Just how small a boat can you legitimately call a yacht, when it’s built by a company like Princess Yachts? It can be tough to know just where to draw the line, especially when you’re looking at a 42 footer which is sitting right next to a Princess 85. Yeah, that 85 footer obviously deserves the moniker, but when I walked down the docks in Ft. Lauderdale to take a gander at the new Princess 42, I had my doubts as to whether or not it would truly warrant the title. Once I could get up-close and personal with this boat, however, those doubts quickly disappeared.

Does a 42 footer count as a "yacht"? In the case of a Princess....

Does a 42 footer count as a "yacht"? In the case of this Princess the answer is "yes."

What the 42 lacks in length it easily makes up for in luxurious appointments, interior design, and standard equipment. A quick peek into the cabin leaves no doubt as to the cushy-factor—yeah, it’s a 10. You’ll have trouble spotting a fiberglass surface anywhere: headliners are fabric, trim and cabinetry is solid wood, and countertops are Avonite. The carpet is cushioned from beneath, upholstery is buttery-smooth Ultraleather, and the seats will make you want to forget about walking back out onto those docks.

Of course, it’s not easy to fit yacht-like appointments into a 42 foot LOA. You have to work at it, and Princess clearly did when they redesigned this package. The smartest move they made was combining the salon and dinette, instead of trying to carve out separate areas. The table-equipped settee sits just aft of the helm, with a love seat across the cabin. When you check it out, be sure to plop down at the helm for a moment. Luxurious? You bet—running the 42 will be a real pleasure, thanks to a pair of adjustable seats that have a La-Z-Boy comfort level. And no matter where you sit in this cabin you’ll feel warmed by the natural sunlight, which streams in from the massive wrap-around windows.

As you look at those huge windows, note their graceful curves; you’ll find the same use of eye-warming curvatures in the stateroom ports and hatches, galley and cockpit decks, circular showers, and rounded berths. Yet go back to the salon furniture, and you realize it all has a modern, rectilinear design. What gives? Curves may be more pleasing to the eye (scientific studies have proven that curvilinear surroundings arouse more pleasant feelings than rectilinear, in most people), but straight lines make for a better functional use of space. By combining the two, Princess has created pleasing yet practical surroundings—all the better for making you feel like you’re on a yacht, while making the most of a limited amount of space.

What about that standard equipment? Once you see it for yourself, judging the boat-versus-yacht quality is a no-brainer. You don’t just get a door between the cockpit and salon, for example, you get triple-pane glass sliders which are framed in glimmering stainless-steel. You don't merely have a swim platform, it's a platform that’s inlaid with real teak, not that fake plastic stuff. And instead of a simple oven, you’ll find a combination microwave/conventional/grill. Of course, you can find goodies like these on some boats, too. But when you consider them along with the level of luxury and the functional yet warm design, there will no longer be any question in your mind: this may be a 42 footer but it’s a Princess, and yes, it should most certainly be called a yacht.

The Princess Yachts 42 is 44’3” long, has a beam of 13’7”, and drafts 3’7”. The 42 weighs 20,415 pounds, and carries 1,500 gallons of fuel. For more information, go to www.princessyachts.com.


Written by: Lenny Rudow
With over two decades of experience in marine journalism, Lenny Rudow has contributed to publications including YachtWorld, boats.com, 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.