John martino, annapolis school of seamanship and annapolis yacht         management
The following review was written by John Martino and prepared by the marketing department of Chesapeake Bay Magazine. Mr. Martino is the founder and president of Annapolis Yacht Management and Annapolis School of Seamanship. He develops and teaches hands-on training courses for recreational boaters and professional mariners, and offers yacht delivery and onboard training services for powerboaters as well as sailors.
Jeanneau Prestige 46
MARCH 2007 
 
Length  47'9"
Beam  14'3"
Draft  3'11"
Weight  6,500 lbs
Fuel Capacity  404 gals.
Base Price  $642,998
Price as Tested  $664,000


When we think of sailors switching from sailboats to powerboats, most of us conjure up an image of trawlers meandering down a scenic waterway. But some sailors love the feel of a high-performance boat, and they have no intention of meandering anywhere. To fit this bill, Jeanneau, known for its well-built production sailboats, has developed a sleek new high-performance powerboat that is not only a blast to drive but is also laid out for cruising.

When I met with Paul Fenn and Chris Rohrer of Jeanneau America to review the Prestige 46 and put her through  her paces, I couldn't help but notice that   this boat has quite a bit of usable deck space. Between the cockpit's bench seating, the foredeck's cushioned lounging area and the flying bridge, you could have three separate groups of guests simultaneously on deck.

The Jeanneau's interior is spacious and refined. The joinery is finely finished mahogany, and Jeanneau has used high quality hardware throughout. The layout offers three staterooms forward and the option of adding a crew cabin aft under the cockpit. The centerline queen bunk in the master stateroom is supported by mattress battens that give it a true box spring feel. The master stateroom also has its own head and shower. Aft is a second head and shower to starboard. The second stateroom features a queen bunk; the third has twin bunks.

Just aft and up a few steps from the staterooms there is a sizable lower helm station with a double bench seat to starboard and a raised dinette table with facing bench seats to port. Anyone who has ever been sequestered at the helm, isolated from the rest of the crew and guests while driving will appreciate how this innovative feature keeps everyone together and at eye level.

Continuing aft, the saloon and galley come together in a truly unique way. Again, the Jeanneau designers have made an effort to create a more communal area. There is a second dinette table to starboard and a "sunken" galley down a single step to port. Traditional galley-down layouts separate the cook from the conversation in the saloon; in this galley the cook can be at eye level with everyone seated in the saloon.

I took over the controls as we headed away from the dock. From the upper helm station I felt like I had just slid behind the wheel of a sports car. The dash controls are ergonomically laid out so that everything is easily within reach. I immediately pushed the throttles all the way forward to see what she would do. Wide open, we were making 30 knots. Conditions were calm so we didn't have a chance to check her sea-keeping abilities, but with 21 degrees of deadrise, the deep-V hull should have no problem in choppy conditions. We banked into some tight turns before dropping down to a cruising speed of 20 knots (2000 rpm). Next we tried some slow maneuvering. With twin screws and plenty of torque from the two 500-hp Cummins Diesels, I had fun twisting her around and walking her sideways. While some boats can feel cumbersome, the Prestige was downright nimble. Given the light, stiff hull, the torquey diesels and the ergonomic upper helm, I felt like I was wearing this boat rather than driving it.

For the trip back in, I moved to the lower helm station to check out the visibility and noise level. I wasn't disappointed in either category. Engine noise was well muffled and the visibility from the lower station is quite good.

The Jeanneau Prestige 46 is well designed and well built. She shows her sailing pedigree but is on par with other high-end boats in her class. With a base price under $650,000 the Jeanneau is also competitively priced.