The Prestige 590 successfully combines function and finesse in a smart, maneuverable cruiser, reports Kevin Green.
The Prestige 590 encompasses all of the features that represent the modern flybridge cruiser.
There’s spacious living on three levels, dual joystick controls (from saloon and flybridge) and the ability to host a large number of day visitors across its fore and aft decks.
The three cabin/three bathroom 590 model tops the flybridge Prestige range from Jeanneau, which is penned by regular collaborators Garoni to cleverly disguise what is fairly large motor yacht at 61-feet (18.7m).
This Italian-designed and French-built Prestige range has grown steadily from its 1989 inception to now offer 13 models between 40 and 75-feet and has now become a separate division of the company.
As the years passed, those Prestige aesthetics have smoothed a little while retaining the signature large windows to soften the tall hulls.
But inside, much more has changed from the earlier models. The pod drive revolution allows these boats to be handled easily by the family man who may have kids running about; but thanks to smart systems, one eye can be kept on them as well.
“Modern family boats are our core business, which we liken to having their own private island at sea,” product manager Erik Stromberg told me.
So, moving with the times is another reason for Prestige's prominence in the mid-range motor cruiser segment, despite an increasingly competitive global market.
To find out more, I spent a day on and off the water at Cannes with the design team that included Camillo Garoni.
The sleek, yet understated lines of the Prestige 590 that sat alongside the dock in Cannes may not have caught my eye like some of the other more ostentatious craft that surrounded me, yet the Garoni team has undoubtedly created a stylish and I'd say, a pretty boat that is about the right proportion in terms of length-to-height ratio.
“The 590 is a very important boat because it is the middle of our range, so a transition model for both the smaller and larger Prestiges,” explained Camillo as we talked in the 590's saloon.
Clean aesthetics combine with a streamlined profile to make this Prestige 590 Flybridge a sleek 61-footer, largely due to the low slung flybridge.
I've experienced this design on other models in the range, because it has the advantages of reduced windage and under-bridge height, but the trade-off is lower-than-comfortable bulwarks in a rocky seaway.
However, that's a small quibble in what is a well-measured evolution of this range from the giant French yard.
The flybridge is reached via solid teak steps with guardrail and a gentle incline guiding me safely aloft to this spacious area where a snug corner bench and table meets a wetbar/grill at the back.
The flybridge helm is a functional space for steering, but its location well behind the forward visor – to create sunbed space – prevents clear views of the bow, so some steerers may have to stand when manoeuvring.
However, it is a fairly sheltered perch to deflect the wind at speed, as I found off Cannes.
The helm seat is not quite a double – an extra 12in more would create a comfy space for two – but the surrounding sunpads can cope with two tall adults and a child easily.
The you can just swing the canvas bimini overhead when the sun strengthens or choose the GRP version.
The portside console has the wheel, throttles and Zeus joystick alongside plus two Raymarine plotters.
Looking down on the decks from the flybridge showed a fairly practical layout including midship cleats, tall lifelines and handrails alongside the triple-elevating sunpads on the wide bow area.
These pads are set on a raised bulkhead which is a continuation of the saloon, allowing more space below decks, but also a comfy bracing position for bow riding.
Anchoring was well taken care of with a large Lewmar vertical windlass/capstan with substantial plough anchor housed in a sturdy bow roller.
Side decks are about a foot wide, so sufficient for moving around between bow and transom. At the transom gunwale, the optional capstans fitted are welcome, given this is a 20-ton hull. Water access is via a single portside gate to the wide teak swimplatform which can house a dinghy on chocks, while at sea level there's a handrail with ladder for bathers.
The teak platform and similar cladding on the aft cockpit enhances the barefoot enjoyment of these two areas.
The aft cockpit layout has an L-shaped bench around the transom on starboard side with large teak table alongside, shaded by the overhanging flybridge.
The transom bench also contains the hatch to the crew quarters which has a bunk and ablutions with wide aft window.
