As I inspected the new Princess 72 Motor Yacht I thought of my review of one of the first Viking Sport Cruisers to arrive on our shores: “What do you get when you take a boat with Mediterranean design influence, add British construction and introduce an American nameplate? ‘Success,’ if Viking Yachts’ joint venture with Marine Projects of Plymouth, England, pans out.” Now that Viking has delivered 500 Sport Cruisers, the relationship has clearly not merely panned out, but evolved. The 72 is one of the first Princess products to wear the Princess badge here in the United States.
Coming from the free-thinking design side, I have always thought of reality-based boatbuilders as set in their ways. Looking back, I confess that 15 years ago I had my doubts that two hands-on boatbuilding legends like Bill Healey of Viking and David King of Princess would ever see eye to eye for long. And while they might not have always agreed on the best way to build a boat, they both built damn good ones, and I suspect that respect for this fact and sharing of ideas have only led to better products on both sides of the Atlantic. The timing of their joint venture was perfect. American baby boomers had an eye for European-style performance yachts, but many were uncomfortable with unfamiliar brands and the poor reputation some European builders had earned in the United States. With a strong pedigree in service, Viking’s stamp of approval eased this concern and the rest is, as they say, history.