By Capt. Rob Smith
I travelled north again to test Doral’s new line up. This time I was very close to the plant, in fact I was able to tour the plant and have a video for you about it. I tested on a fresh water river in Shawinigan, Canada and enjoyed every minute of it. I tested this model a few years back, but this time I was going to test two Monticellos. One had the Yanmar 6BY diesel package and the other had the MerCruiser 350 MAG MPI. The Monticello is a pocket cruiser with both the room and power to enjoy water sports.
From the bow, Doral hasn’t changed much over the past models. Heavy duty 316 grade stainless steel bow rails and optional life lines often required for the European market were on both test boats. The anchor roller was also heavy duty stainless. The anchor package and a windlass are options you can add on. You can also add sun pads on the deck with integrated pillows for grabbing some rays.
At the Stern
Doral’s Monticello has an integrated swim platform with 4-step swim ladder and port side transom door entry. One test boat had the optional NUTeak PVC inserts on the swim platform and in the cockpit. The standard cockpit covering is a teak and holly pattern deluxe carpet with Aquatrac non-skid. You can’t go wrong with either. The NUTeak cleans readily and, of course, the carpet can be removed for cleanup. I prefer the NUTeak. I don’t like having to mess around with carpet, loose snaps and lining up the table cut out.
The Monticello does have side decks, but they are very narrow, so you will use the center windshield opening to go forward to the bow. Doral makes handling docking lines simple with enough cleats right where you need them. They also have two pull-up cleats on the swim platform that are quite handy.
Just inside the transom door on the port side is a cockpit sink and storage center to rinse off after taking a dip or before enjoying a snack. Seating wraps around from the stern and across the starboard side. The Monticello has Doral’s signature sliding aft bench that adds about one seat width along the starboard side when extended. You can add a fiberglass or wood cockpit table. I prefer to keep the space open and enjoy the legroom. The engine hatches open easily and inside you have plenty of room for the single engine power packages Doral offers. You can pick from among 14 different engines from Volvo Penta, MerCruiser, Cummins MerCruiser, and now Yanmar. A 3kW Westerbeke generator option is available for those intending to use their cruiser for overnights.
Going forward to the helm deck area of the single level cockpit, the port side passenger lounger has a built in armrest and was rather comfortable, even for my 6’ frame. All cockpit seating is built by hand in the Doral factory. Seat bottoms are composite so you don’t have to worry about rot, and the upholstery is heavy duty, easy to clean and UV resistant. Optionally, you can choose Cabriolet style upholstery in the cockpit.
If you are boating in areas with low bridges, you may also want to add the optional electric fiberglass retractable arch that takes all the work out of bringing it down for bridges or reducing height when towing.
At the Helm
Doral did a pretty good job at the helm as far as ergonomics. The bench seat was comfortable and had a bolster for stand up driving and sitting back as you climb up on plane. The wiper and motor create an obstruction in my view, so I would like to see that modified and maybe put the motor at the bottom with a large wiper that is more useful. Dash reflection was limited to the companionway and passenger side dash tops that were bright fiberglass. Instrumentation was laid out for the driver’s easy scan. Doral does offer some additional space in the dash for personal options. The switches are all together with a bright red horn button that is easy to pick out. The wheel is mahogany with precision Teleflex tilt steering. Doral uses Teleflex Extreme control cables on the throttle and shift for smooth action. Trim tabs are standard.
The companionway door is a green acrylic sliding door that allows natural light to supplement light coming through the hatches. The galley cabinets have an anthracite granite aspect counter top. Appliances include a standard refrigerator, stainless steel microwave oven, and electric cook top. The head has a full fiberglass liner. The vanity has a matching counter top to the galley and Doral now uses the Vacuflush toilet in the Monticello. Doral also makes all their interior seating with the same care as the exterior seating. The dinette seat converts to a berth. A TV/DVD is optional to supplement the stereo system onboard. The mid cabin has a double bed and privacy curtain.
Doral’s Monticello is 25’4” length overall with 28’3” length overall with the extended swim platform. Her beam is 8’6”. She weighs approximately 6400 lbs., carries 65 gallons of fuel, and has a freshwater capacity of 30 gallons. Cabin headroom is about 5’10” maximum.
Performance and Ride
I tested on a fresh water river in Canada near the plant. The load was heavier on the Yanmar version and the temperature was about 14 degrees warmer. With Yanmar’s 260 hp 6BY260Z, the Monticello was up on plane in 8.7 seconds and passed through 30 mph in 15.8 seconds. Her most economical cruising speed was about 28.8 mph for a full tank range of 216 miles. Top speed was clocked at 39.2 mph at 4200 rpm burning 12.9 gph or 3.05 mpg.
With MerCruiser’s 300 hp 350 MAG MPI, the Monticello was on plane in 5.1 seconds and up to 30 mph in 11.5 seconds. Her most economical speed was 30.7 mph for a full tank range of 144 miles. Her top speed was 44.2 mph at 5250 rpm burning 20.1 gph or 2.19 mpg.
Now with the optional Yanmar engine, the Monticello is likely to gain even more popularity. If you are in the market for an express pocket cruiser, the Monticello certainly has all the features you need and the ability to add options for any of your specific desires.