Princess admits photos of a heavily camouflaged performance boat seen leaving BAR is a prototype for a radical new sportsboat

Princess Yachts is to build a stunning new superboat that promises to be one of the ‘most exciting and revolutionary products’ the British yard has ever produced.

Intense speculation about a heavily disguised performance boat photographed undergoing sea trials at Ben Ainslie Racing was resolved this morning when Princess Yachts confirmed that it was behind the mysterious prototype.

At first both BAR and Princess declined to comment on rumours that Motor Boat & Yachting had picked up about a possible collaboration between the two companies but after more photos of the boat emerged showing it undergoing sea trials they appeared to have a change of heart.

Princess BAR boat

The boat is currently undergoing sea trials

This morning Princess’s Marketing Director, Kiran Haslam, finally broke the silence saying, “Many people have been speculating about photos circulating this week of a camouflaged yacht spotted in Plymouth and Portsmouth. We confirm that this is indeed a special project we are currently working on at Princess Yachts.

“We will release more information in due course but can say with confidence that this is one of the most exciting and revolutionary products Princess has developed.”

The admission raises almost as many questions as it answers with both companies remaining tight-lipped about the key details but our understanding is that the photographs are of a full scale prototype of the hull rather than the finished boat.

The final look, size, power and speed are still a closely guarded secret but judging from the photographs it looks to be around 33-37ft long with a pair of high performance Volvo sterndrives suggesting big petrol V8s are likely to be one of the possible engine options.

On the water at the Ben Ainslie Racing facility

The hull appears to be fairly conventional with a slender near vertical bow section flattening off to a medium vee further aft. However, the involvement of BAR, best known for its high-tech America’s Cup yacht, begs the question of what it might bring to the project.

Its experience of building lightweight carbon fibre mouldings would be an obvious benefit to a performance motorboat where power to weight ratio is critical. A more intriguing possibility is whether they might be investigating the foiling technology used to such good effect on its America’s Cup yacht, although how this would work while keeping the propellers submerged is unclear.

Mystery boat - Ben Ainslie Racing

The final look, size, power and speed of the boat are still closely guarded

Princess won’t be drawn on any of this speculation nor is it giving any indication on likely pricing or production dates but we are led to believe the project is well advanced and will be a genuine production boat built at one of its Plymouth yards rather than a one off project for a special customer.

One thing is for certain, that this bold step into the performance boat arena marks a turning point for the brand as it moves from its previous focus on subtle evolution to one built on technological revolution.