There is nothing quite like the sporty feel of an express yacht with an open sunroof and salt air coursing through the boat. On the other hand, there is also much to be said for the calm, cool serenity in the saloon of traditional motoryacht when underway. With the recent introduction of the new Prestige 620S lucky yachtsmen and women can now have it either way. The new Prestige 620S has kept the best parts of the 60, but has a few new ideas all its own.
The 620S started out life as the 60S but was refined with the 2013 model year change with a slightly longer swim platform and renamed as 620S.
Prestige Yachts’ design team headed by Vittorio Garroni can be credited for creating the 620S which combines the style and sporty feel of an express yacht with the comforts and room of a flying bridge motoryacht. I think it is a clever marriage and for me, at least, the new 620S has the best of both worlds.
Prestige has set out to dominate the mid-range yachting market by making luxurious, functional yachts priced significantly below the competition. The Prestige 620S is a motoryacht that is meant to be used and cruised by people who appreciate boats and boating, but who also like the open-air feel that only an express with sunroof can provide.
Some distinguishing features of the 620S–
• Center Mounted Helm. The helm on the flybridge deck is mounted on the centerline with two observers seats on either side. To me this is a much more natural location to operate from rather than the port or starboard side. This position also gave a good view of the transom by looking down the open hatch of the companionway.
• Wide Side Decks. Here is an area where builders typically favor adding interior space at the expense of the side decks. Not so on the Prestige 620S. With her 15’8″ (1.73 m) beam Prestige was able to accommodate easy to transition side decks and have a roomy interior as well.
• Galley Up and Aft. To my eye this is the best arrangement possible. Having the galley up on the main deck makes a boat designed for spending the days above decks and the nights below decks. Moving the galley aft centrally locates it between the main salon dining area and the aft cockpit dining area while at the same time and ensuring that the chef remains an integral part of any gathering.
Relatively High Bulwarks on the Flying Bridge. European designs generally have very low bulwarks on the flying bridge in order to keep the boat’s lines low and sleek. Some builders go so far as to say that their flying bridges are really not flying bridges at all but rather are “sun decks” with a helm added for convenience. Because the helm on the 620S has been moved aft it allowed the designers to raise the deck leading to the helm and does not distract from the aesthetics of the boat.
Pricing. The pricing of the Prestige 620S is remarkable for a 60′ motoryacht.
Before I get into the handling characteristics, I have to point out that the Prestige 620S was powered by Volvo IPS pods. It’s important to know this, and to understand that there are particular characteristics of all pod drives 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 by the unit’s command software so that you don’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. This is yachting, not stock car racing.
Helm Response. With that said, the Prestige 620S is still quite responsive to the helm, thanks to the 2-1/2 turns from lock-to-lock at the wheel. You’ll still get agile handling, and that’s an important feature to someone like me from New England where you can’t swing a rudder without hitting a lobster pot.
Even on our test grounds, we were running 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 620S 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 620S 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.
Wake Me Up
One of the sad realities of boat testing is that you can’t pick your weather, and on test day with the Prestige 620S 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 620S 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.
While this wasn’t a rough-water test, I get the feeling that she can handle lumpy seas. And remember that in following or quartering seas that this boat has no rudders, and you can rely on the thrust of the two big pods to keep the boat’s bow going where you want it.
So now we get to the meat of it. Our test Prestige 620S has a light displacement weight of 49,607 lbs. (22,500 kg). We had 3/4 fuel and five people onboard.
The twin 700-hp Volvo Penta D11 with IPS900 drives reached a top speed at 2400 rpm and a respectable 31.5 knots. At that speed we were burning a combined 69 gph for a range of 304 nautical miles.
Best Cruise. Best cruise is subjective as we were getting practically the same MPG from 1500 rpm all the way up to WOT. Technically speaking, her best cruise is at 18.1 knots turning 1750 rpm. That is a good speed to run a motoryacht like this and at that speed she was burning 36.5 gph.
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 2030 rpm and 24 kts. At that speed we were burning 49 gph for a range of 326 nautical miles, just five nautical miles less than our technical best cruise.
The Walkthrough Starting with the Flying Bridge
The center console helm on the flying bridge is flanked by two independent observers seats. The wraparound windscreen from the 620 is replaced with a smaller windscreen the width of the console on the 620S. It served its purpose of deflecting the wind over my head in the seated position, but in the standing position the 30 kn wind was in my face.
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. Underneath is the wraparound dinette and storage below including storage for space for a life raft.
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 salon 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.
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′ 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 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 you enter. 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.
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.
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.
If this is the first in the line of large motoryachts that Prestige intends to build, then it looks like the goal of combining cruising and luxury has been met.
A Personal Note
As I walked the decks of the Prestige 620S and looked closely at the fit-and-finish, my obsessive/compulsive eye saw that all work was executed flawlessly. This truly is a yachtsman’s boat, and it was easy for me to picture the places that this boat could take my family.
If you have been thinking about a motoryacht, a trawler, a cruising convertible or sedan, or even a large express cruiser, then I urge you to find a Prestige 620 or 620S and get aboard her. You’ll discover that this is a boat that can do everything you want.