Taking on the mantle as the smallest model in Princess’s flybridge range is an unenviable task. The boats the Plymouth shipyard has built-in this sector are some of the best and most loved it has ever made but never has there been a time when customers expect so much from an entry-level model.
With design influence from Olesinski Design and Pininfarina, the F45 has the challenging task of balancing modern yet timeless styling, interior volume, easy handling out on the water and the attention to detail that Princess prides itself on, all with an eye on value for money. It goes without saying that this, for many customers, will be their first experience of a Princess product so it has to set the tone for what is a consistently high-achieving model range. Is it up to the task? Read Jack Haines’ in-depth report on p40 to find out.
1 HARDY HYBRID
Cockwells has launched the first of its new generation Hardys after buying the brand last year. And it’s a diesel-electric hybrid. The boat is a Hardy 42, a timeless well-proven model, around 30 of which have been built over the past 18 years. Previous owner Windboats started the build by laminating the hull and superstructure but the remaining 70% of the work has been completed by Cockwells at its Mylor Creek facility in Cornwall.
The hybrid installation is based around a single 440hp Yanmar diesel engine, rather than the usual twin set-up, with a 20kW electric motor linked to a 22kW generator and a 48V 400AH lithium-ion battery bank providing an additional source of clean, quiet power for the single shaft and propeller. The generator either runs the electric motor directly or charges the batteries, but a 48V alternator also allows charging directly from the main engine.
Under diesel power it has a top speed of 15-16 knots, depending on load condition, but at an economical cruise speed of around eight knots it should deliver a range of around 600nm from its 2,000 litres of diesel spread across two tanks. In electric mode the maximum speed will be just six knots, but the batteries won’t last long at this pace. At a more sedate 4.8 knot cruise, a draw of around 200A allows up to two hours’ silent running.
Cockwells developed its own power management control system for the hybrid installation. EmpirBus-based, the system will handle everything automatically. When battery levels drop to 20% the generator fires up to run the electric motor. A touch-screen display enables easy monitoring. To make low speed manoeuvring easy it is also fitted with variable-speed Vetus thrusters fore and aft.
Cockwells is known for the high quality of its handcrafted wooden interiors and the hybrid Hardy 42 lives up to expectations. It features contemporary light-oak veneers with a satin varnish finish. This first boat has a two-cabin, two-bathroom layout. The owners’ suite is amidships with the VIP suite forward.
Prices for the Cockwells Hardy 42 with twin 440hp Yanmars start at £846,000 including VAT. The hybrid upgrade package costs an extra £75,900 excluding VAT.
Built for an experienced British yachtsman, whose previous boat was a Discovery 55 sailing yacht, this new Hardy is expected to spend its first season in the West Country. However, once Covid restrictions ease, the owner plans to use it to explore the French canals.
Dave Cockwell says this was the original motivation for choosing a boat with silent-running capabilities and a single-screw installation, as the prop is protected from grounding or underwater obstructions by the keel. Air-draught restrictions on the Canal du Midi have also meant the mast and windscreen on the upper helm position can be folded down when required.
The launch of the Hardy 42 marks the start of Cockwells’ 25th anniversary celebrations.
2 ONE-STOP SHOP FOR BOAT REFITS SHOP
Former Princess CEO Chris Gates has set up a new business re-fitting luxury motoryachts. Called Setag Yachts (Gates spelled backwards), it is primarily aimed at owners or buyers of pre-owned boats from the big three British brands – Princess, Sunseeker and Fairline.
Using Gates’s extensive knowledge of the market and a list of contacts built up over 30 years at Princess, Setag Yachts will offer a one-stop-shop for owners wanting to reinvigorate their existing craft or customise a recent purchase of a secondhand boat.
The service will cover boats from 35ft up to 155ft and span everything from gentle refreshes up to full refurbishments. It will even offer repowering and structural enhancements such as new hardtops and bathing platforms.
“When you buy a house, the first thing you do is decorate and renovate in order to stamp your own personality on it, and ultimately make it feel like home,” says Gates. “But all too often pre-owned yacht buyers simply run with the existing specifications and tastes of the original owners. We want to help those owners create a more personal statement – what we like to call a ‘refit for purpose’ – and ultimately better protect their investments.”
The team of specialists Gates has brought together could hardly be better qualified. In all they boast more than 200 years of combined experience designing, engineering and building Princesses, Sunseekers and Fairlines. Most held senior positions at one of those companies and really understand how those boats were put together, making the process of refurbishing that much slicker.
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