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BOATS

BOAT TESTS

Princess V62-S

Royally Pleased

The Princess V62-S has the onboard comforts and at-sea performance to make just about any day a good day.

Sometimes things with the loveliest of endings come from inauspicious beginnings. Take for example, my recent test of the Princess V62-S. I was at the tail end of a South Florida business trip, whipping around Palm Beach County in a sweet Chevy Volt, nearly frantic trying to find Palm Harbor Marina. See, I had a boat to test, as well as a flight to catch, and a detour through Riviera Beach was not in my plans.

Thankfully, I found the marina shortly, and booked it down the docks to meet Princess rep James Nobel onboard. There was a drawbridge to beat, and it opened once every half hour, so we undid the lines lickety-split and pushed out of the slip when—“BBBRRAAANGALANGGALANGG!!!”—came an alarm. There was an electrical snafu with the swim platform (nothing I’d dock points for, these things happen) and it took a little bit of time to get it sorted. Which gave me enough time to admire just how well the boat’s standard Side-Power bow thruster and optional stern thruster literally pinned the craft in place, despite a beckoning current in the ICW. 

Luckily, Nobel got the alarm to pipe down, and we scooted underneath the bridge just in time. Just in time that is, to see that conditions outside the inlet were—to use the technical term—gross. Sloppy, confused 4-footers bouncing off one another for as far as the eye could see. Gross for cruising that is. Great for boat tests. So I rustled the 62’s burly 1,150-horsepower Caterpillar C18s from their peaceful slumber inside a spacious and immaculate engine room, and set off to see what she could do.

And what I found out was somewhat unexpected. It might subconsciously have something to so with the demure company name, or perhaps the streamlined sleekness of her lines, but I really thought going into the test that this boat was going to be a “Med” boat, more concerned with looks and sun worshipping than actual seakindliness. Happily, I was very wrong. The V62-S is notable for her balance, and is indeed perhaps one of the best-balanced boats I’ve ever tested. Her running angle never registered past 3.5 degrees on my inclinometer, even when we hopped from 19 knots to 30 knots between 1500 and 2000 rpm. Through S-turns, her pivot point was so well calibrated that it felt like I was driving a top, and hard over she ripped right around on herself in two boat lengths with considerably little heel, while maintaining her already impressive lines of sight (which are thanks to oversized windows encircling the helm and saloon). 

That balance, by the way, can partially be attributed to Princess’s build process, where the utmost care is given to making sure the boat’s longitudinal center of gravity is in just the right spot—even if that means doing something slightly unorthodox (at least for this type of boat), like locating the fuel tanks outboard of the engines. Nobel also pointed out another crucial factor in the boat’s longitudinal and lateral balance. “This boat has a variable deadrise hull designed by Bernard Olesinski,” he said, “and that makes for an easy transition onto plane, and it helps distribute weight more evenly across the hull. That was a big change for us, and a good thing, as the boats got beamier and we added hydraulic platforms. That’s all I’ll say, I don’t want to give away our secrets!”

Furthermore, her steering and controls were silky and smooth, as was her acceleration, and really, she was just a pleasure to drive.

She also ate up the slop we were in with glee. She tracked well, and her solid, resin-infused hull shrugged off the slapping waves like Adrian Peterson running between the tackles.

That resin-infusion process is one of the advancements that the V62-S, which debuted this past February in Miami, has over her well-loved predecessor, the V62, which launched in 2010. Other advancements include a larger garage, as well as a lower-profile hardtop that provides more shade for the cockpit, which has also been expanded.

The 62 occupies what might be called a sweet spot for Princess. She’s right near the top end in length overall for most owner operators, but since she is an express she is a bit easier for an owner to handle. Indeed, Princess has seen lots of interest in this model not only from people climbing the ladder into a bigger boat, but also from baby boomers who are looking to downsize from a flying-bridge motoryacht without sacrificing onboard comfort.

And that’s a sacrifice they certainly won’t make with the V62-S. Her fit and finish throughout is commensurate with a boat company owned by luxury-brand conglomerate LVMH, which also owns Dom Perignon, Givenchy, and Tag Heuer, just to name a few. The joinery on the high-gloss cherry on my boat was a high point, as was the accommodations level.

Down there, when I entered the amidships master I actually wrote “wow” in my notes—and to be honest, after my frantic day, the space made me want to take a nap. The amount of room there is fit for, well, a princess, with a king-size island berth, a settee to starboard, and enormous portholes to either side. A hanging locker had four good-sized suitcases in it and wasn’t anywhere near full.

Forward of the master there was the galley to port and an L-shaped settee to starboard. The area is well suited as a secondary entertainment space or perhaps a breakfast nook. The galley has all the accouterments you could ask for: a four-burner Bosch cooktop, dishwasher, microwave, and a large refrigerator. But if she were my boat, I’d want the galley up top so I could cook and talk without being banished down below—though I guess I could probably entice someone to keep me company on that settee while I boiled spaghetti.

The lower saloon splits a dayhead with the forepeak VIP, which has a good amount of headroom and walkaround space surrounding its island queen berth. Meanwhile twin berths just forward of the master and to starboard comprised the guest stateroom on my test boat. This area can also be configured to be an office with a hanging locker and chaise lounge, which seems like a better use of space unless you have kids onboard or do a lot of overnight entertaining.

What you get with the Princess V62-S is an elegantly appointed yet highly livable boat that flies around like a little, 63-and-a-half-foot sports car out on the water, even when conditions are somewhat snotty. And when you can finish your day on a boat like that, it’s pretty damn easy to put your mind at ease. No matter how your journey began.

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This article originally appeared in the August 2013 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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