Sterndrives, performance and economy make the Princess V45 a winner
As far as hardtop boats are concerned this has got to be one of the nicest looking models around. Clean, unfussy lines give the superstructure give a well-proportioned look and disguise clever storage areas, such as the sunpad-topped garage, generous chain locker and a four-chamber fender locker.
On deck there are still more attractive and practical flourishes. The bathing platform runs full beam and no matter where you find yourself there is a steadying handhold. The U-shaped cockpit seating easily caters for six or more yet there is still plenty of room for people to come and go via the transom walkway, even when someone is dispensing refreshments from the wet-bar across the way.
As to the helm position and vis, both are excellent and although the seat isn’t adjustable – except for a bolster – most people should find everything is grouped together for ease of use.
Less dynamic is the feel of the boat down below, as Princess maintains its conservative stance on interior design. That said, the en suite cabins are impressively large, while the saloon plays host to a 9ft (2.8m) dinette which invites some serious offduty lounging, helped along by the bar unit opposite and a neat, tucked away flat-screen TV.
Half-hidden behind the cocktail cabinetry, the galley is well appointedand there is no shortage of stowage.
We tested the V45 in Plymouth, one of our favourite spots as you are nearly always assured of both rough and calm conditions. Sure enough, as we pushed out of the Sound we encountered the untidy leftovers from the previous day’s blow, which the hull easily romped over. Princess has favoured the sterndrive route for the V45 and, frankly, it looks like a canny decision.
What is also interesting is how the fuel economy figures stack-up. The usual benchmark for a boat of this size running on shafts is a mile a gallon. Here, albeit with a clean hull and a modest load, we clocked a useful 30% better mpg and that can’t be sniffed at.
Tested September 2007
Not only has Princess designed a stunning 45-footer with a sociable cockpit and inviting accommodation that performs well over the water but, by opting for sterndrives instead of shafts, Princess has kept the price attractive. And that certainly isn't something that automatically springs to mind when dealing with one of the industry's most respected names.