The sea trial was pubblished in Superyacht 45 – Spring 2015
Princess Yachts is the Plymouth based British yard that has been putting together the best available in terms of design and British technology for more than fifty years. Since the yard moved to the enormous area in South Yard which extends for more than 100,000 square metres along Devonport’s historic waterfront which is also Plymouth’s port quarters, one of the most brilliant Shipyards in the world has now also become one of the world’s largest.
Here among the Royal Navy’s sumptuous stone built Georgian buildings, Princess Yachts is building its range of M Class superyachts which is made up of over 30 metre units built with personalised layouts and hand crafted interiors detailed by the in house Princess Design Studio team.
This procedure is carried out with close owner cooperation of all M Class superyachts. Thanks to the shipyard’s new ownership – the exclusive luxury group made up of Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (LVMH), extraordinary synergies are now there to be shared with several of the most refined design brands in the world.
Princess yachts M Class happily blends style, savoir vivre, and latest generation engineering together. Thanks to the most updated naval architecture, the hull enjoys carefully executed streamlines, fruit of the most recent computerised simulations available on the market, backed up by tens of years of avant-garde experience in naval project design work.
Construction is carried out with the latest technology in vacuum bagged resin infusion techniques which save weight up to 20% thereby obtaining lighter and more rigid hulls in comparison to manual processes.
One would have legitimately thought that directing production to larger builds with the same technology which has been applied to smaller units for so long, would have been a run of the mill exercise, but things are never quite so easy. According to Julian Spooner, head of composites at Princess Yachts: “The surface of the hull’s mould is double the one of the 32M.
The technology deployed is demanding and we’ve been working closely with our suppliers”. And the result? One of the largest hulls in the world – from any mould – to have been entirely made through vacuum bagged infusion, with more than 6,000 litres of resin pumped into a catalyser mixing system for seven hours. But technology does not stop here.
“ We currently use special pressure gauges by which to inject more directly with enhanced control, while everything is being monitored through a touch screen computer, the process is unusual – says Spooner – not only when applied to building yachts but in general too. The degree of precision and control we have here is equivalent to what you’d find in the aerospace industry”.
The method deployed by Princess Yachts means that the moulds heat up the integrated liquids so that infusion of the laminates can be cured there and then. In this way there’s a higher fibre to resin ratio and a extremely few void spots. In a nut shell the method deployed means more effective penetration of the liquids. This “fine tuning” has been useful to Princess Yachts inasmuch as it has led to cooperation with other hi-tech industries among which there’s a project with Bombardier.
As much as about 90% of the 40M’s hull is built by using vacuum bag infusion which translates into a 20% weight saving when compared to a hull of the same size which has been stratified by using traditional methodology.
Considering that the hull alone represents 35% of the yacht’s total weight the saving is substantial and not only, as it can also mean better performance and enhanced efficiency with the involvement and knowhow of the technical team and naval architects.
M Class Princess yachts have not only conquered their world renown due to high performance. The organization of internal spaces and intelligent arrangements of the layout below decks translate into an optimised GRT which is a yacht’s very important unit of measure in terms of interior volume. Few superyachts have collected more immediate approval than the 40M, which is the yard’s M Class flagship.
Launched in 2013 the yacht won the World Superyacht Awards as well as the Asia Boating Awards which contributed towards a significant success in sales, with four vessels built to date and others being built at the South Yard. Style, performance and quality are the 40M’s undeniable qualities but it’s the sheer interior volume this yacht sports throughout her three deck layout which make it stand out of the chorus line – 395 GRT all told which offer exceptional surface area and height while handing out a luxurious sense of space everywhere.
Bannenberg & Rowell carried out the amazing interior project design work. To Quote Simon Rowell – “We came up with a good number of suggestions as they were new to this market segment. We entertained many verbal exchanges with owners, and we contacted various others on more general lines during our data collecting exercise rather than on the case in point and we quickly realised that the processes Princess yachts was about to deploy to build the 40M with the in house teams, and the specs they were adopting were in line with the level of yacht this market segment is known for. From vacuum bag infusion to hi-tech constructions, to layout and finishes, there’s no doubt the 40M has come up to expectations”.
The 40M “Solaris” shown herein, which was delivered to its owner last year sports six unique cabins resulting from joint project design work involving Princess Design Studio and Mark Berryman Design. The owner’s suite situated along the main deck measures eight metres across, sports huge window panels a full beam bathroom, study area and ample wardrobes. The standard layout foresees four cabins with bathroom en suite along the lower deck and a generous VIP suite amidships. As per the owner’s requests this layout can be adapted by dividing the vast VIP suite into two cabins thereby obtaining five guest cabins. This was the option in fact taken for Solaris.
There’s is also a gym equipped with Technogym gear and separate bathroom, physiotherapeutic machinery for Kinesis training sessions. Large window panels substitute standard ports into the yacht’s topsides which let in a great deal of natural light which makes for bright interiors everywhere. A central staircase connecting the flybridge to the other three decks further brightens the interiors with natural light.
The saloon living room area has been designed to host twelve comfortably, while folding balconies opening outwards can offer breathtaking views on both sides. The dining area is situated further forward towards the bow section, it contains a block wood Macassar ebony table, lined with precious embellishments selected from Princess Design Studio’s catalogue. Behind and aft of the helm controls station situated on the upper deck, there’s a private sky lounge which leads to a secluded area astern, equipped with a large teak table which is ideal for ‘al fresco’ dinners.
The sun deck sports a lovely sun bathing area equipped with sun pads, lounge area, wet bar corner, barbecue and double hydro-massage tub. A large well equipped, bright & sunny galley extends along the main deck.
The crew quarters are made up of three comfortable double cabins with bathroom in the bow area and mess room while the captain’s double cabin is situated just aft of the helm controls station on the upper deck before the aforesaid sky lounge.Keith Willis the appointed project manager to the client during construction stated that: “The owner strongly wanted to avoid that the yacht gave a feeling of having been built in series – so this became one of the key factors we focused on. In general Princess’s design work and renderings are from the start very detailed. We had to make minor changes only but we already knew everything was going to be fine.
The yard was very receptive and open to discuss about the changes which to the owner were really very important. I have worked with many shipyards with years of experience with these types of yachts and I was really impressed by the yard’s approach and by the level of quality they attained. I think that everyone involved in building this yacht can be very proud of the results achieved”.
As for the technology aspect, Princess 40M has been built, using the results obtained through much research work carried out by the University of Southampton and has been one of the first semi-custom yachts in the world to have been successfully built according to the demanding sound proofing standards set out by Rina (Italian Naval Registry).
This aspect can not only be verified by hearing but also by sight since every door inside the yacht is all of ten centimetres thick, this kind of quality is rarely seen in yachts under 50 metres. Several different engines up to a maximum of 7,000 Hp can be installed to propel the yacht. The M Class flagship can reach 22 knots. Solaris has been nominated to the final round in the selection for the 2015 World Superyachts Awards in the ‘Semi-displacement or Planing Three Deck Motor Yacht category – above 40m.
The WSA is the most prestigious award in luxury yachting. In Amsterdam on May 9th there will be an elegant event hosting the yachts admitted to the finals of their respective categories, to celebrate their owners, the shipyards and project designers who’ve produced these breathtaking yachts. Solaris is sure to attract a lot of attention.
For further information: Princess Yacht
by Roberto Franzoni
The sea trial was pubblished in Superyacht 45 – Spring 2015