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A Sense of Style: Princess V62

The Princess V62 looks buttoned up but knows how to let loose.

December 21, 2011
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Princess V62 Story

I’ll admit up front that I have been a fan of Princess since my first opportunity to sea-trial one of its boats more than a dozen years ago. I like the way the Brits fuss over technical detail and admire the English reserve that seems to prevent them from buggering their designs with silly paint schemes and flavor-of-the-day styling gimmicks. This purity of purpose is why the builder’s V-Class yachts appeal to me. The designs are what we once referred to here in the colonies as “express cruisers.” As I inspected the V62 it occurred to me just how far this breed of boat has evolved (see the complete photo gallery here).

The V62 is one of nine express-style yachts Princess offers from 39 to 85 feet. The express cruiser timeline gained traction in the United States in the 1970s as young families gravitated to 20-something (foot) family weekenders. By the 1980s, fans of the breed had aged a bit and migrated upward to 40 feet. When European builders established a beachhead in the Americas in the 1990s, a flood of larger express boats followed. At first, translation was difficult. European yachtsmen rarely spent the night aboard or cared to visit the engine room. Crew were packed into closetlike quarters. Today, European builders and American yachtsmen have adapted.

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While the “bigger is better” mantra has been the rule for a decade, some supersize designs look awkward. This is not the case for an express yacht in the 60-foot class. To my eye this measure is something of a sweet spot for those who wish to cruise with friends and family. Others seem to agree, says James Nobel, vice president of Viking Sport Cruisers, the Princess distributor in the Americas and the Caribbean. “We are seeing folks with larger motoryachts moving down and folks with smaller expresses that would have typically moved up to flybridge boats take a serious look at larger expresses — all are looking to optimize time on the water.”

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The V62 is fashionable but she has not been compromised by the stylist’s pen. Her lines are pleasantly uncluttered and incorporate the simple shapes and sensible styling cues that are common to the line. Her sheer is relatively straight from stem to amidships and then slopes aft. This seems the fashion these days, and while it sometimes appears droopy to my eye, that’s not the case with the V62. The look is not overdone and balances nicely with her deck line and the sweep of her windscreen and arch — she’s a good-looking boat.

Her exterior cockpit has a seating area and a table opposite a wet bar with a refrigerated drink box and an electric grill. A sun pad aft covers the tender garage, which can accommodate an 11-foot rigid-bottom inflatable. Stairs lead aft to a hydraulic platform, which can be fitted with a cradle for a PWC. A sliding door/bulkhead opens the exterior cockpit area to the air-conditioned bridge. A seating area faces a flat-panel TV on a lift that’s hidden in the cabinetwork. Adjustable helm and companion seats face a dash that accommodates a single large display and a handful of smaller electronics. This might seem tight to navigation nerds, but it’s fine by me, as is the analog instrument cluster, which Nobel suggests was inspired by Aston Martin. Overhead, a glass-paneled section of the roof retracts with a push of a button — a convertible — nice!

Stairs lead belowdecks to the salon/galley area, and the open design is illuminated by natural lighting from the windshield above. A settee and stools can accommodate six for dining. A stair leads aft to the master stateroom, where windows in the hull side brighten the full-beam space. With a king-size berth, a settee, a vanity and a private head, those moving over from a motoryacht will find little compromise here! A guest stateroom forward has a queen island berth and private access to the second head. Another guest stateroom has two single berths, and while it is a bit tight, it would be ideal for kids. A redesign of this space as an office for the first V62 customer in the United States is now available as an option. Cherry, light oak or walnut joinery in gloss or satin finish are offered.

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A hatch in the exterior cockpit sole and a vertical ladder allow access to the engine room and machinery space. There is headroom and an area for moving about on the centerline, but as is typical of the breed, wing tanks and the tender garage make other spots a bit tight. There is additional access via a hatch in the engine room’s after bulkhead, which leads to the lazarette — it’s big enough to wiggle through. A Euro-style crew cave in the lazarette area is offered; however, I feel this option isn’t very practical since interior panels would need to be removed for access to the lazarette. I suggest keeping it simple and using the space for stowing cruising supplies and water toys. Nobel expects that this will be the choice of most U.S. yachtsmen.

Princess has six production facilities totaling 1 million square feet in Plymouth, England. Like her sisters’, the V62’s design was tweaked with a full-size mock-up and approved for production by the company’s 46-year-old founder and executive chairman, David King. Molding is completed in a dedicated area, as are electrical and mechanical subassemblies and interior joinery modules. These components are fed to stations where JIT (just-in-time) assembly techniques are employed by teams of craftsmen dedicated to the completion of individual boats. The V62’s hull bottom is a solid resin-infused laminate with stitched multidirectional fiberglass reinforcement. A network of closely spaced fiberglass stringers and web frames provides support. Marine plywood structural bulkheads are secured with fiberglass tabbing and mechanical fasteners. The V62’s topsides, superstructure and decks are cored with closed-cell foam. Topsides are offered in white, midnight blue or steel-gray gelcoat. Fit and finish inside and out are excellent.

We conducted our sea trial aboard the V62 in three- to four-foot seas and light winds off Palm Beach, Florida. Our test boat was fitted with 1,150-horsepower Caterpillar C18As. Like all Princess yachts I have sea-trialed, the V62 is a delight to drive. I cannot think of another yacht of her size and type that is as responsive — she handles like a sports car when “cornering” at high speed. This is a credit to her designer, Bernard Olesinski, who has penned all of Princess’ current line. She gets up and goes without a fuss, and I measured a top speed of 35.3 knots. At 2100 rpm I recorded a speed of 31.8 knots on the GPS and a fuel burn of 92 gallons per hour on the Cat electronics. Her quiet ride at speed is worthy of note. Deep pockets allow for a draft of just 3 feet 8 inches — ideal for cruising the Bahamas. The standard twin 1,015-horsepower Caterpillar C18s will save you about $40,000 and cost you a knot at cruise. Nobel says most buyers opt for the upgrade.

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While some European builders have made little effort in translation, Princess’ hands-on management and its 16-year relationship with Viking Sport Cruisers has paid dividends. Though there are still more V-series yachts wandering the Med than U.S. waters, the balance may soon change. Designs like the V62 speak a language performance-minded American yachtsmen will understand.

See the complete photo gallery.

Test Conditions: Speeds were measured by GPS off Palm Beach, Florida, in 60 feet of water with three- to four-foot seas and light to variable winds, with a full load of fuel and a full load of water, and three people onboard. Fuel consumption was calculated by the electronics engine monitoring system. Sound levels were measured at the helm.

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RPM Knots GPH dB(A)
650 8.1 — 64
900 10.7 8 64
1200 12.8 28 64
1500 18.8 28 66
1800 25.3 76 69
2100 31.8 92 73
2330 35.3 120 78

LOA: 62’8″ (excluding pulpit)
LWL: 49’10”
BEAM: 16’5″
DRAFT: 3’8″
DISPL.: 65,036 lb.
FUEL: 901 gal.
WATER: 132 gal.
TRANSOM DEADRISE: 19 degrees
ENGINE OPTIONS: 2 x 1,015 hp Caterpillar C18 diesels
ENGINES TESTED: 2 x 1,150 hp Caterpillar C18A diesels
Base Price: Upon request
Viking Sport Cruisers, 877-846-9874; www.princessyachts-us.com

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