Jeanneau Prestige 42S Review


Jeanneau Prestige 42S

Sports Boat Review

Reviewed: September

Modern Boating


The Jeanneau Prestige 42s turns a gale into a breeze. Jeanneau was known to test the strength of his vessels by having them flung across a field.

Main Features:

A helm platform allows the skipper to see over the windscreen. There’s room for a tender in the garage.

“Jeanneau 42S Prestige – Bluster Buster”

My local sailing club has a rule that racing is abandoned when the wind gets over 30 knots. If it’s teetering around 30 knots then the races often still go ahead but when the gusts get close to 40 (a gale) then it’s all over. It felt like one of those days as I headed over to rose Bay to meet up with Mark Elliot.

As tree branches flew across the road, I had my doubts that the Jeanneau crew would risk taking the glistening three-quarter of a million dollar 42s Prestige out in these conditions.

When I arrived, Mark shouted “no worries” over the wind. The rose Bay Marina crew really had their act together; the test vessel was polished and ready for the big day, and a bit of a blow wasn’t going to stop them.

Mark was able to get the 42-footer away from the dock single-handedly using the Jeanneau’s joystick-controlled Volvo IPS drive. Once out, the sportcruiser tamed the unruly conditions.

The French built Jeanneau 42s felt solid even across the heavy chop and any salt build-up on the screen was easily managed by the freshwater windscreen wash and oversized wipers.

We opened the huge sunroof for a better view and by using the helm’s large fold-out standing platform, the skipper could navigate with an unobstructed view looking over the top of the vessel. These simple design features make a genuine difference to how a vessel works in difficult conditions and they would really improve navigating the vessel at night.

I checked the weather history on following the test and it showed that there were gusts over 40 knots—that’s almost nine on the Beaufort scale! in reality, we managed to get out of most of the wild weather by sheltering in the lee of Bradleys head where a closer look at the Jeanneau 42s revealed a craft that was clearly a cut above many in its class.

The Volvo IPS engines cleared enough space for a tender garage to fit a 2.4m inflatable—or larger if partially deflated. 

There were many standout features throughout the vessel, including the huge sunroof, super tough windscreen, wide walkways, two bathrooms, a unique amidships cabin with a large window, a forward stateroom with walk in robe and dual access to the saloon’s main bathroom.

Simple features like the tiled bathroom splash back or the integrated fridge in the galley indicated that Jeanneau was serious about delivering a high standard of finish throughout the vessel. Suede roof linings and halogen down lights added more luxury to interiors that balanced a combination of timbers, carpets and even glass benches in the well-equipped galley.

The cockpit had plenty of luxury seating and a substantial wet bar with fridge located behind the helm and there were also forward and aft sun pads, lengthy bow rails, large steps and plenty of stowage areas under deck and under the seats.

Mark explained that the 42s was designed to take an optional patented sliding window and door that tucked in behind the aft lounge when not required. This option (not featured on the tested vessel) had the two-fold benefit of added security when the vessel was unattended and protection from the elements in colder climates. This feature would be well worth considering but would add to the as tested price of $749,000. Other options worth considering would be a generator, air conditioning and a Zodiac for the garage!

At the helm of the Jeanneau Prestige

After a lengthy look about the vessel I leapt at the chance to get behind the helm of the 42s. The Jeanneau’s twin-seat helm featured all the required engine instrumentation and offered room for more gadgets if you were that way inclined. But this well-tuned vessel required so little attention to trim that the gauges seemed secondary to the experience of driving. driving comfort was further enhanced by the helm seat, which featured a drop down section underfoot, which offered a variety of driving positions.

The twin 370hp Volvo iPs 500s were controlled at low speed by a joystick system that delivered exceptional control in docking and anchoring situations. From 3 knots the Jeanneau shot out of the hole and hit 30 knots in about 10 seconds—similar to the acceleration of small sterndrive petrol powered speedboats.

Out in the rough weather Mark and I found a fast cruise speed of 30 knots at 3000rpm and a wide open speed of 35 knots at 3450rpm, but eventually we settled back to the mid 20s at about 2500rpm.

The main thing was that the Jeanneau offered a good choice of speeds and offered solid handling across the board and stayed very dry in the mixed conditions.

The 42s’s aft-located engines were very quiet even with the sunroof closed. When cruising and not adjusting engine speed the Jeanneau had a fairly wide turning circle that could be tightened by adjusting the twin engine rev ratios.

Despite the considerable chop as I crossed the blustery harbour, by the end of the sea trials all the toys were still neatly in place, which was a sign of a solid vessel. I would be confident taking this vessel out coastal cruising in all but the worst conditions.

The Jeanneau Prestige 42s stands out as a well built French vessel, one that offers good value for money considering the build quality and level of amenity delivered by its leading edge design and engine configuration.

A bit of Jeanneau boats history

Henri Jeanneau founded Jeanneau Boats in 1957 and he was an early adopter of fibreglass in the boat-building world.

His first fibreglass boat built in 1961 still retained a wooden deck but by the end of that year he was producing a full fibreglass runabout with those classic 1960s lines, called the Sport Polyester.

Back then Henri Jeanneau was known to test the strength of his fibreglass vessel by having it towed at speed across the water, onto a wooden ramp and then flung across a road into a field—with Henri at the wheel!

Nowadays the tradition continues but it is up to the boat reviewer to fling the vessels across unyielding surfaces to establish hull strength. Meanwhile Jeanneau adopts more refined testing techniques.

Boating Performance

The vessel accelerated from 3–30 knots in roughly 10 seconds and delivered the following speeds, measured on a handheld GPS.

Boat Specifications

LOA : 13.36m
Hull length : 11.98m  
Overall beam : 4.16m
Draft : 1.05m
Displacement : 9350kg
Fuel capacity : 920L
Water capacity : 400L
Cabins : 2
Berths : 6
Engines : 2 x VOLVO IPS 500 370hp
Price (as tested) : $729, 000