Naming your yacht after your young daughters is a heartfelt gesture. Allowing them to choose a bold color for the vessel’s exterior takes parental love to a new level.
The Russian owner of the Princess 40M Anka christened the yacht after his daughters, Anna and Katerina, and then asked the U.K. builder to go with their choice of “turquoise island” on the hull. It is about as vibrant as Joseph’s Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and certainly as bright a coat of paint as any Princess has ever sported.
During her U.S. debut at Yachts Miami Beach, Anka probably collected more selfies than any other yacht. Yachtspotters literally stood in line to get a shot of themselves with her as the backdrop. She also has proved a popular charter vessel, partly because of the color and partly because she has a battery of water toys, a 10-foot-long swim platform and a comfortable flybridge. (And a professional Greek crew, but I’ll get to that later.) I loved being up on that flybridge during my day on board Anka, moored in a nice little cove on the Intracoastal Waterway near Palm Beach. I got a sense of what this boat is really like under her aquamarine facade.
The elegance began when I stepped into the salon from the cockpit. The salon’s wenge plank sole, high-gloss walnut bulkheads and Fendi furniture give the space a contemporary look that is as subtly refined as the exterior is bright and cheerful. Her owner requested an opaque glass wall aft so that light from the cockpit isn’t blocked, but the salon still feels like a private space.
On the builder’s other 40M yachts, columns separate the living and dining areas, but Anka’s owner went with an open floor plan. Sole-to-ceiling windows fill the salon with natural light, while foldout balconies on both sides add another 10 feet to Anka’s 26-foot-plus beam. Princess says its 40M has the most volume of any yacht in its class. With the balconies open, it sure does feel that way.
During the final year of each M-Class yacht’s fit-out, more than 100 craftspeople install the teak decks, build cabinets and joinery, fashion leather and wire 27 miles of cable.
I would add that if build quality is the measuring stick, this yacht is exceptional. The Fendi furniture and other interior appointments add a sophisticated, Italian flair, and Princess’ in-house craftsmen are the real heroes. Princess’ seven yards in Plymouth, England, build almost everything in-house to maximize quality control. The builder produces 26 models, from 39 feet to this 40M (131-foot-9-inch) flagship, which means the thousands of parts that Princess craftsmen create are an impressive total. The shipyard makes 237 types of doors alone. And more than 40 sizes and styles of them are found on Anka.
Forward on the main deck, the master suite has a library at the entrance with the bedroom beyond. A white leather oval on the ceiling matches the white oval-shaped carpet, which leads to the full-beam head far forward. A vanity is between the bedroom bulkhead and the head, which has his-and-her sinks, a spa tub, toilets and a shower. A Crema Marfil stone sole adds an extra dose of elegance.
Princess builds this 131-footer in five- and six-stateroom versions. Anka has five staterooms, and Pullmans in two of them mean accommodations for 12 guests on board. With both layouts, the second deck has a second salon abaft the pilothouse that connects to outdoor dining for 12.
After we anchored in the ICW cove, the crew brought food and drinks up to the flybridge, where the Jacuzzi bubbled and the Bose stereo system belted out ’90s tunes.
Anka’s crew of seven are Greek, warm and gracious. The stews chatted with guests as they refilled drinks and brought out plates of warm appetizers. As the afternoon sun gained height, some of us headed down to the beach club, changed into wetsuits and jumped in the water. Anka has a flotilla of water toys, including two Sea-Doos, stand-up paddleboards, scuba equipment, and a Williams jet tender powerful enough to pull water-skiers. For me, the must-have machines were the Seabobs, battery-powered water toys that pull a person either along the water’s surface or down into its depths. We spent a few hours letting the Seabobs pull us back and forth between the yacht and the clear shoals below.
When the sun lowered , everyone gathered at the dining table on the second deck for seafood and Greek wine. With stone crabs, lobster, raw fish and salads, the dinner could’ve been straight out of a taverna on Corfu — Dionysus would have smiled. The crew injected an Eastern Mediterranean sensibility into a stretch of water that’s about as blue-blood American as it gets, a skill that should come in handy while Anka is chartering in the Mediterranean during summers and the Caribbean during winters.
We were comfortable at anchor because Anka has TRAC fin stabilization. Had we wanted to rush back to the marina, the yacht’s twin 3,509 hp MTU 12V engines give her a top-end of 21 knots. We spent more of our time at her friendly cruise speed of 15 knots, however, and I wondered what it would be like to drop her down to 10 knots to take advantage of her 2,000-nautical-mile range.
Certainly, given her vibrant hull color, people up and down the East Coast would see Anka coming. And they would be right to want to snap a photo with this Princess flagship.