|LOA||63 ft., 11 in.|
|Beam||16 ft., 9 in.|
|Draft||4 ft., 3 in.|
|Displacement||(dry) 49,604 lbs.|
|Engines||Twin Volvo Penta IPS900 diesels|
|Prestige uses resin-infused fiberglass technology for the hull, stringers and structural bulkheads.|
|Bow thruster, windlass, forward deck seating w/Bimini, teak cockpit and swim platform, 2 IPS joystick helm controls, full-size refrigerator/freezer, 3-burner stovetop, microwave, conventional oven, electric flush toilets and more.|
|Trim tabs, 3rd IPS joystick control, electronics, Bose home theater, gyro stabilizer, 17.5 kw generator, choice of A/C units, retractable sun awning, central vacuum system, retractable TV behind salon sofa, dishwasher, ice-maker and more.|
|Prestige Yachts (a division of Jeanneau), Les Herbiers, France; prestige-yachts.com|
|West Coast Dealer|
|Sundance Yachts, Portland, Ore.;
(583) 283-3216; sundanceyachts.com
Sundance Yachts, Seattle;
Posted: May 1, 2013 | Boat Type: Motoryacht
A mid-sized yacht that will grow on youWhile some yacht manufacturers are essentially selling legacy models due to the “great slowdown” that has dried up many R&D budgets, Prestige Yachts is moving forward with seven new models this year. The 620 S is the flagship of the Express line currently in production (the builder just announced a forthcoming 720) and is an overachiever in practically every aspect. The S designation stands for Sportfly, a design concept that gives owners a huge sunroof that brings a breath of fresh air into the main salon. It pushes the flybridge as far abaft as anything I’ve ever seen, which has several dramatic effects.
I’m pretty sure if you took a blindfolded person to the flybridge of the 63-foot, 11-inch Prestige 620 S, then removed the blindfold and had him guess the LOA, he would look at the vast expanse of yacht before him and set the over/under somewhere around 80 feet. And when he learned it has four staterooms (counting crew quarters), all with en suite head compartments, he would be certain it’s an octa-something. This is the best of all worlds: While your subconscious is telling you you’re well on your way to megayachtdom, the left side of your brain is giggling when it realizes it’s getting all the prestige of owning a serious vessel without having to part with $5 million for the privilege.
Just as stern bench seats on smaller boats offer up the smoothest ride, moving the flybridge helm this far astern improves the ride up top when the seas kick up. The roomy habitat is outfitted with three futuristic and comfortable helm seats at its forward-most section. The driver sits on the centerline and holds onto a white leather-wrapped wheel and gazes at a roomy dash, which has space for a Raymarine E120 display to the left of the wheel and a Volvo Penta gauge array on the right. The mini-windshield is more of a styling statement than a functional piece of hardware, but it does keep the gauges shaded. For easy docking from the bridge, the driver has a clear view of the port stern corner thanks to the roomy flybridge entryway, which has wide teak steps for safety. There’s a small Bimini top that offers shade for people in the sun lounge/seating area behind the driver, an area with a teak table to match the deck. On the non-S version of the 620, there’s a huge sunpad in front of the driver’s station instead of a sunroof.
Another guessing game you could play that would fool most people is trying to estimate the powerplant(s) in the Prestige 620 S. Total power on the boat is 1,400 hp. The average person might ask, “Each side, right?” Nope. It’s difficult to believe, but the 620 S is powered by twin Volvo Penta IPS900, which put out 700 hp each. They are called 900s because, like this vessel, they are overachievers, acting like they have more horsepower thanks to the IPS system, which uses pod drives that put the four forward-facing props parallel to the hull bottom. The advantages of this arrangement are many. For one, you’re not vectoring away your power, which happens with conventional drive shafts that are angled down and push the stern upward.
Maneuverability when running is astounding. Because you are directing the thrust instead of using a rudder, you can whip the 620 S around like a much smaller sportboat to dodge floating obstructions. Volvo Penta was wise enough to add a fail-safe feature that makes the steering progressively harder when turning at high speeds, to limit the driver from spinning it hard over and tossing your passengers and other loose objects.
But the real beauty of IPS is its joystick docking system. For people moving up to their first serious vessel, the IPS joystick reduces the piloting learning curve immensely. Although there are crew quarters aboard, many owners will use that room for family and friends instead, because of the confidence this system inspires to do it yourself. The joystick itself is a plug-‘n’-play device, so you can easily put a docking station anywhere. Our 620 S has one in the main salon helm station and one on the flybridge, and there is an optional one just outside the main salon door in the cockpit, which provides the captain with a totally unobstructed view rearward for those times he has to back into a tight slip. For added maneuverability, there’s also a standard 20 hp bow thruster that has a controller at all three stations. We literally had inches on either side of our 16-foot, 9-inch-wide boat at the docks at Intermarine in Dania, Fla. No worries at all with the joystick. Additionally, the IPS Dynamic Positioning System can hold your vessel in position without any driver input other than pressing one button to activate it, which allows the driver to get the lines and fenders ready for docking or relax when waiting for a bridge to open. Dynamic positioning and joystick docking make it a 64-footer you can easily run solo if need be.
