Mike Rothery, and his Princess 67.
Like so many Princess yacht owners, being on the water has been in Mike’s blood for as long as he can remember. ‘I’ve sailed all my life, starting with dinghies on inland reservoirs – I was Commodore of the Datchet Water Sailing Club based near Heathrow airport for many years’. But it was only when he retired that boating became a major part of life for Mike and his wife Mary.
‘We started out in 2005 with a Sealine T51 which served us well as a first ‘proper’ boat. But it was three years later, when we bought a berth at Sant Carles Marina in Spain that our boating really stepped up a gear’. Based on the Spanish mainland midway between Valencia and Barcelona, Sant Carles is ideally situated for Mediterranean cruising, something Mike and Mary were keen to take full advantage of. ‘We bought a twenty metre berth despite having a fifteen metre boat – the obvious thing was to put a bigger boat on it’ smiles Mike.
Having visited several boat shows and done their homework, the Rotherys had a pretty good idea what they were looking for. ‘We wanted something big enough to live on for extended periods’ says Mike. ‘My main criteria was a galley on the main deck rather than buried on the lower level’ comments Mary. ‘I also wanted a proper full beam master suite – something with full headroom throughout and that felt more like a bedroom than a cabin.’
With no preconceived ideas, the couple explored the entire market, but the boat they kept finding themselves gravitating back towards was the Princess 67. ‘It’s a very pretty boat’ enthuses Mary, ‘very elegant on the water with some lovely design features like the winglets that extend out from the sides of the flybridge at the back’.
“We bought a twenty metre berth despite having a fifteen metre boat – the obvious thing was to put a bigger boat on it”
An order was placed with Princess Motor Yacht Sales in Southampton in 2007 for a Princess 67 and in early 2008 the boat was brought to Southampton to be outfitted to Mike and Mary’s requirements. Mike had a particularly detailed specification for electronics. ‘I had Raymarine G Series Glass Bridge displays fitted. These are simply monitors, the GPM (Graphics Processor Modules) that drive the Raymarine electronics are tucked away elsewhere. This meant that I was able to install a PC and network it to the screens – in fact there are five networks running throughout the boat. The result is that the screens can display Raymarine navigation such as charts, GPS and radar, but I also have docking cameras linked in, satellite TV, and recently I’ve even added ‘Ancam’ – a camera on the bow that allows me to monitor anchor launch and retrieval’.
With the boat christened ‘JennyWren’ (after Mike and Mary’s youngest offspring Jennifer, who’s nickname as a little girl was Jenny Wren), it spent the summer of 2008 in Torquay Marina close to the couple’s home and the season was spent enjoying ‘shakedown’ cruises along the south coast and across the channel, not to mention a little fine tuning of the electronics. ‘You’re supposed to keep a running log every half hour, writing down your position, course and speed but we kept forgetting, so I wrote a small program for the on board PC and now we have a ‘Talking Lady’ who reminds us every thirty minutes to note it down. It works brilliantly and instills a useful running discipline on long cruises. On one occasion we were off the north coast of Africa and a radio call came over wishing to identify a boat at a specific lat and long. Because we’d been keeping the running log up to date we knew instantly that it was us and were able to quickly respond’. In September 2008 JennyWren set sail for her new home in Sant Carles, and she’s barely stopped since.
‘We’ve clocked up close to 1,000 hours so far. Our regular cruising ground is the south coast of Spain and across to the Balearic Islands which is about 100km away, mainly Mallorca but also Menorca and Ibiza’. JennyWren has also been to Malta, Sardinia (where the boat spent much of 2015), and cruised the south coast of France, sometimes with just Mary and Mike on board, often with friends and family.
One particularly interesting destination was Valencia for the Grand Prix, where Mike’s impressive electronics set up really came to the fore. ‘We had a berth right next to the track, cars screaming past us just twenty feet away. I rigged up two satellite feeds, one for the BBC commentary, another linked to the Driver Tracker. We could watch the cars go past, monitor the progress on the nav screens, listen to the commentary through the flybridge speakers and help ourselves to cold beers from the flybridge fridge – it was better than sitting in the grandstand!’.
A decade into ownership and Mike and Mary’s enthusiasm for their Princess, and the lifestyle it gains them, shows no sign of waning. ‘We’re looking to the Eastern Mediterranean for 2018 – Greece, Corfu, Sicily, the Amalfi Coast’. And nor does Mike’s love of technology. ‘I’m looking to fit solar panels next. We spend a great deal of time at anchor so the ability to utilise sunlight to keep the batteries topped up is hugely appealing. My plan is to fit semi flexible solar panels along the front of the flybridge’.
Princess Motor Yacht Sales’ enthusiasm for Mike and Mary has also shown no sign of waning. ‘The experience has been brilliant’ says Mike. ‘Aftersales Manager Pete Harwood in particular has been fantastic – always on the end of the phone for support and he never says no’. Mary agrees. ‘We can’t fault them at all. Their hospitality is second to none and their help is second to none as well. If there’s a problem, they’ll resolve it – one way or another’.