By Captain Steve
We think the Prestige 620 is extremely well-executed in virtually every detail, obviously the work of veteran cruising boaters who know how such a motoryacht is used and what it must have.
I got a chance to test this boat that I had become so enamored with, the Prestige 620, and see if she really was the ideal cruiser that I had made her out to be. Would she be as captivating in reality offshore as she was in my daytime reveries?
Captain Steve tested the Prestige 620 in Cannes, France.
Before I get into the handling characteristics, I have to point out that the Prestige 620 was powered by the IPS900 drives. It's important to know this, and to understand that there are particular characteristics of pods that directly affect how a boat handles, most notably, in the turning performance.
At full speed, the range of motion of the pods is limited so that one doesn't suddenly bolt off at a 90-degree angle at full speed. This assures gentle turns that don't send the dishes and crockery tumbling out of the cabinets and your guests will appreciate that as well. This is yachting, and not the time for a heavy hand.
The Prestige 620 is nimble with only 2-1/2 turns of the wheel lock-to-lock. It was easy to dodge trap buoys as we sped along the French Riviera.
With that said, the Prestige 620 is still quite responsive to the helm, thanks to the 2-1/2 turns from lock-to-lock at the wheel. The operator will still get very agile handling, and that's an important feature to someone like me from New England where someone can't swing a rudder without hitting a lobster pot.
Even off the south coast of France, we were testing in an area littered with trap buoys, and regardless of how quickly they managed to "pop up", the quick but gentle response to the helm made dodging them a non-event. The 620 exhibits roughly a 3-degree roll into the turn at full speed, and I find that to be quite comfortable.
There's really no bow rise to speak of upon acceleration. Once on plane the 620 seems to settle into a roughly 3-degree bow high attitude, so there's no concern about loss of visibility. That means that whether operating from the lower helm or not, the skipper can see what is in front.
Her bottom shape and keel notwithstanding, the IPS900 drives make this boat far more docile than she would have been with rudders and conventional inboard propulsion.
Wake Me Up
One of the sad realities of boat testing is that one can't pick their weather, and on test day with the Prestige 620 we had clear skies and calm winds. That's great for getting fast speed runs, but for testing the handling characteristics… not so much. However, we did manage to come across a few megayachts that were kicking up sizeable wakes for us, so we made the best of them.
Hitting the wakes head-on had us slicing through nice and cleanly, with the water being thrown well off to the sides. When doing that the spray stayed very low, so while we had no wind to prove my observation, the 620 appears to be a very dry boat.
On the beam, we stuck to our 3-degree roll and simply rode up and over with no deviation from our heading. Again, try as I might, I failed to get any spray onto the windshield. With a following sea, I expected to get at least some plunging with the 620's heavy 56,000 lb. (25,401 kg) test weight, but again we stayed level and stable, but granted the conditions were mild.
While this wasn't a rough-water test, I get the feeling that she can handle lumpy seas as well as most any boat. And remember that in following or quartering seas that this boat has no rudders, and the boater can rely on the thrust of the two big IPS900s to keep the boat's bow going where they want it.
The aft deck is an important aspect of any motoryacht. As you can see, chairs can be placed facing aft so that 6-8 people can sit here. Note the stairs with teak treads to the flying bridge. This is the only way to the bridge which means space is not wasted in the saloon with an internal stairway.
So now we get to the meat of it. Our test Prestige 620 had an empty weight of 50,706 lbs. (23,000 kg), and with full fuel and five people onboard, we had a test weight of 56,021 lbs. (25,411 kg).
The twin 700-hp Volvo Penta IPS900 drives reached a top speed at 2350 rpm and a respectable 30.0 knots. At that speed we were burning a combined 69.5 gph while getting .4 nautical miles/gallon for a range of 287 nautical miles.
Best cruise is subjective as we were getting virtually the same MPG from 1500 rpm all the way up to WOT. Technically speaking, her best cruise is at 17.7 knots turning 1750 rpm. That is a good speed to run a motoryacht like this and there she was burning 39.4 gph/149 lph. That's pretty efficient fast cruising for a boat that is nearly 60,000 lbs./27,272 kgs.
