The Power of Fun
The Prestige 420 flying-bridge motoryacht is the entry point in the Prestige Yachts line. As such this new family cruiser has many bigger yacht features, plus spirited performance and a surprising turn of speed.
Let’s start with some simple facts: Prestige is a powerboat series built by Jeanneau—the French boatbuilder primarily known for its contemporary sailboat designs peppered in harbors around the world. Although they are designed for the cruising sailor, you surely won’t hear complaints about a Jeanneau’s sailing characteristics. A few racing oriented models have taken home the silver as well.
The other fact is that Jeanneau began building powerboats a decade and a half before the company launched its first sailboat in 1970. Why is this important? Well, for no other reason than boaters in the market for a new powerboat should understand that this company is not some Johnny-come-lately to the power world. Founder Henri Jeanneau was an ardent yachtsman, who like Ray Hunt or Richard Bertram, embraced sailing and powerboats, loved tinkering with design, and loved the water.
Jeanneau is owned by the largest production boatbuilder in the world. For some, buying from the “biggest” at anything may be a turnoff. Heck we’re living in an age now where folks are demanding boutique lettuce or beef raised in a nurturing environment by both parents on a family farm, while classical music is piped into a cashmere-lined barn. However, the flipside to this equation, or more appropriately, the benefit is the deep R&D talent, production efficiencies, and scale offered. The Prestige 420 is a fine example of the culmination of all these advantages and Jeanneau’s 58-year heritage.
The 420’s mission was revealed within minutes of getting on board. Prestige Yachts of America president Nick Harvey glided across the swim platform, grabbing his young kids with one hand, and a bag of wine and cheese in the other. While his wife put PFDs on their children, Nick started up the engines, and we were headed out of Annapolis’s historic harbor within minutes. With the sun settling over the horizon, we settled into the bridge’s L-shaped settee. There are plenty of handholds thanks to the railing around the venturi. One welcome option here is the galley console with refrigerator and sink (recommended). Backing down is easy thanks to the uninterrupted line of sight from the helm, down the stairs to the cockpit, and through the stern gate to the platform. No need to call out distance here. If you’re like many boaters that will also run from the bridge in bad weather, like fog, in order to gain a better line of sight, you’ll want to add a mast extension to the radar. As installed, it’s just a little too close to human appendages.
The 420 comes standard with an electrically actuated swim platform that can be easily adapted to stow an inflatable tender, and the push-button controls for the platform are conveniently placed on the inwale of the starboard side step leading to the cockpit. Here you’ll find a full-size bench seat for three or four, complete with ample stowage below. The Prestige’s French and sailing heritage are shown here since one of the compartments is designed for a life raft, which is often required in European waters.
A single centerline hatch leads down to the engine compartment and its twin 370-horsepower Volvo IPS500 diesels. Because IPS features pod drives under the hull—as opposed to a traditional shaft-and-strut drive train—the engines can be mounted farther aft in the compartment, freeing up bonus space inside, which we’ll cover in a moment. There’s also ample room here for the optional genset, a welcome addition on those longer summertime cruises where you’ll want A/C while out on the hook. The execution of the entire space was neat and tidy, a direct result of the company’s production capabilities.
Stepping into the saloon, you’re immediately greeted by a fully equipped galley to starboard, across from stacked refrigerator/freezer/microwave units to port. The area is huge compared to similar-sized boats and a pleasant surprise to see on a European boat where a galley is often only a place to make a sandwich. Revealing its cruising sailboat bloodline, there are also exceptionally large stowage compartments under the counter, as well as great overhead lockers. This entire area—including the main saloon forward—is especially light and airy thanks to big windows all around.
After the sun set, we gravitated to the saloon with the kids setting up shop around a U-shaped sofa/dining area to port, across from the fully equipped lower helm station to starboard. The dining table does double duty and is easily converted from cocktail to full size, and the entire table lowers electrically to create a guest berth for two.
As you’d expect on a yacht of this size, the owner’s stateroom is tucked in the bow and has its own en suite head and separate shower. But what you wouldn’t expect to see is a second VIP stateroom—nearly as big as the owner’s—that is secretly located below the dining area in the saloon. Choices, choices.
The berths here can either be twin beds or filled in with a cushion to make a larger queen berth, and surprise! There’s also another full-size head with separate shower in this cabin as well, something that Harvey says makes this 42-footer unique in the marketplace today.
Out on the water, we noticed that the lines of sight were great all around from the helm, even from the seated position. And thanks to the IPS drives, when you apply power the 420 leaps onto plane with almost no noticeable bow rise and a relatively flat wake—two characteristics you’d never expect in a 42-foot motoryacht. We hit a top-end speed of 31.2 knots at 3500 rpm, and best cruise turned out to be 3000 rpm for a speed of 23.2 knots and a range of 250 miles with a 10-percent fuel reserve.
We never met Henri Jeanneau, but we’re fairly confident that he would be damn happy to have his name associated with this latest model. So if you’re in the market for a truly sporty European motor-
yacht—and one with two fully equipped cabins no less—Prestige’s new 420 should be on your short list.
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Conditions During Boat Test
Air temperature: 81°F; humidity: 30%; seas: 1' or less
Load During Boat Test
full fuel and water; 4 persons.
Test Boat Specifications
- Test Engine: 2/370-hp Volvo IPS 500s
- Transmission/Ratio: Forward-facing pod 2.5:1
- Props: Dual contrarotating T2-210, TS3-TS6
This article originally appeared in the May 2015 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.