttorrensmarine.com.au

Website: www.granttorrensmarine.com.au

 

Originally published in Trade-a-Boat #442

Find Princess yachts for sale.

 


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