New Boat: Princess Y95

There is plenty to like about this British shipyard’s new flybridge design, which has a lot in common, under the skin, with its more radical X-rated predecessor.

Princess Y95

There is plenty to like about this British shipyard’s new flybridge design, which has a lot in common, under the skin, with its more radical X-rated predecessor.

When I sea-trialed Princess’s decidedly strange-looking X95 a little while ago, in quite challenging sea conditions, I was excited—and relieved—to discover that a vessel which from dock level looked more like a big square apartment block than a motoryacht was actually a pretty capable sea boat. The waves were six to seven feet and steep, and the wind was blowing half a gale, but we powered through it all as salt spray lashed the windows and drenched the upper deck. It was fine. I was impressed.

Now, for those who like the sound of that but prefer boats that look a little more nautical, Princess presents the Y95. A raised wheelhouse design with a fairly conventional flybridge profile, the Y95 looks completely different. The curve of the sheerline has been toned down, and the lower-deck windows are joined in a single long dark stripe along the topsides to create a sleeker profile. But otherwise, the new yacht has the same hull, the same machinery layout, and indeed the same four-cabin lower-deck arrangement as the X95.

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The similarities end at the main deck, which features a truly impressive forward master stateroom lying across the full beam of the hull, and makes the Y95 a five-cabin boat in standard form. Beyond its electric sliding door, the well-equipped, L-shaped galley sits just forward of midships on the port side, beneath the wheelhouse. The aft section of the main deck can be configured in two ways. If you don’t care for the formal, central, ten-seat dining table and right-angled salon seating, you can opt for an L-shaped port-side bar communicating the with the galley, a relaxed seating plan aft, and a more democratic, circular, eight-seat table placed over to starboard. The cockpit offers its own choices of seating and table arrangements.

The flybridge comes with various possibilities as well, with the option of fixed or free-standing seating, formal or informal dining, and a spa bath. This first Y95, which was begun on spec by the Princess factory and sold a month into the build, was fitted with the optional tender crane mounted aft, cleverly concealed behind a hinged section of bulwark.

It’s only when you’re up top that you realize, of course, that the Y95 is not quite a conventional flybridge design. Its layout is asymmetric: the port side deck links the flybridge directly with the bow seating and the foredeck, while from there a set of steps on the starboard side lead back down to main deck level.

In the stern, the choice is basically between crew accommodation with tender stowage, or a beach club. The owner of this first Y95 had requested more space for the crew area, so the beach club had been reduced in size accordingly.

With its lower profile and reduced weight above the waterline, the new yacht should easily equal the X95 for comfort in a seaway. It should also more than match it for performance. While the earlier model came with just the single option of twin 1,900-hp MANs—which gave us 23.7 knots on our very choppy test day—the Y95 can be specified with the 2,000-hp version of these compact V12s, which should certainly ensure that it meets its anticipated 24-knot top speed.

The hull design is optimized for efficiency, with full aft sections providing sufficient lift to ensure a wide range of planing speeds. A smart electro-hydraulic steering system controls the rudders independently according to engine rpm, adding to guest comfort by reducing heel under hard helm inputs. There is also that short wave piercer at the bow, which serves the dual purpose of lengthening the waterline (slightly) for displacement-speed efficiency, and reducing pitching (slightly) when punching into a chop. Based on the performance data we recorded during the X95 sea trial, I would expect the Y95 to offer quiet and relatively economical cruising speeds in the 17- to 22-knot range.

Princess claims to have sold 18 of its radical X95s, which makes this first Y95 the 19th yacht built on this hull. It already looks set to repeat the success of its four-square forebear, with four sold so far, two to the Far East and two to the US.

Princess Y95 Specifications:

LOA: 95’6”
Beam: 22’3”
Draft: 6’6”
Displ: 246,914 lbs. (half load)
Fuel: 3,540 gal.
Water: 475 gal.
Power: 2/2,000-hp MAN V12V
Price: $16,250,000

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