Prestige stars on multihull debut
Garroni Design handled exterior styling of the M48
Starting with the Prestige 41 designed by Vittorio Garroni and launched in 1989, Genoa-based Garroni Design has designed all the French builder’s models over more than three decades. Today, Prestige is a world leader in 40-60ft motor yachts, due to the popularity of its F-Line of flybridge motor yachts (420, 460, 520 590, 690) and S-Line of sporty coupes (420S, 460S, 520S).
Renowned for its elegantly designed monohulls with smart layouts and refined finishes, Prestige has shaken up its image and product offerings in recent years, first with the radical X-Line. Introduced in 2020, the trawler-inspired X70 features a reverse-raked windshield, extra-long cockpit and wide-body saloon benefiting from no side decks. The asymmetrical X60 followed.
However, the brand went a step further last year when it debuted the M48 power catamaran, the first model in its new M-Line. It was only logical, according to Brand Director Erwin Bamps.
“Over the years, we’ve seen a trend of people wanting more space outdoors and indoors, more light, more storage, more comfort overall, so it was a natural progression to end up with the multihull concept,” he says.
Although sailing and power catamarans continue to grow in popularity, Prestige was the first of Europe’s leading flybridge [monohull] motor yacht builders to move into the twin-hull sector. From the outside, it appeared like another radical leap, but internally it was simply the next step in the brand’s “horizontal diversification” of its offerings for clients.
While many powercat builders moved into the market from sailing catamaran backgrounds, Prestige had over 30 years of monohull history before moving into multihulls. To ensure the new series maintained the brand’s DNA, Garroni Design – now headed by Vittorio’s son Camillo – was entrusted with the exterior styling and layouts of the M48, despite little history in designing catamarans.
The hydraulic platform is a fun base for watersports
“Garroni Design understands the DNA of the brand and where we want to go with styling and features,” Bamps says. “Camillo understands our clients and what they like, which was more important than whether the studio had experience of designing powercats or not.”
The legendary Philippe Briand was brought in to handle naval architecture, having worked on many designs with fellow Groupe Beneteau brand Jeanneau. Yet despite close relationships with sister companies Lagoon and Excess, Prestige started with a blank sheet of paper, as it sought to design a completely new multihull design from the ground up – or from inside to out.
The cockpit with full-width seating for dining
With the challenge of maintaining sleek motor yacht-style lines while offering large volumes inside, particularly in the cabins, Prestige worked with the design studios to create a yacht that’s taller and notably thinner than most similar-length powercats.
RISING TO THE CHALLENGE
By raising the living areas, the M48 includes a full-beam owner’s suite and two midships guest cabins that meet in the centreline. Together, the guest cabins span the width of the boat due to a full-beam lower deck, a pioneering layout on a 48ft catamaran that Prestige says offers the living space of a 60ft monohull.
After removing the central seat, guests can step from the cockpit to the raised hydraulic platform
Rosalie Le Gall, Product Manager at Prestige, says: “Having two hulls offers amazing opportunities for space on board, but we had the opportunity to reinvent the codes of catamarans with new dimensions to optimise the space. The M48 was basically designed from inside to out, to optimise the space for the cabins, and the designers led the development of the overall architecture.”
With a beam of 6m (19ft 8in), the M48 is over 2ft wider than the brand’s flagship X70. However, it’s significantly slimmer than even shorter powercats by Aquila, Leopard, Fountaine Pajot and Bali, which have models ranging in length from 13.1m to 14.1m and boasting beams from 6.6m to 7.3m.
Roda furniture is used in outdoor areas including the cockpit
Garroni and Briand have managed to create a twin-hulled motor yacht that tastefully expands Prestige’s flybridge offerings, with a profile that’s only notably different to F-Line models because of its almost vertical bows and a hard top like the X60’s.
“People appreciate the lines and look of the M48, which fits with motor yachts,” Le Gall says. “They appreciate the motor yacht look; it’s very Prestige. People notice this when they first see the boat and then there’s the wow effect when they get on board – the space, the width and the way it has been laid out.”
The platform is also ideal for relaxing over the water
FUN IN THE SUN
The cockpit and the beach club are among the M48’s standout zones. Featuring diagonal sides, the hydraulic platform dovetails with the transoms to create a full-width beach club just above the water, providing easy access to the central garage for water toys like Seabobs and paddleboards.
Able to carry a tender or jetski, the platform can be lowered into the water for deployment and retrieval, or even as a fun base for bathers to splash around from. However, the platform’s prime position is arguably when it’s fully raised, with guests able to step down to it from the cockpit and use it like an aft balcony or even a diving platform.
The platform can carry a tender and allow access to the toy garage
This access is enabled when the middle seat in the modular Roda furniture is moved out and the starboard table is folded, leaving two L-shaped benches on either side of a central passage to the platform. Otherwise, when the sofa is filled in and the tables extended and joined, there’s space for six to eight guests to dine alfresco.
Like the X-Line models, the M48 has a particularly long cockpit. By the saloon doors, there’s a fitted L-shaped sofa to starboard and a corner seat to port, allowing for guests to sit on all four sides of the spacious cockpit. As on the X-Line models, Roda outdoor sofas are used in the cockpit and flybridge.
The foredeck has an aft-facing sofa
On the M48, there’s also a C-shaped Roda sofa fronting the foredeck, where it faces aft to a row of sunpads, two almost full length and a shorter one in the middle.
