With responsive control and plenty of horsepower, this Princess V72 gives an experienced owner the confidence to run her on his own.
A whole pile of years ago, while driving around on a dark night enjoying the excitements of a misspent and rebellious youth, my brother and I decided to see just how fast his Dodge Super Bee (with a monster 390-hp 440 Six Pack under the hood) would go. Testosterone-tinged insanity was behind the experiment, of course, and, if memory serves, the old girl sweetly pegged her 150-mph speedo and kept right on goin’. It was glorious, really.
I hark back to this irresponsible episode for two reasons. First, while doddering toward antiquity these days, I like occasionally to remind myself of one saving fact—while life today is a tad sedate, there was once a time, albeit long ago, when raising ill-advised, jail-deserving, ultra-enjoyable hell was part of the deal. And second, the episode serves to characterize the wondrous, full-throttle excitement I felt while driving a new Princess V72, christened Just Perfect, at top speed across Long Island Sound during a recent sea trial.
Starting at about $3.8 million for a well equipped model, she ain’t exactly a Dodge Super Bee. Far from it. But then again, there is a similarly sporty appeal to jumping into a multi-adjustable leather Besenzoni helm chair, giving the horizon a brief but comprehensive scan (to make sure there’s nothing in the way), and then juicing two big 1,622-mhp Caterpillar C32 ACERTs up to a thundering wide-open velocity of 39 knots!
Did the experience make me feel like a wild and crazy kid again, enjoying sensations of speed and momentum I’d never felt before? No, not exactly. But did it bring back a few delightful memories? Especially the one about going hell bent for leather in a big-block-bolstered muscle car? You betcha!
“The sense of power’s a mindblower,” I remarked to the 72’s owner, Robert Moss, who lounged in the circular dinette area to port, opposite the helm, a big grin on his face. “Mind if I see how she corners?”
Moss’s grin widened in the affirmative. I swung the 72 into an excitingly banked hardover turn, eventually carving a broad (I estimated four-to-five boat lengths) foamy circle in the sound’s dark, nearly flat expanse. The boat kept her nose up throughout, evincing no prop blowout or excessive rumble at all. And when I straightened her out, she beelined it for the Connecticut shore so unswervingly that course corrections via the wheel were unnecessary for one and sometimes two minutes at a time!
Dockside-maneuvering capabilities were equally impressive. While I idled the 72 through Huntington Harbor at sea trial’s end, Moss suggested I get a feel for her ZF joystick control system in open water but then actually dock the boat using the time-honored gears-only method. “The ZF thing is good,” he enthused. “but you’ve gotta see this, Bill—you can put this boat anywhere you want with just the gears. And maybe a little thruster action.”
Moss was right on both counts. The ZF control, which put the boat’s mains, as well as her variable-speed Side-Power bow and stern thrusters, at the disposal of a joystick-enabled onboard computer, worked well enough, although the system seemed a bit uneven in comparison to those of pod systems I’ve dealt with over the years. Moreover, Moss ventured a warning of sorts. “Just remember,” he said, “you gotta be careful you don’t overdo the thrusters with the joystick—it’ll deplete your batteries.”
But the gears-only backdown? Moss’s slip is a slim one, with perhaps a foot of clearance between pilings and rubrails on either side. Nevertheless, after pivoting the 72 in front with little more than a couple of gear changes, forward and reverse, I was able to slide her astern with consummate ease and nary a piling screech! Honesty dictates, though, that I give lots of credit to Moss (who stood on the swim platform directing traffic), to the incredible oomph inherent in 37-inch by 56.5-inch five-blade wheels, and to both of the boat’s thrusters, which I used sparingly.
One extra word about the thrusters. The beefy, helm-mounted lever control for each of them was flanked by a bidirectional toggle that could be thrust-adjusted (plus or minus) with a mere finger tap. Once an operator accurately positions the 72 in a berth or slip, says Moss, he or she can pull the mains into neutral, tap out just enough thruster force to pin the vessel against the appropriate pilings, dock, or whatever, and then go dockside either to help with tying up or do the whole job single-handedly. “My wife and I usually run the boat by ourselves,” Moss explained. “But I can also dock this thing by myself and then step out and tie her up the same way. Think of it—a 72-footer!”
Ever the proud owner, Moss gave me a guided tour of his 72 shortly after I’d shut her down. In the engine room, I noted duplex Separ fuel-water separators for the mains as well as the 22.5-kW Cummins Marine genset; safety-boosting, tightly sealed battery boxes with hosed vents; and the comprehensive identification of virtually all components with blue plastic labels.
Construction highlights included a stout all-vinylester-resin-infused build regime; massive 3-inch-thick web frames strengthening a deep-V hull form; equally stout closed-cell-foam-cored stringers; and massive cleats made in-house by Princess. And finally, accommodations included an extraordinarily spacious interior (thanks to a straightforward three-stateroom-three-head layout with a small crew quarters aft) as well as a full cockpit galley (plus another down forward) that promises a delightful al fresco ambiance for entertaining and dining.
The end of Moss’s tour left me with one concern. Much of the Cruisair air-conditioning system onboard was installed on a shelf suspended over the port engine, a spot undeniably prone to upwardly mobile heat. When I asked a Princess rep about this situation, however, he noted the heat shields under the equipment and assured me that Cruisair’s engineers had signed off on the arrangement. “It’s fine,” he concluded with confidence.
“So whaddya think of my boat?” asked Moss as our test wound down. He was standing near his helm station, obviously admiring the crisp walnut finish with wenge accents. I came back with a quick answer.
“You’ve got some wicked power here, Bob,” I said. “Plus lots of sensible room, some really top-notch construction technology, and some seriously memorable maneuvering and handling finesse.”
“That’s why I named her Just Perfect,” he grinned.
Electric sun awning, teak side decks; underwater lights; walnut interior; variable-speed thrusters (bow and stern); quartz-tone leather upholstery; Sea Recovery 1400-2 Aquamatic watermaker; Glendinning CableMaster system.
LWL: 71'4", Generator: 1/22.5 kW Onan
Conditions During Boat Test
Air temperature: 80ºF; humidity 80%; seas: calm
Load During Boat Test
968 gal. fuel, 140 gal. water; 3 persons, 800 lb. gear.
Test Boat Specifications
- Test Engine: 2/1,622-mhp Caterpillar C32 ACERT diesels
- Transmission/Ratio: ZF 2060A 2.467:1 ratio
- Props: Veem 37" X 56.5" 5-blade
- Price as Tested: Upon request
This article originally appeared in the August 2012 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.