Boat Review - July 2019

When asked if I could move a new and fully commissioned 60-foot yacht, currently berthed in Newport Beach and needing to be in San Francisco by next week, the answer is an immediate yes, let′s see what the weather looks like. Not only will I be relocating the vessel for the Richmond Boat show, but I will have a few days to experience the yacht′s capabilities for a future boat review. If you want to skip my review and just get to the bottom line, I can summarize my review of the Prince S60 Sportbridge in three words − I want one!

Having arrived in Newport Beach late in the afternoon the previous day and planning to get underway after a good night′s rest, we were off the dock at first light and first in line at the fuel dock to top up the tanks. The short 20-minute run at no wake speeds to the fuel dock allowed us time to set up the navigation system the way I like it and to become familiar with the various switches and systems. The first time fueling a vessel we need to be extra careful since we do not know how fast she can take in fuel before the tank venting cannot keep up. Does it spit and dribble and are the level indicator gauges accurate? As expected from a quality yacht builder, we filled the tanks quickly with no burps or drips, and when the level indicator showed 100% the tanks took just another couple of gallons and then sounded full. The fuel dock opened at 0700 and by 0735 we had taken on 697 gallons of red number two. With full fuel tanks and coffee cups we were ready for our early morning sprint to Santa Barbara just over one hundred miles away.

The weather forecast for the day called for easterly Santa Ana winds at 20 knots later in the morning along with a 3- to 5-foot westerly swell at 18 seconds; nice conditions for a high speed run up the coast in our fine British Yacht. Powering up to a spirited 30 knots once past the Newport Beach breakwater, we engaged the autopilot for a direct line across Los Angeles Harbor towards Point Vincente. We cover our first 30 miles in calm seas and calm winds. Flying past the anchored container ships and bulk carriers our next 50 miles across Santa Monica Bay parallel to the northbound traffic separation lane, we find the ocean swell building and the beginnings of the Santa Ana wind chop.

At 80 percent throttle our Sportbridge handled the seas with authority, tracking true in the chop with no rattles or shakes when she came off a wave top. Wanting to get a feel for how well our S60 took the seas I pushed the throttles to wide open, put the helm hard over and was pleased to see that our S60 leans comfortably and turns well at speed, doing a circle in about three boat lengths. After stopping the boat and then backing down hard into the three-foot wind chop, she responded well. From a dead stop pushing the throttles far forward as they will go the S60 accelerated well, coming on plane in less than 10 seconds, and reaching a top end of 36.8 knots as indicated on our Garmin navigation system. Princess states the S60 can make a top speed of 38 knots and in flat water, less fuel, and perhaps a little down trim tab, she probably can. We had two people on board, an 80 percent fuel load and full water along with strong winds, tide, and a moderate swell. In flat water and a little less load, she will probably get another knot or three.

Arriving at the Santa Barbara fuel dock at 1120 and having taken on just 305 gallons of fuel we are back underway and past the Santa Barbara “A” buoy at 1155. I can confirm the engine fuel rate computers are correct when they indicate at 30 knots, we are burning 85 gallons per hour and at WOT our fuel rate is just north of 100 GPH. From the Newport Beach fuel dock to the Santa Barbara fuel dock it is approximately 112 miles which we covered in roughly 3 hours and 45 minutes and burned 305 gallons of fuel. That works out to 0.37 MPG and a velocity made good of nearly 30 kts. This is a respectable miles per gallon and just what I would expect from a 65,000-pound yacht screaming through lumpy seas.

To keep engine hours to a minimum we plan to keep our Speed Over Ground up and make Monterey for an overnight stay, then, fuel in the morning before making the final eighty mile run to San Francisco the next day. The weather forecasts north of Point Conception for the afternoon are looking pretty good and we expect to keep our spirited pace all afternoon and arrive in Monterey late evening.

We make way along the Santa Barbara Channel dodging oil platforms at a modest 28 knots in calming seas and slackening winds. The weather forecast calls for good conditions close into shore and good size wind waves just fifteen miles out. Once past oil platform Irene near Point Arguello we set a direct heading for Pt. Sur which provides a reasonable ride in the quartering seas and should keep us out of the worst of the snotty sea. As the sun gets lower in the sky so does our speed and by the time we approach Point Sur it is now dark and we have slowed to a pedestrian 12 knots for the final thirty miles to Monterey.

We arrive later in Monterey Bay than we wanted, 2330, but we had a good day and are impatiently waiting for the fuel dock to open at 0800. Secure at the dock we have time to look around the interior of the boat and find the Princess to be a solid and well thought out design. Although our S60 is the baby of Princess′s Sportbridge product, larger siblings are the 65 and the 78, she is roomy. The full beam amidships master stateroom and the VIP stateroom in the forepeak provide luxury accommodations and all cabins have opening ports for fresh air when desired. Have more guests, the starboard side guest stateroom is fitted with twin berths.

Down the companionway and past the electrical panel we find the sleeping quarters with the guest bunk room to starboard, the guest VIP stateroom forward, and the master stateroom aft. All three cabins are nicely appointed with plenty of headroom for your taller guests.

A nice feature in the starboard guest bunk room is the electrically sliding twin berths. At the touch of a button the inside berth will slide towards the outside berth and make into a double bed. The cabinetry is designed such that storage is accessible with the berths placed in either arrangement.

