Princess Yachts took a wait-and-see approach to launching its first vessel to feature Volvo Penta’s IPS – the results showcase lightweight performance that holds up well in bigger seas.
BRITISH BUILDER PRINCESS MUST BE one of the last of the major builders to introduce a yacht powered by Volvo Penta’s IPS Drives. Most of the major yacht builders have embraced this innovative drive system with varying degrees of success. For Princess, it was a question of wait and see. It may have been a long time coming, but the V48 is the first Princess to be powered by IPS, and it seems that the wait was worth it. This 48-footer combines the lively performance expected from a sports cruiser with a world of luxury that marks a new step in the development of a boat this size.
IPS Drives require a particular hull form with carefully designed chines if the boat is to work effectively, and the Princess designers wanted to be sure they had it right before moving forward. This development took place alongside Princess introducing resin infusion moulding to the smaller boats in its range. This combination of IPS and lightweight hull construction allowed the designers to create a quite remarkable sports cruiser.
We faced testing conditions in the English Channel on the sea trial day. A legacy swell was coming in from the strong winds of the day before and new waves were being generated by the prevailing fresh winds. Every so often, there was a bigger than average wave that was difficult to detect until it was too late to take action. It was challenging for a 48-footer, but the V48 coped admirably.
Heading into the waves, we could maintain a comfortable 23 knots with enough in reserve to handle those larger waves. We were conscious of the wide chines required for the IPS Drives on this heading and our trim options were somewhat limited because the Volvo Penta interceptors were being uncooperative. The throttle control of the Volvo Penta diesels brought most of the power in the last 500 rpm, which meant that it was not easy to get sensitive throttle control. Nevertheless, the ride was more than adequate and things smoothed out considerably when running before the sea or with the waves on the beam. Then it was a full throttle ride with speeds topping 32 knots.
The layout of the V48 means that the lower saloon is in direct contact with the helm station and this seems to funnel the hull impact noise upwards so you become very conscious of any slamming. This is where most of the noise comes from when running at speed, and with the engines right aft and excellent sound-proofing, you barely hear the engine noise. This layout also maximises the space available for accommodation.
To read all of this article pick up a copy of the 2014 Jan/Feb issue of Asia-Pacific Boating magazine.