Our resident used boat expert Phil Sampson explains how to find a good Prestige 420 Fly on the secondhand market and what features to look out for…
In build: 2020 – current
Price range: £485,000 – £640,000
Created 30 years ago, the Prestige Yachts brand is dedicated to living well or, as its slogan rather more eloquently puts it, Art de Vivre.
Originally launched as an upmarket range of flybridges and sportscruisers under the Jeanneau brand name, it was later spun off as a separate brand of its own.
These days, Prestige sits toward the top of the Beneteau Group’s pyramid of motor boat brands, just one step below the even larger and more luxurious Monte Carlo Yachts range.
The subject of this review, the Prestige 420 Fly, is the current entry-level model in the Prestige range, alongside its sistership the Prestige 420S coupé.
Launched in 2020, this latest generation boat is more than just a facelift of its predecessor, even if it shares the same name and hull dimensions.
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Gone are the Volvo IPS pod drives of the former 420, replaced by twin 6.7-litre Cummins QSBs on shafts, rated at either 380hp or 425hp.
For maximum manoeuvrability, joystick control is provided as standard on the 425hp version but remains an option on the 380hp model.
The joystick works by controlling both the engines and the bow thruster to move the boat in the direction you push the stick.
Our review boat, a 2020 example being offered for sale by Burton Waters’ Ipswich branch for £525,000 including VAT, has the higher horsepower engine and is therefore equipped with joystick control – something which owner Patrick Claridge regards as a major bonus.
“Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned boater, the ease with which you can get in and out of tight spots using the joystick is revolutionary,” he says.
“I wouldn’t say I’m a nervous skipper but it’s one of those things… you know, you come into a marina and there’s a bit of a wind and you’re trying to moor the boat.
“That joystick helps me get into any gap. You can do 360s or move sideways. People even say to me that I must be a very experienced helmsman.
“Of course, you also get traditionalists who say don’t use the joystick, use the throttle levers, but I use the boat how it was designed – the joystick is there for a reason.”
Another aspect of the latest-generation Prestige 420 Fly that attracted Patrick, who previously owned a Prestige 34, is its space-efficient design and layout.
“The ergonomic design of the whole boat is fabulous – I think there’s more space internally than you’d ever get in another boat of this size,” he says.
“The galley area is great, the two cabins are almost both master cabins – there’s not much difference between them really – and having a shower cubicle where you can stand rather than having to faff around with a toilet seat is just what you want.
“For me, all of this makes it a good all-round holiday boat, ideal for families looking to get into boating.”
Bright, airy saloon
In terms of performance, Patrick says the boat cruises contentedly at 22 knots, at which speed it’s burning fuel at a rate of 105 litres per hour.
Crank it up to 30.7 knots, the top speed listed by the manufacturer, and consumption leaps to around 170lph. Down at the other end of the scale, it sips just 3lph at 5 knots.
Other notable plus points include the visibility from both helms and the boat’s handling. “I have been caught out in rough weather,” Patrick recalls.
“I remember on a trip from our base at Burnham-on-Crouch to Eastbourne we had calm spells where we did 24 knots and rough areas where we were down to 12. But I didn’t feel threatened at all. The boat handled well in all the conditions that were presented to it.”
A tour of his Prestige 420 Fly reveals more of its attributes. It is fitted with the optional hi-lo bathing platform, making light work of launching and recovering a tender as well as giving easier access to the water for swimming and watersports.
The aft cockpit is home to an L-shaped seating area fronted by a sturdy twin-legged height-adjustable table and there’s plenty of space to add in a couple of free-standing chairs.
The engine hatch in the aft cockpit is on the small side but a second hatch just inside the saloon means that accessing routine maintenance points is not a problem.
The saloon itself is a highlight of the boat. All-round glazing allows light to flood in from all directions. Add to this the light coloured upholstery, woodwork and carpet, and this is one of the brightest and airiest saloons we can recall seeing on a 42ft flybridge.
Situated at the aft end of the wheelhouse, the galley is a functional and well laid out workspace. Spacious, comprehensively equipped and separated from the saloon only by a single step, it feels very much part of the action. Key fittings include a large sink, twin burner ceramic hob and a combination oven/grill.
Opposite is a sizeable unit housing the vessel’s sound system, a large storage cupboard and a two-drawer stainless steel fridge freezer. It might look a little like a filing cabinet but it’s sure to be appreciated by anyone catering for large groups of family or friends.
Impression of space
Adjacent to the starboard-mounted helm is a companionway with four steps leading down to the boat’s two cabins, both of which have ensuite washrooms. The guest cabin is in the bow and cocooned by light woodwork with contrasting beige panelling and sizeable hull windows with opening portholes.
