Contents of Report
The Prestige 500 has been such a remarkable success story. To date, 500 boats have moved through the factory floor since it first launched some six years ago. With this sort of accomplishment, one would think a “don’t fix it if it isn’t broke” mentality would be the mindset of the day. But the Prestige penchant for moving forward, and in no small part customer feedback, dictated another, more aggressive, course.
With the 520 there are subtle improvements to nearly every area on the boat. And it starts with the build process. Where the 500 was constructed with a hand-laid method, the 520 took a different approach and was fabricated from the much more labor intensive resin-infusion concept. This created a boat with a significantly improved strength-to-weight ratio. The empty weight remains the same at 31,085 lbs. (14,100 kg) for the two flying bridge versions, but the overall length increased from 49’10” (15.19m) to 52’9” (16.10m) with the 520.
And like the 500, the 520 will be offered in both a sedan and a flying bridge version.
Exterior Features Inspection
We typically board the 520 from the swim platform from a floating dock, or through a side door to the starboard side of the cockpit if stepping aboard from a fixed pier.
The swim platform is offered with a hydraulic lift capability so that it cannot only serve as a private beach, but also launch a tender or PWC with its 661-pound (300 kg) lift capacity. When lowered, stairs that are flush when stowed, automatically deploy to the starboard side. This allows a smooth and effortless transition back to the cockpit deck, even while the platform is in the lowered position. We can also enhance the private beach theme with an optional transom galley that allows outdoor grilling. Optional stern mooring cleats for tying will be located high up on the bulwarks out of the trip zone.
The cockpit is accessed from stairs to the starboard side. The first of the yacht’s many gathering and entertainment areas, the cockpit features an L-shaped sofa to the port side that wraps around an optional solid wood pedestal table. Everything is under the protection of the extended overhead that is well populated with LED lighting and speakers. Cockpit seat covers are standard on the 520. A full cockpit enclosure is offered by Prestige for three-season enjoyment in the cooler latitudes. An electric sun awning is also offered. Teak decking on the swim platform, cockpit deck, and fly bridge steps are standard.
There are two steps up to the level of the sidedecks, but on the port side, the top step is a wider elevated platform that also accommodates the base of the stairs to the flying bridge. A pair of mooring windlasses are offered as options where Mediterranean mooring will be the norm.
As we move forward, wide side decks and high side rails ensure a safe transition even when underway. Teak decking is offered as an option here. The cabin sides are beveled slightly to better accommodate our shoulders as we walk straight ahead. Additional rails are mounted to the underside of the cabin side.
The bow has always been a popular place on any yacht and on the 520 it’s maintaining that tradition. A large sun pad includes an adjustable back so that it transitions from lying flat to a raised chaise-style lounge. Additional adjustments are under the knees, allowing for an even more relaxing position. And an optional pop-up cabana adds sun protection into the mix of this forward viewing area.
Operationally, there are flip down fender storage racks to the side rails. Prestige includes a windlass handing and a (55-pound/25 kg) Delta anchor on an extended anchor roller. This is connected to 131’ (40 m) of chain and 164’ (50 m) of line. Chain counters are included at both helms. To either side of the anchor roller are heavy cleats and chocks. The forward position of this line handling will require the bow lines to make a 90-degree angle to the dock in most cases.
The flying bridge is accessed from set of stairs on the port side. Open treads and stainless rails keep the area safe while having less effect on the overall openness of the deck. Also, by having the stairs outside, there’s no space being taken up on the inside.
At the top of the stairs, we’re greeted with yet another comfortable gathering area and Prestige maintains its long-standing design feature of having the bulk of the gathering at the aft section, and operations forward surrounded by a sun pad. Teak decking is offered as an option.
To starboard is the J-shaped seating that wraps around a solid wood pedestal table. The forward section is a two-across seat that has a reversible seatback, allowing the occupants to sit either aft facing to join the gathering, or forward facing to enjoy the view, and company of, the operator. Alongside is a sun pad that wraps around the entire console.
To the port side is an outdoor galley that features a heavy-duty hatch over a standard stainless steel sink and an electric grill. The hatch is held open by a stainless gas strut. Storage is beneath in two doors accessed via lift-and-lock latches. An optional refrigerator can be fitted into one of the storage compartments.
The Prestige 520’s flying bridge comes with no overhead protection as the level that gets installed is left to the owner. Choose from simple covers over the seats and helm, a flybridge mooring cover, a Bimini top, or a hardtop. Of course it can be left open as well.
Flying Bridge Helm
The helm is a pod-style console mounted to the port side. Prestige added a more angular look to it for the 520 and it’s quite striking. Plenty of open real estate is provided for populating the panel with twin screens up to 12” (30.5 cm). The wheel is mounted to the port side, allowing the operator a clear view of the entire port side when docking, and if backing into a slip, a clear view down the flybridge ladder. To further enhance the port side’s maneuverability, the IPS joystick is mounted to the left of the helm console. Owners can opt for a cockpit joystick as well.