On sea trial day, the Atlantic was doing its impression of a mill pond, so we didn’t get a chance to bash it around. Capt. Rick DuBois has driven the 620 in 4- to 5-footers, and he said the boat is impressive in sloppy seas. “Up on the flybridge,” DuBois said, “you could hardly feel the waves, and it was extremely quiet, with no hull slapping or pounding. The sharp entry slices through the waves, and the water is pushed outward making it a very dry ride.”
By the Numbers
Since the 10.8L turbocharged IPS diesels sit farther toward the stern than they would in conventional shaft-driven boats, they cause some IPS vessels to experience moderate bowrise, but that isn’t the case with the 620 S. This boat was designed for the IPS system (the IPS900 is the only engine available in this yacht). In addition, the fuel tanks are placed athwart the engines for better balance. Advancing the drive-by-wire Volvo Penta controls got the 49,604-pound hull moving quickly with minimal bowrise, and even at the salon helm station, the horizon always remained in view. The four props bite well, and the 620 S planed quickly, in 8 seconds flat, and reached a top speed of 31 knots at 2350 rpm. Checking out the fuel consumption was surprising. Virtually every planing speed including wide-open throttle revealed it was getting better than a half-mile per gallon, which translates to a range of 325 miles with its 741-gallon fuel tank, counting an ample reserve. Another plus of the IPS system is that the exhaust exits from the rear of the pods, so when you are moving, the fumes reach the surface far behind in the wake — guests won’t turn green because of diesel odors.
The 620 S features an expansive teak swim platform that can be equipped with a hydraulic lift, so water toys such as personal watercraft can be launched easily. The cockpit is all teaked out, including a table for al- fresco dining. Because the flybridge is so far aft, it keeps the cockpit partially in the shade, but people who want to power-tan need not despair, because there is a sunpad up top and a padded area on the foredeck that’s large enough to host wrestling matches. A useful feature is the pair of oversized bow seats with backrests for “I’m king of the world” bow riding. There’s even a mini-Bimini over the bow seats to provide a little shade.
The main salon is clad in a classic wood-on-white palette. A couch is surrounded by twin club chairs, and another white sofa is on the starboard side of the salon. It features a well-laid-out wrap-around galley with an island prep station that has an elevated food presentation area, to conserve working space. The beauty of the galley’s placement is that the chef can delve into whatever cuisine he wants without having to worry about lingering odors from curry, garlic or pan frying. Just crack the sunroof, open the rear salon door and go for it — not something you can do with a galley in the cabin. For ease of serving, the galley resides equidistant between the cockpit dining area and the one in the salon that has a high-low dining table. My only beef is the lack of fiddle rails to keep pots and pans from sliding around on the glass-top stove.
The ambient lighting is tremendous thanks to the sunroof and 360 degrees of glass in the salon. The captain is one of the beneficiaries, with fantastic sight lines all around. The main helm station is beautifully laid out, with room for twin Raymarine E140 displays and analog gauges that are easy for a skipper to scan quickly. Up top are three helm chairs, but there’s no co-pilot seat at the lower helm, so the captain is on his own down here. The helm chair features electric controls for adjustment, and the throttle and joystick sit atop an expansive armrest.
One of the main benefits of the IPS power scheme is its effect on interior space. With the engines sitting farther aft, there’s room for a full-beam master suite amidships with a vanity/workstation on one side and a recessed sofa on the other. Giant windows on either side provide exceptional ambient light as well as a room with a view. The other master suite in the bow is nearly a match for roominess and comfort, and — a major plus — it doesn’t share a shower/head compartment with the third guest stateroom, which has twin beds that can be combined for couples. While the windows in the two forward cabins aren’t as large as the ones in the amidships berth, both cabins are well connected to the outdoors. Even the crew quarters gets a window instead of the usual blacked-out cave dwelling.
Built by Jeanneau, the French boat builder with a flair for styling and a reputation for quality of build, the Prestige 620 S doesn’t stray from the corporate philosophy. Fit and finish are first rate, and the thoughtfulness behind the layout is exemplified by features such as the engine room, which has an incredible amount of headroom and plenty of working space. Priced below most boats in this class at $1,665,290, the Prestige 620 S won’t make would-be yacht owners compromise their dreams to stay within budget.