The starting point is a distinctly un-French hull shape from Michael Peters, the American designer whose portfolio ranges from sport-fishing war wagons to high-performance offshore racers, and who clearly knows a thing or two about fast but seakindly hulls. The Euro styling, with a mildly reversed sheer and a superstructure that should remain pleasantly timeless, comes from the Italian team of Vittorio and Camillo Garroni, who have created a consistent look on many of the Beneteau and Jeanneau offerings.
Sometimes the blending of American, Italian and Gallic sensibilities doesn’t work: In this case it works perfectly. The Prestige 60 is a yacht that does so many things well that she might serve as a benchmark for other builders trying to figure out how to please the public.
Take the salon as an example. It has the feel of a far larger yacht, thanks to the oversize windows that start just above the settees, stretch nearly to the overhead and give the skipper at the lower helm an almost unobstructed 360-degree line of sight. The salon is so bright and airy that it feels like the living room of a penthouse, and there’s even an overhead skylight for both light and fresh air.
Once you get past the amazing openness of the salon, you need to look at how Prestige achieved this look. First, the bridge is entirely supported by the window mullions in combination with a pair of “wings” at the after end of the salon, one of which has the stand-up refrigerator/freezer. Second, there are no interior supports to break up the expanse of space, and the result is, well, quite wonderful.
As you step into the salon, you pass the galley on the port side, which is another great idea. Rather than a bulkhead at the after end of the salon, the cockpit is separated by three large sliding glass doors that offer some choices for entry. You can open them entirely, which allows the salon to stretch seamlessly into the cockpit with its settee and table for alfresco dining.
I wasn’t sure I’d like the galley aft, but it took me, oh, about three seconds to embrace it. It’s close to the salon dining area with its clever high-low table that can easily seat eight, and it’s also convenient for serving the cockpit table or even the bridge.
The galley is separated by a low counter that doubles as a bar for entertaining, and again, the whole concept works nicely. No chef is going to feel slighted by this workspace, with plenty of counter space, a three-burner cooktop, Cuisinart microwave and a house-size stand-up fridge. There are some thoughtful amenities too, like the self-closing drawers, the stainless-steel backsplashes and the second sink with built-in dish drainer. And, of course, I liked the stainless-steel sea rails on the counters, which are clearly a considerate carry-over from the Beneteau sailboats. The free-standing counter/bar has a builtin wine rack, and the counter opposite has an ice maker, so full bar service is available.
Our test 60 was finished with a cherry interior and, though Prestige offers other choices in décor, I thought the light wood balanced the large windows nicely. What I particularly loved is the extensive leather used on bulkheads and trim throughout the yacht. It was hand-stitched and a chocolate color that was absolutely edible. Just the feel as I ran my hands across the leather and the stitches said quality detailing.
The salon has two large settees plus a couple of built-in chairs, providing several areas where guests can relax. I looked in vain for the television until discovering the flatscreen recessed in the ceiling with a positive-locking electric lift so it doesn’t take up counter or drawer space like a pop-up TV does. Slick.
Glass panels on a wide buffet counter opposite the galley hide the electrical master panel that includes the generator controls. Anyone who has muttered damnations under his breath while bent over trying to figure out the switches on a knee-level electrical panel is going to love this arrangement. I know I did.
Forward, the skipper resides in lordly solitude on an electrically adjusted leather seat that does everything except make popcorn. Set into a yummy chocolate-leather panel to the right are the throttle/shifters, the joystick for the Volvo IPS drives and the bow-thruster stick — all perfectly placed.
Two Raymarine E140 displays are on each side of the Euro-style tilt wheel, and just below the skipper’s line of sight is a row of analog engine gauges set in more hand-stitched leather. Sitting at the lower helm, you can see both after corners of the boat, and the view forward is expansive.