The optional Raymarine package includes autopilot, and workload can be further eased for the operator with the optional Volvo Penta Dynamic Positioning system installed. Another option to consider is the gyrostabilizer that will take the edge off of any rolling moment.
A stainless steel rail surrounds the forward section of the flying bridge with a tinted windscreen affixed to the outside. This will have a minimal effect on blocking the winds but if protection is what we’re looking for, then another helm station awaits just below deck. That same mindset might be advantageous for those owners that choose the hardtop option and then enclose the flying bridge in isinglass.
Interior Features Inspection
As we move to the interior, the influences of JP Concepts and Garroni Designs that are now familiar across the brand are well represented here.
Everything is on a single level as we cross from the threshold and into the galley. The salon is up a single step that divides the galley from this forward area. Visibility is outstanding as is the amount of natural light. With this much glass surrounding the interior, greenhouse effect is minimized with up to three choices for air handling. Choose from the Mediterranean level at 55,000 BTU, the Tropical at 71,000 BTU, or the Extra Tropical at 84,000 BTU.
As we move to the interior, the open and roomy feel is enhanced by the 6’10” (209 cm) overhead clearance. The salon doors open doublewide to seamlessly blend the inside with the outside. The deck remains at a single level with drains beneath the threshold channeling any shipped water overboard. This, along with the heavy construction, allows the 520 to carry a B12-B14 certification rating (winds up to 40 knots, Beaufort Force 8, and significant seas up to 13’).
The galley is immediately to port and centrally located between the two primary gathering areas of the main deck. Headroom is 6’10’ (2.08 m). It features a full size refrigerator/freezer, an induction cooktop, convection microwave, plenty of open counter space, and a single-basin stainless steel sink. Storage is both above and below, and the side windows continue well past the galley to the aft bulkhead.
Options include a dishwasher, range hood, and an icemaker. Air handling for this space will be 6,000 BTU for both the Mediterranean and Tropical levels, 12,000 for the extra Tropical.
Continuing forward to the salon, opposing seating is to both sides of the centerline walkthrough. To port, a sofa wraps around a varnished pedestal table with the forward seating being a single. An optional pedestal will electrically lower to form a berth.
The windows come down so low, that not only do we have clear sightlines to the horizon from the seated position, we practically do from lying on the deck as well. It’s just staggering to see just how well Prestige managed to blend the inside with the outside with such huge windows. Of course for privacy, standard blinds are fitted to close off this glass house. Electric blinds are optional.
To starboard, there’s an L-shaped seat. Just ahead is the helm seat with an optional electrically actuated seatback that slides aft for when we’re underway and forward to allow two to face the party just behind, and create seating that wraps nearly all the way around the room. Both of these starboard seats are on an elevated platform, further improving visibility out the windows, but that seems a bit redundant since the windows drop down so surprisingly low.
Also, in between the two starboard seats is a feature that came in direct response to customer feedback – side access to the starboard deck. It’s in the form of an opening side window that is oversized enough to allow passing through and it’s quite elegant in that there’s no need to be a contortionist. This allows easy access to the side deck, thereby making it that much easier to tie up the 520 when operating short, or single-handed. Its glass exterior blends so well with the surrounding window that it is practically unnoticeable from the outside.
Forward and to the port side of the guest access companionway are the optional entertainment components that include a 32” (81 cm) TV on an electric lift. It raises from the horizontal position to the vertical, and in this manner it takes up no space to the stateroom below. Additional components to this system include a HDMI DVD player, Bose SoundTouch 300 surround sound system, an Acoustimass 300 bass module, and a 2000W inverter.
The salon is cooled from three locations. Forward is a 12,000 BTU air handler, while aft will be both a 12,000 BTU to starboard and an 18,000 to port. This is the Extra Tropical air conditioning.
The lower helm is starboard-mounted at the forward end of the salon. There’s so much glass that visibility is astounding, even low to the starboard side where the window drops down below the level of the seat. The panel is on a dark toned raised module with room for the optional twin 12” (30.5 cm) displays flanked by a pair of climate control vents aimed directly at the captain and observer.
The lower panel is horizontally mounted and houses the chain counter, autopilot, selectable engine display, the rocker switch panel and a pair of beverage holders. To the right of the helm are the IPS joystick and the digital engine controls. Owners can opt for manual or automatic electric trim tabs.
The helm seat is doublewide and has a backrest that can be moved fore and aft (optional). Visibility is panoramic with the main deck virtually surrounded in glass. A windshield defogger is standard.
The lower decks offer three staterooms and two heads. Guests access the deck from a forward companionway, the owners from stairs aft of the salon and to starboard.
In keeping with the long-standing tradition that separates the larger Prestige yachts from the competition, the master gets a private entrance from the aft side of the salon. This eliminates the guests walking past the entrance as they traipse up and down the stairs or use the heads late at night. The suite benefits from the lengthy hull side windows and the 6’11" (2.10 m) of headroom. The combination of open space and natural light serve well at making this master suite warm and inviting.
