The Princess 82 is put to the test in Plymouth
When asked if we wanted to go to Plymouth to test the Princess 82 and 88 Motor Yachts back to back we jumped at the chance.
This is an interesting comparison because on the face of it the two boats look very similar. Both have large, extended flybridges, enormous one-piece hull windows and those classic Princess lines.
But underneath, they are quite different. The 82 is, according to Princess, the largest manifestation of the Princess flybridge boat. It has the famous Olesinski planing hull and the performance and handling that makes a Princess such an enjoyable boat to be behind the wheel of.
In its own factory tests, Princess has seen an 82 with 1,800hp CAT C32s hit 37 knots flat out, pretty staggering for something that weighs over 50 tonnes.
The 88 has a “hybrid” hull, which is designed to be comfortable and fuel efficient at 8-12 knots but still able to top 27 knots if you want to get a move on.
The 88 is also where you begin to get some of the superyacht treatment, filtering down from the 32 and 40 Metre. So the level of personalisation goes up and you have private consultations with the yard’s Mayfair-based Princess Design Studio as part of the package.
We decided to focus on the 82 as it is a bit more of an MBY boat. (Slightly) smaller and, from all accounts, more of a driver’s boat.
The test boat was fitted with CAT C32 1,700hp engines, good for a top speed of 31.5 knots with fin stabilisers on board. The fins undoubtedly did a great job in rough conditions off of Plymouth but in terms of driving enjoyment their extra weight reduced top speed and their insistance on trying to keep the boat upright dulled the handling somewhat, too.
Of course, this is all totally elementary because who really cares about whether an 82ft flybridge is fun to chuck around? And no one is going to be sniffing at the fact that it only managed 31.5 knots.
But nevermind that small detail, where there is fun to be had is with the immense power of those engines. The way the 82 picks up in the mid-range is astonishing, huge waves of torque summon from the depths of the engineroom and thrust it forward at an alarming rate for something so massive. It’s simply immense, and this wasn’t even the largest engine option.
Elsewhere, there is little to complain about. You can pay extra to have the Princess Design Studio treatment but even without that there is plenty of scope to adjust colours, woods, materials and other cosmetic elements.
The one-piece hull windows that Princess has started to use across its range are particularly magnificent on a boat of this size. I spent most of my time on the water sitting in the master cabin watching the world rush by.