When British builder Princess Yachts launched its Y Class and X Class models, it was unsure how the "space age" styling of the X95 would sit with their traditional customer base. However, the market was braver than expected and as a result, the brand’s “more traditional” Y95 had to take a back seat.
First announced at the 2019 Cannes Yachting Festival, hull one of the Y95 series was finally previewed to private clients ahead of her delivery to an Asian owner in Plymouth in December. The 29.1 metre yacht features exterior design by Pininfarina and Olesinski and, despite utilising the same hull structure and engineering platform as the X95, it has a dramatically different layout.
"The lower decks are pretty much the same between the two but everything from the main deck upwards changes,” says Princess marketing director Simon Clare. The Y95 features an open flybridge area, a flybridge helm and a raised pilot house. This is different to the X95, which has an enclosed flybridge and a single enclosed helm.
This revolutionary layout of the X Class, which offers impressive interior volume for a sub 30-metre yacht, piqued customer interest and had a knock-on impact on the Y Class. “We have delayed the build of this [the Y95] a little bit because the X has been so popular and they are built in the same factory on the same line,” explains Clare. “We have to balance between the X and the Y and they are two very different clients.”
The Y might be seen as the more conservative option, but the first hull’s calm and neutral interior ensures it feels suitably modern. The main deck flows through on one level, with seating areas on the port and starboard side, and a formal dining table forward. There are also opening patio doors on the starboard side, which were chosen by the owner.
Further forwards a well-thought-out galley can be found portside, which sits alongside the raised bridge area. “The galley has the same utilities as the X95 but is just a different layout in terms of usable space,” explains Jack Smith, technical sales executive at Princess Yachts. “There is never enough space, but we have tried to utilise every little area.”
The owner of the first hull opted for a five-cabin layout with a full beam owner's suite on the main deck. “The master suite on the main deck is an option on the X95 but it is standard on the Y,” says Clare. Owners who opt for the X can choose to utilise the space as a master cabin or as an open-plan country kitchen.
The master suite on board the first Y95 has a bathroom forward with light flowing into the cabin from large windows on either side. The generous area also offers a relaxed seating area and there are alternative options that could create a workspace area.
On the lower deck, a further four en-suite cabins are found, with two full beam cabins found at either end with a pair of twin cabins in between. The layout is identical to the X95 and there is plenty of flexibility for future owners looking for a different allocation of space.
“We have got different opportunities down here,” says Clare. “We’re a production boat builder but when we get to this size of boat, we can be flexible for clients. People might what to create a TV room down here or we can put a small gym in one of the cabins.”
Perhaps the biggest differentiating factor between the X Class and Y Class is the flybridge, with the Y95 offering plenty of exterior space. The vast area incorporates a helm station, a large dining area that can comfortably seat ten, an L-shaped sofa as well as a twin grill, drinks fridge and a bar with stools for entertaining. Further customisations include the option to add a spa pool and still have space for a tender or jet ski.
The flybridge area is also home to a cleverly concealed crane, to further maximise the space on offer. “It’s the first time that we have really be able to get it right on the outboard edge, it means it doesn’t take up space and it doesn’t look imposing,” says Smith.
On the lower deck aft, there are again multiple options as to how the space between the crew area and the aft deck can be divided. The owner of the first hull also chose the “hybrid” beach club area, which also incorporates a swim platform. “The transformer platform means it can go up and serve as a diving platform or go down and give you easy access to the water when it submerges,” says Clare.
Despite the “wow factor” of the X Class, Clare has faith that with the first Y95 on the water, the enduring appeal of the Y Class will continue. “A lot of people will be used to this kind of configuration with the flybridge and the two helms and it's just something that they're more comfortable with,” he says. “There's no real split between an age group or a region particularly, it's just how people are going to use our boats.”