YACHT CLASS N°31 (DEC-JAN-FEB 2023)
Prestige Yachts – Groupe Beneteau
For its first catamaran, Prestige Yachts has set its aspiration high in terms of innovation and habitability. The M48 boasts three spacious cabins and a very attractive open-plan main deck, in addition to convivial exterior layouts and satisfactory performance.
Written bay : Alain Brousse – Photos : DR
In a way, Prestige Yachts’ first catamaran was much awaited. She had to wait until early September to carry out her first sea trials initially planned during the spring of this year. And we had to wait until early October before embarking for a sea trial that was very conclusive. Appointment was thus made at the port of Beaulieu-sur-Mer in a sunny and very mild autumnal atmosphere. Immobile, stern-to, the M48 is a perfect symbol of the catamaran with an exterior design by Camillo Garroni. We suspected, and later confirmed, an amazing habitability. But as weather conditions were more conducive to an outing at sea than to stay at berth, we could not deny ourselves this trip on a sea slightly moved by a nascent East wind.
Very at ease on the water
This new model has been designed to accommodate classic Volvo Penta diesel engines (320 hp each) with V-Drive transmission. She is also equipped with an 11.5 kW Onan generator. We conducted our sea trial with 650 litres of fuel (50%) and a full tank of fresh water, 600 litres. And since we had good weather, we immediately climbed on the flybridge and its exterior helm station protected by a hardtop. A one-metre-wide settee can accommodate two people. For delicate manoeuvres, the captain has a bow thruster fitted on the port hull. Reversal and acceleration of the gears can be done with a joystick. Once out of the port, we tested the time needed to go from standstill to cruising speed: 16 knots in sixteen seconds, which is correct. The M48 is at ease on the sea and will reach 20 knots at the maximum speed of the Volvo Penta (3 750 rpm). Cruising at 16 knots (3 250 rpm) she can navigate 210 miles without refuelling. At 12 knots, she has a 700 miles range.
Under a bright sun, let’s discover the exteriors of this catamaran, and first the flybridge, obviously quite convivial thanks to its dinette that is extended by a three-person solarium. Note that the shipyard will modify the permanent table (for eight) on the next models. It will become electrically adjustable, and the dinette will then be convertible into a sunbathing area. A kitchenette is located next to the steering position, with a barbecue, sink, fridge and storage. One level down, the main deck houses the cockpit: two corner sofas and two tables that become a dinette for ten, plus a L-shape settee on starboard and a single seat on port. When not in use for nautical pleasures, the central hydraulic platform in the stern is the only place to store the tender. The transom opens up into a storage area for a few toys and the fenders. The forward part of the M48 boasts a convivial permanent platform between the two hulls, as proved by the deckhouse solarium and the saloon with a U-shaped settee and a table. To port, a translucent hood opens onto the skipper’s “coffin” berth while to starboard, another hood unveils the head. This design corresponds to a set of specifications taking into account the possibility of chartering the M48.
Two cabins on the lower half deck
Inside, the main deck accommodates an open-plan galley on starboard, an opposite lounge-dinette and a wheelhouse. Immediately, the natural light and the 200-degree view seduce. And the modern decoration turns to be sophisticated. Hats off to Garroni Design. To port, a staircase leads down to the 18 m2 master. As an option, this space can be transformed into two cabins (one twin and one single), a layout particularly suitable for charter. Let’s now discover the innovative asset of this catamaran: a half lower deck. How is this possible on a catamaran? The M48 is a hybrid catamaran: its forward tunnel offers a volume that makes it almost a trimaran. This central ‘hull’ is only a bulge that is not prominent enough to touch the water, but enough to fit out a lower half-deck with two double en suite cabins whose beds face the hull porthole. They occupy the full width of the boat when, on traditional catamarans, they are usually fitted in each hull. This originality, created in collaboration by the architect Philippe Briand and the designer Camillo Garroni, makes this catamaran very habitable. Our sea trial was definitely a positive one n