Large sportscrusiers are being phased out as quickly as new sportsbridge models are being introduced

T The foredeck is nice and

fl at but the outward-leaning grabrails are a stretch away

There is thoughtful fl air to the furniture, this coffee table a particular highlight

he assault on the big traditional open sportscruiser has been relentless. First came the hardtop, which offered protection from the elements and welcome relief from

the torment of stubborn canvas covers. Next, the addition of sliding cockpit doors meant that this new breed of sportscruiser offered fl ybridge levels of comfort in a luxurious, climate-controlled main-deck saloon that can be used whatever the weather. Now, the sportsbridge is muscling its way in and, from the outside at least, it seems to offer the best of both worlds: the performance, looks and sunroof of a sportscruiser with a scaled-down fl ybridge deck that still allows for a wind-in-the-hair driving experience and offers another deck level on which guests can relax. Princess clearly believes in this new

breed of crossover; the pace that the S class range has developed has been rapid for a brand that traditionally takes its time to design and bring new models to market. The original S72 was based on the V72 sportscruiser but the S65 and this S60 were designed from the keel upwards to be sportsbridges. It only takes a quick glance at the current Princess range to see that large sportscrusiers are being phased out as quickly as new sportsbridge models are being introduced. The S60 hasn’t got it all its own way

though, as there is an argument that a sportsbridge is simply a fl ybridge cruiser with less space on the top deck. Princess’s own all-new 62 provides just as much competition for the S60 as sportsbridge rivals from other manufactures like the Prestige 630 S. Fairline, meanwhile, still has faith in the traditional sportscruiser concept and is about to launch the Targa 63 GTO – the biggest sportscruiser it has ever made. Not that any of this seems to trouble Princess; it has such confi dence in the S60’s appeal that it commands much the same price tag as the larger 62 (albeit with more powerful engines), but does it really offer the best of both worlds or is it a stylish compromise?

STYLE & LAYOUT Well it’s certainly stylish and, though looks are subjective, I think most would agree that the S60 is a pretty boat. The low-slung fl ybridge and short overhang give it a far better-proportioned profi le than a

traditional fl ybridge, and the arcing saloon windows have a simplicity to them that over-styled rivals should take note of. There are other benefi ts to the

sportsbridge design than looks, and one of them is the inclusion of a tender garage large enough to swallow a Williams 325. This does limit the size of the crew cabin, which makes do with a single berth and small bathroom, but most S60s, in traditional markets anyway, will be owner operated, so that’s unlikely to be much of an issue. The sunpad on top of the garage is a welcome addition given the smaller fl ybridge deck and the (£12,000) optional electric sunshade makes the cockpit all the more versatile. Proper foredeck seating is nothing new

but again, given the fl ybridge is that bit smaller, the bow area is likely to see more use than it would on a regular fl ybridge. Guests will spend a lot of time travelling between bow and stern so it’s a shame that the side decks feel pinched, particularly at the aft end. Substantial toerails and handrails on the superstructure ensure they don’t feel overly precarious but for a boat of this size, you would expect to be able to make easier progress up and down the sides. The way the forward guardrails lean outwards means you have to crouch awkwardly to steady yourself on them, too. Once at the foredeck, things improve

thanks to a comfortable bench tucked beneath the windscreen and a fl ush walkway that makes crossing the decks safe and easy. The sunpad section has hinging backrests that adjust on wooden frames so you can sit up and read a book comfortably. It’s well thought out and will come in particularly handy for privacy when moored stern to. The main deck layout is shared with the S65 so there’s an aft-galley arrangement with the combination of sliding doors and a top-hinged window opening up the kitchen and dinette to the cockpit. Though there’s a small step amidships, the threshold between cockpit and saloon is fl at so moving around this area is easy. The galley isn’t huge but the small return lends some extra counter space and is the perfect spot to line up snacks and nibbles. The area isn’t overfl owing with storage but the domestic- size fridge-freezer will be a welcome sight to those planning extended cruises. The enormous panes of glass either side

of the saloon are supplemented by another sportsbridge trump card; the sunroof. By sweeping the fl ybridge right aft there is

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