A clever aft cockpit design marks out the Jeanneau Prestige 38S
Taking many styling cues from the larger Prestige 42S, the all-new 38S looks and feels familiar. Not that it is boring or obvious, it’s just that for all intents and purposes the 38s is simply a 42 minus one shower compartment.
OK, you get a twin mid cabin berth instead of a permanent double and a smaller garage but it feels remarkably big and, dare we say it, better than its big sister.
The cockpit consists of two decent sized U-shaped sofas to port with a bar unit behind the helm to starboard. The helm itself, with room for an E120 chartplotter, is simple yet effective with a double seat easily wide enough to seat two comfortably.
We were most impressed with the aft cockpit seating cum sunpad layout that still allowed for a tender garage. Usually it’s one or the other, but now you can have both.
Downstairs, the forward cabin comprises a very respectable 4ft 11in wide double berth, better still, to starboard you’ll find a superb walk-in wardrobe and an impressive 6ft 8in tall shower stall.
In the saloon there’s a four-seater sofa to starboard with high backs offering plenty of support. Limited space for the galley is helped by a fold-over lid above the hob.
The mid cabin has plenty of headroom with a reasonably-sized locker and the twin berth design slides forward to make a double without any need for extra cushions.
However, there is only one engine choice is available, the 320hp Cummins QSD 6 cylinder diesels. Although they will take you up to nearly 34 knots they are not as eager to get you there as the Volvo D series.
You feel the lack of reaction all the way through the rev range and the whole experience left us feeling as though we had been for a cruise rather than a ride. That said, it was safe to helm and very relaxing.
Tested in January 2009
This is a versatile four-berth cruiser that is priced towards the top end of the sub-40ft market. The 38S gives you lots of cruising options with a tender garage and a sunpad without compromising on space.