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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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!
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