Having been sea trialed in the English Channel after launch from the Plymouth England factory, our Princess 49 was partially disassembled, loaded on a transport ship, and two weeks later arrived in Port Hueneme, California. A few days for reassembly and systems checks, and she was about to be on her way from the Anacapa Marina near Oxnard to San Francisco on the final leg to her new home port and owners.
Arriving the night before our planned departure afforded us plenty of time to look around the yacht and familiarize ourselves with the equipment. Our new Princess had just 19.2 hours on the clocks.
Our arrival was past sunset so the first order of business was to get the lights on, and boy does she light up. The salon is brightly lit by day, thanks to windows all around, and by substantial LED lighting at night. Entering the cockpit from either port or starboard, there is a large U-shaped seating area with enough room for six, and a folding teak table for serving adult beverages and hors d′oeuvres. The teak decking, teak cap rails, and substantial stainless steel rails make a stunning cockpit entertainment space day or night, and Princess has included the teak covered extended hydraulic swim platform on the stern suitable for a tender.
A good place to start on any yacht tour is the engine room. Princess is new to fitting their yachts with IPS drives, and the 49 is their second production boat with this modern propulsion system. The 48 Sport Yacht was their first, and you can read my review of that beautiful yacht in the December 2016 issue of Bay & Delta Yachtsman.
On the 49 Flybridge the engine room is accessed from the cockpit sole and down a five step ladder. Layout down there is exceptional, and ample headroom allows easy access to just about any vessel system requiring attention. Nestled into this clean engine room is a pair of new Volvo D8 IPS 700 engines that produce 550 HP and propel the 49 to north of 35 knots. From here it is obvious that Princess designed this boat from the beginning around the D8′s. The 12kw Onan generator is on the outboard side of the port driveline, and easily accessible for fluid check and any needed service. The large main fuel tank is forward and spans nearly from port to starboard, while the reserve tank is midship between the main engines and below decks.
Passing through the double sliding glass doors from the cockpit into the cabin, we find a well-equipped L-shaped galley to port. The galley, as you would expect, has all the appliances necessary for days and nights away. The stainless steel basin is forward and surrounded with plenty of counter working space. Under, are drawers and cabinets for pots, pans, and other necessary utensils. An electric, glass cook-top over the convection microwave is set along the port side, and all the way aft is an under counter refrigerator. Across from the galley is a two seat sofa for conversations with the chef during food preparation.
Forward of the galley, and up two steps that improve the sightlines, is the dinette with room for six or more. Across on the starboard is the pilothouse helm that flows together and lets the entire crew gather near the skipper while underway. The view from the dinette and the helm seating is panoramic through the oversized windshield and opening side windows. That large folding dinette makes a nice chart table when not being used for dining.
The helm has captain and companion seats, with large Garmin multifunction displays set into the glass bridge. It is obvious this dash was designed and built around the Garmin and Volvo controls; everything is exactly where it belongs. Your eyes and hands fall naturally to the controls whether you are using the conventional electronic throttle/shift controls or the IPS joystick. The bow thruster control is just to the left of the helm nestled around a minimal number of switches preserving the clean lines of the glass helm.
Down six steps centerline forward, between the helm and dinette, we land in the quiet and secluded atrium where we find two staterooms and two heads. Princess’s designers fit a lot of accommodations in the new 49. The IPS drive engines set aft rather than midship, provide space for a full-beam master stateroom and ensuite head, forward of the engine room and under the dinette/pilothouse. The master stateroom is entered by a short companionway leading aft with storage to port.
The guest head, which doubles as the day head, is at the foot of the atrium and to port. The guest head, just like the master head, has a separate stall shower with a glass enclosure, a porcelain sink, stainless steel designer plumbing, and a mirrored overhead cabinet. The above countertop basin allows for ample storage in the cabinets underneath since there is no intrusion that reduces space.
Although there are a few options in cabin layout, our yacht has the two-cabin layout with the full beam master midship, and the guest VIP scissor-berth forward. The full beam master has a centerline queen berth with lots of room on either side for moving around. There is a private head forward on the port, and bookending the bed there is a dressing table to starboard and a settee to port. The large hull windows on both sides let in tons of natural light. The large mirrors combine with the windows and turn what could be a dismal, dark cabin into one flooded with daylight.
The forward VIP guest berth is all the way forward, and has the same scissor-berth design we saw in the 48. This is a great design that allows the cabin to be arranged with two single berths or rotated together to form one double berth. With a hanging locker forward to starboard, and large storage under each berth, the guests will not be looking for places to hide their personal gear. Opening ports, to port and to starboard, provide fresh air and light for your VIP guests. The private entrance to the day head is aft and to port and the privacy door to the cabin is centerline.
To starboard of the atrium is a third cabin with a single berth set against the hull with two opening ports providing fresh air and daylight.
Having surveyed the entire vessel, it was time to get some rest as we planned to be underway at first light. Up at 0530 and ready to cast off, we just started to see the first inkling of sunlight over the land. Engines warmed up, navigation system up and running, and course plotted we were off the dock at 0615.
