RESPONDING TO THE GROWING FASHION FOR SPORTS COUPES, THE S VERSION OF THE PROVEN PRESTIGE 680 SHOWS A SLEEK PROFILE BUT WITH ADDED BENEFITS.
TWO YEARS AGO, the arrival of the 680 from French yard Prestige was notable because of the large owner’s bow cabin and spacious flybridge, both very saleable strategies in a 70ft cruiser.
Prestige understandably wanted to retain these while giving a sleeker, lower profile on this year’s 680S, which has a 5m air draft compared to 6.2m on her full-flybridge predecessor.
Sailing hull number one of the 680S showed me how the company has succeeded giving the best of both worlds – the sleekness and improved aesthetics of a sport coupe while retaining the flybridge.
Achieving this hybrid design has been reached by moving the flybridge back which has the benefit of creating a large sunroof to lighten the saloon and lower helm station.
Regular design collaborators J&J Design and Garroni Design were again retained for the 680S, which is the middle sibling in the Prestige Yacht range, sitting in-between the 630 and the flagship 750.
Camillo Garroni, Director of Garroni Design, founded by his father Vittorio in 1971, told me: “Of course, we kept the Prestige signature large windows and much else.”
Retaining the same spacious layout as the 680 was another important consideration, so there are three or four cabins plus crew quarters; the latter a good idea for running a 70ft yacht to avoid the owner stressing over managing such a large vessel.
The layout has the owner’s suite forward – using the full height and volume of the generous bow area – while guests get the benefit of two full-beam double cabins midships.
Alternatively, the middle cabins can be two twin singles. Midship cabins generally suffer from lack of headroom, with myriad creative use of bulkheads overhead to mitigate this unsuccessfully, so putting the owner in the wide bow gives headroom and airiness.
Of course, sleeping underway would be bumpy, but stern-to Med style gives the bow the best privacy.
<b>PHOTO:</b> KEVIN GREEN
<b>PHOTO:</b> KEVIN GREEN
Top: The Prestige 680S offers the best of both worlds, with a small flybridge combined with sports coupe sunroof.
Middle: The 680S proved a comfortable hull at speed and handled easily during slow manoeuvres with the intuitive pod joystick.
Bottom: The Volvo pod drives give good manoeuvrability and with 900hp on offer, plenty of power for fast cruising at around 22-25 knots.
Similar to the 750 that I sailed, the 680S has an open-plan saloon that favours entertaining while moored, rather than offshore mode, but there are sturdy handrails as you pass the portside galley with dinette opposite.
The aft galley location, adjoining the stern cockpit, creates a convivial party area once the sliding doors are opened. The well equipped galley has an island bench which gives plenty of storage and a handy lean-to for crew moving around at sea.
There’s a three-ring ceramic Miele hob, with oven-microwave beneath, tall 270-litre fridge-freezer and deep sink along with a dish washer. The washing machine is down below. Opposite the galley is the plexiglass dinette table with bench seating for four, or six at a squeeze.
The midship lounge is elevated to enjoy those tall coachroof windows giving panoramic views. The near-vertical window frames maximise volume while having just enough angle to avoid box-like aesthetics. The lounge is comfortably laid out with surrounding soft furnishings and bench seating to starboard with the coffee table/cocktail area on port (with wine cooler nearby).
Strangely there’s a door just behind the main steering console, rather than alongside, which would have allowed the skipper quick side-deck access.
At the console, there’s a double seat and in front, all main controls fell to my hands easily, including the twin throttles for the 900hp Volvo IPS drives and joystick docking system near the window with three large 12-inch Raymarine GS screens angled sensibly (to allow viewing even with streaming sunlight from the open sunroof).
On this first hull, there were plenty of options fitted, including the pricey Seakeeper stabiliser that is supplied with the majority of larger Prestige yachts.
These controls are all set in a stitched-leather fascia which I particularly liked when at sea as it was non-reflective. The general finish was of a high standard throughout, including items like metal door hinges, unblemished Alpi joinery and sturdy chromed handrails.
Top: The open-plan main saloon has an island galley bench (bottom left) and a stepped forward section so guests can benefit from the large side windows.
