Feb 4, 2020
At 55m x 39m – more than half a football field – the Princess Yachts display in Dusseldorf would have been incredible. It would have been even more incredible but for the other equally staggering booths set up by the world’s prestige builders at the 2020 boot show in Dusseldorf.
Canadian Yachting OnBoard newsletter editor John Morris was at the 2020 boot show in Dusseldorf and he saw a lot of amazing things but the Princess booth was incredible. In the booth, Princess had ten very exciting boats including the debut of the F50, S62, S66, V55 and Y78. In Canada, there is no venue for this kind of a collection but in Dusseldorf; it was merely awesome, not unique.
Even more impressive, however, was what I discovered in the “basement” of the booth, under the platform the salivating public was using to inspect the striking boat collection. I was guided though an unmarked door (how understated can a company get?) to see the full-size pre-production mock-up of the interior for a new even larger Princess, the X95.
Under the booth, through the inconspicuous door was the entire 24 x 6.3 m fully built but unfinished main deck of an X-95 looking ready to host a billionaire, but constructed mostly of raw plywood with a spray of marble counter tops and lush upholstery here and there to indicate finishes.
It gets even better; there to guide me through the mock-up was Paul Grigg, a 35-year veteran carpenter at Princess in Plymouth who now is part of a four-person team dedicated to crafting mock-ups. He tells me that to the best of his knowledge, Princes, which mocks up every boat prior to building, is the only company with such a mock up team. It took the team two months to build this one working with designers and architects and using expensive materials to build out the whole deck. This model contains every component of the whole thing.
Princess loaded the mock-up onto a transport, shipped it to Germany and rebuilt it under the booth. Just the re-construction in Dusseldorf took five days.
Grigg explained the process: working from sections of the plans, the crafts-team creates the deck, upholsterers come in and try the cushions and fabrics, salespeople bring purchasers through to sit at the table and pace the galley.
The craftsmen work with designers to modify and complete a working boat layout. Only after the mock up is “used” and “enjoyed” does it get the final sign off. Then the 3,000 builders in the factory go to work to create the real, perfect, yacht.