Early-morning sea trials at the Cannes Yachting Festival are always a pleasure but for the Yacht Style team’s exclusive test of the new Prestige 690, there was a bonus – two, in fact.
Not only were we joined by Erwin Bamps, Brand Director of Prestige, but we were doubly surprised to also be accompanied by Camillo Garroni of Garroni Design, the Italian studio that has designed every Prestige model since the brand launched as an offshoot of Jeanneau in 1989.
Before taking the brand’s new F-Line flagship out of Vieux Port, it was helpful to see her berthed alongside the pioneering X70, the model that launched a radical new range for Prestige last year, with the first unit in Asia recently arriving in Hong Kong through Asia Yachting.
Both the 690 and X70 are based on the same hull as the former 680, which was designed to accommodate the Volvo Penta IPS propulsion system.
While the X70 features a radical redesign of the main deck – where there are no side decks – as well as flybridge and beach club, the 690 represents a more conventional upgrade as it assumes the role of the new F-Line flagship.
The 690 generally follows the signature exterior style that has helped make Prestige a world leader in the production of mid-sized flybridge motor yachts. However, one design trait it has borrowed from the X70 is the hard top featuring forward-angled side supports and curved forward struts, as well as an electric sunroof.
As the yacht heads out of the port, we all make our way to the teak-covered flybridge, which is among the yacht’s standout features. It has been extended aft compared to the 680 and now covers 22sqm (236sqft), putting it among leaders in its class, where the brand competes with global heavyweights like Azimut, Ferretti, Sunseeker, Princess and Absolute.
In fact, the entire flybridge has been redesigned, with the port position of the stairs among the few similarities to the 680. Instead of mostly fitted seating and lounging areas, the layout has been completely reconfigured.
The covered forward area features a dining table set lengthways and six chairs, opposite a long wet bar to starboard that includes a barbecue, sink, and fridge.
For the aft half, Prestige offers an island sun pad in the standard configuration. However, the option shown on the unit in Cannes features elegant Roda outdoor furniture – a sofa to starboard, a chair, and a low table, all secured to the floor by a simple bolt system. Depending on the arrangement, the furniture is free to face the clear aft balustrade, which is another difference from the 680.
“The whole point is to give owners the ability to arrange the furniture as they like, depending on how they wish to use it that day or for that particular cruise or season,” Bamps says. “The 690 has far less moulded and fitted furniture because we want to have people start thinking differently and more freely.”
The upper helm is to port and features twin carbon-fibre seats with armrests – rather than the bench seat on the 680 – and is accompanied by a C-shaped sofa to starboard. The standard engines are twin 900hp IPS1200s, although we were happy to hear that the unit in Cannes had the 1,000hp IPS1350 options.
As we took the wheel, we appreciated how easy it was to read the information displayed on the two large screens and how comfortable a motor yacht the 690 is to pilot.
In relatively calm morning conditions, we were able to twist and turn at leisure and managed to exceed 31 knots, faster than our hosts had predicted. However, the yacht’s comfortable cruising speeds are in the range of 18-20 knots at 1,800-2,000rpm, when it provides far more reasonable fuel consumption.
The yacht also benefited from the optional Seakeeper 18 gyro stabiliser, which was operating soon after we left the port and is especially useful at anchor, where it dramatically reduces roll. In addition, the joystick proved very efficient in controlling the IPS pods and managing manoeuvres leaving and entering the Old Port.
In addition, the 690 also benefits from Groupe Beneteau’s new SEANAPPS technology, which enables owners to monitor their boat in real time, plan and schedule maintenance services, and consult the maintenance log through a dedicated mobile app.
Other outdoor areas include the foredeck, which has a fitted three-person sun pad that can be partly sheltered by a folding bimini. The hexagonal-topped backrests on the forward sofa are among notable styling upgrades.
At the other end of the boat, the aft cockpit is relatively conventional, with a sofa and teak table, while the area can be shaded by an electric sun awning that slides down between the two aft struts.
Prestige offers the appealing option of an aft sun pad that’s behind the sofa and ‘suspended’ above the swim platform. Aside from being a nice place to lie down with a book, it’s also great for watching over family and friends playing in the water, which also helps with safety.
Heading inside, the main deck retains the general layout of the 680, although the décor, materials, finishing, and details have been notably elevated and reflect the fine furnishings introduced on the X70. “The interior finishing is very different from the 680,” Bamps emphasises.
Grey oak is the standard interior woodwork, although wenge is among options, while nubuck or leather are among fabric choices.
The open aft galley is to port, where there’s lots of storage above and below, plus plenty of working space on countertops on all four sides. The galley links nicely with the dining area opposite, where an adjustable glass dining table and an L-shaped sofa are supplemented by foldable dining chairs.
Up a step, the main saloon has a large C-shaped sofa and coffee table to port and there’s even space for a facing sofa beside the stairs to the guest cabins amidships.
As well as large windows on both sides, there’s also a sliding door to starboard, which is useful for the driver and for passenger access to and from the foredeck.
The double helm station sits atop low cupboards, while to the left are higher cupboards that also contain the pop-up TV in a refreshing forward location compared to it typically interrupting a side window.
To port are the private steps – a Prestige signature – that lead down and forward to the master suite, which has a high ceiling and plenty of light from long hull windows.
A forward-facing bed measuring 1.98.m by 1.60m (6ft 5in x 5ft 2in) flanked by bedside tables faces a large TV, while there’s even an overhead skylight with an opening hatch with electric shade.
On the port side, by the stairs, are a chaise longue, dressing table, and low cupboard topped by shelves, while forward is the walk-in closet with shelving, and the bathroom. To starboard is a long storage cabinet.
The saloon stairs to the guest cabin lead down to a hallway that divides the VIP cabin midships from either two twin cabins forward or another full-beam guest stateroom with an en-suite bathroom, depending on the choice of the three or four-cabin version. There’s also an option for an aft twin crew cabin that’s accessible from the swim platform and has direct access to the engine room.
Overall, the Prestige 690 is certainly not as radical an overhaul of its predecessor as the X70, but it has benefited from a handful of selected features and finishes introduced on the latter while also showing off a couple of tricks of its own.