Bottom: The main console has the throttle, trim tabs and joystick control of the pod drives all on the starboard side, which worked well at sea.
Vast owner’s cabin
The owner enjoys his own cabin access by taking the steps down to the left of the main console. The cabin has the queen-sized slatted island bed offset from the centreline to allow a couch on port with vanity while leaving adequate space between the starboard cupboard benches.
This voluminous and airy cabin is a major selling point of the 680S, especially for tall owners who can move freely in the 2m-plus headroom thanks to the deep Vee in the hull.
Other plus points include opening portholes, wide hull windows and an equally large skylight. Ablutions are in the bow and even include a sizeable walk-in closet to port. The shower has its own cubicle with seat and the toilet has an elongated Corian bench, but I would have considered two small sinks rather than one.
Access to the guest accommodation is from a flight of steps in the aft of the saloon. The only reason the skipper or owner would visit here is to access the main switchboard and fuses. Our review boat had two cabins with twin single beds and a double VIP cabin midships. In addition, there’s a crew cabin – two singles with washing facilities – in the stern of the lower deck, with access to the engine room.
Stepping into the double cabin, I can clearly see why it’s earned the ‘VIP’ tag because on many yachts in this class – including a Benetti I was on recently – this could very well be the master cabin.
It’s spacious – with queen-sized island bed, tall wardrobe, large vanity and equally roomy ablutions – and this all goes to make any visitor most welcome here. Being midships, where the motion is kindest at sea, should avoid guests being shaken, although engine noise from the adjoining bulkhead is the downside.
The portside ablutions cleverly use a frosted plexiglass door to allow natural light from the (smallish) hull window. A nice touch in the bathroom is the sliding mirror and again it’s a spacious area. Over in the two double cabins the guests are fairly well looked after with long single beds and ample headroom, although less so in the portside one.
Top: The bow owner’s suite, accessed by portside stairs, benefits from the deep Vee hull to maximise headroom.
Bottom: The vanity table in the owner’s suite is forward of a portside settee.
Top: The desk in the full-beam VIP suite amidships.
Bottom left: The starboard steps behind the television lead to the guest cabins.
Bottom right: The 680S can have two doubles and two twins, or three doubles.
The flybridge is small but remains a useful place for both navigation and relaxing on the lounge aft. My only real gripe would be the low height of the coamings, which may not prevent gangly teenagers or tipsy visitors falling over, but once they are seated in the co-pilot bucket console seat they should be fine.
The console has most of the same controls as in the saloon but with the joystick separated from the throttles, which can work when standing to manoeuvre. Looking around the deck, the side decks are quite narrow and teak-clad, but give sufficient access to the pulpit where a double sunpad gives that bow-rider thrill.
Practicalities are well taken care of, with vertical Quick windlass and capstan beside a deep chain locker with large roller for the plough anchor.
The other main practicality is the engine room, which is accessed from the swim platform via a corridor through the crew quarters. The infused GRP hull was built around forward-facing Volvo pod drives, so this means space is designed both above and below the water for them, including room for the stabiliser that has to be fitted during the build.
Top and middle: Although much smaller than on the 680, the flybridge offers a functional dining area.
Bottom: The flybridge console has enough visibility and just about enough wind protection to make skippers and guests comfortable.
Top: Reaching nearly 30 knots and cruising at 22-25 gives the Prestige enough performance for comfortable coastal cruising, with a 300nm-plus range.
Sailing off Cannes
At sea, on a flat calm Mediterranean, there were no unpleasant surprises found on the 680S when I put the throttles hard down and pushed the 30-tonne hull through a series of manoeuvres after a crisp take-off onto the plane. Turning was helped by the 17-degree deadrise giving the hull enough grip in the water to allow deliberate steering.
Speed-wise, we didn’t crack the 30-knot barrier but more importantly a smooth cruise speed of 22.5 knots will give an adequate range of about 330nm with the consumption noted of 234 l/h.
Losing my favourite hat caused a slight drama, but was also my excuse to use the pod joystick to manoeuvre us back to my errant headwear, which was retrieved by the 680S without fuss. In fact, a lack of fuss sums up the Prestige 680S, but definitely no lack of style nor practicality.