November 30th 2010. By Lenny Rudow.

Princess 85 Motor Yacht: A Perfect Fit

Is bigger really better? This unpretentious 85 footer has everything you expect out of a megayacht—plus some advantages that can come only in a smaller package.

The new Princess 85 Motor Yacht aims to put the old “bigger is better” argument to bed. It’s big, but not outrageously so; it’s not quite large enough to merit the title “mega-yacht” but it’s as luxurious as any mega-yacht on the water; its draft isn’t so deep it limits your ports to those capable of handling cargo ships; and it performs more like a sport yacht than a ship. So, how much does size matter? After getting to know this boat, you simply won’t care.

The Princess 85 offers the luxury of a megayacht in a manageable size.

First off, consider the footprint: at an unpretentious 85’1” long and 20”8” wide, you can find plenty of marinas to tie up at. Yet there’s room for six individual cabins. Sure, only two of them merit the term “stateroom,” the center master and the forward VIP. Both of these have huge berths, walk-in closets, and private heads. The master’s head has two sinks and can be fitted with either a stall shower or a Jacuzzi-style tub. Hate having chilled feet first thing in the morning? No problem—just have Princess install the heated marble floor that was in the 85 on display at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show this fall.

Two additional cabins can be laid out with twin bunks, a single twin-sized berth, or as office space(s). The crew gets relegated to a pair of aft cabins behind the engineroom, one with a twin and one with two single berths. (The crew also has their own dedicated head, galley, and dinette back there. Mingle with the help? Tish-tosh!)

And if all of these berths aren’t enough capacity, you probably don’t worry about finding a marina big enough to tie up at in the first place, because you’ll just build your own wherever you feel like going.

The master suite is light and airy thanks to large portlights.

Before moving up a deck to the 85 Motor Yacht’s living area, there are a few other unusual perks to check out in the sleeping spaces. First off, take note of how light and airy the master feels. Credit goes to a quartet of massive ports in the hullsides, which allow so much natural sunlight to enter the cabin that you won’t even flip on the light switch when the sun is shining. The other cabins have cat’s-eye ports that manage to bring in sufficient light without downgrading the boat’s sleek exterior looks.

Now grab a hold of one of the desk drawer handles, or the head door. Pull it open, then give it a slam. Feel how solid it is, how all the latches and door handles lock in tight? On many yachts you’ll find some wiggling and jiggling where the builder didn’t bother to re-adjust each and every one, after the boat had been sea trialed a few times. Not on the Princess. Everything in these cabins fits perfectly, and that includes the wood joinery, which Princess offers in oak, cherry, or walnut in either satin or glossy finish.

The dinette easily seats eight.

Just how much does size matter on the main deck of the 85? The next time you throw a dockside party, you’ll have to limit yourself to merely inviting the senate, instead of the full congress—aw, shucks. The main salon features a massive settee with room for a dozen dignitaries, an entertainment center with a flat-screen LCD TV, DVD player, and surround-sound system, and a “dinette” which seats eight and really should be called a dining room. Natural lighting and a spacious feel are still the rule.

The double passenger seats make a comfortable place to watch the captain.

The galley is forward and includes niceties like a full-upright refrigerator, a deep-freeze locker, an actual oven, and granite countertops. Keep walking forward and you’ll enter the helm area, which has helm and double-passenger’s chairs that rival La-Z-Boys. There’s also another dinette up here, in case you’d like to have a chat with the captain while you take your tea.

If you’re still hung up on the notion that bigger is always better, here’s one more thing that might change your mind: even though this yachts is only 85 feet long, the upper deck is spacious enough to accommodate an optional hot tub. And that doesn’t crowd the full bar, lounge/dinette for eight, or even the crane and tender platform.

Still not convinced? Here’s some cold, hard proof that more size can be a handicap: the 85 Motor Yacht draws five feet, five inches. Prop pockets are designed into the hull to help reduce draft, and if it were any deeper, many ports would be off-limits. What’s that—you’d merely have your own channels dredged if you wanted to go island-hopping? Then consider performance. The 85 can make those hops a lot shorter, with a top-end of 28 to 30 knots. And finally, don’t forget cost. Yes, yes, we know money is no object, but wouldn’t you rather spend in the neighborhood of eight mil for the Princess 85, as opposed to 12 or 14, just so you can add in the “mega” when you tell people about your yacht?

For more info, visit the Princess Motor Yacht Sales website.

Lenny Rudow
With over two decades of experience in marine journalism, Lenny Rudow has contributed to publications including YachtWorld,, Boating Magazine, Marlin Magazine, Boating World, Saltwater Sportsman, Texas Fish & Game, and many others. Lenny is a graduate of the Westlawn School of Yacht Design, and he has won numerous BWI and OWAA writing awards.