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Owner’s Story – Mike Oliver and His Princess V40

What’s your boating history before being a Princess V40 Owner?

My brother and I grew up around boats as our dad’s business was producing upholstery and soft furnishings for private craft on the south coast based in Southampton around the 70s and early 80s.  Through his contacts we landed up with a Sabre 27ft sail boat and later a Natant 23ft displacement hull motor boat.  We also sailed a Mirror dinghy together as youngsters and in our late teens we refurbished speedboats whilst using them ourselves before selling them on.

We had quite a gap then playing lots of cricket, getting married, having kids, running the same business together and steering it into refurbishing cruise ships & ferries.

When life had settled down slightly and the kids were capable of clambering around a boat safely, we shared a Sealine 28ft Bolero moored on the river Hamble.  We kept her for 4 years until business and family life took over again, we just didn’t have the time.

Another gap until our kids were teenagers and we decided again to share a boat and this time in the form of a Renegade 7.20m RIB based in an Itchen River dry stack.  This suited our current lifestyle brilliantly as the kids were the right age for really enjoying the rough and tumble and we still didn’t have loads of spare time as we were running the business.  The boat was a great RIB and this spell lasted 10 years until we finally had a little more time.  My brother went the sailing boat route in the form of a 37ft Jeanneau and I wanted to stick to motor boats!

Why did you choose a Princess and why the V40?

Once my wife (who didn’t grow up around boats) saw our friends passing us on the Hamble in their 38ft motor boat wearing just swimmers whilst she was clad in a full waterproof suit and a woolly hat, she decided we should upgrade to something dryer, warmer and just a little bit more comfortable.  Music to my ears so I went on the hunt!  Like most blokes, I love the research as much as actually buying whatever it is we’re buying but this was at another level.  I loved the process and already had a good idea that I wanted a Princess V40 – I just had to sell it to the boss.  My main responsibility in our business was finding the work so I used all my experience to get this one across the line!  The perfect day at Southampton Boat Show weather-wise, we viewed various brands with smaller and bigger boats before stepping onto the V40 to meet Richard Clarke from Princess Motor Yacht Sales in Plymouth.  The V40 didn’t disappoint and I could see Sue getting excited about the thought of sipping a G&T moored up in Newtown Creek watching the sun set!  The process worked!  Having the time and convenience to view other boats and compare them to a Princess within minutes of each other was invaluable.  The build quality of the interior fit out (something I know a bit about!) was head and shoulders above anything else we had looked at and comparing the designs of other brands proving the V40 seemed to have everything with a fantastic layout.  Our boating was going to be a mixture of days out with friends in the Solent and going away mainly as a couple to the Channel Islands, West Country and France as we built up our confidence.  The V40 was absolutely perfect for that style of boating and not too much of a step for me having been used to manoeuvring a RIB for the last 10 years!

How has the boat performed?

We eventually took delivery of Happy Hour early 2021 with only a slight delay caused by the pandemic.  Since then, we have clocked up 190 engine hours and the boat has performed brilliantly, never letting us down engine wise and giving us confidence to venture further afield.  To me it’s all about having confidence in the boat otherwise it becomes stressful and not enjoyable which defeats the whole idea of owning a boat in the first place.  If my wife started to feel that was the case, I know our boating adventures would be over pretty quickly!  Thankfully, our V40 “Happy Hour” has been solid in all departments.  The twin engines give peace of mind whilst the joystick has made manoeuvring the boat pretty easy even when the tide is running and the wind blowing.  She handles the weather well in the open sea and same again for a short cruise in the Solent with wind over tide. We couldn’t ask for more as a Princess V40 owner.

What have been some of your recent yachting highlights?

We have had many overnight and small breaks around the Solent staying on the I.O.W in Newtown Creek enjoying the peace and quiet being close to nature to stays in Yarmouth and experiencing the buzzy harbour and great restaurants.  The best trip for me though was just the two of us motoring to Weymouth for an overnight stop and then cruising down to Dartmouth for a three-night stop.  We cruised back in one hit but the sense of achievement and the fun we had was just amazing!

Could you recommend a particular destination or experience to other Princess owners?

For me, joining the Princess rendez-vous with 11 other yachts is something that every owner should experience.  The safety in numbers feeling and knowing you are travelling with the Princess team made up of experienced boating experts, marine engineers and like-minded people is just brilliant.  We were lucky enough to cruise to Cherbourg for an overnight stop and then on to Guernsey for three nights before heading for home in one hit.  That trip was invaluable for building confidence in us and the boat as well as having loads of fun and good food along the way as a Princess V40 owner.

What’s the funniest thing you’ve experienced on board your Princess?

This has to be the moment in Guernsey one morning when the sun was up and the fleet were just beginning to stir, and for a laugh (trust me we don’t take ourselves too seriously!), we were wearing the waffle bath robes embroidered with the boat’s name ‘Happy Hour’ that Sue, my wife had ordered!  Being the smallest boat in the fleet we had to make an impact somehow so we decided to sit at the back of the boat with our good friends Charles & Nicky who joined us for the cruise, wearing our matching robes having our first mug of tea for the day.  You can imagine the stick and comments we received which was the general idea!!

What are your cruising plans for the future?

That’s an interesting one – it probably depends who you ask in the household!  We now have our first grandchild and I would love to encourage my kids and their families to join us on trips away for longer spells.  I would always want us to handle the boat ourselves and be able to enter small ports like Yarmouth so I would never want go over a V55, which I incidentally think is a fabulous layout and design.  With more guests you need more space as a Princess V40 owner and a must for me would be to have ensuite bathrooms for guests and if going further afield a bigger boat would cope with any unexpected nasty weather changes.  We will have to see if I still have those sales techniques after 2 years of retirement!!

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