When one moves between MBY's venerable Princess 360 and their new 40, the differences between the interiors provide the biggest surprises. In just three seasons, the standard of finish has rocketed.

When one moves between MBY’s venerable Princess 360 and their new 40, the differences between the interiors provide the biggest surprises. In just three seasons, the standard of finish has rocketed.

Most notable is the high gloss joinery on the 40, which has become the norm on contemporary flybridge powerboats. The concealed carcassing is relatively unrefined, but it would be difficult to significantly improve the surface finish of the visible woodwork.

I have seen better and more consistent joinery and finishing, but this is usually aboard custom-built powerboats. Fabric quality and choice has also improved. The high standard was visible externally, in the finish of the glassfibre mouldings.

It was a pleasure to helm a boat whose designer, for a change, hadn’t assumed that all helmsmen are about 7ft tall. Flybridge boats may spend the majority of their working life moored somewhere hot and sunny but it’s still very important to be able to control the boat easily and properly, especially in rough conditions: the Princess’s well-designed helms allow you to do so.

Extended bathing platforms were the trend of 1995/96. Boats like the Princess 40, whose hulls have been extended under the bathing platform, are providing owners with spacious lazarettes, and markedly improved engineroom access via the cockpit hatch.

The Princess is not fault free: there are the slippery stainless engine room steps and the awkward galley lockers, for instance. And on a £200,000 boat, omitting the £200 remote oil filter kit and the anchor locker stay was evidence of an over-enthusiastic bean-counter (whose like-minded twin works at Fairline!)

Amazingly, though, that’s the complete list of shortcomings. Of course, there’s no such thing as the perfect boat, but spend another £300 on the Princess and tweak a number of areas, and you would have a boat with few measurable defects.