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FIRST DRIVE


MBY’s Jack talks to the Princess team


sell in their hundreds.” Princess wants to appeal to these customers, younger buyers who may have never considered buying a boat nor associate with the lifestyle. The yard decided an entirely new approach was


called for so having poached one of McLaren’s top composite technologies experts Paul Mackenzie as product development director, they began talks with BAR Technologies and Italian design house Pininfarina to create something that was fresh, innovative but still, in its words, ‘recognisable as a Princess.’ “The creative process of the R35 is totally different


to other boats within the Princess range,” Mackenzie says. “It has been a collaborative effort involving senior members of the Princess management team, BAR Technologies and Pininfarina from day one.” Dealers have been a crucial sounding board throughout too, a mouthpiece for the existing customer base that has shown a thirst for a Princess like this, especially in the Med.


CARBON COPY The R35 will be constructed in its own dedicated facility at the Newport Street premises. The boat will be 100% carbon fi bre – we’re talking everything from hull to decks to locker lids – and though Princess has been building components for its larger boats out of the material for some time, this is the fi rst boat that doesn’t have a strand of glassfi bre in its DNA. Princess claims it is 25% lighter than an equivalent glassfi bre boat. A prototype has been


Different settings allow the driver to tune the ride to suit the conditions


The foils increase grip and offer incredible levels of agility


built to allow the team to relentlessly test the boat’s handling and performance. A sage move given this is going to be the fi rst 50-knot Princess. The ‘R’ in R35 stands for revolution, and this is where BAR


Technologies has a major part to play. The team at Princess want to create a fast dayboat where performance is truly accessible and ride comfort is paramount. A planing hull with a pair of Volvo Penta 430hp V8 petrols on sterndrives take care of the fi rst part but it was the second bit of this equation that sent the BAR team back to their skunkworks to put their heads together. What they’ve come back with is a foiling system that harnesses the technology in an entirely different manner to what we have seen before. These guys have exhaustive experience in using foils to boost performance and effi ciency, so this comes as no great surprise. The inverted T-shaped foils on the R35 do not lift the hull


clear of the water, as would normally be the case. Instead, the carbon-fi bre fi ns deploy from within the hull just forward of the transom to produce additional lift at the stern and ‘push’ the bow down into the water to ensure the sharpest part of the hull is cleaving through it, softening the ride. In addition, a gyroscope is constantly monitoring the boat’s movements and feeding information to the foils via a computer so that they can actively adapt to the sea state. On the fi nished boat there will be a dial equivalent to Land Rover’s terrain response system, allowing the skipper to adjust it to suit the current sea conditions. The team is still confi guring the settings but are thinking ‘comfort’, ‘sport’ and ‘rough weather’ modes. Within those parameters, the foils will adjust


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