Yacht Class n°34 (sept-oct-nov 2023)
Launching this model on the increasingly sought-after catamaran market is undoubtedly a major milestone for Prestige. During our sea trial on the Adriatic, for her very first miles, the M8 did not fail to impress. Habitability, ergonomics, comfort and luxury were undeniable qualities we immediately recognised. Hats off to Garroni and Lombard, who did a great job designing this ‘nearly’ 20-metre.
Written by Alain Brousse – Photos : DR
To begin with, it’s important to explain her name: M because she belongs to the brand’s M-Line multihull family, and 8 because, according to Prestige, she is close to offering the services of an 80-footer, despite being only 68 feet long. To each their own way of getting the message across. What is certain is that the M8 is innovative, surprising and generous in terms of exterior and interior space: 272 m2. The rendezvous was at Yacht Club Porto Piccolo, north of Trieste, on the Adriatic coast. But only after a mandatory stopover at the Monfalcone shipyard (ex Monte Carlo Yacht), renamed “Groupe Beneteau Italia”, which now builds sailing and motor yachts from 60 feet upwards (Beneteau, Jeanneau and Prestige). The three hangars (45 000 m2 in total) have been redesigned to increase efficiency.
The sea view as the ultimate goal
In the marina of Porto Piccolo, all you could see was this catamaran, with its massive superstructure and impressive design. Camillo Garroni & Marc Lombard did not hide a certain pride in front of “their” M8 and, frankly, they had every right to show it. From every angle, the M8 looks good. The glazed sides and superstructure makes her look even more elegant. For the main deck, in agreement with the management, the designers chose to favour a generous view to the rear from the cockpit or the reception area. So the settees and sofas, both inside and out, are directed toward the convivial stern, where there is a hydraulic bathing platform that can also be used to strap in the tender. The aft section rises electrically to cockpit level, giving the saloon a few extra square metres, with a table and two facing sofas and a third a facing the sea. The space is also ideal for a dining area with a panoramic view. The cockpit is separated from the main deck saloon by two sliding windows and a central fixed panel. Let’s continue with an outdoor tour. On either side, a partially covered gangway provides easy access to the foredeck, whose 40 m2 is ideal for sunbathing (sunbed for 6) or for friendly get-togethers with snacks thanks to the forward saloon. The M8 would not be a catamaran worthy of the name without a flybridge of flattering dimensions. With a total area of 50m2, it actually features an aft saloon for 6-8 people, a starboard sunpad and a port saloon for up to eight guests. The forward centre is reserved for the main helm station, with two armchairs backed by a kitchenette. Three-quarters of the flybridge is sheltered by a canvas sliding roof. The exteriors of the M8 is certainly one of her assets.
Abundant light and contemporary decor
When it comes to living space, the M8 is generous. From the cockpit the volume of the main deck is impressive: 50 m2, designed to allow passengers to move freely. The modern and light furniture is discreet but well conceived in terms of storage. The salon is very pleasant to live in, with plenty of natural light. The lounge (coffee table and three sofas) overlooks the cockpit. For dining, a table and chairs await six guests to port, while the open galley is to starboard. Fully equipped to prepare the finest meals, it blends seamlessly into the space, with light oak floors. Erwin Bamps, Prestige brand director, informed us that the M8 is ‘customisable’ and that the decoration of the hull we tested was decided for its next destination, the United States, where she will be exhibited at the Miami Boat Show, in January 2024. On this M8, the main helm station is on the flybridge, a small wheelhouse can also be fitted inside.
Three to five cabins
This catamaran is full of surprises. The lower deck is “packed” with cabins: five in the maximum configuration. Let’s start with the largest, the master, located forward. Its 25 m2 offers a surprising, but not uninteresting layout, to say the least. The king-size bed is central and offers a view on starboard. It faces a half-height piece of furniture that hides a space dedicated to a lounge (a coffee table and two armchairs facing each other). The bathroom has two washbasins, a separate shower and an independent WC. Once again, the layout can be modified by the buyer. Both hulls feature a small crew cabin at the bow. There are also four guest cabins (10 and 12 m2) with either a double bed or twin ones, each with en suite bathroom and shower. Anything can be customised, for example a VIP in each hull instead of two guests. The version we tested is obviously ideal for charter.
Very comfortable at sea and quite silent
Moored at Port Piccolo, the M8 submitted with good grace to a sea trial. We set sail from the flybridge’s helm station, aware of her traditional diesel engines (2 x 600 hp Volvo Penta D8 V-Drive). Quite manoeuvrable, the M8 left port to prove her sailing qualities on a fairly calm Mediterranean sea. This 19.82-metre has a beam of 8.85 metres, so stability is a must. Warned that the specifications included reasonable performances, we set the speeds from the minimum of 6.57 knots at 1 000 rpm to the maximum of 20.3 knots at 2 920 rpm. Recommended cruising speed is 12 knots for a range of exactly 363 miles, a result that can be significantly improved at 10 knots (1 700 rpm) : 800 miles… Blue water sailors will appreciate this since this M8 is certainly able to cope with less mild conditions than those we had during our test. With the launch of the M8, Prestige once again demonstrates its determination to substantially raise the bar. This ‘nearly’ 20-metre, with many qualities, will quickly win over its audience, be it European or American. And we can expect even bigger things by 2025