Beneteau is known for building stylish boats at attractive prices, and the Monte Carlo 42 is no exception. Designed by Beneteau naval architects and styled by P. Andreani, the Monte Carlo 42 isn't just a flashy date: She's built to EC Category B standards for offshore service and rides on a low-drag stepped hull that makes her fast and able with twin 370-hp Volvo Penta diesel sterndrives. Below decks, she carries her master cabin amidships, taking advantage of her 13' 1" (3.99 m) beam to provide her owner with maximum living space. But she has one quirk that has us concerned.
Sun worshippers can choose between fore and aft sunpads, or slide open the sunroof and catch rays at the helm. The aft sunpad sits atop a garage big enough for an 8' (2.5 m) inflatable tender and outboard; a launch ramp with winch is optional, but recommended.
A Slippery Bottom
When we talk about Med-style express cruisers, we usually stress topsides styling or luxurious accommodations above decks or below. But we think the coolest thing about the Monte Carlo 42 is out of sight: She has a single-stepped V-bottom that increases top speed relative to horsepower and quickens acceleration. Developed by Patrick Tableau and Maud Tronquez, Beneteau designers, and hydrodynamics expert Remi Laval-Jeantet, the patented Air-Step hull (like all stepped hulls) draws air under the running bottom to create a "cushion" that reduces drag – lower drag means less horsepower is needed to run at a given speed, which means lower fuel consumption and reduced operating expense.The Monte Carlo 42 rides on the patented Air-Step hull, the largest Beneteau to feature this design. The single step introduces air under the boat, reducing resistance and horsepower requirements while maintaining top speed and increasing acceleration.
Stepped hulls are tricky to design, and many suffer from poor or, even worse, unpredictable handling. But Beneteau claims the Air-Step hull improves not only efficiency, but also maneuverability, stability and "driver enjoyment." Those are big claims, and since we haven't tested the Monte Carlo 42 ourselves we can't comment on them. But in general, a well-designed stepped hull makes a noticeable improvement in a boat's all-around performance, so we'll give Beneteau the benefit of the doubt here. Once we test a Monte Carlo, we'll post our hand's-on review.The swim platform is decked in solid teak and has a hot/cold shower and a telescoping swim ladder that folds into a dedicated locker when not needed. It appears that the platform is accessible from port and starboard, but the port steps lead directly onto the side deck. The platform provides protection for, and from, the stern drives.
The Living is Easy On Deck
Beneteau has designed the Monte Carlo 42 as much for dayboating as for cruising, taking advantage of the three-side-enclosed hardtop to create an indoor/outdoor living space. There's a large dinette, a sink, icemaker and room for both a grill and refrigerator. (Both are included as part of Beneteau's Ambition options package.) The helm has a single seat for the skipper and an adjacent double companion bench, so the skipper can easily leave his/her seat without disrupting the kibitzers.There's plenty of room under the hardtop for eating, drinking and socializing, with a large dinette and a wet bar. Steps from the pilothouse lead onto the starboard side deck, from the platform onto the port side. Flipping the dinette seat back forward makes the aft sunpad even larger.The sliding sunroof, large side windows and light-colored decor almost make you forget this is a hardtop yacht. We like the overhead panels for access to wiring – the antennas live above –the convenient wet bar and the sliding window next to the helm.Hey, who's driving this boat? We like the separated single helm and double companion seats, making it easy for all occupants to come and go. We wonder if she needs him hanging over her shoulder, telling her how to steer? We think she'd do fine on her own.
Beneteau fit two double staterooms, a galley and dinette in the Monte Carlo 42's arrangement. Hullside windows and ports provide natural light, aided by light-colored fabrics and overhead.The owner's stateroom is amidships, taking the full beam of the hull. This makes room for a double berth on the centerline, a couch to port and ample stowage to starboard. There's an ensuite head, too. Forward is a guest stateroom, also with a double berth, and a second head with access from the salon.The belowdecks dinette/lounge can convert to a berth, but will also be a good perch for watching the optional LCD TV. We like the juxtaposition of dark joinery and light fabrics.The galley is at the foot of the companionway, making it easier to pass food to folks on deck. Beneteau says headroom here is 6'6" (2.0 m). We like the full-sized refrigerator, but would prefer more counter space.The couch in the owner's cabin could serve as a berth for a kid, or a place to sit and watch TV; a 22" LCD set is optional. Headroom in this cabin varies from 7' 10" (2.4 m) to 4' 7" (1.4 m), says Beneteau. We like the opening port in the hullside window.
Power Is Hard to Reach
Twin Volvo Penta D6-370 sterndrives are the only power choice for the Monte Carlo 42. We haven't tested the boat, so can't speculate on speeds; once we have hard facts, we'll let you know. But we suspect the boat will match typical performance for a boat of her size and type – but don't hold us to it.Joystick controls are optional, part of either the Dynamic (lesser) or Ambition (top-level) trim packages. We strongly recommend joysticks if available, since they make handling any boat easier and safer. Every boat is a compromise, and here it is on the Monte Carlo 42 -- full engine access: First the garage door must be raised, and any gear stowed here removed to clear the engine-compartment hatch. This space will hold an inflatable tender, so maybe it'll have to be launched, too. Once you get the hatch open, engine access is good. Beneteau says there is "service compartment access" from the cockpit as well as full access from the garage. We prefer easy full access.
It is not often that you find a boat of this size powered by sterndrive engines instead of straight inboards or pod drives. Because the engines are all the way aft, extra room has been opened up for the large accommodations forward -- probably the largest in class. Further, gas sterndrives are less expensive than are gas pod drives or diesels.Before recommending the Beneteau Monte Carlo 42, we'd want to spend enough time on board to find out if we could live with the unconventional engine access. Ignoring day-to-day engine maintenance is a fast track to breakdowns and big repair bills, so access should be quick and easy. Maybe the "service compartment" is large enough for everyday use, but maybe not. Otherwise, we think the Monte Carlo 42 is worth a look. We like the midships master cabin, the below decks lounge and the sybaritic cockpit and aft deck. And don't forget the attractive price, too. So investigate and make your own decision.
Standard and Optional Features
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!