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With its sporty line of well-engineered, joystick-piloted flybridge and sedan cruisers, Prestige Yachts has earned its place as a pivotal brand among Groupe Beneteau’s constellation of offerings. A few years ago, the Les Herbiers, France-based builder pushed monohull boundaries with the X70, a high-volume, widebody yacht with an interior volume that defied what seemed plausible within its length overall.

Now, Prestige is entering the multihull arena with the M48 power catamaran, which again aims to increase interior and exterior volumes—this time, working with a 19-foot, 7-inch beam.

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“We have a good understanding of what the market wants,” says Product Marketing Manager Rosalie Le Gall. “Owners want more space, [and] comfort is key. Responding to the wishes of today’s clients [and] rethinking it from scratch, we addressed the trend, and that led to a power catamaran.”

Like its other offerings, the M48 is drawn by Italy’s Camillo Garroni, whose design brief was to present “a villa on the sea.” The boat has features catering to owners who cruise with families and without crew. That much was evident when I boarded the M48 via her swim platform. I liked the dedicated tender garage on centerline, framed by molded stairwells in the transom that lead to the cockpit. Not only does this setup make it easy to launch and retrieve a tender, but it also frees the hydraulic swim platform to serve as an unfettered beach club.

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The cockpit, which is fully protected by the bridge overhang, has seating for 10 guests with a set of tables primed to be pressed into service for alfresco dining. Synthetic teak steps mounted on a steel beam appear to be floating, a space-saving design that is also safe, with a sturdy grabrail. Another notable feature: Access to the mains and other mechanicals is via two hatches in the cockpit sole, sealed away from the accommodations.

Large, glass-and-steel sliding doors—they’re center-opening, sliding into pockets to port and starboard—lead to an airy salon and galley aft. Forward and to starboard, the lower helm is a no-cost (read: no-brainer) option that extends the M48’s usability in colder climes. Like the builder’s larger sport yachts, the M48 has a private companionway that leads to the full-beam master stateroom forward. The other ensuite staterooms (a double-berth VIP and two staterooms with twin berths that can slide together) share a stairwell. A four-stateroom layout is also available.

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While I’d opt to retain the lower helm, I would likely spend an inordinate amount of time piloting the powercat from her roomy flybridge. A sunpad for three dominates its after section, with a C-shape settee flanking the portside helm. The settee and helm both benefit from the shade of the optional hardtop. For those who have their eye on cruising the Great Loop, the M48 has a 15-foot, 9-inch air draft, allowing for total, unrestricted access along the 6,000-mile route, minus the Erie Canal.

As for performance, CEO Erwin Bamps says Prestige prioritized owners’ desires for comfort and stability. “High cruising speed is no longer a demand,” he says, adding that customers “want displacement comfort, but higher-than-displacement speed with the increased volume of a multihull. Monohulls are very inefficient to get on plane. With a [powercat], we hope to get over the hump as quick as possible.”

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Prestige says its standard power package—twin 320-hp Volvo Penta D4s matched to V-drives—will propel the M48 to 20 knots with the throttles pinned. More important is the reported cruise efficiency at a targeted range of 8 to 18 knots: With a fuel capacity of 634 gallons, the builder estimates a 300-nautical-mile range at 15 knots, and approximately 600 nm at 8 knots.

The M48, which made her world premiere at the Cannes Yachting Festival, is expected to splash stateside at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. 

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