There’s a good amount of storage space here, including a full-height hanging wardrobe. The ensuite bathroom has a Jack and Jill door, with the second door opening onto the corridor so it can be used as a day heads when required.
The midships master cabin is accessed via a doorway on the port side, leading past the ensuite bathroom before dropping down a couple of steps into the full beam cabin proper.
There’s plenty of room around the double bed and bags of useful storage, including a large hanging wardrobe at the foot of the bed and a bulkhead-mounted television. It all helps create an impression of space and grandeur in what is, after all, only a 42ft boat.
Back in the cockpit, a seven-step ladder leads to the flybridge. The layout here is perfect for entertaining. It features a substantial table with wraparound seating to the rear, ahead of which is a wet bar with sink, grille and fridge.
While criticisms of the Prestige 420 Fly are hard to come by, one grumble we did hear related to the boat’s helm seats. Up on the flybridge, there is only one forward-facing seat at the helm.
That means any passengers wishing to face the direction of travel either have to take a back row or sit on the adjacent sunpads, which means they end up sitting down low.
It’s a similar situation in the saloon, as the helm seat looks relatively wide but there isn’t actually enough room to comfortably accommodate two adults.
The only other point of concern is that the side decks are stepped, with a total of four level changes leading up from the aft cockpit to the foredeck. While these walkways are well protected by bulwarks and guardrails, with handrails on the superstructure, care is needed when making your way to the foredeck to avoid tripping.
Once you’re there though, relaxing on the 420’s spacious foredeck sunpads, you’ll feel that the journey was worthwhile.
The ideal family boat?
With its capable performance, good looks, spacious feel and sensible pricing, it’s impossible to disagree with owner Patrick Claridge that the Prestige 420 Fly makes an ideal family boat.
To date, 150 units have been delivered, and as a relatively recently launched model, it will come as no surprise that examples on the UK used market are exceedingly hard to find.
Prestige 420 Fly surveyor’s report
Prestige Yachts has built itself a strong reputation for stylish, spacious, value-for-money craft and this 420 is a fine example of what they do best.
The switch from IPS drives to simpler shaftdrive engines and a bow thruster should also keep things easier and cheaper to maintain.
Points to note when considering buying one:
- Carefully inspect the undersides for signs of repair, particularly where it has been lifted and stored on chocks. Cored hulls can be prone to cracking if stowed badly.
- Have the undersides hammer sounded and checked by an experienced surveyor to ensure the core has not become delaminated – unlikely on a craft of this age.
- The Cummins engines are usually reliable and strong. However, ensure that service schedules have been adhered to, including the cooling system and anode replacement as well as the usual oils and belts etc.
- Ensure that all the electronic control black boxes and cabling are dry, clean and secure.
- When sea trialling, make sure that you feel at home with the ergonomics of the helm seating/control/steering arrangement.
- Make sure you and your family are happy with the low flybridge seating and rails. In a seaway, this can feel disconcerting to some.
- Take care when moving around the saloon in any seaway as some of the furniture has quite sharp corners and edges to it.
Find a nice example and the Prestige 420 Fly should make for a very comfortable family cruising boat that is a pleasure to own and easy to helm and maintain.
– Chris Olsen, Olsen Marine Surveying
Prestige 420 Fly specifications
LOA: 41ft 5in (12.64m)
Beam: 12ft 11in (3.95m)
Draft: 2ft 7in (0.79m)
Air draft: 16ft 1in (4.9m)
Displacement (light): 9,527kg
Fuel capacity: 1,100L
Water capacity: 406L
Cruising speed: 24.9kn @ 2,400rpm 115.8l/h
Cruising range: 189.6nm at 24.9kn with 20% reserve
Designer: Garroni Design / JP Concepts / Prestige Engineering
Hull type: Variable V
RCD category: B (9 persons) / C (11 persons)
Annual marina mooring: £8,215 (based on £650/metre on the Hamble River (UK) downstream of Bursledon bridge)
Annual fuel burn: 2,970 litres (based on 25 hours at 25 knots and 25 hours at 5 knots)
What’s on the market?
Engines: 2 x Cummins 6.7 425hp
Contact: Burton Waters
Price: €525,000 (VAT paid)
Engines: 2 x Cummins 6.7 425hp
Lying: Golfe Juan, France
Price: £487,763 (VAT not stated)
Engines: 2 x Cummins 6.7 425hp
Lying: Cogolin, Var, France
Price: €615,000 (VAT not stated)
First published in the March 2023 issue of MBY.
In association with SETAG Yachts. Design and refit specialists SETAG Yachts bring luxury to the pre-owned market – by creating the bespoke yacht of your dreams, with no compromise. To fall in love with your boat all over again visit www.setagyachts.com or call +44 (0)1752 648618 for more details.
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