At Princess, change is always measured and carefully considered.
By Capt. Richard Thiel
The folks at Princess Yachts are a conservative lot. Look at their boats over the past decade and you’ll see a consistency in both design and engineering that’s rare in the boat business. This tradition makes the new V48 remarkable on two counts. One is its construction, and the other its power.
This is the first and only Princess to be powered by pods, specifically Volvo Penta IPS600s. The impetus behind this is the fact that it gives theV48 a full-beam master mid-cabin. Don’t let that term “mid-cabin” fool you. This is not one of those cuddys that require you to double over so you can climb into bed. There’s a lot of space here, plenty for most people to be able to move around freely without stooping, and thanks to large side-windows, everything is bathed in light when you raise the standard blinds. And like the stateroom up forward, this one has en suite facilities complete with an enclosed shower.
Princess also made another crafty move in laying out a U-shape cockpit, with only one starboard walkway to the side decks and standard hydraulic swim platform instead of having port and starboard walkways. Traffic flow is a more restricted this way, but in compensation you get seating for at least four more people. The cockpit is a very sociable area that works for dining, thanks to a hydraulic hi-lo table, and sunning, because it’s not covered, although an extendable sunshade is standard.
The V48 is also notable because it’s built using resin infusion. The first boat to get it was the V78, four years ago, and every new Princess since has been infused. Naturally when it was decided to finally end the run of the V45 (which never came to the United States), its replacement, the V48, was designed and engineered for infusion. Most builders say this process saves a lot of weight, but all the engineers on the dock on test day wanted to talk about was how the process makes for a much cleaner factory and a much more solid boat.
I can’t attest to the factory but I can tell you that this boat is as solid as a brick. Despite the three and four-footers on test day, we heard not a creak or groan when we repeatedly ran her up to full throttle (27 knots).
The sensation of solidity was no doubt enhanced by notably low sound levels—just 71 db(A) at 3000 rpm (18.3 knots). Part of the reason for this is the solidity that comes with resin infusion, but part is also because this builder traditionally invests heavily in sound attenuation materials and techniques—even when they aren’t visually apparent. One example: Both saddle fuel tanks are wrapped in foil-lined acoustical insulation to preclude resonance, which if left unattended, will migrate to the rest of the boat.
For a builder hardly known for winging it, the IPS-powered V48 is an uncharacteristic gamble. But this is a company that always hedges its bets, and I’m wagering when its conservative customers see that big mid-cabin, they’ll take a very liberal approach to this boat.
Viking Sport Cruisers, 877-846-9874; www.princessyachts-us.com