The queen-sized berth is mounted on the centerline, minimizing movement while at anchor. A divided mirror makes up the headboard. Nightstands with LED reading lights are to both sides. Access to the berth is from a step up to both sides, creating a more natural height to the berth than from the forward section. A settee is to port, just under the hull side window. Access to the private en suite head is to starboard. The room is cooled with 18,000 BTU system.
The twin guest staterooms are designed to accommodate four people. Both allow for a transition from a queen berth to a pair of twin sized berths. The forward VIP separates in scissor fashion, while the portside guest stateroom slides together and apart.
Both staterooms utilize hull side windows for natural light. The forward stateroom also has lengthy overhead skylights. Opening portlights are also provided for ventilation. The port stateroom is climate controlled with a 6,000 BTU air handler, and the bow VIP has 12,000.
The two guest staterooms share the single head, and for that matter so will all guests onboard, as it is also the day head. It includes a private entrance from the forward stateroom and another entrance to the main companionway.
Fourth Cabin or Tender Garage
The stern of the 520 was designed with versatility in mind so as to accommodate the specific needs of the individual buyer. It can be ordered with either a fourth cabin that includes a single berth, a small head and will include a 6,000 BTU air handler, or the space can be dedicated to a tender garage.
The garage will open to the swim platform that is then used as a hydraulic lift to launch and retrieve the tender thanks to its 661-pound (300 kg) lift capacity. Launch rollers and a tender winch are offered with the garage option. The space is designed to hold a William’s 285 partially deflated (9’6” x 5’7” / 2.90 m x 1.69 m) that can whisk guests back and forth from the mooring at up to 48 mph (77 kph).
The engine room is accessed from a hatch in the cockpit deck. All filters (dual fuel filters in each engine by the way), switches and seacocks are within easy access. In addition to the twin 435-hp IPS600 pod drive engines, there’s an optional 13.5 kw generator, which brings us to power demands.
The generator is part of the “excellence pack”, an optional package that also includes other options such as bow thruster, cockpit bench cover, forward sun pad mattress with cover, HD LED 32” (81 cm) TV, HDMI DVD Player. It also includes a HIFI system, Bose SoundTouch 300, Acoustimass 300 bass module, and a 2000-watt 24/220 V inverter.
There are some additional optional features worth considering. We already mentioned the Dynamic Positioning System and the gyrostabilizer options. Prestige also will equip the 520 with a watermaker, an aft platform camera, thermal imaging camera in the engine room, an AIS transmitter, and underwater lights.
The Prestige 520 Fly has a LOA of 52’9” (16.1 m), a beam of 14’9” (4.50 m) and a draft of 3’5” (1.05 m). With an empty weight of 31,085 lbs. (14,100 kg), 70% fuel and four people on board, we had an estimated test weight of 33,320 lbs. (15,114 kg).
With the two 435-hp Volvo Penta IPS600 engines spooled up to 3550 rpm, the Prestige 520 reached a top speed of 25 knots. Best cruise came in at 3000 rpm and 18.8 knots. At that speed the 30.7 gph fuel burn translated into a range of 189.4 nautical miles, all while still holding back a 10% reserve of the 344-gallon (1,302 L) total fuel capacity.
The Prestige 520 is a remarkably steady boat. We had her in beam conditions with 2’ (0.61m) swells and we saw barely any roll, probably a maximum of 10 degrees. We managed to find a wake and the 520 carved right through and sent the water low and off to the sides, maintaining our dry ride. This was reinforced as we came around into the head seas. Looking at the hull design, we noticed the beam is carried far forward, and that hull design with its forward volume actually forces the spray off to the sides, and we’re still rock solid stable. Of course, she’s most comfortable in a following sea, and when we put her into that point of sail we could just open her up.
We tried a couple of different docking scenarios and each time the 520 handled with exacting precision. It seems apparent that Prestige and Volvo Penta worked together closely to get this system dialed in. Often with joystick installations we find that the movements of the boat don’t quite match the joystick commands, but on the Prestige 520, it was spot on. The portside helm also gives a good view of the whole side of the boat, further allowing precision handling. If docking starboard side-to, then the aft control station is the way to go. It allows a full view of this side of the boat and again, precision is easy to come by. We clearly have a well-mannered yacht with ease of maneuverability whether offshore or around the dock.
It’s easy to use words like “new and improved” but sometimes it really says it all. There’s so much to like with this latest launch that we envision that it will not only match her predecessor, she’ll overtake her in overall sales. That’s a big and bold statement, but from what we see so far, it’s easily doable with the Prestige 520 offering so much in the way of innovation and design improvements.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Prestige Yachts 520 (2018-) is 28.8 mph (46.3 kph), burning 44.5 gallons per hour (gph) or 168.43 liters per hour (lph).
Standard and Optional Features
Boats More Than 30 Feet
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
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