Author : Barry Tyler
Most people would readily concede that Princess Yachts International is right up there with the very best in the world, when it comes to performance, luxury appointments and presentation of its impressive range of sports and flybridge models. So when a new Princess 67 flybridge motor yacht model is introduced into the range that is purported to be an ‘improved version’ of the earlier ‘P65’ model, it is surely going to be something very special indeed.
And it is, for while the earlier 65 model lacked absolutely nothing in the way of appointments or quality, or indeed presentation, a few moments aboard were enough to confirm this is certainly a brand new model, certainly a change in direction if you like, for the English manufacturer with a global reputation for refined and opulent craft. This is up a level again in innovation and specification of equipment, and yes, even presentation!
What was even more amazing perhaps was that while this particular version seemingly has everything, my early arrival for the ‘familiarisation’ of the vessel found the Euroyachts service people still putting the finishing touches to additions to the vessel, to suit that particular client. It seemed a hell of shame, almost sacrilege, to pull a vessel like this apart to that extent, but the thought was soon dispelled the moment I was introduced to Euroyachts’ new service manager, Englishman Martin Jones.
Direct from a similar position in the Princess factory back in the UK, he was in fact just the person to pull it apart, make the modifications, then lovingly re-assemble it just the way it was. Euroyachts’ directors in fact count themselves very lucky to have attracted Jones to our shores, for it goes without saying there is nothing he doesn’t know about these craft. He is able to offer invaluable and very personal ‘local’ service and expertise to all ‘down-under’ owners of Princess motor yachts.
Having stated that this is the new and improved version, then alluding straight away to the fact peripheral gear was added or modified, may well have served to confuse readers somewhat, but the reality is the owner of this boat wanted a ‘long-range’ version, and as such it was infinitely more practical and cost-effective to fit this ‘discretionary’ equipment once it reached our shores. But in no way does this detract from the quality or presentation of the vessel – in fact it enhances it by adding yet another dimension to the ‘CV’ of this particular model.
Owned by two brothers, ‘Callisto’ will be based for the better part of the year in Hamilton Island and will naturally travel and explore the myriad of islands and areas that make up Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef. As such it will at times be at sea for significant periods so features such as the Onan generator (17.5kVA), bow and stern thruster upgrades (SidePower 20kN bow and 15.5kN stern), water maker (Sea Recovery), additional shelving and storage facility in the lazarette, mosquito screens, additional refrigeration, and of course a larger fuel tank that raised the fuel capacity to a whopping 5,063 litres – were all mandatory.
The other obvious change was the power source, for with the luxury features of the Princess go equally impressive performance attributes. Fitted in this instance are a pair of C18 Cat diesels, each running through a ZF550 gearbox and conventional shaft drive, to a five-blade Aquafoil propeller housed within for the first time by Princess Motor Yachts – a propeller tunnel moulded into the medium-V underhull shape. Top speed at this early stage of Callisto’s life was a most respectable 28.5 knots, and it had an equally respectable cruise speed of 20 knots. With all this extra gear aboard this particular package obviously weighs in heavier than its ‘standard’ counterpart, but with optional MAN engines, speeds are quoted at 31-34 knots for the D2848 (2 x 900hp) version, and 33-35 knots for the D2849 (2 x 1050hp) option.
Built to ‘overkill’ standards strength-wise, with hand-laid GRP (unidirectional/woven rovings/chopped-strand mat, and integrally bonded girder-stiffening system), those speeds with either engine option are most impressive in a hull that weighs in at 37 tonnes all up. And equally as impressive as the performance attributes, was a handling prowess that really sets Princess apart from the rest. No gas-guzzling nose-high attitude, no ocean towed along behind, the Princess rolls over ‘the top of the mountain’ so to speak and planes at a decidedly level attitude – even at cruise speed.
Most noticeable after even just a quick look aboard the P67, was the extraordinary effort Princess Yachts International has quite obviously gone to, to present the living features in an entirely user-friendly fashion. This model offered a very real ambience about it, a ‘welcome aboard’ statement, which I have to say is far from the norm in boats of this stature which while impressive and stately, majestic or whatever, are often cold, impersonal and uninviting – you are almost too scared to sit down or touch anything! This Princess is anything but!
The cockpit entry feature is typically European, stunning, with its expansive teak-covered boarding platform, and moulded steps up each side of the transom upright, that lead you up though very ‘regal’ entry doors and onto a raised cockpit level. Again teak covered, this area boasts plenty of storage, a lazarette that features additional refrigeration, shelving and food storage capability, the obligatory stainless steel BBQ, and a rear lounge. The end ‘squab’ of this lounge in fact raises as an assembly to reveal the decidedly up-market two-berth crew accommodation secreted in down below this lounge – a perfect chill-out place incidentally, to also ‘store’ tempestuous little cherubs who insist on disrupting the ambience and/or solitude of the moment!
A fuel and shore power station is moulded into the side panel on the starboard side of the cockpit, and on the opposite side to this a set of moulded exterior steps lead you up onto the flybridge level – and yet another very impressive ‘aspect’. Enveloped by a full bimini top, as well a comprehensive helm station this open top and very spacious ‘alfresco’ flybridge entertaining level features the usual refrigeration features, a rock BBQ, wet-bar facilities, a wrap-around lounger, and aft of this a tender or jet-ski mounting platform along with a substantial 420kg Opacmere davit.
