For many Americans, British boatbuilder Princess Yachts may be a relatively unfamiliar name, but it has actually been building high-quality yachts since 1965.
With a fleet ranging in size from 42 feet to more than 130 feet, Princess’ name is well known in Europe, particularly since it’s now under the luxury corporate umbrella of Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH).
The builder’s line has been imported by Viking Yachts for several years and relabeled under another company, Viking Sport Cruisers, a technique known in the automotive industry as “badge engineering.”
In 2010, that badge was changed back to Princess in North America, although the brand is still affiliated with Viking Yachts. The new Princess 82 is, quite simply, a stunning example of fine British craftsmanship perfectly honed for American tastes.
One example of this fine-tuning for the colonies is the galley. In Europe, the preference is that the galley (and its inhabitants) should be invisible to guests, meaning they are either fully enclosed or relegated to a lower level.
On the 82, however, designer Bernard Olesinski (who has designed many Princesses) split the difference. The galley is separated on the after side from the dining area in the salon, but open forward to the dinette opposite the lower helm.
This is a clever arrangement, since it allows formal dining in the salon while offering the country galley so popular with Americans. Another feature that is not visible except in your subconscious is that this is a big 82-footer.
But the beam, in keeping with her performance side, is less than 19 feet. So how did this builder do it? In short: technology.
While most builders now use resin infusion to construct hulls, either forcing or drawing resin throughout the reinforcing matrix, Princess has perfected a push-pull infusion system that creates an exceptionally strong hull, particularly when using PVC coring in the topsides. (Each 82 for the American market is built to meet or exceed all U.S. Coast Guard and American Boat and Yacht Council regulations and standards.)
The result is that this strength allows the builder to reduce the size of the support structure or framing, which, in turn, creates more usable interior volume. If, for example, you have an 82-by-19-foot hull that requires 1 foot of framing on each side, you end up with an 80-by-17-foot interior.
Reduce the framing by half and you’ve added a foot all around. Look around the Princess 82 and you’ll think you’re on a larger yacht: more side-to-side room and more headroom as well.
Olesinski and the Princess team optimized this space, providing three large guest cabins (each with an en suite head) plus the full-beam master suite and well-appointed crew quarters with access from either the main deck or a door in the transom.
The Princess team does a full-scale mock-up of each area on a new yacht, refining every design prior to production.
Another reason for this impression of space on the 82 is the use of huge windows that bring in light and open up the interior spaces. The sides of the salon are mostly glass, and the furniture has been designed with low backs to take advantage of these windows.
Big windows are on each side of both the master suite and VIP stateroom, the guest cabins have oversize ports, and the heads all have opening ports. And, OK, this is a personal pick, but I have to give Princess credit for creating showers in each of the guest cabins that are both large and square.
Each is finished in marble (the master gets a tub if desired), and they wouldn’t be out of place in a luxury apartment. I hate those round “shower tubes” that really cramp anyone who enjoys a good hot shower. And I always feel like I should be shouting: “Beam me up, Scotty!”
The 82 is a yacht designed for entertaining, with full-size walk-behind bars on the aft deck and on the flybridge, where the bar doubles as an outdoor kitchen with grill and fridge. Her cockpit has a curving settee with table for alfresco dining, as does the bridge, which also sports a large sun pad.
There’s another sun pad on the foredeck as well as an integrated couch. With the backrest on the sun pad flipped forward, a second couch is created facing the first, and I have to think this would be the perfect spot to enjoy a sundowner at anchor.
While this yacht was designed and built in England, she was carefully outfitted to Viking Sport Cruisers’ specifications for the U.S. market. First, this means that each North America-bound Princess 82 has a greatly expanded scope of standard equipment when compared with sisterships delivered to other parts of the world.
|Specifications||Builder Supplied Numbers|
|ENGINES (std):||2 x 1,622 hp Caterpillar C32 ACERT diesels|
|ENGINES (tested):||2 x 1,624 hp MTU 10V 2000 M94 diesels|
These standards include the 32 kW Onan generator, a passerelle for boarding, central vacuum, upgraded toilets, additional galley appliances such as dishwasher and microwave, a full entertainment package of TVs with dockside outlet, and a full linens package including in the crew quarters.
Speaking of the crew quarters, the 82 is appealing to owner-operators as well as owners with captains. She is small enough for a couple to handle, and the pantograph doors from the lower helm and galley offer easy access to the side decks.
My test boat also had Side-Power bow and stern thrusters with a hold position, so you can set the thrusters to pin the boat against a pier while you get the dock lines squared away.
This vessel also had the optional cockpit control station with shifter and thruster controls in a hidden locker.
If the 82 is run sans captain, the crew quarters make an ideal teenager getaway, with twin bunks and a head with shower. A mess area with mini galley and dinette can be set up too. The crew space is separated from the guest areas by the engine room.
It’s a big engine room, as this 82 was fitted with the optional 1,624-horsepower MTU 10V 2000 M94 diesels. The standard engines are 1,622-horsepower Caterpillar C32 ACERTs. A second option is to have the Cats tuned up to 1,723 horsepower. Depending on the engine package, top speed will fall into the 32- to 34-knot range. One benefit of the MTU option is the single exhaust from each engine, which greatly increases engine room space.
Entered via the crew quarters, the engine room features seamanlike plumbing and wiring with good access to all systems. My boat had the second 32 kW Onan genset atop the standard generator, plus Trac stabilizers and a PM3 shore electrical system. For the skipper, this 82 has the Furuno NavNet TZtouch system with twin 14-inch touch screens at both the upper and lower helms. Furuno NavPilots (700 at the lower, 711 at the upper), Furuno open array radar and speed/depth logs completed the electronics.
One item that impressed me was the Böning touch-screen display that provides a user-friendly interface for all onboard electrical management. A large Böning monitor is in the pilothouse, and smaller monitors are built into the upper and lower dashboards, so all systems are within reach of the skipper.
The result of this touch-screen technology is just three analog gauges at the lower helm: two tachometers and the rudder indicator.
A clever feature at the upper helm is the hinged dashboard that folds out of sight to protect the instrumentation when not in use. And, while the 82’s fiberglass hardtop is optional, I can’t imagine not ordering it since it includes an electrically operated sunroof that allows you to dial in the exact amount of desired sunlight.
There were, in fact, many likable features on the Princess 82. Pull out the drawers next to the formal dining area, and you’ll find a full set of silver, china and crystal with Princess logos in perfectly fitted, no-rattle holders.
All the furniture in the salon, built in the 32-acre Princess wood and metal shop, is custom-made, and almost every piece has hidden stowage because you can never have too much. Princess also has ferreted out every nook and cranny throughout the yacht and turned them into lockers or drawers.
On the foredeck, two large gull-wing lockers will absorb bulky deck gear such as fenders and covers, and another locker on the stern serves that area. Every Princess is now equipped with a hydraulic swim platform, which, in the case of the 82, can be fitted with chocks to handle up to a 16-foot tender.
My test boat had an Opacmare crane on the bridge easily capable of lifting a PWC or second tender into an open area.
This 82 featured an optional American walnut interior in a high-gloss finish for a warm and traditional look, but buyers can also choose a light oak or serotina (black cherry) in either satin- or high-gloss finish.
I found the Princess 82 a thoroughly likable yacht with myriad features that should have broad appeal on this side of the pond. She can be easily handled by an experienced couple or captain-maintained.
Her build and fit and finish are first-rate, and she’s ready to take you wherever you choose to point her. To that distant horizon perhaps? Or maybe the one after that? It’s up to you.