Our resident used boat expert Phil Sampson explains how to find a good Princess V45 on the secondhand market and what features to look out for…
In build: 2007 – 2013
Price range: £250,000 – £320,000
Space is so often at a premium in boats – especially mid-sized ones – that engines tend to end up shoehorned into areas that take a contortionist to get into and, as many will attest to, Houdini to get out of.
But to every rule there is an exception and this month we uncover a vessel where the space provided for its propulsion units is nothing short of cavernous.
Accessed via a deck hatch and a five-step ladder, the engine room of the Princess V45 is a supersize void extending a third of the way along the hull.
Peer aft-wards from the foot of the ladder and a pair of Volvo Penta D6s can be seen cowering in the distance up against the transom’s inner wall. In fact, there is so much room down here that a second pair of engines could be fitted in line with the first.
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The reason for all this space is that when Princess Yachts set about designing the V45, the intention had been to offer the option of IPS drives, which would have seen the engines mounted considerably further forward.
However, the programme stalled when a prototype revealed a new hull would need to be developed specifically for IPS pod drives as the deadrise angle of the hull was too acute for them to work well.
Ultimately, the outcome was that the prototype appears to have been the only IPS example built, so every one of the other 123 Princess V45s made ended up with outdrives and a king-size engine room.
In practice, this means V45s have more available below-decks storage space than the average 45-footer of their era.
The engine room of our review boat had a Seakeeper gyroscopic boat stabiliser at the forward end and a sizeable Whisper generator to one side, but there was still bags of room in which to move around unhindered.
It’s a safe space for stowage, too, as Princess has included a checker plate barrier to guard against items sliding into the engines.
One Princess V45 owner we spoke to, Peter Lewis, who purchased his 2011 example five years ago and keeps it in Denia, Spain, says that space is a key advantage: “Many newer boats – Princess V48s for example – have much less engine room space,” he says.
“This would be a major issue for us as in addition to aircon, a water maker and a generator we carry quite a bit of stuff like e-scooters, ringos and so on.”
Three Volvo Penta D6 variants were offered during the lifetime of the Princess V45, ranging from the initial offer of 350hp to uprated 370 and 400hp units. A 350hp Princess V45 tested by MBY in 2007 delivered 34.6 knots with its engines running flat out at 3,500rpm.
Our review boat, built in 2009 to 2010 year model specification and being offered by Princess Motor Yachts’ Swanwick branch at a price of £295,000 VAT paid, sported the mid-size 370hp options. These give a top speed of 35 knots while the larger 400 units are capable of up to 37 knots.
“For a Med-spec boat like ours with a Williams 285 in the tender garage, the D6-370s are really a bit underpowered,” says Peter Lewis. “They’re fine in very calm conditions but lacking in grunt when the seas become lumpier and you need to work the throttles.
“While the boat handles nicely it does ride quite bow-up, which may be made worse due to our heavy spec plus the Williams. Consequently, we need full trim tabs all the time.”
Moving away from the engine room, what else do you get for your money? Well, as you would expect from Princess, the answer is rather a lot.
The story begins with a timeless exterior design which, despite the absence of the broad swathes of hull glass we have come to expect today, has an enduring appeal to it.
With its sweeping curves, wrap-around windscreen and classic lines running in all directions, this is a great looking boat, make no mistake.
Ahead of the Princess V45’s full-beam teak bathing platform, complete with integral foldaway swim ladder, is a tender garage topped with a triple-width sunpad.
The garage is just large enough to accommodate a Williams 285 turbo jet, (although Peter Lewis installed low-profile rollers in his to make launch and recovery easier), and its door is raised and lowered hydraulically.
There’s no need for you to remove the sunpads before opening the garage either; they simply hinge up and down with the door, something sure to be appreciated by any new Princess V45 owner.
Three steps up on either side of the bathing platform lead to the sunpads and side decks, with the portside steps also providing access to the cockpit.
Taking the side decks first, while both the port and starboard walkways are protected by sturdy guardrails, toe rails, and handrails on the superstructure, the passageways themselves are distinctly narrow.
This makes the transit from aft cockpit to the foredeck more of a shuffle than a stroll, calling for care and attention to be paid at all times. Another point we noted on the portside is that the diesel filler cap is situated precariously close to the waste pump-out cap…
Up front is a conventional set up of sunpads, two hatches providing light, ventilation and escape routes to the saloon and owner’s cabin, plus the anchor, windlass and chain locker.
Standing on the foredeck provides an excellent view of just how open this boat is when its electric sliding sunroof is peeled back. For the most part, the roof is made of fabric which concertinas up, enabling daylight and fresh air to flood in.
While this all sounds great in theory, Peter Lewis tells us the roof mechanism can be problematic at times, meaning prospective owners would do well to build regular preventative maintenance into their servicing schedules.
Opening the side window at the helm and removing the covers from the aft of the cockpit completes the job of allowing the elements free rein around the boat.
The cockpit itself is a wonderfully laid out sociable area, with a six-seat-plus-a-couple-of-kids U-shaped seating area. Our review boat was reupholstered in two-tone grey in 2020 and today also features a custom teak folding dining table, which has replaced the original GRP one.
The effect is stunning – this boat looks as good inside as it does out. Opposite the dining area, on the port side, is a cockpit wet bar with a refrigerated cold box and electric barbeque. Moving forward along the cockpit leads to a second curved seating area to port.
This faces the twin seat helm and ensures guests, helm and navigator can keep in touch while the boat is underway.
