An isolated master, an in-the-mix galley and multiple entertaining areas make this a giant dayboat with coastal cruising aspirations.
The new Prestige 680 Flybridge may be the middle yacht in this French builder’s Yacht Series, which stretches from 63 feet to 75 feet, but it is all yacht and, as they say, it punches well above its weight.
Here’s a prime example. More than a few yachts of this size offer a separate stairway from the salon to the master suite, which imbues the cabin with large-yacht privacy and feel, but the Prestige 680 goes a step further: the master suite is forward. Yep, forward.
Now, you may be thinking, “This is where the hull gets pointy and it’s where the VIP stateroom is usually placed, with a berth that is equally pointy at one end.” Throw that thinking out with your morning espresso.
The Prestige 680 owner’s stateroom has none of the usual taper of forward cabins. Like amidships cabins, it spans the full beam and has large windows on each side that provide a spectacular view to owners as they stretch in the morning and decide what to do with the day. In fact, if I’d been “beamed down” à la “Star Trek,” to the middle of this cabin, I would have guessed I was in a typical amidships full-width master stateroom. Even the en suite head, which is forward, doesn’t give away the location. Only in the walk-in closet, also forward, does the telltale slope to the sole say, “Hey, this is the bow.”
The master suite’s centerline berth is two inches wider than a queen and is accessible on both sides, so owners can actually get into bed with some dignity. To port is the crowning touch: a large sofa/lounge that encourages folks to lean back and enjoy the view through the large window. There is the usual vanity/desk, of course, and the starboard side is devoted to a built-in multi-drawer bureau. The result is quite clearly an owner’s getaway that delivers complete privacy.
VIP & More
That isn’t to say the VIP stateroom, evicted from its usual real estate in the bow, is second class. In fact, some owners are likely to toss a coin to decide which cabin they’ll stake as their own. The VIP spans the Prestige 680 Flybridge amidships and takes full advantage of the 17-foot, 4-inch beam, offering all the delights usually bestowed upon an owner’s suite in this location: oversized windows, a centerline berth, and an en suite head with a shower.
Yes, the VIP does give up an inch or two here and there. The berth is a few inches smaller than queen size and is tapered at the foot, but there is still walking-around room on each side. The shower stall is a bit smaller, the enclosed portside head loses the full effect of the window, and a smaller hanging locker takes the place of a big closet. The vanity/desk actually seems nicer, although it’s going to be difficult to get any work done there, right next to the big window. And, of course, VIP occupants share the stairwell from the salon with guests in the forward stateroom or staterooms.
Note that I referred to both singular and plural on the guest accommodations. That’s because buyers can choose either two smaller cabins, each with single berths that slide together into a double, or a single full-beam cabin with a centerline berth that is nearly queen size. With either arrangement, a single head with a shower doubles as a day head and has access from the foyer.
And if those don’t supply enough sleeping accommodations, a quite civilized crew cabin is aft and features twin berths and a private head with a shower. This could be for teenagers (or a mother-in-law suite) if owners don’t wish to have a captain, but the downside is that the only access is from the transom, so the yacht has to be stopped to allow access to the space.
Up on the main deck, the Prestige 680 Flybridge nicked a design element from its larger sibling, the 750, by placing the galley all the way aft. This yacht may be French but the thinking is clearly North American. Europeans prefer their chefs to be tasted and not seen, but American boaters rather enjoy the family atmosphere.
Not only is the galley aft but so is the interior dining table, a glass-topped masterpiece that unfolds from drinks-and-snacks size to full dining for six people. Its aft location gives diners a fine view of the world through the stainless steel sliding doors. These doors — a trio that can open fully to let in fresh air — can move either left or right, allowing direct access to serve food from the galley to the shaded dining table on the aft deck.
The galley also wins points for putting the chef out of the line of traffic, separated by a Corian-topped island that can serve as a bar, a buffet, or simply a place to make sandwiches. The galley, which has a grand view, features a full-height refrigerator, a microwave/grill, an induction cooktop, and (nice touch) a wooden floor, so the inevitable spills clean up easily.
Forward in the salon is clearly the entertainment area, with a U-shaped settee whose loose hassocks face a low console with a popup TV. The windows span from the ceiling to behind the couch, and the outside bulwarks are cut away, replaced by stainless steel rails, so nothing blocks occupants’ view.
Tucked into the forward console next to the helm is a wine chiller and lockers that hold glassware, and the top of the console is fitted with sea rails, turning it into a minibar area.
Behind an imposing windshield, the helm fills the starboard corner with a dash display of three monitors that are tilted for minimal reflection, and the skipper gets a doublewide seat with a folding bolster for standing and a nicely placed footrest for normal operation. A door to the sidedeck is just behind the helm seat, providing access during docking.
The aft deck of the Prestige 680 Flybridge is pleasantly arranged, including the previously mentioned settee and table, but a thoughtful touch is an electric roll-down sunshade that keeps guests from frying in the afternoon sun. The flybridge overhang provides full coverage for the cockpit as well as the sidedeck.
Arranged to be yet another entertainment area, the foredeck includes a triple-wide sunpad with rails for security and an electric buggy-style Bimini top that extends up and over when it’s time for a break from the sun. With teak decks all around and a forward couch, this is likely to be a popular spot at anchor.
This leaves the flybridge, which, no surprise, contains yet another entertainment area. In fact, this is likely to be the gathering spot for everyone aboard while the boat’s underway. Easy steps lead through a large hatch (cockpit protection on rainy days), and the entire aft section is devoted to a wraparound lounge with a table on chrome legs, for either dining or aperitifs.
Just forward is an outdoor galley with a sink, a refrigerator, stowage and, of course, an electric grill. A fore-and-aft couch is to port, for passengers kibitzing with the chef. The helm is forward and the skipper isn’t going to be lonely, thanks to a doublewide helm seat behind the dash and another doublewide seat to starboard. Add to that a seriously huge sunpad that wraps in an L shape around the area forward of the dash and behind the protective windshield, and the skipper won’t want for company.
The fiberglass hardtop is a no-brainer option, since it includes a sliding canvas sunroof for breeze and sun when desired.
Power for the Prestige 680 is a pair of Volvo Penta IPS1200 diesels of 900 hp each, driving pods rather than a conventional shaft for propulsion. Not only does this give the skipper fingertip control with a joystick when docking, but the space-saving pod drives contribute to all that space belowdecks. A standard bow thruster adds extra oomph when wind and current are acting adversarial during docking.
Standard equipment includes a 27.5 kw genset, and 680 models brought to North America are upgraded with 81,000 Btu chilled-water air-conditioning systems.
With the Garroni-designed modified hull and the IPS1200s, the Prestige 680 Flybridge tops out in the high 20s (reaching 30 knots according to company testing) and cruises in the mid-20s. It’s not the fastest in its class but certainly comfortable and seaworthy in all conditions.
Read our review of the 680 Flybridge’s sistership, the 520 Flybridge.