The back of a sofa at the front of a boat may not benefit the exterior design, but this additional furniture hugely increases the amount of people who can socialise up front, while visually it somewhat mirrors the cockpit’s aft sofa and guard rails. On either side of the bow sofa are port and starboard deck hatches to the crew cabin and bathroom respectively.
The flybridge has a three-sided sofa around the table, plus weighted backrests on the aft sunpad
The other major outdoor area is the excellent flybridge, which is reached from the cockpit by a portside staircase with refreshingly wide, long steps, so making it a pleasure, not a worry, to get up and down. The stairs – which can be covered by a hatch in case of rain – lead up to the wet bar, which has a Kenyon grill, sink with a fold-down tap, fridge and storage.
Forward is the M48’s primary driving station, which has a bench seat and includes a joystick for close quarters control of the two 320hp Volvo Penta D4 engines. The skipper enjoys excellent visibility, with the hard top propped up on both sides by curved carbon poles, like those used in the aft cockpit to support the overhang.
Companion seating and the upper helm station
The starboard side of the flybridge features a clever arrangement of modular Roda furniture, starting with a forward-facing sofa by the helm that makes for excellent companion seating. Aft is a three sided seating arrangement around a large table, with the weighted backrests set aft creating a further sofa in the stern. The weighted backrests can be moved to instead create a full-length double sunpad.
Designed with Italian Valentina Militerno de Romedis and featuring a Walnut finish as standard, the main-deck interior of the M48 is revealed by a sliding door and a flip-up starboard window aft of the galley. On the port side of the galley are two slim cabinets with fluted panelling, with the longer one forward containing the high-low TV and the smaller one aft neatly containing cutlery and glassware.
The M48 interior was designed with Italian Valentina Militerno de Romedis
Forward is the sink, while by the window to starboard is a cooking area with a three-zone Siemens induction cooktop, a Whirlpool microwave grill, overhead storage and a large fridge-freezer with twist handles to secure the doors.
The lounge is to port and features a long C-shaped sofa around an attractive dining table, both a tribute to the builder’s in-house production team responsible for all the interior furniture, joinery and fixtures.
Starboard view of the main-deck interior, which is finished in walnut
Opposite, just forward of the galley, are a couple of steps up to a sliding ‘door’ to the side deck, although as it’s only about 3ft high, it’s more suitable for small children, flexible grown-ups or emergency situations. Also on starboard side is a simplified driving station, suitable for use in inclement weather, yet the lower helm is only an option and can be replaced by more storage.
Forward and four steps down is the master suite, which provides a ‘wow’ factor and has been described as the M48’s masterpiece. An aft-facing double bed with a slatted headboard and huge bedside tables is the centrepiece of this beautifully finished bedroom, which spans the entire 6m beam. The desk and drawers to starboard and the sofa to port are all on the same level.
The full-beam owner’s suite has a sofa to port and a desk and drawers to starboard
Looking aft reveals hanging cupboards either side of the bedroom door, with the starboard one fronted by a Samsung TV. At the starboard end of the room, two steps lead down to the toilet and sink, while the shower room with sink is on the port side, with both parts of the split ‘bathroom’ boasting enormous headroom.
Natural light floods in through long and small hull windows on both sides, high forward windows facing the foredeck, and two deck hatches in the ceiling, while the use of mirrors amplifies the sense of space and light. The full-beam owner’s suite is a selling point of the M48, but two symmetrical forward cabins take its place in the four-cabin option.
The owner’s bed faces aft to two large cupboards and bathroom facilities on both sides
Meanwhile, each of the midships cabins has private access. The steps to the en-suite VIP are just behind the captain’s chair, while the stairs to the port cabin are aft of the sofa. Separated only by a centreline bulkhead, both rooms have a very similar layout, with each featuring raised, window-facing beds that can be manually arranged as two singles or a double.
Each cabin has impressive headroom in the walking area beside the 6ft-long hull window, which provides excellent natural light and great views. The starboard cabin enjoys VIP status due to having an en-suite bathroom aft, while the bathroom for the port cabin is on the aft side of the stairway, so doubles as the day head.
M-LINE AROUND THE WORLD
A catamaran offers more space due to its wider platform, but also offers two other major benefits: stability and fuel economy. Le Gall says the M48 delivers on both aspects.
The VIP cabin with en-suite bathroom is to starboard
“It’s very stable, naturally because it’s balanced on two hulls but also because of the design. Furthermore, we have a duty, especially with motor yachts, to address the sustainability issue and building catamarans is a key step, as they’re much more efficient due to the twin-hull design,” she says.
“The M48 has the living space of a 60ft monohull, but uses the fuel of a 40ft monohull, so almost half. When we tell clients it consumes 80 litres an hour at 15 knots, some think we’re talking per engine, but that’s the total. Then they clearly understand the benefits.”
The guest cabin to port has window-facing beds that can slide together
Prestige debuted the model to much acclaim at last year’s Cannes Yachting Festival and this year showed it at Boot Dusseldorf before it made US debut at the Miami International Boat Show.
The builder says the first M48 in Asia could arrive in Hong Kong through Asia Yachting by the end of this year, while other units have been scheduled to appear at next year’s Japan International Boat Show and Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show in Australia.
The bench-seat helm on the flybridge is the primary driving station
“The reaction to the M48 has been extremely positive and for many people the boat even exceeds their expectations, which is nice to hear,” Le Gall says. “All catamarans offer wide platforms, but there’s no other of this length that offers so much space on every level, while the owner’s suite and guest cabins are unique, completely new to the market.”