01 February 2022
The cancellation of Boot Düsseldorf – the giant show that kicks off Europe’s boating year at the end of January – left a lot of new yacht launches all dressed up with nowhere to go.
Never one to let something like a show cancellation steal their thunder, the Princess Yachts team pulled a few strings and within days the Princess Exclusive event was born – a nine-day private show with eight Princess models afloat in the historic Royal William Yard Marina, Plymouth, a short hop from the Princess yard in the UK.
Among the yachts available for viewing by invited members of the press and Princess clients was the all-new V50, which replaces the existing model and which features new hull, deck and canopy moulds, developed by naval architects Olesinski and Italian design house Pininfarina.
Alongside the V50 was another much-anticipated model, the X80 superfly – the smaller sister to the award-winning and groundbreaking X95 that made her debut in 2021. “We’ve done the 95, and that has translated extraordinarily well to an 80,” says Anthony Sheriff, Executive Chairman at Princess Yachts.
“It has all the things that make an X95 an X95 [in an 80-foot package], which we have done by placing the helm station on the flybridge and creating a skylounge on the flybridge. We end up with a huge main saloon area, a huge flybridge area, and a second closed saloon with the helm station. We’ve got it to work really well at 80 feet.”
The X80’s imposing styling hides what Princess say is 30 percent more usable interior space than a typical 80-footer, and this space – like on her bigger sister – is put to use in a variety of clever and flexible ways.
The climate-controlled skylounge will prove popular for Australian cruisers, but also gives those of us in more unpredictable climes a refuge when the weather flares foul, and if you do want to soak up some rays – or enjoy an alfresco sundowner – outside spaces both aft of the skylounge and forward of the helm provide distinct and inviting alternatives.
The main deck stretches into the distance, with sightlines all the way through from the aft deck to the bow when everything is opened. The saloon itself takes the after part of the inside space, with a galley and day head further forward; the galley can be closed off if you want to temporarily ditch open plan living.
The forward space on the main deck can be specified as another guest area – a formal dining room perhaps, with 270-degree views – or as a generous master suite with access to its own forward terrace, and it’s not hard to see the appeal of that layout.
“The X80 is fantastic,” Sheriff enthuses. “It’s an 80-foot boat with a main deck master. I’ll repeat that – it’s an 80-foot boat with a main deck master, but an ample main deck master.
“And if you don’t have that main deck master,” he continues, “It’s just a phenomenal living space, plus a huge flybridge with a skylounge and a forward area you can sit properly. It has all of the things that make a 95 and 95, just to a smaller scale.”
Below decks, the X80 in standard configuration offers four cabins for eight guests, including a midships master cabin (or VIP if you’re going main deck master), a double, a twin with sliding singles, and a second double forward; all feature ensuites. There is also accommodation aft for three crew as standard, or up to five with additional berths specified.
The X80 is offered with two twin MAN V12 options at 1,650 hp and 1,900 hp, the latter offering a top speed of around 30 knots.
What’s more, there’s an option for an 8,800-litre long-range fuel tank if you want to extend your cruising scope.
“What we’re excited about is that we’ve managed to have success not only with our boats that are easy to understand, where I think we’ve got to a great level of execution, but we’re also having success in boats that are extremely unusual and only more tenuously a Princess – when you look at the X95 you say, ‘well, that’s not a classic Princess,’” Sheriff enthuses. “No, but it espouses all the values of Princess in a very different package.”
The V50 joins the V family with some elements borrowed from her bigger V55 sister, and some enhancements over the outgoing model. Among those are Volvo Penta IPS600 or IPS650 engines that promise performance topping 30 knots, while larger tanks have been fitted over the old model to offer an extended cruising range.
Stepped access to the bathing platform on both sides of the cockpit means easy access to the sea, while the main deck saloon offers a comfortable, climate-controlled space for helm and guests with a U-shaped lounge opposite a cabinet with concealed TV.
The opening roof also features glazing so the space will feel bright and airy on even the dullest day (perhaps a mark of the builder being based in the UK!).
Below, there is an open galley with two-zone ceramic cooktop, combi microwave-convection oven and a full-height fridge freezer. Another seating area gives a second guest space and more privacy than the saloon, and there are two guest doubles including a generous midships master. The lower seating area can also be specified as a third guest cabin.
As the UK opens up further, there is one upside to the X80 and the V50 having not made it to boot Düsseldorf, and that is that we should be able to get our hands on them for testing soon – watch this space. For now, however, we should be glad of Princess’s quick thinking in getting the Princess Exclusive event together.
“We’re extremely grateful to the team at Royal William Yard marina and at Urban Splash for helping us bring this incredible experience to life,” offers Will Green, Chief Commercial Officer at Princess, “as well as to the resident berth-holders for allowing us to borrow their unique location.”