Princess S78

Power & Motor Yacht - - NEW BOATS - vikingsportscruis­ Daniel Hard­ing Jr.

The line to get aboard the new S78 snaked around the pala­tial Princess booth dur­ing the first few days of the Düs­sel­dorf boat show. Not one my friends would call es­pe­cially pa­tient, I did my best to skirt the crowd with some cre­ative el­bow­ing. But try as I might, I couldn’t fight my way aboard dur­ing show hours, so I had to sneak on af­ter the show had of­fi­cially closed for the day, and yet I still found po­ten­tial cus­tomers milling about in the salon. It was that pop­u­lar.

One of the at­trac­tions aboard the strik­ing new model was the first thing I no­ticed: an op­tional, re­mov­able car­bon fiber shower planted on the swim plat­form. It cap­tured at­ten­tion, in part, be­cause it’s dif­fer­ent—but more im­por­tantly be­cause it’s prac­ti­cal. There’s noth­ing as re­fresh­ing as a hot shower af­ter a cool swim, but you can only get so clean while hold­ing a hose in one hand and a palm full of sham­poo in an­other. I watched count­less cou­ples stop at the sim­ple shower and give it a why-didn’t-I-think-of-that nod of ap­proval. Look for other builders to steal this fea­ture in the near fu­ture.

Walk­ing from the swim plat­form up a cen­ter stair­case, it was im­me­di­ately clear why this model at­tracted so much at­ten­tion: It’s a se­ri­ously unique boat from Princess with an ob­vi­ous em­pha­sis on en­ter­tain­ing spa­ces.

As I was in­spect­ing the sin­gle-level lay­out, I was joined by Princess Yachts Amer­ica VP and Mar­ket­ing Di­rec­tor James No­bel. He was ex­cited for Hull No. 1 for the U.S. to ar­rive on our shores later this sum­mer (it will be mak­ing its of­fi­cial U.S. de­but at Ft. Laud­erdale), as he thinks the unique, ca­sual feel of the boat will ap­peal to the Amer­i­can mar­ket.

“We have dual sunbeds aft, and in­stead of fixed fur­ni­ture we de­cided to do some­thing a lit­tle more mod­u­lar. There are pin points in the deck where you can se­cure the fur­ni­ture in var­i­ous po­si­tions,” said No­bel as he slid a seat­ing sec­tion from the star­board side of the cock­pit amid­ships. “There’s a Te­flon pad on the bot­tom of the fur­ni­ture so it can eas­ily slide on the deck with­out dam­ag­ing it.”

I knew Princess prides it­self on its fur­ni­ture-mak­ing abil­i­ties, but th­ese seats were so light­weight I thought they might have been out­sourced. No­bel was proud to point out that they were in fact built by in-house crafts­men.

“We build 80 per­cent of what’s on the boat in-house,” No­bel said. “That in­cludes fur­ni­ture, tool­ing, fiber­glass com­po­nents, metal work, and that re­ally al­lows us to cus­tom de­sign each in­di­vid­ual piece on the boat, right down to the logo on the cleats.”

The ca­sual feel­ing extends into the cock­pit and past the salon doors that dis­ap­pear when pulled open. In the salon, the floorto-ceil­ing win­dows are im­pres­sive. Even in a con­ven­tion hall on a cold Ger­man night, the space was plenty bright. I’ve been watch­ing the (lit­er­ally) grow­ing trend to­ward larger win­dows over the last cou­ple years, and it’s clear to me it’s con­tin­u­ing.

“In the last six to eight years we’ve gone to full resin in­fu­sion, even on the largest com­po­nents like the su­per­struc­ture, the deck and the hull,” added No­bel. The process gives the boat the per­fect com­bi­na­tion of dura­bil­ity and weight re­duc­tion. “Where we would have had to have re­ally strong struc­tural mem­bers for the ver­ti­cal sup­ports in the boat, we can now re­duce that pro­file with­out sac­ri­fic­ing strength. That al­lows us to have big­ger win­dows and near-un­ob­structed vis­i­bil­ity.”

The S78 sports a smart lay­out with three guest cab­ins for­ward and an amid­ships mas­ter with pri­vate en­trance. They’re com­fort- able-look­ing spa­ces, but it’s the out­door ar­eas that re­ally shine.

The fly­bridge is so large you feel as if you’re aboard one of the brand’s mo­to­ry­achts, not a model from its sporty S-class. A quick count shows that the space can eas­ily ac­com­mo­date a dozen or so guests. Even with a bridge of this size, the S78 still has a re­tractable sun­roof over the lower helm.

The fly­bridge also fea­tures move­able fur­ni­ture that lends it a ca­sual vibe. But I should be clear—in the case of the S78, ca­sual doesn’t mean flimsy. U.K. builders are used to bat­tling the el­e­ments and they know the fur­ni­ture needs to be com­pletely weather-re­sis­tant. In fact, a cou­ple days prior to the open­ing of the show, the boat sat out in the rain, yet it re­mained show ready.

Power for the new Princess will be twin 1,900-hp MAN V12s, which should lend the queen of the fleet a top end of 39 knots.

It re­ally is no sur­prise that Euro­pean boaters flocked to the S78 at Düs­sel­dorf. It’s easy to ap­pre­ci­ate the smart so­cial spa­ces and proven level of con­struc­tion and fin­ish that the Ply­mouth builder is known for. If you’re at the Laud­erdale show, I sug­gest check­ing her out. Just fol­low the line.

LOA: 80'11" Beam: 18'11" Displ.: 109,129 lbs. Draft: 5'10" Fuel: 1,585 gal. Wa­ter: 356 gal. Power: 2/1,900-hp MAN V12s Top Speed: 39 knots Price: Upon re­quest

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