A boat with outstanding seakeeping and very flexible accomodation
Last year in Buying Second-hand (June 2001) we covered a Princess 45 called Nautibuoy. For owners David Markinson and Lesley King, Nautibuoy is the ultimate weekend cottage. They keep her just across the river Itchen from their weekday home, and every Friday without fail they move down to the boat. They may go cruising, or may simply spend the weekend at the mooring.
It is doubtful whether any other boat would match the couple’s requirements so closely. The 45 has seakeeping that we described in our 1983 boat test as “outstanding”, and very flexible accommodation. It has a spacious deck saloon which, if you’re using the boat as a weekend cottage, provides a perfectly comfortable sitting room with picture windows and a good view to boot.
Below deck there were two alternative layouts. One provided three cabins forward: a master suite with its own shower and toilet, two separate double cabins sharing a second shower/toilet, and a well-equipped but cramped galley area sandwiched between two bulkheads.
The other layout was broadly similar, but swapped the port guest cabin for a dinette, which made for a much more open, airy and workable galley area.
This option still provided convertible berths in case half a dozen friends landed on the owners unexpectedly, so by and large it was a more flexible alternative unless one needed the extra privacy. As it turned out, customers were fairly evenly divided between the two.
The Princess 45 was introduced at a time when long production runs were becoming increasingly rare. In the mid to late 1980s, few models lasted more than five years without a revamp or an upgrade. It is a testament to the 45’s resilience that in nine years of production the only substantive change was the choice of engines, which grew from a basic installation of twin 250hp TAMD 60Cs (frankly, very underpowered – the option of 306hp 70Es was much preferable) to 380hp 71Bs at the end of the run.