The master stateroom is set amidships with the private entrance aft and down another step. With a centerline queen berth there is tons of storage to starboard in the large hanging locker and drawers. Princess left room to accommodate huge windows with opening ports on both sides. A large settee to port makes this quite an inviting stateroom. The private ensuite master head is a work of art with contrasting surfaces and colors, glass enclosed shower, porcelain sink, and mirrored vanity.

The guest head does double duty as the day head and is nearly as large and as well appointed as the master head. Your guests are not shortchanged, and they will be impressed. Both heads have opening ports to let in some light and fresh air.

The forward guest VIP stateroom has an island queen with storage underneath, a large hanging locker to starboard and a seating area to port. The cabin is light and airy with the large windows on both sides with opening ports.

As is common in Monterey, the fuel dock crew all arrive early and by 0810 we are underway for Sausalito. I fully expected to cover the eighty miles or so and arrive at the Golden Gate Bridge before lunch. At 1045 Pillar Point is just a blur as we speed past and at 1140 the crew from Silver Seas Yachts meets us at the Golden Gate Bridge to get photos. It is a good thing they brought a fast boat as we blast under the Golden Gate at 30+ in lumpy seas. The Tiara 39 Coupe chase boat with a full gaggle of photographers will make 30 knots and can keep up with us, that is until I do not want them to. See my review of the Tiara 39 Coupe in the July 2019 issue of the Bay & Delta Yachtsman.

During the voyage up to San Francisco we did not get a chance to use the Sportbridge helm station or enjoy the large seating area or sun pads. Once we arrived in San Francisco Bay it was time to explore the slightly smaller than expected bridge. Up here we have another set of twin helm chairs along with full electronics but set to port with L-shaped seating area to starboard, just opposite the lower helm. Aft we find more seating with a teak dining table with fold out wings. Up here there is more than enough space for a dozen of your closest friends to enjoy the wet bar complete with a sink, electric grill, and wine cooler. Wondering why the bridge on the S60 seems small, it is because Princess set the bridge a bit further aft than on a more traditional flybridge motor yacht to make room for the electrically powered opening sunroof that covers over the half saloon and all the lower helm. This is a worthy trade-off in my opinion.

The well-equipped lower helm is set to starboard and has two electrically operated custom helm chairs with folding arm rests. The Garmin glass bridge has two full size multifunction displays along with a third smaller MFD dedicated for engine instrumentation. All the controls are easily accessible for both the skipper and the navigator. Views from here are so good that even in close quarter maneuvering and docking I did not feel limited and never migrated to the upper helm station.

Just aft of the helm in the integrated saloon is a settee with room for three and to port is a large U-shaped settee and teak cocktail table. Guests in the saloon can be included in the vessel operation if desired and something that is immediately noticed are the 360-degree views from any of the saloon seating. The side windows are low enough that sights to the outside are not strained.

Aft of the saloon is the galley to port and more guest seating to starboard. With the three- burner cooktop over the convection microwave oven and the large refrigerator and freezer aft, the galley is complete and well designed. The countertop has a fold up large opening window that serves as an open-air bar for guests in the cockpit.

For even more guest seating, all the way aft in the cockpit there is a U-shaped settee that surrounds a large dining table. Aft of the settee is another large sun pad set over the toy garage, or crew quarters if you select that option. And while we did not use, it the foredeck has another lounge setup with sun pad and additional guest seating. That makes three sun pad lounge areas, better stock up on sunscreen.

The S60 performed well in varying sea conditions and at varying speeds. She is well mannered, easy to control, and rock solid. There was never a creek, groan, or rattle from anywhere on board. Silver Seas promised me a fully commissioned vessel and they were right on. In our two-day, extensive sea trial, I found only three items to put on the repair list, and they are all minor issues easily addressed in a few hours. I usually find several dozen issues with a fully commissioned and sea-ready yacht and try very hard to find and note everything.

Our entire voyage was 419 miles, covered in 21 hours of engine time for an average velocity made good of nearly 20 knots. Considering our slow evening SOG, time in and out of Newport Beach, Santa Barbara, and Monterey Bay, I consider this very good. We used less than 1200 gallons of fuel giving us an average miles per gallon of 0.35, again very respectable.

My final thoughts are how quiet this yacht is and how well it takes the lumpy seas. Sitting at the helm with the engines purring and a SOG better than 30 knots the feeling is that of the low rumble you get sitting in the first-class seat on a transpacific flight; conversation is normal and not strained. With the gyro stabilizer keeping the roll to a minimum and that terrific Princess hull design keeping the spray away from the windscreen she is comfortable. Sleeping in the master stateroom with the shared bulkhead to the engine room there is the same low, unobtrusive, rumble from the big 1200 horsepower MAN V8′s that I find relaxing.

2018 Princess S60 Sportbridge Specifications:

LOA − 62′ 11”

Fuel − 858 gallons

Beam − 16′ 0”

Water − 132 gallons

Draft − 4′ 9”

Power − Twin MAN V8 1200 (1200 HP)

Displacement − 63, 600 lbs. dry

Maximum GPS measured speed − 36.8 knots

If you are looking for a roomy, fast and sporty motor yacht, then you need to look at the Princess S60 Sportbridge. The S60 is a versatile cruiser with top notch craftsmanship and impressive performance; she competes well with yachts from other quality builders. 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.silverseas where there are more photos and a video.

Silver Seas Yachts, 300 Harbor Drive, Sausalito, CA 94965. 415/367.4022 H

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