Princess 82By Capt. Richard Thiel
A Case for Space
The Princess 82 Motor Yacht shows off the company’s ability to create interior volume. But is she filling a slot between two existing models or replacing them both? We asked Editor-At-Large Capt. Richard Thiel to have a closer look.
If you’re like me, one of the first questions that comes to mind when you learn of a new boat is, what boat is she replacing? That’s logical on a lot of levels, one being that it helps you determine if the boat is really new or just a cosmetic refresh. It’s also a fine way to understand what the designers were trying to accomplish with the new boat: Were they trying to correct flaws or shortcomings vis-à-vis the competition or perhaps incorporate new features and technologies that weren’t available when the older boat was on the design boards? Or maybe a little of both?
That’s the question I posed to Princess representatives before I boarded the new 82 Motor Yacht in Plymouth, England, and the answer I got threw me for a bit of a loop. At first glance one would logically conclude that the 82 replaces the 78 Motor Yacht, which was an evolution of the 75 Motor Yacht. But Princess told me this boat is a true clean-sheet design whose interior volume matches that of the 85 Motor Yacht. In fact at times they made it sound as if the 82 had managed to replace two vessels, not one.
Unfortunately there was no 85 on hand with which to evaluate that claim but once I was aboard there was no questioning the fact that this boat feels much larger than her specifications indicate. Part of that is due to the entirely new hull, which added 3 feet 7 inches to the 78’s LOA and an inch to her beam. Draft decreased marginally, from about 5 feet 11 inches to 5 feet 7 inches, mainly because deadrise, as measured at the transom, was also reduced, from 19 degrees to 15. (Yet fuel capacity has gone up, from 1,501 to 1,701 gallons.) Flatter aft sections could produce a bit more interior volume but the real result is more hydrodynamic lift, which should translate into more speed. Alas, Power & Motoryacht never tested the 78 so it’s impossible to verify that theory, but it’s hard to argue with the 82’s top end of just under 32 knots, this for a boat with full fuel and a listed displacement of more than 121,000 pounds.
A not-so-welcome result of flattening out the aftersections can be a harsher ride, especially in deteriorated conditions. We had solid 3- and 4-foot seas on test day, yet the 82 had no problem making her way through them, even at full throttle. Credit for that goes to the new variable-deadrise hull geometry, which Princess says employs fine foresections that warp into that 15-degree transom section to disperse the force of oncoming waves.
But back to the question of why the 82 feels like a larger boat: The answer isn’t really the new interior; it’s a combination of thoughtful space planning, advanced construction, and careful selection of interior furnishings. Take the main deck, for example. The 78 used a straightforward plan in which you entered from the cockpit into a seating area with a U-shaped settee to port facing an entertainment credenza. The enclosed galley was forward and to port while to starboard the dining area, which felt more like an extension of the saloon than a discrete area, contained a table that ran fore-and-aft. The upshot was that when you entered, you were greeted by the end of the dining table. A U-shaped settee was all the way forward across from the starboard helm.
Contrast that to the 82 in which the dining table now lies athwartships to port, in its own dedicated space just forward of the saloon’s main seating area. The U-shaped galley is still to port but farther forward, giving the impression of a much larger saloon area. And the 82 is available with a main-deck dayhead directly across from the dining-galley area, a desirable feature not offered on the 78.
Two things make this level feel unusually spacious. One is the large amount of glass area. The windows run nearly sole to overhead and the mullions are relatively narrow, a detail made possible because both the hull and combined deck and superstructure are resin-infused. (Only the 78’s hull was infused.) The result is a lot of light and expansive views. The other is the interior furnishings. The saloon furniture is mostly white as is the carpet, which imparts a more spacious ambience, yet there’s enough dark walnut in the bulkheads and other furniture to provide a pleasing contrast.
It’s a similar situation below. Both the 78 and 82 have four en suite staterooms: a full-beam master, two roughly equal-size guest staterooms with queen-size beds, and a port-side twin that can be ordered with berths that electrically slide together to form another queen. But not only are the 82’s accommodations bigger, the amidships queen stateroom has full walkaround access. Until now you had to upgrade to the 85 to get that feature. The 82 also has a larger vestibule at the foot of the companionway, much like you see on larger yachts, so the area not only feels more open but there’s more room to move in and out of the staterooms. Once again, more glass area on this level, but particularly in the master, provides more light and a more open feeling.
There’s one final difference between the 78 and 82 that may seem minor but I’ll wager it will loom big in practice. The 82 has what I’d term a faux Portuguese bridge—a walkway just forward of the main-deck windscreen that makes it a lot easier to get not only from one side of the boat to the other but to the large foredeck sunpad, another feature the 78 lacks.
Princess designed the 82 not to correct any significant design flaws in the 78 but to create a boat that while somewhat larger, actually feels much larger than it actually is. But the 82 also effectively rejiggers the upper end of the Princess Motor Yacht line. For if it actually does rival the 85 Motor Yacht in internal volume, the logical question is what will become of that boat? The answer is that it will be replaced by another entirely new model, the 88 Motor Yacht, whose design has been highly influenced by the Princess M Class motoryacht line. Will it all work? Judge for yourself by visiting the Princess display at this month’s Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show, where you can see the 82 up close.
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This article originally appeared in the November 2013 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.