Tiered living spaces are part of the allure of flybridge cruisers but achieving this discreetly, without towering and ungainly superstructure, requires finesse. This is why French builder Prestige turned to the Italian father and son duo of Garroni, who continue to pen their entire range. As the years have passed the Prestige aesthetics have smoothed while retaining the signature curved windows to soften the tall hulls but inside much has changed from their earlier models such as the popular P500.
The Pod drive revolution allows these boats to be handled easily by a familial skipper who may have kids running about the large aft cockpit, and with the latest assisted docking system the kids could probably park it themselves. Moving with the times is another reason for Prestige's success in an increasingly competitive global market. Another family-friendly upgrade that is now offered on the 2019 Prestige 460 is a third cabin, which, alongside the optional crew berth at the transom, is ideal for those outings with strapping teenagers.
View from the pontoon
Dockside in Cannes, the 460 was alongside its larger sibling, the Prestige 590 which allowed me to compare these boats; the differences were obvious. The Prestige range has 13 boats with both sports and flybridge versions and sizes from 40 to 75 feet. As product manager Erik Stromberg explained while we gazed at the 460: “We feel that it's important to continue with the 40-foot entry-level boats which feed into our larger cruisers”. The 460 is the next up from the entry 420 and both these cruisers retain the compactness that contrasts with the vastness of the Prestige 590; which for most will be a crewed boat.
Stepping aboard from the pontoon at Cannes onto the enlarged teak-clad swim platform (available in hydraulic), allowed me to walk through the port-side door for easy access to the 460's aft deck. Unlike previous smaller models the layout has L-shaped bench seating around the transom on starboard side with a large teak elevating table alongside; shaded by the overhanging flybridge. The transom bench also cleverly disguises the hatch to the crew quarters, which has a bunk and ablutions with discrete porthole. A smallish teak clad hatch in the centre leads to the engines.
The single level layout gives easy access to the saloon via sturdy sliding doors with a tall lip to prevent water ingress. Inside, the saloon has the favoured aft galley with dinette central, behind the starboard main console. Despite two steps between galley, headroom remains good at two metres forward. The L-shaped galley uses the starboard-side for the main appliances of ceramic cooker, deep sink and worktop while opposite is a household style fridge, freezer and microwave, allowing two crew to easily share the chores. Ample overhead locker space is another plus with stylish lacquered white doors contrasting nicely with the darkwood Alpi laminate. Underfoot is a lazerette large enough to store the life raft or a lot of wine, depending on your priorities. Stepping up to the U-shaped dinette our review boat had the optional adjustable table that turns the area into a berth. Six can comfortably sit around it while opposite, several more guests can relax on the lounge bench and enjoy the panoramic views through the elongated windows, with Prestige's signature dip to maximise light.
For the skipper. the seat at the main console has just enough room for a small partner. Two 12-inch Raymarine Axiom screens dominate the console with electronic twin throttles and Volvo IPS joystick alongside, plus the bow thruster and autopilot. Integrated into one screen is the aforementioned assisted docking system, included as part of Raymarine's latest Lighthouse operating system. The only evident hardware is a large yellow knob that disengages the DockSense system (more on that later). Elsewhere, opening side windows ensure you stay in touch with the deck crew.
Midships owner's suite
Stepping below, via the stairs beside the steering console, brings me to the accommodation with guest cabin forward and owner's suite using the full beam aft. Previous models used two stairways. “Why waste all this space on stairs when you can better use it elsewhere,” commented product manager Erik Stromberg when we discussed this. Guests using the fore-cabin benefit from the tall topsides and wide bows, enjoying ample volume around the semi-island bed. The high step onto the island bed does limit headroom but there's sufficient space and light to avoid stuffiness, especially with the elongated portlights and opening deck hatch. Cupboard and drawer space is also fairly good thanks to his and hers wardrobes plus side benches. The dual access bathroom has the shower/head in separate cubicle, leaving a pleasant vanity area with cupboards, although Prestige persist in using shallow sinks that spill easily. So, in-port shaving only.
Moving aft, the owner enjoys an athwartships sunken king sized bed with increased headroom and eye-level portlights, with chaise lounge setting the relaxed tone on starboard and cupboards on the other side. The ensuite is similar to the guest's, with an unusual Corian floor that Prestige has roughened to give grip. The owner also has a spacious separate shower cubicle and there's ventilation. The change for 2019 here is the optional third cabin that would use part of this space but is an ideal option for a family or perhaps a charter boat. A good standard of finishing throughout is typical of Prestige, while not at custom level it's precise and in step with its market offering.
