Prestigious Pedigree by: Capt. John Wooldridge

This article appeared in Power & Motoryacht Magazine’s May 2017 issue.

This new addition from Prestige blends contemporary styling, sterling performance, and room for a couple of families to enjoy cruising.

It’s early, but not too early, as you quietly slip out of the large double berth in the master cabin of the Prestige 630. You climb the stairs of the private entry on the starboard side and emerge into the saloon. Large windows all around give you a nearly 360-degree view of the fog-bound anchorage where you have been on the hook overnight. A glance at the electrical panel, and the feeling of a cool, dry environment on your face, confirms that the chilled-water air conditioning is functioning perfectly and that the genset is running smoothly, even if it is not immediately obvious to your ears. And even though there’s a distinct swell rolling around in the anchorage, the optional Seakeeper is silently keeping the yacht stable and steady for your family and friends—a priceless convenience.

You quietly exit the saloon through the three-panel sliding glass door, climb the teak and stainless stairs to port, and make your way forward to the flybridge helm. Powering up the twin Raymarine MFDs at the port-side helm console, you check the anchorage for other boats while a pot of coffee is brewing in the galley just to starboard and abaft your double helm bench seat. Targets on the radar remain in the same position relative to your position as when you put the yacht to bed, and this morning’s weather overlay shows a bright, clear day ahead. You open the large sunroof in the hardtop overhead and, even now, the fog seems to be thinning above the anchorage.

Grabbing a mug of coffee, you ease down onto the starboard-side double bench seat that faces forward, stretch your legs out, and exhale. This is your time, that special time of day when you can read, plan, or simply look outward, taking in the details of an interesting shoreline or tracking a distant boat on some new horizon. This is why you got into boating, and the flying bridge is in no small way a reason why the Prestige 630 was your choice for a family cruiser.

First and foremost among those reasons is the Prestige 630’s concept and design, another masterful blend of contemporary lines and comfort features from Garroni Premorel Concept, a trusted Prestige partner. You are sure the look of this boat will still be pleasing to your eyes in five or 10 years. Another one of your favorite features: the long, uninterrupted hullside windows that flood the accommodations level with light and provide great views from each stateroom. Outside, there are three distinct living areas, more than enough for some separation and privacy on longer cruises. Inside, you like the large open-plan saloon, with a galley aft and to port, and a lower helm forward and to starboard—it’s perfect for cruising when the weather is less than cooperative or comfortable.

Accommodations on the lower deck are also appealing and they include a voluminous VIP stateroom with an island double in the bow and a guest stateroom with twin berths to port, both en suite. More importantly, the full-width master stateroom has private stairway access from the starboard side of the saloon—a hallmark of the larger Prestige models. You take another sip of coffee and remember that you chose this layout because it is perfect for two families that enjoy cruising together. Even now, your best friend and his wife are sleeping in the bow, the girls are sharing the guest cabin, while the two boys have taken up residence in the crew’s quarters located aft of the engine room at the transom.

When the crew is up and about, you’ll join your mate in the galley to prepare breakfast, first opening the gas-cylinder-assisted bulkhead that swings up and locks, eliminating the barrier between the aft deck seating and the saloon. You liked the galley placement from the beginning, since it gives the chefs equal access to seating fore and aft, and because it makes meal preparation and service to both those areas—as well as to the table and L-shaped seating area situated aft on the flying bridge—relatively convenient.

Since the distance to your next planned destination is short, only a couple of hours running in open water, there will be time to get in a bit of sunbathing, maybe a quick swim off the optional hydraulic platform that lowers to make reboarding (and loading the dinghy) so much easier. Or maybe the youngsters will want one more ride on the tube, towed behind the RIB, before you secure it in place aft and raise the anchor.

I had a chance to run and evaluate the Prestige 630 recently, and I can tell you that it is one of the more comfortable yachts of its size I’ve had the pleasure to operate. Power is a pair of 725-horsepower Volvo Penta IPS 950s, which are twin D11s matched with IPS 2 pods. The engines are located aft between the crew’s quarters and the master stateroom, to create better balance for the boat on plane, as well as maximize the amount of available space below. Accessed through a door in the crew’s quarters or through a hatch on the aft deck, the engine room is truly spacious, allowing good access to engines, the optional genset, and other primary systems.

The hull is from J&J Design, with engineering by Prestige. It features a modestly raked stem that is deep enough to cut water at slower cruising speeds, but shallow enough to climb above the water at higher speeds. Three sets of lifting strakes join spray strakes that begin well forward above the waterline and morph into submerged chines just ahead of amidships, helping the Prestige 630 get on plane more quickly and effectively directing spray well away from the hullsides. The hull changes from a deep-V forward to a semi-V aft, finishing with a 16-degree deadrise at the transom. During my sea trial, the hull made for a ride that was comfortable despite the washing-machine-like water conditions.

Running on a closely spaced, 2-foot chop on a windy day on Sarasota Bay was instructive. Winds were 10 to 14 knots, gusting to over 20 knots out of the northeast—very good conditions for a series of boat-handling maneuvers. We ran south with the wind on our starboard quarter, then north on the port bow, gathering engine speed, velocity, fuel-burn, and sound measurements. The resulting numbers conformed very closely to the performance figures furnished by Prestige, and handling on all points was superb—which you should expect from the fly-by-wire, hydraulic power-assisted steering that is standard with Volvo Penta’s IPS system. It is important to point out that the boat I tested, which was Hull No. 2, was loaded with options that might have affected performance, but did not in my view.

There is so much that will appeal to a cruising family in this design. On the flying bridge, there’s a massive sunpad ahead of the twin forward-facing benches. The back cushion of the port-side bench removes to fill in the footspace and enlarge the sunpad. An optional hardtop with sunroof allows the owners to choose just how much sun they want. The upper helm can house two Raymarine Glass Bridge gS165 displays (although it looks like you might be able to mount another one, duplicating the three displays at the lower helm), with ample room remaining for engine controls, joystick, system switches, and auxiliary control panels. The outdoor galley­—with grill, sink, and small refrigerator—is standard; an ice maker is optional.

In the cabin, the layout is also family-friendly. With the galley aft (plus a bar to starboard across the aisle) and the dining area for six to eight people ahead of it on the port side, there is a lot of comfortable seating amidships with great views for everyone. (That effect is achieved by lowering the bottom of the window profile). Power-opening windows improve natural ventilation in the saloon. There’s also a small bench seat to starboard and abaft the helm, with a space behind it that can be fitted with an optional flatscreen TV on a lift—movie nights are often on a cruising family’s agenda.

The lower helm has its own dedicated power window, plus desirable features like a fully adjustable double bench seat and tilt wheel that make it easy for the captain to operate the boat whether he is standing or sitting. The wide, stitched, dark helm console knocks down glare effectively, and it houses three 16-inch Raymarine displays with nary a digital/analog instrument in sight. Additional stitched covering is used on the starboard extension that holds the IPS joystick, bow thruster control, and twin engine binnacle—they’re all within easy reach of the wheel. If you have ever spent any time in rough, open water, you will appreciate the handrails that help you up and down from the helm bench, as well as down the companionway to the accommodations forward.

The Prestige 630 falls towards the upper end of a lineup that spans from 42 to 75 feet, but it has the look and feel, as well as the carefully crafted details, of its much larger sisterships. If you’re in the market for a well-found family cruiser, it deserves your attention and inspection.

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