Yacht Class n°18 (sept-oct-nov 2019)
Prestige Yachts – Groupe Beneteau
She is the largest one of the Flybridge Line and undoubtedly, the best symbol of a unit made for family cruising. She thus offers well-thought out exterior and interior fittings. The Prestige 590 further reinforces the brand’s reputation. And this sea trial will bring it to light.
Written by Alain Brousse – Photos : J-J Bernier et B. Dino Bonomo
For those who don’t know or may have forgotten, Prestige is an entity of Beneteau Group. It is undoubtedly one of the successes of this group that possesses twelve brands. Since its creation, Prestige has steadily grown with the collaboration of Garroni Design, which has created this praiseful brand image and style. March 2019, the Prestige models called at the Vieux Port of Cannes. Among them was the flagship of the Flybridge Line, the 590, whose silhouette exudes the “Prestige personality”. Hats off to the Garronis, Vittorio and his son Camillo, who have been – and still are – in charge of this range since its creation. Hats off, too, to Erwin Bamps, Prestige’s new CEO, who attended this sea trial and offered us a few statements, notably that one of his ambitions was to ensure that Prestige evolve towards improvement, whilst recognizing that the current team had already achieved a very good level of quality. Meaning: everything can be improved… well, message received !
Standard Zeus pods
As soon as we got on board, we easily guessed, thanks to the idling engines, that we would be casting off shortly. Due to the poor weather, we directly opted for the main deck wheelhouse, and not for the flybridge helm station. In the engine room: two 600hp Cummins (8.3L), with Zeus pod drives that require a special hull design. Indeed, those feature a tunnel-mounted design for efficiency question. An equipment “de rigueur” quite appreciated during manoeuvring: the joystick. With only one hand, but both eyes, we left the Vieux Port of Cannes and directly tested the capacity of the hull to lift out of the water. It took 14 seconds to go from 0 to 20 knots and 30 seconds to reach her top speed: 27 knots, two less than the shipyard figures. In fact, the difference from the engine manufacturer’s maximum speed was only 50 rpm, not enough to question the choice of propeller. Indeed, we have to recognize that the Prestige 590 and her 600 hp does not remained idle on the water. Some impressions and, more certainly, some numbers proved it. Highly “manoeuvrable” in port, she is also easy to handle on the water, whatever the speed. Considering her docility, the owner can do without a skipper and have fun at the helm.
An optional hardtop
Although Prestige owe their reputation to their habitable volume, they all have remarkable outdoors. At the stern, a teak and hydraulic bathing platform facilitates the launch of the tender. Note that when the owner opts for the optional crew cabin instead of a garage, the latter is strapped on this platform (maximum length: 4.50m). From this spot, a small portside staircase leads to the sizeable cockpit, which accommodates on starboard a L-shaped sofa and its electrically adjustable table with double folding shelves. Six passengers can be seated there while in navigation or at anchor. On each side, a wide enough – but not too wide either – walkway leads to the foredeck, whose deckhouse accommodates sunbathing mattresses for at least four people. The pulpit being slightly low, the handrail will be useful during delicate passages. Obviously, the largest outdoor spot is the flybridge, accessible via a discreet and aesthetic staircase, inspired by sailboats. There, a bimini-top provides the desired shade, but an optional opening hard-top is also available. The saloon (settee and table) can accommodate up to eight passengers. Located behind the helm station, a kitchenette allows for an al fresco snack with grilled food. The flybridge features a V-shaped floor (there is a very slight slope to remember when moving during navigation) with a transverse “channel” in the middle for water evacuation. Note, we would welcome a neater upholstery; this should be part of future improvements…
Priority to the master
Undoubtedly, the Prestige brand has made a name for itself through its ergonomic and comfortable interior fittings. The galley is thus conveniently located at the entrance of the open plan main deck between the cockpit and the lounge/dining area. Indoor meals (six people) will be served in the dedicated space featuring a U-shaped sofa and an electric height-adjustable table, whose side can be manually folded. Opposite, the lounge offers two additional sofas, just behind the helm station. Note the opening onto the walkway that can be useful in the event of an emergency deck manoeuvre. The wheelhouse has a comfortable upholstered two-person bench. The dashboard, quite compact, has not been the subject of a real design study, but is ergonomic. However, we would have preferred the joystick closer to the inverter and accelerator levers. The pilot has a satisfactory visibility, and broadly speaking, this common area enjoys a 360-degree panoramic view that makes it quite bright. As for the sleeping accommodation, Prestige remains true to its concept, with first the master with its private stairway (opposite the galley). This full-beam en suite stateroom features a portside vis-à-vis seating for breakfast and a walk-in closet. Back on the main deck, we head to the forward staircase leading belowdecks where are located a VIP cabin with two separate beds (that can be gathered together), plus a cabin with twin berths. Each of these cabins is en suite, which is an asset for charter. The largest of the Prestige Flybridge Line has demonstrated, as if needed, that the yard does not veer from its course and still pursues its conquest of the flybridge market under the quality banner. Which makes it highly “exportable”.