Beside the false wall and the steps up to the flybride level (and the false wall on the starboard side also) there is still enough room left, thanks to the 5.23 metre beam, to provide generously-wide teak covered walkways along each side, to the foredeck and the Lewmar anchoring feature at the peak of the bow. Amidships on the starboard walkway, is, in the true traditions of a passage-maker style of boat, a most impressive Opacmere stainless steel side-entry helm access door.
The saloon entry doors, also from stainless fabricator Opacmere, are an equally impressive statement. Three layers of sliding stainless steel and rounded glass doors roll back to reveal a very spacious open plan saloon. More open plan in fact, than we have been used to with Princess, and this is to me one of the endearing features of this new model. The design of the interior is such that everything is still there, your entertainment module, bar facilities, a spacious lounge, and even interior access via a spiral staircase to the flybridge level above – but there is still so much floor space left that would enable a generous complement of guests to still mingle freely.
The saloon and living areas, both presented incidentally in natural light cherry wood complemented with carpet, plush upholstery panels, leather settees and slim-line blinds, are cleverly divided by two easy steps and a deliberate change in level. For me, this refreshingly different and most innovative layout is the ultimate appeal of this boat. While the galley is right beside the saloon, you would scarcely have known for it is secreted behind a most stylish and tasteful glass and wooden partition, or as they referred to it as, a semi-enclosed galley with photo electric dividers.
Comprehensive yet without ‘imposing’ on the layout on this level, this galley included features such as a huge refrigerator, a convection oven, a 4-burner hob, an L-shaped Corian bench-top, a servery, and plenty of cupboard and drawer provision. Within easy reach of the servery is a slightly raised dining setting for five people. Continuing the cherry wood and leather theme, the raised nature of this setting offered good visibility yet at the same time with the drop of the blinds it was a very intimate and private spot.
Forward of the galley, offering definite insight into the effort that had quite obviously gone into ‘efficient yet appropriate’ layout and specification – is a helm station virtually of superyacht standard. A definite ‘sit down and relax’ style of layout, and certainly expansive in size, yet it doesn’t dominate, or indeed even remotely compromise, the nearby dining setting. A photo says a thousand words, so I will let that do the talking, but needless to say there is every conceivable feature you would require, and some – designer Bernard Olenski, take a bow!
It would have been easy to surmise, having walked the length of these two saloon and dining come helm and galley areas, that accommodation below would have been a little cramped but no, Olenski still had enough hull volume left to provide plush and appropriately ‘roomy’ accommodation for six people. Four steps drop you down onto a level that includes a laundry to starboard of the base of these steps, recessed into the wall, and beside it, access to the master berth in under the upper helm/galley/dining sole. Of grandiose proportions, this room with its ‘deep’ cherry-finished woodwork, plush panelling and features such as ensuite, king-size berth, make-up vanity, full length wardrobe, television, audio and air conditioning, and vertical elongated portholes – is very much befitting that of a multi-million dollar superyacht.
Guests are catered for in a for’ard queen-size cabin, comparable in specification and presentation to the master cabin, but slightly smaller in actual size as determined by the constraints of the V shape of the bow of the hull. A further two guests can be accommodated in the ‘singles’ berth to port, either in a twin-single guise, or with the addition of an infill between the two floor-level berths, as another virtually queen-size berth. A two-way ensuite services these two cabins.
Interestingly, hand in hand with all the lighting, and peripheral electrical equipment such as convection oven, six separate air conditioning systems, (upgraded) bow and stern thrusters, crane davit, searchlight, Sealand Vacuflush heads, laundry and refrigeration, is an equally significant 240-Volt/24-Volt AC/DC power source located within the engine bulkheads. As well as the (upgraded) Onan 17.5kVA generator and 100A battery charger, there are eight auxiliary or house batteries and four starting batteries, separated into two individual banks.
Just awesome, there is simply no other all-encompassing word to describe the Princess 67 Flybridge Motor Yacht, for it is the consummate all-rounder. It handles and performs well, plus it has every conceivable feature and then some, you would expect in a $3.8-million vessel; but for me the real appeal lies in the fact it is such an appealing, relaxing, usable boat. An entertainer in every sense of the word, there is an ambience about this boat that despite the sublime level of opulence and luxury, still invited you aboard, to relax and enjoy yourself!
- Boat Design Name: Princess 67 Flybridge Motor Yacht
- Year Launched: 2005
- Designer: Bernard Olenski
- Builder: Princess Yachts International
- LOA: 20.75m
- Beam: 5.23m
- Draft: 1.37m
- Displacement: 37 tonnes
- Max Speed: 28.5 knots
- Cruise Speed: 20 knots
- Construction: Hand-laid GRP
- Fuel Capacity: 5,063 litres
- Water Capacity: 795 litres
- Engines: 2 x Cat C18 1014hp Diesel
- Base Price: A$3,600,000
- Price As Tested: A$3,700,000