It feels strange to call the Princess V78 “middle of the pack,” but that’s exactly where it falls within the British builder’s lineup. At just under 79 feet LOA, the new flagship of the V-class series stood out at the Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show, sharing space with its predecessors—the S78 and V65—among others. Built in Plymouth, England, the entire line is in some ways indicative of the industry at large: From the foiling R35 up to the elegant tri-deck 40M, innovation is pushing the range in different directions. Within the model lineup that sometimes feels like alphabet soup, there is something for everyone.
“We just keep adding letters,” joked Vice President and Marketing Director James Nobel when I met him at FLIBS. And yet each boat in their stable has been designed “with a clean sheet of paper.” That includes the V78, which was officially launched in Miami. Like the rest of the range, the V78—the “V” for its deep-V hull, giving it a fine entry point and 21 degrees of deadrise—is generously appointed. Nobel explained how the range is organized: Historically, though not always, the builder starts with the Y-class (motoryacht), then, if the hull is over 60 feet, branches out with an S-class (sport) and V-class (deep-V) model. The reason? “In this market, we see a 50-50 split between owners desiring a sport boat versus a more traditional [motoryacht],” Nobel explained. Because of this industrious approach to boatbuilding, Princess launches four to five new models a year.
The S and V range feature a sleeker profile than the motoryachts. While a hull is shared across platforms, the standout feature unique to the S and V class is a tender garage. On the V78, it can accommodate a Williams Sportjet 435 or equivalent size, accessible by a hydraulic door and electric winch. Close by, the cockpit’s dual sunpads provide a nice place to lie out, whether in the sun or under the expansive sun shade. Forward of the sunpads, the builder learned a valuable lesson years ago with the V72. Fixed seating constricted access when docking, according to Nobel. On the V78, a modular design solves all of that, opening deck space while simultaneously allowing for creative configurations depending on group size. “It’s easy,” motioned Nobel, “just pull the pin and slide.”
The salon’s sliding doors open the interior immensely, while the L-shaped galley to starboard is enhanced by its own integrated window. Inside, one is immediately taken with the furnishings. Princess is well-known for the high pedigree of its furniture, almost all of which is built in-house by a team of dedicated craftsmen. Social spaces extend all the way up to the forward loveseat opposite the helm. Want to feel impressed? Just look up: The entire single-level living space is lorded over by a sunroof the size of a Volkswagen.
The boat’s sleeping configurations consist of four staterooms, each with their own en suite head. The master stateroom is amidships, and is accessed by its own private staircase to port. Stretching the entire beam of the boat, the master features a large double bed with drawers underneath. “You wouldn’t know you’re in a motoryacht, S-class or V-class,” Nobel said. The interior is the same.
Then there’s performance: With twin V12 MAN 1900 engines, the manufacturer says the V78 can hit 39 knots at the top end—quite the giddy up for a sport yacht of this size. When combined with the living arrangements, it’s a badge of honor that performance hasn’t been sacrificed; nothing about that screams middle of the pack. —Simon Murray
Displ. (approx.): 118,179 lbs.
Fuel: 1,585 gal.
Water: 356 gal.
Power: 2/1900-hp MAN V12
Cruise Speed: 28 knots
Top Speed: 39 knots