At 0645 we cleared the Oxnard breakwater and started bringing up the RPM’s to a brisk cruise speed of 28 knots intent on making Morro Bay for a planned fuel stop on the way to our overnight in Monterey Bay. As the sun rose we had Santa Barbara just off our starboard beam with a long five-foot sea, and 15 knot southwest wind. To test the Princess’s handling we took her up to wide-open throttle, and as the RPMs climbed to the factory rated 3100 RPM, our GPS speed passed 35 knots. Using the Garmin navigation system with the integrated Volvo engine management, our fuel consumption at WOT was under 60 gallons per hour, giving our large 49 a fuel economy of 0.6 nautical miles per gallon.
Making our way around Point Conception and Point Arguello before 1000, we slowed to 22 knots in a 4- to 6-foot head sea. Even in those conditions the Princess 49 provided a dry ride. For the next two hours, as we crossed the Pacific Missile Range on a direct line for Morro Bay, the wind waves built to an undesirable 2- to 3-feet on top of the swell, and we took just enough spray to activate the pilothouse windshield wipers. Just before 1200 we were secure at the fuel dock, and taking on 216 gallons of red number two to top up the tanks. We made the 135 mile run from Oxnard to Morro Bay in five hours, for an average Velocity Made Good (VMG) of 27 knots, and a very respectable fuel economy of better than 0.6 mile per gallon.
Included in our Volvo software package was the Dynamic Position System (DPS), which allows the navigation computer to keep the vessel stationary by articulating the engines as necessary. Earlier generation systems that I have experienced did a fair job of keeping the vessel within 5 meters or so, but this latest generation product does an outstanding job maintaining heading and position with wind and current. While waiting for the fuel dock to clear, the DPS kept us within a few feet while we waited and enjoyed a fine lunch.
Departing Morro Bay at 1245, the winds were still building. Around Point Piedras Blancas the wind, and resulting wind waves, built further forcing us to slow to a pedestrian crawl of 16 knots. Even in those conditions, with winds directly on the bow at 25 plus, our Princess behaved well and the autopilot did not miss a beat.
Once around Point Sur, our desired heading improved the ride with slackening winds, and we were back up to cutting through the waves at our 28 knot cruise speed all the way into Monterey Bay. We secured at the fuel dock at 1645, making the 105 mile leg from Morro Bay in just under five hours, giving us a VMG of 21 knots in pretty sloppy seas.
We fueled the boat on arrival, and found berthing for the night, planning to get underway at first light for San Francisco. The final leg to San Francisco was just 91 miles, and we calculated that if we departed at 0630 and kept a Speed Over Ground (SOG) of 25 knots, we would pass under the Golden Gate Bridge before 1000, which would leave time for photos from the camera boat, and to secure in our berth in time for lunch in Sausalito.
Having added just 15 hours to the clocks, covering 335 nautical miles, our Princess 49 lived up to my anticipation of a great ocean yacht capable of a spirited run in sloppy seas while keeping the crew warm and dry in comfort. The level of fit and finish and solid build was expected from Princess, and the new design 49 Flybridge did not disappoint.
Although we never found an opportunity to use the flybridge, it is easily accessible up the starboard side molded steps, where twin helm seats with the same Garmin/Volvo glass bridge set to starboard, and a U-shaped settee sets to port. Aft of the settee is a cooking station, and behind that a large seating area that converts into a sun pad with a teak folding table. This is a great dockside or underway entertaining space for sun worshipers… or port and cigars on the flybridge, perhaps.
Performance By The Numbers:
D8 IPS700 550 HP x 2
600 4.5 kts 1.4 GPH 3.2 NMPG
1000 7.5 4.1 1.8
1200 8.6 6.8 1.2
1500 10.2 13.0 0.8
2000 14.8 27.0 0.6
2250 17.4 31.1 0.6
2400 22.6 34.0 0.6
2600 26.7 39.5 0.6
2800 29.1 46.2 0.6
3080 WOT 35.1 58.8 0.6
With full trim tab, time to plane is 6 seconds.
All data taken in the open ocean with 3- to 5-foot seas, 15 knots of wind, full fuel, and two persons onboard.
LOA – 51′ 00″ Fuel – 330 gallons
Beam – 14′ 3″ Water – 101 gallons
Draft – 4′ 01″
Air clearance – 14′ 1″
Power – Volvo D8 IPS700 (550 HP)x 2
Displacement – 42, 330 lbs
Maximum GPS measured speed – 35.1 knots
If you are looking for a roomy, fast, and sporty mid-size Flybridge Sport Yacht, then you need to look at the Princess V49 Flybridge. She competes well with yachts from other quality builders. Almost everything is standard equipment with just a few options to personalize your new yacht. For more information or to arrange for your own personal test ride contact Silver Seas Yachts in Sausalito or navigate to their website at http://www.silverseasyachts.com/
Silver Seas Yachts,
300 Harbor Drive, Sausalito, CA 94965
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I always appreciate the comments I receive and welcome any suggestions for improvement whether in person or in writing. If you would like to suggest a topic, please stop and talk with me around the marinas or email me at patcarson @yachtsmanmagazine.com H