• … the Prestige 420 is nimble for a 42-footer and her 17-degree deadrise hull is aggressive enough.
  • The hull felt capable of taking on greater weather than most of us would wish …
  • The Prestige gives all the below-decks space to accommodation and the main deck to socialising.

Simon Everett takes a close look at this 42ft motor yacht from the Jeanneau stable to see whether it lives up to its prestigious name …

The Prestige line of motor yachts was launched in 1989 and is a name that has become familiar as the brand has become established over the years, because, just as Lexus is a part of Toyota, so Prestige emerged from Jeanneau. In the same way that Lexus is the most prestigious marque from the Toyota stable, so Prestige is a cut above the normal range of Jeanneau cruisers. The company has an enviable production facility at Les Herbiers, in the Vendée region, with modern robotic automation for accuracy and economy of build for their range of luxury cruisers. The 42 is the entry-level model in the 11-model Prestige range.

Rather than creating something eye-catching and futuristic, Prestige have gone for the timeless classic look, a stylistic approach that won’t go out of fashion and will appeal across a wide spectrum of people. The emphasis is on family-based cruising comfort, or a couple with friends aboard, which accounts for about 70% of the boating demographic this boat is aimed at – although I am sure that if you fall outside this group and are still interested, Jeanneau won’t turn you away!

There is so much space between the bow and the stern given the length, but where that deck area can be increased is by adding an extra deck, which is exactly what the flybridge is about. Blending it neatly into the overall profile without making the boat look like a brick on the water requires a flowing pen, and the Jeanneau designer has done a good job of maintaining the lines within a pleasing outline by utilising guard rails rather than fully moulded sides.

The flybridge is accessed by a wider-than-average companionway ladder with open-ended teak steps and bright stainless steel handrails, all set onto a polished stainless steel upright. A seemingly simple ladder has been turned into a cockpit feature with minimal visibility impairment. Breaking out onto the flybridge one is met by a second cockpit layout, with drop-leaf dining table, sofa loungers and a fridge with a wet bar atop – everything you need while catching the rays at your chosen anchorage or enjoying friendly banter while on passage in good weather. As you would expect, the upper helm is fully specified, with repeaters and controls for all operations. A bimini can be shipped to provide enclosure or shade as the need arises, otherwise the fully open aspect gives a clear view of the water all round. It is a very pleasant place to spend an afternoon in the sun. The clear visibility is ideal for the helm when coming in to berth too, with all but the port quarter fully visible, and the joystick gives fingertip control to inch her back into the tightest berth with ease. Even I managed it at the first attempt.

When the sun goes down and you need to lay your weary head, the main cabin is given pride of place amidships, with full standing headroom and entry to the full en suite facilities. The finish is available with either fabric or mahogany veneer linings. For your guests, the forward double cabin has access to the main head. There is loads of storage for everyone in various lockers, cupboards and shelves, and the split cabin door gives more room at the foot of the berth.

The saloon is given some special treatment. The design was contrived to provide uninterrupted viewing throughout, with the aft cockpit and saloon more or less on the same level, and there are no high fittings to interrupt the line of sight. You can see through the windscreen from the aft cockpit seating. The galley is offset to starboard and is just inside the sliding cockpit doors, making it ideal for maintaining that sociable link while preparing hospitality for guests. Putting the galley here also frees up a lot of interior space, which gives the cabins their spaciousness.

The inside table is electrically operated and drops to create an extra double berth if needed. The seating is arranged so that everyone has a clear view forward of the water and out the sides – a nifty concept that has been well thought out and executed. As you would expect, there is piped music throughout the boat, and the flat screen TV can be swivelled so it can be viewed from the cockpit. It is like having your own drive-in movie centre.

For bathing, the swimming platform is hydraulically operated and can be raised when underway to reduce drag, and lowered to water level when needed. There are many features that have been incorporated to make the Prestige a boat that is easy to live with and that provides the maximum amount of pleasure while you are aboard. The need to go below has been reduced to calls of nature and bedtime only, because all the facilities for entertaining have been placed on the living deck, instead of the normal saloon galley below between cramped cabins. The Prestige gives all the below-decks space to accommodation and the main deck to socialising. This also keeps the party at a distance from those who need to sleep in peace and quiet away from the boisterousness going on above. Likewise, cooking smells are wafted out into the cockpit, instead of pervading the entire accommodation.