But if I had to choose a comfortable best cruise, particularly if I was driving the boat from the flying bridge, it would be at 2000 rpm and 22.2 kts. At that speed we were burning 52.8 gph for a range of 280 nautical miles, just 20 less than our technical best cruise.
To see the complete set of data points on our test, click on the "Test Results" tab at the top of this page…
There is visibility for docking and Mediterranean mooring is through the open stairway to port but the optional controls on the aft deck are the preferred method.
The Walkthrough Starting with the Flying Bridge
Here is a sun worshipper’s dream boat. The center console helm on the flying bridge is surrounded on three sides by sun pads and an aft facing sun lounge to port. The helm seat is double wide, and the forward sun pad hides a storage locker and even storage for a life raft -- something that you see on most large European-built yachts.
The radar arch not only looks great on this boat, but it serves its primary function to support the antennae array as well as a Bimini top. Abaft the helm seat is what looks like a leaning post on a fishing center console, but here it conceals a grill and sink. The refrigerator is to starboard, and farther aft is the L-shaped lounge with dining table and storage below including storage for another life raft. (Remember, in entertainment mode this boat can carry quite a number of people.)
This bird's eye view gives you a good idea of the space available on the Prestige 620. Picture a teak table with three facing chairs on the aft deck…or, racks for scuba tanks...or, two deck chairs for sunning...or…
The Main Deck
It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a saloon that is this open and uncluttered. In the Prestige 620 glass is everywhere, making visibility from the lower helm, and for the onboard guests, stunning.
If there were a better way to get this much natural light into a main saloon, we aren’t aware of it. There's even a moonroof overhead. Please take note of the stand-alone sofa and chair. We prefer this treatment of furniture rather than built-in banquettes because it makes the yacht look more elegant to our eye.
Now we are in dinner mode. The cocktail table is raised and the five light-weight and stylish chairs are taken out of storage for the occasion. In this way the 620 creates both a large saloon and a formal dining table.
So much for the galley up or galley down argument. Prestige settled on galley aft and it works well because it is handy to both the aft deck and the saloon.
Prestige took the galley up or galley down argument in a better direction... galley aft. I’ve seen this on other boats and it works very well, more so here as the galley is nestled between the two dining areas both in the main saloon, and the aft deck. I love the island in the galley, and the woodwork is well-done. Notice how the overhead cabinets are hinged at the top and open from the bottom.
If there were ever an argument for a double-wide helm seat, this is it. In America this will be an owner/operator boat, and most operators we know like company. And, we always prefer two sets of eyes keeping watch, particularly at the speeds this boat can travel.
The platform can be fitted with optional hydraulics for lowering a tender. The windows in the transom allow light into the crew quarters. The passerelle is optional.
The Accommodations Deck
There are comfortable accommodations for six plus crew, all staterooms are ensuite. This is exactly how a yacht of this stature should be arranged, and we think that motoryachts 60' (18.3 m) or larger that have shared heads are not using their space properly.
The master is full beam and the master head features dual basins. The berth is located on the centerline, where it should be for maximum comfort in a seaway. A desk/vanity combo lies to port, and a sofa lies to starboard, directly in front of the large hull side windows. The berth, and deck to either side, is a mere step up from the main deck as one enters. This makes it that much easier to get into the berth, and improves sightlines out the hull side windows, while still providing ample storage underneath.
Notice how the deck is raised around the master berth. The desk at the right is also a vanity. The sofa to the left gives a great view out the hull side window.
The VIP stateroom lies forward, and features a centerline mounted island berth with storage to the sides and beneath. There are two hanging lockers and direct access to the private head.
Here is the VIP stateroom with its centerline mounted double berth, large windows and ample storage.
The third stateroom features twin single berths that easily convert to a large double. This stateroom also has large windows, with opening portlights and access to a private head.
A three stateroom layout with two centerline mounted island berths, and two singles that convert to a double. There are two bunks in the crews' quarters.
The 620 is the first in the large Prestige motoryachts line, and the goal of combining cruising and luxury has been met.