Published in: Monday, 03 January 2011
Features > Jeanneau Prestige 400 (Page 1/2)

Jeanneau Prestige 400

One of the latest entries in the Jeanneau Prestige series offers the weekend getaway crowd comfort and space, with a good dose of speed as well

French yacht builder Jeanneau is primarily known in Asia for their line of quality cruising sailboats. However, like its parent company Beneteau, Jeanneau has an impressive line-up of motoryachts, and the company is intent on growing its presence in that segment.

Starting in 2008, Jeanneau began to focus production and R&D on its Prestige line of motoryachts. Combining the long-standing functionality of the many Jeanneau motorboats in their fleet with the finer finishings expected of a higher end yacht was the aim of the new line, starting with the 2009 launch of the Jeanneau Prestige 60, which has become a success for the firm. Jeanneau aimed to establish a brand-within-a-brand, with the Prestige series to be marked by a more elegant styling and classic look. Judging the number of entries into the Prestige range, the concept has proven to be a winner among boat buyers.

After the Prestige 60 entered the market with much fanfare, Jeanneau followed up with a series of Prestige flybridge yachts. At the very bottom of the range is the 350, with the 400, released in late 2010, providing a good start for first time motoryacht enthusiast, or for someone looking for a great holiday boat.

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It was a cloudy day on Phang Nga Day, with a slight wind and chop to test the newly arrived Jeanneau Prestige 400 to Thailand. Phang Nga Bay is one of Thailand’s more amazing locations, and one of the principal yachting attractions of Phuket. A series of karst islands marks the seascape, with fabulous locations most famously exposed in the 2000 film The Beach, or in the classic Bond film, The Man With the Golden Gun (that island is now touted as James Bond Island).

As we cruised about the islands, it became clear what marks the Prestige 400 as a smart choice for someone perhaps considering a second home in Phuket. The sheltered waters of Phang Nga Bay offer plenty of exploring, while never exposing the boat to tough conditions. A holiday villa combined with a Prestige 400 would yield plenty of great vacation time.

A quick movement on the throttles gets the very lightweight 400 up to 30 knots in a very short time. Though the ride can be bouncy at times, for coastal cruising, it’s just what you need. Out of the marina, boaters can quickly whisk off to a favoured anchorage in minutes. With a roughly 200-nautical mile range, most local destinations would be within quick reach, and with enough storage space for overnight trips, the 400 is an excellent weekender.

The hull flares out at the bow rather quickly, which yields plenty of interior room in the bow master cabin. However, this may be what adds to the extra bit of bumpiness in the ride.

There is a lot of flybridge on this yacht, and here there is plenty of space given the size. A comfy settee extends all the way up level to the helm station, and at speed, it’s a fun place to hang out. The aft-end of the settee can either be shifted up to create a complete semi-circle, or can be laid out to create a very large sunpad. A handy cooler is available just below the captain’s seat. The captain can also enjoy

With the bimini down, the Prestige 400 has a nice profile, despite the generous headroom in the main saloon area. The wraparound effect of the windows gives the 400 a rather sporty look that should continue to look good for years.

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Moving around the boat is made easier by thoughtfully-placed hand holds, and getting up to the sunpads at the front is simple, though not something to be attempted when the boat is underway. The bow has plenty of room for a 40-footer, thanks in part to the wide flare in the bow. The sunpad has almost enough room for three people, which is a nice touch depending on what kind of weekend trip you have in mind.

Handling on the 400 appears to be pretty good, as the boat is agile in the marina and in tight places. With the benefit of the joystick control, the helm station on the flybridge enjoys a feeling of complete control, with clear visibility all around the bow and down to the stern on the starboard side.

On the design side, Jeanneau went with long-time collaborators Garroni Yacht Design of Italy, as well as Michael Peters Yacht Design of the US for the stylish interiors. Peters has worked with Jeanneau before, and has also worked for some of the biggest names in production motoryachts, including top-end brands such as Hinckley and Chris-Craft, as well as Atlantis and Sea Ray.

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