A major makeover for the new baby of the Prestige family leaves a favorable impression.
WITH THREE DECADES OF boatbuilding under its belt, Prestige Yachts has succeeded in creating a boating dynasty of sorts and for good reasons. The builder offers good value, refreshes its line often and listens to its customers. That last part is especially evident in the newly launched Prestige 420. The entry point into the Prestige line, the 420 is technically a revamp since there was a 420 introduced just five years ago. However with this model, the French builder started with a clean sheet and this change isn’t just cosmetic. The new 420 is longer, beamier, and a little heavier, and she offers a new hull, deck, interior layout and propulsion package. Kudos to Prestige for making the changes comprehensive as well as impressive.
On test day, six of us piled aboard to check out all that the new 420 has to offer, starting with the wide (hydraulic optional) swim platform that will make a fun teak beach to play on or a great place to stand when working at the optional outdoor galley that’s integrated into the transom. To starboard, there’s an optional passerelle. Below the galley is large stowage also accessible via the transom seat above, and to port is the gate that leads to the cockpit where you’ll find a table and an L settee. That’s a lot to pack into the back end of a boat.
Steps on the port side of the cockpit lead up to the large flybridge. Due to space constraints, the steps are fairly steep, more like a ladder. Once up through the hatch, you’ll notice an L settee to starboard just behind the optional outdoor galley with a sink, refrigerator and electric grill. Forward of that is a double sunbed with lifting headrests, which turn the lounge into companion seating for two.
A primary driver for this model’s rejuvenation was the interior layout.
The helm is to port with a single bucket seat that would benefit from better ergonomics. Of course, when the boat is running under autopilot, the captain can keep a lookout from the comfy adjacent lounge. Visibility forward from the helm is good and it’s easy to communicate with crew on the bow. When backing, you can peak down to the port corner via the staircase hatch. Unfortunately, the starboard side is obscured, so when docking, it will be easier to drive from the inside helm below. There’s a choice of a canvas bimini or a hardtop, the latter being the most popular option in the US.
Below, the main deck layout is symmetrical so you can walk to the bow on either side of the cabin. The bulwarks and railings are high and there are plenty of handholds along the cabin top for safety. On the bow, you’ll find a triple sunbed just aft of the anchor locker. It’s nice to see ample space forward of the lounge because sometimes it takes a bit of maneuvering room to catch a mooring or manage the anchor.
A primary driver for this model’s rejuvenation was the interior layout. Prestige’s trademark is a dedicated set of steps to the master stateroom aft, which creates separation and a perception of privacy. However, the designers realized that this works better in models 52 feet and up. Below that mark, having two sets of stairs, one for the master and one for VIP cabin, just makes the interior feel cramped. So the new layout includes shared stairs forward, which bring you to a landing from where you can choose to go forward to the VIP or aft to the master.
The new 420 is offered standard with two cabins and one head. Our test boat featured the optional second head on the landing to starboard, which replaces a walk-in closet and an optional washer/dryer combo. This second head has a separate door to the forward cabin and also serves as the day head, leaving the owner’s ensuite in complete privacy.
The master is full beam with luxe touches like a vanity desk with mirror, opening ports in the hull windows and a backlit headboard. The VIP cabin is in the bow with a centerline island bed and lots of stowage. It is spacious, light and airy thanks to the opening side ports as well as the overhead hatch. For anyone even the slightest bit claustrophobic, this cabin may be the best option for the master.
In the revamp, the 420 retained her Prestige roots, including the expansive salon windows that provide excellent sightlines even when seated at the U-dinette to port. The interior helm is to starboard and has a single bench, an opening side window for communications with anyone on the deck or dock, and leatherette trim that looks good and helps cut down on windshield glare. The electronics package includes twin Raymarine displays just ahead of the joystick outboard. Visibility is good in all directions including aft.
The galley is in the port corner, which is a layout option that’s become popular on many brands simply because of the sociability of this placement. It ensures that the chef can serve both the salon and the aft cockpit, and also stays part of the conversation. It’s a fairly compact space and doesn’t have a great amount of stowage but it’s perfectly adequate for weekending or even extended coastal cruising.
The standard stove is a two-burner gas model but you can opt for a ceramic cooktop. There is a counter-height front-loading Isotherm refrigerator but our test boat had the optional twin refrigerator drawers. Keeping the fridge unit low improves the driver’s visibility when backing.
There’s nothing entry level about the 420’s fi nish. Ample use of sound attenuating fabrics and leather wraps keeps the boat quiet and the greige color palette and lots of indirect lighting add a contemporary flair.
Prestige Yachts has succeeded in creating a boating dynasty of sorts, and for good reasons. The builder offers good value, refreshes its line often and listens to its customers.
The Prestige 420 has a completely new propulsion package. Instead of the previous IPS drives, there are twin Cummins QSB 6.7 liter 380-hp diesels. Prestige used V-drives instead of straight shafts in order to pull the engines aft in the hull and therefore create more living space. Our test boat had the upgraded 425-hp engines, which topped out at 31 knots and 3050 rpm at wide-openthrottle. The hull has a sharp V-entry to cut through chop easily and propeller tunnels aft for a shallower draft. The larger engines have plenty of kick. We were up on plane at 16 knots in just about seven seconds.
The 420 has joystick control, pairing her engines with a bow thruster. The variable speed thruster is sized for boats up to 60 feet so it has ample power to keep up with the engines, especially when moving sideways in close quarters. This eliminates the problem of the boat twisting rather than moving sideways in a straight line so you can feel like a docking pro right out of the box.
Fuel tankage was upgraded in the redesign by about 20 gallons so the new 420 carries 309 gallons in two tanks. That means she can cruise at 22 knots for 200 nautical miles, which is plenty for gunkholing up and down the coast or heading to Catalina.
In the hundreds of sea trials I’ve done, there have been some interesting experiences, including running out of fuel and being followed by a shark. However, this was my fi rst time I’ve gotten boarded for a USCG inspection. I think the young guys were just bored and saw an opportunity to check out a nice yacht. We passed even though the brand new boat had just come out of a boat show with the barest of necessities.
THE BENEFITS OF FEEDBACK
In the new 420, Prestige has created a compact owner/operator coastal cruiser that has clearly taken into account owner and dealer feedback. The superyacht-like second staircase to the master works, but not in models of this length so the builder changed things up. Prestige has always demonstrated its willingness to listen, which may be why it is celebrating its 30th anniversary in the business.
Additionally, in the redesign, Prestige didn’t just stop at the interior layout. The designers re-thought the whole concept while still retaining the Prestige DNA. At $750,000 for a base version, it’s one of the most affordable 42-foot fl ybridge models on the market. Our test boat was significantly upgraded for an additional $175,000.
The 420 may be the baby of the Prestige family but she presents like a much larger cruiser, ready to entertain and impress all who step onboard. Chances are she’ll make an impression on you too.