As well as being very spacious inside, Princess F55 also handles well and offers absolute comfort, even in challenging weather conditions. The stylish interiors are somewhat Italian in appearance
by Luca Sordelli – photo by Andrea Muscatello
It seemed to be waiting for me. It arrived promptly, having just cast off its moorings. A strained, damp and dark east wind transformed a Ligurian morning of total calm into a decidedly challenging day, at least for those who had to go to sea. And that was precisely what I had to do, having come to Portosole to test the new Princess F55.
I was therefore faced with the perfect opportunity in front of the bow. However, let’s take a step back rather than getting ahead of ourselves. Before describing how the test went, it should be remembered that this 17-metre boat forms part of the complex work Princess is doing to completely renew its offer on the market.
The 55 replaces the 56, a highly successful boat. However, it’s a brand new product, starting with the hull, also designed by Bernard Olesinsky. The exterior design is all new, and this is even more true when it comes to the interiors. The atmosphere is surprisingly… Italian. Clean lines, all very simple, very practical, but also very elegant. The great attention to detail is apparent, dominated by pale colours and large windows. The main lounge is a large open space, with the galley astern, overlooking the cockpit.
This is a decidedly intelligent solution in boats of this size. When I first step aboard,
I get the sensation of a truly welcoming, but also highly contemporary boat. Although it is the work of the Princess Design Office, had I not known, I would have unhesitatingly said that it was the work of one of “our” designers. The dashboard includes evident references to the world of cars, particularly in the shape of the seats and the “steering wheel”.
The same atmosphere continues as you make your way down to the Princess F55 night deck, where the master cabin amidships makes the most of the 4.87-metre beam. There is also a cabin in the bow with a traditional V shape and central double bed with peninsula arrangement, as well as another cabin along the starboard side with separate beds. There are two bathrooms. In addition to the one for the master cabin, there is a second bathroom with double access from the passageway at the bottom of the stairs and from the bow cabin.
What’s more, there’s a crew cabin with separate access from the stern. It is also worth mentioning the stairs, with their large steps that descend gradually, accompanied by a strong handrail. We liked the many easily removable panels all over the place, which make inspections and maintenance much easier, as well as the obsessive attention to detail, starting with the internal finishes of all the lockers.
However, let’s go back to the test at sea. The rather challenging weather conditions, with waves of over a metre high and a wind of 20-25 knots, prevented us from testing her pure speed, but proved her sailing ability. With two 800-HP MAN engines, the result was highly satisfactory. Good with the waves on the bow.
The V-shaped head is deep enough to cut through them without too many issues, the impact is gentle and the trajectories are very precise. It also performed well with waves at the stern and quarter, although, in conditions such as these, it’s important to take care to work with the flaps to ensure that the trim is always correct and keep the bow well clear of the water. Even when travelling across the waves, the Princess F55managed it remarkably well, much better than might be expected of a boat with an imposing fly, with awning open, and with a 24.5-tonne displacement when empty.
We managed to touch upon a top speed of 29 knots, so the builder’s claim that the boat can reach 33 knots in a calm sea is more than plausible. The consumption was good too. At 23-24 knots, which can be considered the cruising speed in conditions like these, it consumes around 215 litres/hour. Lastly, we should mention that although this evidently wasn’t the ideal situation to objectively test the noise levels of the two MAN engines, what is certain is that we sailed without noticing any troublesome creaking or vibrations.
PROJECT Shipyard Technical Department
HULL LOA 17.6m • Maximum beam 4.87 m • Draft 1.46 m • Ligh mass displacement 24,600 kg • Fuel tank volumes 2750 l • Water tank volume 608 l
MAIN PROPULSION 2 MAN i6 800 • Outlet mechanical power 588kW • Number of cylinders 6 • Bore & Stroke 126 mm X 166 mm • Total swept volume 12.42 l • Maximal rotational speed 2300/min • Weight 1215 kg
PRICE 960,000£ (Ex.VAT)
PRINCESS YACHTS LIMITED
Newport Street, Plymouth, Devon UK
(Princess F55: elegant, for travelling anywhere – Barchemagazine.com – Settembre 2018)