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For a nation about the size of Oregon, Britain clearly understands luxury. The Brits produce vehicles that set a benchmark: Think Rolls-Royce and Bentley, as well as Aston Martin, Jaguar and Lotus.
So it should come as no surprise that the Princess Yachts V55 has a level of luxury beyond just layout or speed; it’s about the details. Before I get into the amidships master stateroom or the two other staterooms, the gourmet galley or the cockpit arranged for alfresco living, consider the supple, handmade leathers and suedes used for the V55’s interior upholstery. The helm seats, with armrests and headrests, have flawless stitching that stands proud of the material, just like on fine cars. The leather couch in the master made me feel cosseted with the luxe material.
This is a highly usable yacht too. Boarding from the transom platform is via twin stairways flanking a sun pad, which conceals the garage that accommodates an 11½-foot tender. The cockpit has softly curved lines, unlike the dart-like hull with its black-window slash and sweptback windscreen. An L-shaped lounge with a folding teak table is to port, a couch is aft, and there’s a Kenyon grill and a fridge for outdoor cooking. The cockpit is protected from wind with full-glass side windows.
One particular detail caught my eye here: the disappearing salon door. The stainless-steel door into the salon slides, and the neighboring window slides down into recesses, opening the cockpit to the salon. It’s an impressive display of engineering, which, combined with the 90-inch-long sunroof and opening windows on each side of the salon, makes for alfresco living on board.
The galley to starboard has a four-burner cooktop, a two-drawer Sub-Zero fridge and a microwave, along with several drawers and a pop-up pantry. A set of Princess glassware is in a fitted cabinet abaft the helm (and a Miele wine chiller is in the master stateroom). Opposite the galley is the settee with a fold-out dining table.
The Princess Yachts design team—Bernard Olesinski penned the hull—clearly looked at luxury cars when arranging the dash, which hosts a pair of 16-inch Garmin touchscreens and a separate monitor for the engines, all tucked under the wide lip to prevent reflections in the windshield. The helm is a skipper’s delight, with a row of rocker switches, throttle shifters and a wheel. The V55 I was aboard had the optional joystick, combining the twin Side-Power bow and stern thrusters with the engines to make docking easier, even when short-handed. I also applaud the detailed, eye-level electrical panel tucked inboard of the helm in the companionway.
The master stateroom spans the full 15-foot-3-inch beam with a queen-size centerline berth and stowage that includes a 5-foot-tall hanging locker for wrinkle-free clothes. A sliding door opens to the head and its 30-by-36-inch stall shower.
Forward is a guest stateroom to starboard with upper and lower bunks for the kids. The VIP stateroom is far forward with a queen berth that can split into V-berths when needed. The en suite head here has a private entry and does double duty as the day head. An optional crew cabin can be tucked aft with its own head and berth.
Standard power for the V55 is a pair of 1,000 hp Volvo Penta D13 straight-shaft diesels, which is a change from the V50 and its IPS pod drives. The straight drives have less maintenance and more horsepower, and skippers still get the joystick for combining thrusters and engines. Of note is the hidden station to starboard in the cockpit with engine and thruster controls for docking.
The V55 I was aboard had several options that consume engine-room space, such as a Seakeeper NG9 gyrostabilizer and a larger genset (21.5 kW rather than 9.5 kW), yet I still had full headroom at 5 feet, 10 inches tall. All the systems are accessible, including the fuel filters, sea strainers and Mastervolt isolation transformer. Three Dometic air-conditioning systems are neatly plumbed on bulkhead racks for service.
With the hammer down, the V55 topped 35 knots at 2,450 rpm, which leaves the engines happy and long-lasting at a 28-knot cruise speed at 75 percent engine load and 2,100 rpm.
Speed for a yacht this size is nice, but the most striking feature of the V55 underway was something missing: noise. Rolls-Royce once promised that the loudest noise in its Silver Shadow was the clock ticking, and the Princess V55 isn’t far behind. My decibel meter barely hit 70 with the boat running flat-out. Dropping back into the high-20-knot speeds, it read just over 64. That’s about the same as background music. Dockside with the air conditioning running, I couldn’t hear the genset.
Underway, the Princess V55 handles like a much smaller yacht: light on the steering and not needing the Bennett trim tabs to climb quickly onto plane. We stuck our nose far enough offshore to prove that the deep-V hull form could easily handle the bluster of the English Channel, the Catalina Channel or the Gulf Stream.
All in all, this is a delightful offering from a land that knows luxury. Britannia still rules the waves.
This V55 has the optional satin-finish walnut interior, which is pleasantly serene and modern. Standard interiors in satin finish include alba oak (light) or rovere oak (medium), while darker silver oak and walnut are options.
Powering the V55 are twin Volvo Penta D13 diesels, a marinized version of the Volvo D13 truck engine, which has a worldwide reputation for robust and reliable operation, fuel efficiency and solid torque. At 780 cubic inches in a six-cylinder cast-iron block, it has fuel injection and electronic control systems.
Another Living Room
The V55 salon opens to the outdoors with a disappearing door, as well as a sunroof and lowering windows. Another outdoor living space is at the bow, with a wraparound couch, a cocktail table and another sun pad.
Take the next step: princessyachtsamerica.com