First in a new class of big sportsters from Princess Yachts, the S72 takes the luxury, ease of management and family-centric fun of an express boat to even loftier heights.
By Capt. Bill Pike
A couple of years ago, I had an opportunity to sea trial a Princess V72 on Long Island Sound and came away really liking the boat. She was fun to drive and offered exceptionally authoritative, conventional inboard-type maneuverability dockside thanks in part to a couple of variable-speed thrusters (bow and stern) from Side-Power. She was solidly constructed by the limey blokes across the pond, and she was elegantly finished in fine English woods, leathers and fabrics.
But while my time on board the V72 was certainly enjoyable, I must admit I like the new Princess S72—a snazzier, more-aggressive-looking 72-footer I recently sea trialed at the Viking Yachts Service Center in Riviera Beach, Florida—even more. She’s got something that’s altogether fabulous, something the V72 didn’t have: a flybridge.
Let’s face it. When done right, blending a bridge into an older, express-type design produces at least one undeniable stylistic virtue: pure, hammer-down raciness. And dockside, the S72 appears so vivacious and swept-back that, as I walked up with test gear in hand, she already seemed to be doing about 50 knots despite the fact that her massive, Princess-forged-and-polished cleats were secured to the dock with a veritable web of mooring lines.
“Got a feeling this test is going to be fun,” I told James Nobel, the marketing director for Princess Yachts America, as I came aboard, “and fast.”
Flybridges have other virtues as well, of course, from providing lofty sight lines for navigation to syncing a navigator into the immediate environment, handing him information that’s beyond the secondhand representations of mere electronics and mechanicals—tools that sometimes produce a false sense of security within a sound-insulated, weather-resistant wheelhouse.
“Totally cool,” I opined from the adjustable driver’s seat on the S72’s flybridge, subsuming all of the aforementioned virtues and advantages in one breezy comment. At the time, we were entering the jetties of Lake Worth Inlet—inbound—with the palm-shady shores of Peanut Island on the nose. Sight lines were superb.
The big, beefy CAT sticks to the right of the steering wheel were set at 1750 rpm, producing a smooth cruise of 23 knots or thereabouts, and her deep-V running surface underfoot was tracking like gangbusters.
Totally cool, indeed. We’d just finished collecting our test data offshore, amid a roistering mob of 4-footers in the Gulf Stream, putting the lower helm station’s quiet, American-walnut-paneled ambiance (and its two Besenzoni helm chairs) to good use. The S72 had turned in an average top hop of 37.1 knots. Running attitudes were absolutely perfect (beyond 1250, they held steady at 4 degrees, the optimum angle of attack for a planing powerboat).The remarkably low sound levels no doubt reflected Princess’ healthy sound-and-vibration attenuation program. Tactical turning diameters had been broad, whether I spun the power-assisted steering wheel hard to port or hard to starboard, and I’d estimated both to be about four boatlengths.
“She’s quick to respond,” I commented while dealing with some traffic along the southern edge of Peanut. “You can start a turn quick and stop it just as quick, with virtually no opposite rudder.”
My walk-through of the S72 with Nobel had two sides to it. On the one hand, the interior was pretty much a dead ringer for the interior of the Princess V72 I’d sea trialed back in 2012: three staterooms (a full-beam master, a VIP forward and a convertible twin to starboard, opposite the galley), each with an en suite head and separate shower stall.
Topside, the main-deck layout offered a starboard helm station forward with excellent sight lines and a large salon with residential-style furnishings opening into a teak-paved cockpit. The finish throughout was impeccable, and I was especially impressed with the woodworking expertise evident in the cabinets, doors and lockers on board, the premium outfitting regime of soft custom carpeting underfoot (except in way of the wenge flooring) and the high-end appliances.
But there are some key differences between the S72 and her predecessor. The salon windows have been enlarged on the S72, and, to boost sociability, the portside credenza was replaced with a couple of end tables and an interstitial sofa. An optional Seakeeper M26000 gyro stabilizer was also installed—a move destined to obviate or reduce roll, both at anchor and when underway.
Nobel and I finished up in the engine room. Upon entering via a hatch in the cockpit sole and a rather difficult-to-negotiate, near-vertical ladder, I found the place to be lofty (with 7-foot headroom), broad (with well over 2 feet between the mains) and nicely lit.
“As you know, I really liked the V72 I ran up north a couple of years ago,” I said as we parted company on our test boat’s immense, hydraulically actuated swim platform, with easy access to both the tender garage and the crew’s quarters.
“Yeah, you did,” Nobel said with a grin.
“But I gotta say, James,” I replied, nodding toward the flybridge above us, “I like this baby a heck of a lot more.”
For more information: 561 840 1940, princessyachtsamerica.com
LOA: 74ft. (22.55m)
Beam: 17ft. 8in. (5.71m)
Draft: 4ft. 10in. (1.46m)
Displacement: 49 tons
Engines (standard): 2 x 1,723-hp Caterpillar C32 ACERT
Engines (options): 2 x 1,622-hp Caterpillar C32 ACERT; 2 x 1,800-hp MAN V12 1800
Fuel: 1,268 gal. (4,799L)
Water: 199 gal. (753L)
Price: Upon request