Ergonomics and Economics
The Prestige 500S is a lot of boat for the weight—the lack of a flying bridge, her lightweight interior fit-out, smallish engines, IPS drives, and low fuel capacity mean that even fully laden she’s several tons lighter than most of her rivals. This all helps to give her a near 30-knot top speed with just 970 horsepower. A high-speed cruising range of well over 200 nautical miles, with a safe reserve, is achieved with a 340-gallon fuel capacity.
But mainly she’s a lot of boat for the money. There’s no magic to it. Jeanneau is one of the world’s largest boatbuilders, and knows a thing or two about mass production. While the British and Italian yards play up the hand-built, bespoke aspects of their processes so as to justify the prices they have to charge in order to make a profit, with the Prestige what you see is what you get—which is a much bigger boat than you thought you could afford.
What the numbers don’t tell you is that this boat accelerated from a standing start to 25 knots in a little over 16 seconds. She has a brand-new hull specifically designed for Volvo Penta’s IPS drive system, and the naval architects have done a great job—she’s perfectly balanced, with no handling vices. The turning circle is not the tightest, and the ride into head seas is on the firm side, but overall this an excellent marriage of shape and machinery.
Maximizing interior volume is another key component of value-for-money yachtbuilding—if you’re going to persuade a customer to buy bigger, then the boat has to impress both inside and out. An unusually luxurious touch for a boat of this size is the dual access to the accommodation areas. A private companionway on the starboard side leads down to the master suite, where multiple floor levels maximize headroom. The cabin features an excellent little breakfast dinette as well as a generous double berth measuring 6 feet 6 inches by 5 feet 4 inches, with stowage provided in several drawers and cabinets, and a good-size hanging locker. There are more drawers and lockers in the head compartment, although headroom in here is limited to just 6 feet 1 inch.
The quality of fit-out and some of the fittings reflect the 500S’s asking price—treat the interior with care and keep on top of the boat’s maintenance schedule. Essentially, the 500S is bright, roomy, and rational, with an excellent design that makes the most of the volume.
Careful attention has also been paid to helm ergonomics. With the sunroof open you can drive comfortably either sitting or standing, with good sightlines everywhere except aft—so to berth stern-to, the joystick control in the cockpit would be a worthwhile option.
And longer trips can be a sensible proposition for the 500S. This is a boat that covers all the basics of family cruising—space, practicality, and stowage volume, coupled to fun performance capabilities and a worthwhile range. If you were thinking of trading up to a 40-footer, you might want to raise your sights a little higher.
: 29,750 lb.
: 340 gal.
: 168 gal.
: 2/435-hp Volvo Penta IPS600
: Volvo IPS T2
11-kW Onan genset, 52,000-Btu A/C, IPS joystick, Bose home cinema, hydraulic gangway, forward sunpad, and awning.
Air temperature 68ºF; humidity 48%; seas: flat; load: 200 gal. fuel, no water, 3 persons, 250 lb. gear. Speeds are two-way averages measured w/Raymarine GPS display. GPH taken via Volvo display. Range is 90% of advertised fuel capacity. Sound levels measured at the helm. 65 dB(A) is the level of normal conversation.