The UK’s Princess Yachts takes years of experience at the mid-range production yacht to come up with a fine superyacht for the first time buyer
It seems that with British builder Princess Yachts, the larger they get the better they get. They have built a reputation for constructing sound, sensible motor yachts that stand the test of time. But with their new 32-metre motor yacht, they have excelled.
This is a motor yacht that has everything an owner could desire, and it is combined with many practical features that make life at sea enjoyable and safe. From the outside, the 32M may lack some of the flamboyant styling of her competitors, but this yacht maintains the sensible approach to motor yachting that is the hallmark of Princess. This yacht could easily be the choice of an experienced yacht owner, or for the newcomer to the world of superyachts.
The Princess 32M was the star of the 2011 London Boat Show and the largest yacht ever exhibited inside the hall. Even here, well outside its natural environment, the 32M was impressive. As soon as you step on-board, you are surrounded with a welcome that makes you feel very special. You quickly become aware of the excitement, the emotion and the focus of this new design, where attention to detail is matched to thoughtful design and quality craftsmanship.
David King, chairman of Princess commented: “Building a yacht of this size was a significant learning curve. The on-board systems were more complex that we are used to and we spent a lot of time simplifying these complex systems and making them useable. With our full scale mock up system, we can meet the requirements of most owners and hopefully get things right before we started work on the installation.”
With over 40 years of experience, Princess knows what works and what doesn’t and more importantly, what’s required for a yacht to operate safely at sea. Handholds are placed just where you need them, there is plenty of room for convenient stowage, the liferafts are mounted in quick release frames and stairways and passages are easy and comfortable to use. Princess has even developed an innovation refuelling system located in the tender garage to simplify this often dirty and inconvenient operation.
On the luxury side, the 32M can be customised to quite a high degree. The first 32M was built for an owner from the Eastern Mediterranean and the interior reflects the local style and the owner’s requirements. Princess builds a full-scale mock-up of the interior before work starts on the yacht, so that an owner can see exactly what he is getting and at this stage it is easy to make changes until the buyer is satisfied. In this case the interior is subdued and modern classic, with the use of walnut and wenge woods matched to leather on the seating and tabletops, which use a unique simulated crocodile skin finish that makes a very attractive contrast.
This leather finish is used as panels on many of the interior doors to add interest. The doors themselves are a special feature, as they are around four centimetres thick and very solid and soundproof, so that the staterooms are exceptionally quiet. They close with a quality clunk and it is this sort of detailing that makes this Princess special.
The saloon follows a conventional layout with dining and lounge areas. But the rather dark furniture is lit up by the large windows and the double sliding doors on the starboard side that can be opened up to create a wonderful balcony. At the forward end, a port-side door leads into the pantry and then on to the galley when the installations are designed for quality cooking. The attention to detail is seen again in the foot switch that operates the sliding door from the pantry to the dining table so that the server has two hands free to carry the plates. Just outside the galley there is a wine locker with a cooler and wine racks and throughout this yacht there are fridges where drinks can be maintained cool and ready for consumption.
The forward area of the main deck is given over to the master suite where a feature is the large windows that offer a wide view from the bed. There are also overhead skylights in the forward section to give natural light over the desk. This desk sits between the bedroom area and the bathroom where there is a shower and a bath. Under the port window there is a delightful breakfast area with a table and two chairs.
Down below there are four guest cabins, three doubles and a twin and they all have the same high quality of finish. The ensuite bathrooms are spacious and reflect the quality and the two aft doubles feature very large hull windows to provide an excellent view from the bed.
An unusual feature of the 32M is that the crew accommodation is located aft, between the engine compartment and the guest cabins. This acts as a good sound barrier and the crew have some of the best accommodation I’ve seen on a yacht of this size. There are two cabins with twin bunks, while the captain has his own private double with an ensuite bathroom. There is a good-sized messroom with a mini-galley, and the access is from a side door at the aft end of the superstructure so that crew movements can be largely isolated from the guests. This is also the access to the engine room from this crew area via the watertight door demanded by the MCA requirements. Another watertight door at the aft end of the engine room gives access to the lazerette and then there is a further door into the garage.
