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Princess S72: Open or Express Cruiser?

With the debut of the Princess S72, the first model in a new line dubbed S Class, Princess Yachts now occupies an interesting slice of the uppermost cruise-bomb market. The S72 is a hybrid of sorts as it fuses an open flybridge with the low-slung lines an express-style design. The effect? A hammer-down racy edge. The boat is solidly constructed and elegantly finished, too. With an air of control and the Princess reputation for reliability, it seems the S72 is the chairman-of-the-board sports yacht, awash in aggressive design touches.

There’s a lot to be said for a luxury cruiser with two driving stations. From the lower helm at the forward end of the saloon, you control a pair of inboard engines from an enclosed space that’s so impeccably finished the atmosphere is one of effortless cool. From the driving position at the bridge, you’ll get that wind-in-your-face thrill as you enjoy a bird’s eye view of that shapely bow peeling out in front of you.

To create the sexy-as-sin lines, Princess had to keep the flying bridge compact, but even if it is smaller than the top decks on other boats in this size range, it’s still large enough to accommodate six passengers plus a dining table and wet bar. This open bridge has other virtues, too, including excellent sightlines as there are no obstructions. You’ll enjoy that benefit in dicey inlets, narrow channels and restricted visibility. And, of course, when docking.

Docking maneuvers are made easier with the variable Side-Power thrusters offered with the S72. Also available is an optional Seakeeper M26000 gyrostabilizer, which reduces roll when the boat’s at anchor or underway. With the throttles down, the Princess could kiss 40 knots with the largest of three power options under the hatch: two MAN 1,8000-hp V12 diesels. The hull is a deep-V and could be familiar to those who know the Princess brand. That’s because it’s the same running bottom featured on the builder’s V72, the express yacht from which this new design sprung.

The S72 shares a number of features with the V72. The accommodations level layout, for instance, is identical with three cabins, including a full-beam master amidships, a VIP stateroom forward and twin guest cabins to starboard; each cabin has its own en suite head with separate stall shower. Both models also have a galley-down arrangement, which goes a long way toward creating a more open saloon, where differences between the models really begin to show. On the S72, larger windows and glass sliding doors from Trend Marine make for a light and bright space and offer rock-your-world views of that blue horizon. And on this new boat, woodwork, finishes and custom furnishings are taken to the next level. If you’re an avid cruiser with a penchant for fine design, you’ll find your bliss here.

The saloon leads out to the teak-paved cockpit that’s one of multiple outdoor entertaining areas. There’s also the bridge, and the great space on the foredeck, where a pair of sunloungers face a built-in settee. It’s the type of feature you’ve been admiring on megayachts for years, only now it’s come to roost in a production boat that probably could be handled by a couple who are cruising with friends. For owners who prefer the help of a crew, quarters can be provided near the transom.

When I first saw the Princess S72 at the Miami Boat Show in February, I initially thought the design was a pleasant and well-executed compromise between an express yacht and bridge boat. But that impression changed. The S72 is a fine design in its own right. Apparently Princess thinks so, too, as the builder has plans to roll out more models in the new S Class line in the near future.

Originally published by: Jeanne Craig

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