Alternatively, a dinghy garage can be optioned on the 590, which is a good choice for cruising. Underfoot, a teak-clad hatch in the centre of the cockpit leads to the twin Cummins engines.
The single level cockpit gives easy access to the saloon via sturdy sliding doors with teak scuppers to prevent water ingress.
Inside, the saloon has the favoured aft galley which has a large window elevating outwards for maximum airflow.
Natural light abounds from the tall side windows that sensibly are vertically inclined to avoid direct rays and to starboard is a side-deck door for the skipper.
The open plan layout has the U-shaped dinette central, behind the starboard main console. The adjustable dinette table also turns the area in a spare berth.
Six can comfortably sit around it while opposite, several more guests can relax on the L-shaped inside lounge and enjoy the panoramic views at eye level.
Despite the tall step between galley, headroom remains good at nearly 2m forward.
Elsewhere in the saloon of the Prestige 590, the galley is equally well-appointed thanks to a spacious yet practical sea-going layout with ample room for appliances along with storage. Apartment-like layouts are lovely in port, but at sea when you're bouncing about at the cooker, the ability to lean against a rounded bulkhead is welcome.
So, the 590's surrounding galley bench may reduce the number of cooks simultaneously at work but keeps the seagoing one safe.
Pity about the lack of fiddle rails around the ceramic cooktop with oven and deep sink, though. Perishables are kept in a tall household-style fridge-freezer and there's a microwave, too. Ample overhead locker space is another plus, with stylish lacquered white doors contrasting nicely with the darkwood Alpi laminate.
Midships Owner's Cabin
For rest time, there are three cabins and the widest part of the vessel – midships – is devoted to the owner's ensuite that has its own stairway at the back of the saloon on the 590. Underway, this zone has the kindest motion, but most noise due to the engines just behind the bed bulkhead.
However, it's a lovely berth with queen sized island bed surrounded by large portlights (with opening portholes) affording sea views and tall headroom.
Our review boat had a lounge with table on port, but an alternative is to have storage space here.
Yet another smart and unique feature on the 590 is the owner's bathroom that uses the entire 15-foot beam, with head starboard, shower central and clothes closet on port.
This dual access facility is a major selling point for the Prestige 590 and certainly gets my vote as best in category.
Unusual use of roughened Corian as flooring here, is yet another notable point on the Prestige 590.
Guests aren't quite so pampered in the bow area, but nevertheless enjoy a spacious ensuite cabin in the forepeak which even has a walk-in closet that can hang long dresses and other shore-going apparel.
Here, the wide and deep bows create an airy berth, helped by large rectangular windows.
Behind this berth on port is the third, smaller cabin which has two single beds – ideal for teenagers.
Dual access to the bathroom of the main guest cabin, also serves this third berth.
Throughout the 590, customisation can be done via multiple different carpets, linings and wood finishes to personalise your vessel.
The main helm console seat has just enough room for a small co-skipper who will enjoy the spectacular views through the large front window, angled back to create the sleek profile of the 590 which sensibly also enlightens the below-decks corridor.
The windows are supported by slim struts to maximise the skipper's visibility.
Two 12inch Raymarine Axiom screens dominate the console with electronic twin throttles for the Cummins 600hp engines and Zeus pod joystick alongside, plus the autopilot (with a third joystick optional in the aft cockpit).
In addition, our review boat also had a bow thruster, which was merited given the windage and displacement of the Prestige 590.
The 590 is the first to offer the company's own digital bus system named Ship Control.
Like established brands such as CZone and Empirbus, these digital systems give easy menu controls and fast error-checking for all household applications such as aircon, lighting, navigation lights and complement some of the engine controls.
This all goes to make the Prestige 590 a smart as well as a stylish cruiser.
This is further enhanced with the launch of the company's assisted docking system, Dock Sense, included as part of Raymarine's latest Lighthouse operating system.
I tested the prototype of Dock Sense successfully on a Prestige 460 and was duly impressed by the system – a series of smart cameras with sensors fitted to the guardrails that assists the skipper when coming alongside.
