In the middle of the fleet but tops in its class
Take a look at the Princess Yachts website — princessyachts.com — and you’ll see motoryachts more than 100 feet, sport and express yachts up to 72 feet and a host of flybridge offerings topping out at 98 feet. But look down the flybridge list, at the Princess 43, a spry, fun, well laid out yacht (yes, it feels like a genuine “yacht’) that will make you look good and feel good. Thanks to its lineage, craftsmanship and British-born heritage, the Princess 43 is as stout and fit as any yacht in the fleet.
Devil in the Details
It behooves one to pay attention to the details or risk missing some of the finer features of the Princess 43. For instance, you can board via the swim platform and use one of the dual access gates to access the aft deck, typical when tied to a floating dock. Princess also tools in side boarding gates that drop down, thus making boarding from a fixed dock easy also.
An assortment of cleats and chocks placed around the yacht make it easy to tie up the 43. Having a lower transom cleat and a higher gunwale cleat gives an operator options about how to secure lines and where they run, especially when guests are on board. Nothing ruins a cruise more than someone tripping on a dockline and falling into the drink. Mounted on the gunwale tops all around, the cleats do not become toe-bustin’ appendages but rather usable hardware, and stylish, I might add.
Princess does not skimp on the other metal works, either. The bowrail is high and extends all the way aft to the deck steps, adding security for people navigating the side- and foredecks. There are also handrails for boarding, traversing the flybridge staircase, even along the flybridge side — perfect for stability when handling a dockline. Ultimately, the rails add plenty of attachment points for fenders and such.
Come Fly Away
Up top, the flybridge is all about looks and luxury. A low-profile radar arch sweeps back, out of the way, while staying true to the overall lines of the yacht. A Bimini top will stave off the harmful solar rays and still look good. And that helps, as the fly deck offers copious amounts of seating and lounging. Aft is a full U-shaped settee with a table, while the starboard side boasts its own L-shaped settee. Twin helm seats are to port, with the console just off center, still giving the captain a good line of sight as well as clean access to the lower deck. There is not a bad seat in the house.
At the Helm(s)
A great feature is the upper/lower helm setup. On beautiful days, guests and owners would want to be together on the flybridge. And on those not-so-nice days, everyone can be inside on the main deck without banishing the captain to fend alone upstairs.
Sporty in layout and functional in design, the upper helm has wraparound bucket seats, a sport wheel, and Garmin GPSMap 7012 electronics with a touchscreen multifunction display for charts, radar and systems information; there’s even a man overboard key. It’s a nice, compact package that saves space. Analog and digital gauges, a Side Power thruster joystick, Garmin autopilot, tabs and throttle controls are smartly placed for viewing and access.
Conversely, the lower helm is to starboard but a bit more plush thanks to a two-person bench seat, ergonomic console design and the same electronics as above. A nice touch is the AC/DC switch panel to the left of the helm, for easy access to lights, the generator start and stop, AC controls, voltage displays and more. A clear cover keeps unauthorized fingers away. Princess also builds in a chart table and stowage area.
The Great Indoors
Inside, there’s so much room you’ll forget you’re on a 43-foot yacht. Across from the helm and down two steps is the galley, but out of sight doesn’t mean it’s out of mind thanks to the open atrium design. Meals can be prepped and dishes put out of the way from guests in the salon. It’s also easy for the captain to grab a drink or a bite and stay in close proximity to the helm.
Galley features include a three-burner flat Trident stovetop, a Franke stainless sink with a Hansgrohe faucet and fitted chopping board, a Waeco refrigerator/freezer, a Sharp convection microwave with a grill, in-floor and under-step storage compartments. If you like, opt for a washer/dryer or a dishwasher.
Large side and forward windows maintain an open feel throughout. Finished in high-gloss Serotina cherry wood and Avonite counters, the salon has a U-shaped convertible settee with a dining table to starboard. Another ingenious feature is the two-seat sofa to port, which is movable and can add seating to the dining table — perfect for family meals or game time. An electric high-low 40-inch LED TV is optional.
It doesn’t end there. Increase the entertainment acreage by opening the triple-framed sliding aft doors, thereby joining the salon with the aft deck, which features a large, upholstered U-shaped settee with a folding teak table. A Vitrifrigo ice-maker is nestled under the flybridge steps. Look closely and discover that the flybridge deck fully covers the aft deck, protecting occupants from the elements. Access the optional electric/hydraulic swim platform by the twin transom gates.
In an aft deck compartment to starboard is a manual bilge pump and manual fire system controls, which seems to be more the norm on yachts now, especially having the fire extinguisher release outside of the engine room, eliminating the need to open the engine room hatch and potentially feed the fire.
Make It Go
Down the hatch in the aft deck floor is the engine room, where there’s access to the ancillary systems, including the generator, the Glendinning Cablemaster, the air-conditioning unit, steering and more. Getting around the engines is a little tricky, at least on our test boat, as we were packing the Cummins QSB6.7 diesel heavy-metal engines. The 43’s deep-V variable deadrise hull with 15 degrees at the transom allows the Cummins powerplants to deliver almost 29 knots of speed wide open. Dial it down to 2500 rpm for 20.9 knots or to 1700 rpm for a 10-knot cruise.
Princess Yachts doesn’t trade one amenity for another but utilizes proper space allocation to maintain a balance. Down and forward are two staterooms, with an owner’s master in the peak and twin berths to starboard. A large, centerline double berth fills the master, with side step-ups and a finished headboard. The en suite head is finished in the same gloss oak wood, Avonite countertops and tile flooring. Signature components such as the Perrin & Rowe sink basin and Hansgrohe faucet add style and a touch of class. A separate shower stall has ample elbow room.
A nice touch in the guest stateroom is the padded backrest that surrounds the bunks. It essentially transforms two berths into a lounge area, perfect for the kids to play or for adults to relax and enjoy a book without feeling like they’re lying in bed. The guest head doubles as the day head and is as nicely appointed as the master head, including a stall shower with a bench seat.
Additional items worthy of note are the leather-wrapped handrail along the interior steps, the very large forward sunpad, the large lower helm wood footrest, a mini-refrigerator in the salon near the aft deck, slide-out glassware drawers, the flybridge chill box and teak decking.
Recently introduced to the U.S. market, the Princess 43 replaces the 42 and is the entry yacht into the flybridge series. It works well for new boaters as a platform to move up, and also has the same fit and finish as the larger Princess yachts, for buyers who desire the quality while they downsize their yachting needs.
Feel good about your yachting decisions and take a look at the Princess 43. You’ll look good, too.