The 32M qualifies for both MCA and LY2 requirements, and Mark Wilkinson, who was the project manager, commented on the challenge of combining these stringent safety requirements and the requirements for luxury. “We had to find new solutions to many of the conflicting demands of the regulations and the owner’s requirements. We looked at what other superyacht builders were doing and then in most cases we found our own better solution. Building to MCA and LY2 requirements is a challenge but we think we have found a very comfortable compromise in this new design.”
The garage on the 32M houses two jet skis, with the main tender stowage being on the hydraulic swim platform or up on the aft flybridge deck. The flybridge is a wonderful area for relaxation, with a hot tub and adjacent sun bed in the centre leaving space for sun loungers and a settee aft. Forward there is a large dining table surrounded by a settee with a bar counter and barbecue opposite. For those who want to enjoy the ride, there are four snug secure helm seats forward. The whole of the forward area is covered by a fixed Bimini, which has a large centre area that can be opened up to the sun. At the forward end of the coachroof, there is another sun bed and a settee built in, while in the welcoming cockpit aft there is a raw teak dining table and another smaller bar counter in the corner.
Amid all this luxury and relaxation serious thought has been given to the control of this yacht. In the wheelhouse there is a four-screen array of displays that provide the navigation and monitoring information. Each screen is controlled by its own computer and everything is interchangeable so there is a high level of redundancy built in. For the monitoring Princess has brought in monitoring system experts Boning from Germany to create one of the most comprehensive monitoring systems available. “We had to look at big ship equipment rather than yacht equipment to get the sort of comprehensive installation that we required”, commented Wilkinson. Most of the yacht systems can be controlled via this display including fuel transfer, electrical systems and safety features and there are matching displays and controls in the crew mess room and in the captain’s cabin. The navigation is controlled through a Furuno Navnet system and there is a complex of switches for items such as the stabilisers and the windscreen wipers.
Power for the 32M comes from a pair of MTU V-16 diesels that each produce 2400 hp that give a top speed of 24 knots. Alternative engines available from the Caterpillar and MTU ranges can increase the speed to 26 knots or a more modest 20 knots with the Cats. The captain who delivered the yacht to London through winter storms reported that the yacht would operate happily at any chosen speed between five and the maximum speed of 24 knots, which gives a lot of flexibility when cruising. They experienced blizzard conditions in the River Thames but even in these extremes the yacht performed perfectly, demonstrating that this is a yacht for all seasons. The fin stabilisers worked well and these TRAC units have a zero speed option for stability at anchor. The hydraulic pump for the stabilisers is driven by clutch off the generator so that there is no need for the main engines to be running when at anchor to provide stabiliser power.
This Princess 32 metre marks a significant step forward in motor yacht design. It demonstrates how an experienced shipyard can embrace the MCA and LY2 requirements and build on them to create a magnificent new design that meets all the stringent safety requirements and which will still meet the luxury requirements of the most demanding owner. Princess has come up with many innovative solutions and developed this design into a cohesive concept that would make an owner very proud to own.
In Hong Kong: www.princessyachts.com.hk
In Singapore: www.princessyachtsasia.com
In Thailand: www.boatlagoonyachting.co.th
In India: www.navnitmarine.com
Technical Specifications – Princess 32M
LOA 32 m
LWL 28.6 m
Beam 7.11 m
Draught 1.98 m
Displacement 104 ts
Engines 2 x 2400 hp MTU V-16 2000 diesels
Optional engines 2 x 2600 hp MTU V-16 2000 diesels
2 x 1925 hp C-32 Caterpillar diesels
Drive type Vee drive to shafts and propellers
Speed (max/cruise) 24/20 kts
Range at 11 knots 900 nm
Fuel capacity 12,900 litres
Bow and stern thrusters American Bow Thruster
Generators 2 x 40 KW Onan
Watermakers (Manf, litres per day) Tecnomar
Freshwater capacity 1800 litres
Communication/navigation electronics Furuno and Simrad/Sailor
Entertainment systems Bang and Olufsen
Owner and guests (number) 10
Crew (number) 5/6
Construction Resin infused composites
Classification MCA and LY2
Naval architect (name/company) Bernard Olesinski and in house
Interior designer (name/company) In house