A rather steep ladder takes me up to the flybridge, not a journey to be undertaken with G&T in hand but an optional wet bar up top could negate that challenge. On the plus side, there are solid teak steps and dual guard rails to guide you safely aloft to the spacious flybridge where a comfy corner bench with table awaits. The flybridge helm is a functional space for steering, although acres of white GRP do cause some glare and its location well behind the forward visor prevents viewing of the bow, so it's best to stand when manoeuvring. The upside is a very sheltered perch to deflect the wind at speed.
The helm seat is not quite a double, an extra 20 centimetres more would create a comfy perch for two, while the surrounding sunpad space could house three kids easily; just swing over the canvas bimini when the sun strengthens. The console has the throttles and IPS joystick alongside plus Raymarine plotter. Up here I saw the Raymarine cameras located around the hull lifelines for the DockSense system. Looking around the decks from this vantage point showed a fairly practical layout including midships cleats, guide rails around the triple sunpads on the wide bow area and the Lewmar windlass is sensibly sunken into the deck, thus avoiding any contact with the chain. At the transom, chocks on the swim platform can house a dinghy, so the Prestige is easily set up for cruising. Another improvement on this model is the sunpad elevation system at the bow, so you can sip on that G&T in repose.
The classic hull shape maximises the foredeck space with the raked bow and ribbed longitudinals to give directional stability, while a wide keel section and flat aft quarter promote planing. Moulded indents house the forward facing Volvo IPS drives, which are now widely used despite initial industry misgivings about their vulnerability to debris. The hull was designed specifically for Volvo D6 IPS 500 and 600 pod drives, and the 600 models were fitted on the review boat.
Access to the engine room is in the aft deck where the hatch revealed the tops of both six-cylinder 435 horsepower motors. The centralised alloy ladder gets you down easily to where there's enough crawling space around the engines; and the wall-mounted filters and electrical boxes are at hand. In the forward space sit the two 600-litre fuel tanks with 7KVA Cummins Onan generator in between to nicely balance the trim. Given the popularity of stabilisers on the larger models I believe the factory are considering it for this boat.
Cannes in a swell
The Mediterranean spring can be fraught for those seeking mild weather but for us boat testers it can be fun, as the added chop shows the merits or otherwise of a craft. And so it was for me aboard the Prestige 460 as the rain crashed down, the clouds closed in and a long swell rolled in from Africa to test the 45-foot hull. Too rough for steering at the flybridge where the roll would induce seasickness and the rain finish the job, so I was snug in the saloon with views of down-town Cannes passing by at 30 knots, the revs showing 3,600rpm as the Prestige 460 went at full speed toward Saint Tropez. Pushing the light wheel around at this speed gave an instant response from the lively hull that happily snaked its way across the African swells with only a few splashing onto the deck.
Compared with its more cumbersome bigger sibling, the 590 that I'd sailed, the Prestige 460 felt like a sports boat as it curved predictably into turns then flipped across as I changed tack. Throttling back to a sedate cruising speed of 21 knots and 3,000rpm gave an economical 112-litre fuel burn which put the cruising range at useful 243 miles. More than enough to make for an easy voyage to the lovely island of Corsica ,100 miles south, to watch a leg of the Tour de Corse – something you can enjoy when picking up the boat from the French yard. All this and more was going through my mind because aboard the Prestige 460, with the auto tabs controlling my trim (with manual Lencos also fitted), there wasn't much to do apart from enjoying the shapely coast of the Cote d'Azur.
An ideal sized family boat with predictable manners and now with smart controls, which all adds up to a very usable flybridge cruiser.
Luxurious owner mid-ships cabin
Good attention to detail throughout
Steep flybridge ladder
Shallow bathroom sinks
Review boat options fitted
Uprated IPS600 engines, bow thruster, Raymarine DockSense, Navigation pack, LED TV, Fusion hifi, crew bunk and other smaller items.
LOA 14.28 m (46’ 11'')
Design Garroni Design / JP Concepts
Make/model Volvo IPS 500 or IPS 600
Rated 2 x 370 HP/ 435HP
Generator 7KVA Cummins Onan