While sport-bridge models are occasionally maligned as nothing more than a compromise between a motoryacht and an express cruiser, the Princess S60 represents a solid counterargument to that gripe. There simply isn’t a whole lot of half-stepping to this yacht. That thought struck me in a relatively unlikely place: while looking at the television in the amidships master stateroom. Normally, I could not care less about onboard TVs. To my mind, yachts are meant for enjoying the great outdoors. But this particular television seemed huge for the yacht’s length overall.
“Yeah, she’s 40 inches, the biggest we could fit in here,” said James Nobel, marketing director for Princess Yachts America.
The TV was set inside a piece of Makassar ebony that gave the décor a mega-yacht feel. I also appreciated the amount of stowage in the stateroom, in particular the six high-gloss walnut drawers to starboard and another, larger one to port, forward of a settee. The woodwork was exemplary, and that as well as the snug fit of the drawers back into their compartments were testaments to the high level of craftsmanship that Princess imbues in its yachts at its shipyard in Plymouth, England.
There, workers infuse each S60’s hull and superstructure with vinylester resin before adding a carbon-fiber hardtop, which saves weight and lowers the yacht’s center of gravity. Carbon fiber is also used at key structural points for extra strength. It takes about five months — a relatively quick turnaround — to build an S60, which is good because, as of press time, Princess had delivered six of them following the model’s debut at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.
Another aspect of the S60 that shows no signs of compromise is her lines, which blend a flybridge yacht’s spaciousness into the low-slung profile of an express cruiser. Curvaceous salon windows soften the yacht’s exterior appearance, while elongated hullside windows lengthen it. The result is a pleasing aesthetic flow befitting of this stylish and sporty model.
Good Guests: In addition to the full-beam amidships master stateroom, the S60’s forepeak VIP stateroom enjoys a good deal of natural light from streamlined hullside windows and has a stowage locker to starboard. A starboard-side guest stateroom has twin berths that can slide together for couples.
Our test S60 had twin 1,200 hp MAN V8-1200 power plants in her belly, where the engine room had 6 feet of headroom and an easily accessible 21.5 kW Onan generator aft (smaller, twin 1,000 hp Caterpillar 12.9 engines are also available). The MANs are certainly powerful engines for a sport cruiser that displaces just shy of 60,000 pounds, and they perform in muscular fashion. Princess says the S60 can get up to 38 knots, though on test day we saw a slightly more modest full-throttle top-end of 35.5 knots. That’s still plenty of pop, particularly if you’re manning the yacht from the upper helm with the wind in your face.
The hull, which has a fine entry that culminates in a moderate 16 degrees of deadrise at the transom, was grippy and nimble during my sea trial off Palm Beach, Florida, under bluebird skies. I turned the yacht hard over at her 28.5-knot cruise speed in two and a half boat lengths. Despite 15-knot winds, the Atlantic was mostly lying down, and the S60 dismissed the 1-footers with quiet ease.
At the lower helm — where there were twin Garmin GPSMap screens as well as a Raymarine engine monitor — sightlines were admirable, even during hard-over turns, when the sightlines on some yachts of this ilk tend to get a bit tight. The leather helm seats were designed for Princess’ S series and are accordingly sporty, looking much like the minimalistic type of seat you might find cradling the driver of an Aston Martin or Maserati. The stitching was flawless, another testament to the skilled hands at work in Plymouth.
An electrically powered, three-pane skylight covers about half the salon and illuminates the lower helm. The skylight combines with the aforementioned windows to make the entire S60’s salon naturally well-lighted.
Total Control: The Princess S60 comes with three command centers: on the main deck, on the sport bridge and in the cockpit, to starboard. The cockpit station is useful for docking and has an emergency stop button.
The galley is aft and to port, a design choice that is becoming standard among Princess builds. The aft galley lends itself well to more casual boating, since the galley acts as a bridge between the salon and the cockpit. Its aft counter has a top-hinged window that opens to let the space double as an alfresco bar in the cockpit, to further meld the interior and exterior. This feature complements the cockpit’s U-shaped dining settee to make it a more complete entertaining area.
And complete is the key word. There’s little that this yacht can’t do. She’s fast, cruisable and fun with loads of stowage and entertainment space, and cool design details inside and out make her stand out in a crowded field.
So, if you hear someone making the argument that sport-bridge yachts are lacking in one area or another, point him toward the Princess S60 and let the yacht do the talking.
The Princess S60’s flybridge has numerous amenities, despite the space being slightly smaller than those aboard similar-size flybridge motoryachts. Twin in-house-built helm chairs are to port with a convertible sun pad across from them. A wet bar is amidships with a sink, grill and fridge. Aft is L-shaped seating with a teak dining table that has foldout wings. Because the S60 is a sport-bridge design, Princess could place a sunroof forward; it connects the salon below to the elements. Allowing for that sunroof is one reason the flybridge space may seem a bit smaller than on competing models (which don’t have it at all).
Let It Shine
The Princess S60 is a boat built for fun. In addition to the convertible sun pad on the flybridge, the S60 has two more places to lay out and get a tan. One is on the foredeck — perhaps the best exterior space to find privacy on this yacht, particularly if moored stern-to in some elegant European harbor. The foredeck sun pad is part of a lounge setup that includes additional seating. The other sun pad is aft and gets sunlight because of the flybridge’s abbreviated overhang. The aft sun pad is above the garage, which can house a personal watercraft or tender for when you need to breeze into port to get more sun lotion.