Yet another smart inclusion is Raymarine's new Augmented Reality navigation system which overlays the chart with features.
Newly Designed Hull
The Prestige 590 is no mere extension of the 560 model, but rather a redesigned hull, specifically to optimise the performance the Cummins/Zeus 600hp motors.
Construction is infused GRP which ensures a consistent foam/resin mix while optimising the hull weight, with structure created by infusing stringers longitudinally – a stringent process that I've personally witnessed in the Jeanneau yard in Vendee.
The classic hull shape maximises the foredeck space with the raked bow and sculpted outside longitudinals to give directional stability, while a wide keel section and flat aft quarter promote planing.
The wide keel carried aft is intended for better directional stability, while also partly shielding the aft-facing Cummins/Zeus pod drives.
Access to the engine room is through the aft deck where a hatch revealed the two Cummins 600hp engines.
The centralised alloy ladder guides you down easily, but space is fairly tight between the engines.
Just ahead of them and below the Cummins 13.5Kw generator (ideally placed to balance the trim of the Prestige 590) came a steady humming sound which alerted me to the Seakeeper Six spinning up – a €65,000 option to ward off sea sickness.
Having tested stabilisers like this Seakeeper, I find they definitely work, so are ideal for sailors with a fragile disposition or those simply wanting some peace at anchor.
Elsewhere, wall mounted filters and electrical boxes are at hand along with most service points.
Gearbox oil changes are done further aft, as a bulkhead separates the Zeus pod drives from the motors.
At 61-feet the Prestige 590 looks imposing for the amateur skipper, and this is one of the reasons why joystick pod drives are popular – using the joystick involves simply turning it towards your desired direction of travel.
The precise feel of the Cummins/Zeus combination – apart from the more seaworthy rear facing propeller layout – is another boon to the amateur skipper who perhaps only puts to sea once a month, so needs all the help he or she can get when negotiating a windy marina surrounded by gleaming multi-million dollar boats.
This was our scenario in the Vieux Port of Cannes, a place well known to me but hardly less confronting as vessels of every sort zoomed by.
But with hardly a murmur from the Cummins, we eased our way seaward towards my favourite anchorage on the Lerin isles.
Seated inside due to the rainy day, the view from the console gave me confidence to accelerate past a fleet of race yachts and watch as the Zeus pods evened our trim automatically.
Noise levels allowed normal conversation even as I pushed the throttles down hard and no groans or other complaints came from the furnishings as we hit some wake.
The Raymarine GPS showed nearly 28kts at maximum revolutions, but a more realistic figure was found by throttling back to a cruising speed of 16.6kts.
This had the effect of reducing fuel consumption by half to a reasonable 133 litres per hour despite a lumpy sea and a full complement of crew (eight people), giving a fairly modest range of 272 nautical miles.
Banking into turns showed predictable handling from the 590 and the decks remained dry. More importantly, the ride felt smooth and that aforementioned precise feel to the hydraulic steering made helming an enjoyable experience.
My notes stated, at the time: 'family friendly, yet fun' which is a fair summary of this accomplished Prestige 590.
Owner's midship ensuite cabin
Good attention to detail throughout
No galley fiddles
Low flybridge gunwales
Prestige 590 Flybridge Specifications
Type: Flybridge monohull
Price: $2,300,000 (sail away)
Options fitted: Bow thruster, Seakeeper Six, Raymarine electronics, LED TV, Fusion stereo, canvas bimini, crew bunk and other smaller items.
LOA: 18.70 m (61’4’’ft)
Beam: 4.84 m (15’10’’ft)
Draft: 1.35 m’
Displacement (light): 19,490 kg
Engines: 2x Cummins 600hp Zeus pod drives
Berths: 6 + 1 crew
Manufactured by: www.prestige-yachts.com
Supplied by: Sundance Marine Australia
Ph: 1300 55 00 89