While a flybridge boat is about social integration, there is also a performance element that needs to be taken into account. It isn’t an out-and-out sports boat, in the same way that a Range Rover has a good turn of speed but isn’t a sports car. The Prestige 42 will cover the ground rapidly and provide comfortable cruising from her 1000-litre tanks – expect around 210 miles at a steady 25 knots. I would have liked to have seen a bit more, but for the majority this will suffice.

The hull, as with all Prestige yachts, is produced using vacuum infusion to reduce weight and to minimise the environmental impact of the lamination process. The result is a precision-built boat that provides a comfortable ride from her carefully designed and efficient hull. Further space saving has been achieved by utilising the pod drive system, which also reduces the noise and mechanical vibration throughout the boat as well as providing ease of handling. The driving experience is leisurely and relaxed. There isn’t that sense of tension you get when hard-charging in a high-performance craft, but at 25 knots the shoreline disappears astern surprisingly quickly, even if it doesn’t sound fast.

You have 13 tonnes to get moving, so the extra grunt from the 370hp motors compared to the 300hp-rated ones will be welcome, and unless you spend a considerable amount of time at displacement speed on inland waters, these are the engines to go for. Flat out at 3650rpm and at 31.6 knots the oil was going through the pumps at 150 litres per hour; by easing back to 2800rpm that consumption was almost halved, yet the speed was a respectable 22 knots. The lower-power engines would be working hard to provide the same speed and fuel consumption would be much the same.

While I have mentioned her turn of speed, she isn’t meant as a sports boat, but the Prestige 42 is nimble for a 42-footer and her 17-degree deadrise hull is aggressive enough. She will turn fast when given the necessary inducement from the wheel, and although a boat like this isn’t for throwing about, she responds if the need arises. But taking a relaxed attitude to getting from A to B will return greater pleasure and economy and keep the content of your guests’ glasses where it belongs. The hull felt capable of taking on greater weather than most of us would wish, so should you need to scamper for home, the capability is there to prevent becoming weather-bound. Under normal conditions she is planted and secure and has a long, lazy gait, which one would expect for long passage making. It seems a shame to just use her for going 5 miles to the nearest sandy beach!

The main helm is integrated into the social area of the boat with a double bench seat, so it is possible to remain part of the crowd while steering the ship. The dash is kept compact by placing the engine controls on the side dash, clear of the wheel and switches, which are mounted on the main dash. Navigation and instruments are mounted ahead of the wheel, making for a well-laid-out but simple control station.

The Prestige 42 offers family cruising comfort, social entertaining capability and passage making at an economic 20 knots cruising speed with a top end that sees over 30 knots from the twin Volvo IPS 500 engines rated at 370hp. A slightly less powerful option is available with IPS 400s at 300hp for those who don’t need the extra performance, but I think the bigger-horsepower version will be in more demand and easier to sell on when you want to move up the scale.


  • Overall length: 12.64m (41′ 5″)
  • Hull length: 11.32m (37′ 1″)
  • Beam: 3.97m (13′ 0″)
  • Draught: 0.79m (2′ 7″)
  • Air draught: 5.35m (17′ 6″)
  • Light displacement: 9,216kg (20,317Lb)
  • Displacement full charge: 12,992kg (28,642Lb)
  • Deadrise angle at transom: 17°
  • Engine power: IPS 400: 2 x 300 hp; IPS 500: 2 x 370 hp
  • Mid-load max. speed: 33kts
  • Cruising speed: 25kts
  • Consumption at 33kts: 160L/hr
  • Consumption at 25kts: 123L/hr
  • Cabins: 2 + saloon
  • Berths: 4 + 2
  • Fuel tank capacity: 800/1000 L
  • Water tank capacity: 400L
  • Holding tank capacity: 120L
  • Optional generator: 7.5kW – 230V
  • Optional air conditioning system: Mediterranean 28,000BTU/Tropical 32,000BTU
  • CE category: B-9 or C-10

Thumbs Ups

  • Social areas layout
  • Excellent visibility
  • Easy handling
  • Good performance

Thumbs Downs

  • Limited fuel range
  • Sharp-edged door furniture
  • Forecabin a little cramped



Arksen Discovery Series

Wellcraft - Push your limits with the Wellcraft 355

Premier Marinas Dry Stack - Trafalgar Wharf

Henri Lloyd

Yamaha - The most exciting way to get from A to B campaign