Boat Review Date: Nov 2011
Author: Mike Brown
Princess Yachts is one of Britain’s big three luxury boat builders. It is in the same corporate group as Louis Vuitton, Moet and Chandon, and De Beers Diamonds, so it should know a thing or two about luxury. Yet it has only been patchily represented in WA – until now. With a $20m-odd initial investment it is well and truly back with a dock stocked with mouth-watering offerings. Today’s review boat is the crown princess among them.
The Princess V85S is a modest sized boat by Nice and Monte Carlo standards, but at 25.9m overall it makes a huge statement here. The short description is spacious accommodation for eight plus three crew, and engines to move them around at 39 knots. That is as adequate a statement as saying Everest is tall. ‘Spacious’, for instance, does not give a detail like a clear 12-metre stretch on one level from the cockpit rear to the front of the saloon.
A useful share of that is outdoors, and five steps down offers more room on the hydraulic platform – you lower it before opening the garage that can house a jet ski and a tender. The cockpit itself offers dining or lounging facilities, together with a magnificent wet bar and barbecue. This is probably where most cooking would happen on family cruises; a spacious self-contained galley inside would be ideal for catered occasions. Most of the cockpit is shaded by the flybridge, and the part that is not, including the sun bed aft, can be covered by the powered awning.
Access forward is good along side decks sheathed with teak, as is every outdoor walking surface. There is another sun bed on the foredeck, as well as a Portuguese balcony – a forward-facing spot with settee and table.
There is more outdoors on the flybridge. Up here can be the professional skipper’s domain – offering superb vision of bow and stern - or the owner can use it as another social area as well as driving himself. A dozen or more fit comfortably here, and naturally there is ample cool storage, ice production, seating and table area.
Being outside is a lot of the point of boating, but the 85 sure makes a case for walking indoors. Naturally every kind of power operated device is on hand, and individually controlled electronic entertainment including satellite TV abounds. But you stay with the outdoors: from wherever you sit the sheer lines have been adjusted to let you look down on the ocean; press the right button and half the roof disappears. Look around the interior too: the Louis Vuitton influence is everywhere; this is a stylish as well as luxurious boat.
There is a second driving station in the saloon space that gives much better than typical vision to the skipper. The dash is home to a full set of Furuno electronics including 3-D sounder, and an impressive but logically arranged inventory of switches and controls. In a nice mix of class and utility, the thruster levers control hydraulic rather than electric thrusters. A side door adjacent to the helm makes the skipper as quickly available on the foredeck as the concertina rear doors put him at the aft berthing position. Of course there are subsidiary controls for the wandering skipper.
The V-drive arrangement for the 16V 2000 MTU engines allows them to be installed right aft, leaving almost three quarters of the hull length for accommodation. Four cabins, two doubles and two twins, each have en suite bathrooms – plus an abundance of TVs, wardrobes, mood lighting and so on.
The midships master suite, with full use of the more than six metre beam, epitomizes sea going luxury; or any other kind of luxury, come to that. The bed of course is king size, and the vanity is almost the same length; wardrobes are walk in, the bathroom is designed for two people to use at once. A breakfast table with a pair of easy chairs is at a window that is not only vast but has an opening section. Mr Vuitton excelled in here with the décor as did the tradesmen with the cabinet work and joinery.
Between the main accommodation and the engine room are the single and twin crew bedrooms, with bathroom and galley. They are smaller, with tighter access, but fitted out to the same standards. Without crew they make fine guest quarters.
I would have needed several days to discover every feature of this boat, and without a guide book would still have missed a lot. It may not have everything but I can’t think of what’s missing.
I want one.Lowdown
Length overall 29.91m
Light displacement from 58T
Fuel capacity 6,000L
Fresh water 1,205L
Motors fitted 2 x MTU 16V 2000 @2,434hp ea