Up at the helm, both seats have bolsters. Forward visibility is somewhat restricted by the trailing edge of the windscreen, but this is nothing a little bobbing and weaving of the head cannot overcome.
We’re fans of our review boat’s matt black helm console, which not only helps keep reflections at bay but also has the effect of making the instruments stand out.
That said, Peter Lewis informs us that in the hot Spanish sun his 2011 example suffers from what he describes as a “sticky” dashboard: “Unfortunately the soft-touch surface seems to break down and ooze a sticky substance,” he says.
The Princess V45’s central four-step companionway leads to a comfortable and classy saloon. With its large leather horseshoe settee, heavy duty table and warm tones of Serotina Cherry wood throughout, this is a great space in which to relax.
And if you’d like to nod off, that’s not a problem either as the table drops down and converts into a double bed. The infill cushions have a home of their own when not in use – they’re stored in a pocket behind the sofa.
The V45’s clearly laid out electrical control panel is located in a locker at the aft of the saloon. Thereafter, two further lockers above the settee provide storage space.
To port is a wrap-around galley with twin bowl sink, ceramic three-burner hob, microwave/grill and ample storage space on top and below the worktop. The hardwood floor, as fitted to our review boat, perfectly offsets the galley’s Midnight Sky black worktops.
Positioned adjacent to the companionway steps, the V45’s fridge/freezer is within easy reach of both the cook and any guests looking to avail themselves of a sneaky beer while the skipper’s not looking!
Fit for a princess
The Princess V45 boasts two ensuite cabins. At the fore is the master with its centrally oriented double bed. Here, the Princess quality feel continues.
The bed is raised two steps up, leaving room for two generous lockers below. Storage space is abundant, with overhead lockers running along each side of the bed, plus a full-length wardrobe to starboard.
The master cabin’s ensuite is roomy and well appointed. Its circular shower stall is fully sealed off from the toilet and washbasin, making this very much a bathroom rather than a wet room.
The same holds true in the aft cabin, where the ensuite is equally well appointed. The aft cabin itself is equipped with transverse-mounted twin beds, which convert into a double.
While storage space is more limited in this cabin than the master, there is enough stowage to accommodate extended trips out on the water.
To summarise, this is a boat with something for everyone. It has a sociable cockpit, comfy accommodation for four, good looks, a high standard of fit and finish and efficient sterndrive power.
When new, Princess V45s retailed in the region of £350,000. Twelve years on they are still worth around £300,000, meaning that they have held their value well too. Buy one in good condition today and there’s every chance it will continue to do so for years to come.
Princess V45 surveyor’s report
I have encountered very few issues with hull structures on Princess Yachts, unless abused or damaged, so focus your attention on fixtures, fittings, drivetrain components and overall condition. Points to note when buying:
- The roof sections comprise a large proportion of the boat, so inspect all corners and radii of the windscreen frame, buttresses, roof and window reveals for evidence of stress crazing due to over exuberant use in a seaway.
- Ensure all sunroof tracks, sliders and cars are kept scrupulously clean to ensure free movement of the roof. Look for grease slapped onto components in an attempt to keep slides moving, as salt, grit and debris can stick to it causing rapid deterioration in the sliding gear. Parts should be treated with dry Teflon spray instead.
- Check guard rail stanchions for attachment to their bases. Grub screws often work loose and the rails can lift out if grabbed in a seaway.
- Outdrive maintenance is critical. Check the scheduled two-year removal for seals, joints etc has been carried out. Check skegs and props for damage from grounding or galvanic corrosion from worn out anodes.
- Teak on the swim platform is often scrubbed out on vessels I have inspected. Check carefully for excessive scrubbing, graining and proud caulking.
- If it is a Med boat check the gelcoat for evidence of UV degradation around transom sections, roof and deck.
- Ensure the engine service history is up to date including heat exchanger cleaning. Take an extended run at maximum revs to ensure temperatures and pressures remain within specs throughout.
-Chris Olsen, Olsen Marine Surveying
Princess V45 specifications
LOA (incl pulpit): 47ft 1in (14.35m)
Beam: 13ft 1in (3.99m)
Draught: 3ft 6in (1.07m)
Displacement: 12.6 tonnes (27,778 lbs)
Engines: Twin Volvo D6-370
Fuel capacity: 1,000 litres (220 gallons)
Water capacity: 394l (86 gallons)
Fuel consumption: 3.27 l/nm @27.5 kn
Cruising range: 276 nm at 21.3 knots with 20% reserve
Design: Princess Design Studio and Olesinski
Hull type: Variable V
RCD category: B
Costs and options
Annual fuel burn: 2,500 litres (based on 25 hours cruising at 27.5 knots and 25 hours at 6 knots)
Mooring: Annual marina mooring on the Hamble River (UK) downstream of Bursledon bridge: £9,350 (based on £650/metre)
What’s on the market?
Price: £295,000 (VAT paid)
Date: 2009 (2010 model)
Engines: Twin 370hp Volvo Penta D6
Lying: Swanwick, UK
Price: €345,000 (VAT paid)
Engines: Twin 370hp Volvo Penta D6
Lying: Susokan, Croatia
First published in the October 2022 issue of MBY.
In association with SETAG Yachts. Design and refit specialists SETAG Yachts bring luxury to the pre-owned market – by creating the bespoke yacht of your dreams, with no compromise. To fall in love with your boat all over again visit www.setagyachts.com or call +44 (0)1752 648618 for more details.
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