Clearly the new Monte Carlo 5 was inspired by the hatchet bows of several superyachts launched the last five years or so and the plumb bows and angular high-freeboard shapes of Wally yachts. But Groupe Beneteau has done them both one better in our opinion and produced what could be a new trend in mid-size cruising powerboats. This three-stateroom, two-head cruiser with flying bridge is powered by twin Volvo Penta IPS500s and has details and amenities intended to appeal to veteran boaters looking to move both up and down.
- Top of the market materials
- Galley unit on transom
- Flybridge air conditioning
- Third engine control in cockpit
- Teak slatted cockpit and gallery floors
- Leather upholstery
- Innovative hull design
- IPS 500 or 600 Pod drives
- 3 main cabins, 1 crew cabin
- Spacious flybridge lounge
|Length Overall||49' 10'' / 15.19 m|
Acceleration Times & Conditions
|Time to Plane||5.8 sec.|
|0 to 30||7.2 sec. (0 to 20)|
|Load||3 persons, 1/2 fuel, no water, 50 lbs. of gear|
|Climate||62 deg., 45 humid.; wind: 10-15 mph; seas: 1-2|
2 x 435-hp Volvo Penta IPS 600
2 x 370-hp Volvo Penta D6 IPS500
2 x 435-hp Volvo Penta D6 IPS600
Contents of Report
Mission of the Monte Carlo 5
Groupe Beneteau is setting out to capture the hearts and minds of boaters who want a yacht that looks modern, has high-style with an Italian flare, has three staterooms, and looks like more than a million dollars, but costs significantly less. The company has also chosen to appeal to the minority of boaters who know a well-executed boat when they see one.
The Monte Carlo Line
The line is a collaboration which draws on the nautical and industrial know-how of Groupe Beneteau and the styling expertise of Nuvolari & Lenard, who lend their unique talent to the exterior styling as well as the whole interior layout, in addition to the designer Pierangelo Andreani who also worked on the layout and interiors.
French Naval Architecture.
The collaboration between the Italian stylists and the French naval architects, Tanguy Le Bihan and Patrick Tableau, gives the Monte Carlo 5 her distinctive look and remarkable utility. This is one of the secrets of the group's success in the powerboat field -- its ability to mold the exciting, romantic visions of Italian visionaries with practical and experienced French naval architecture.
Form And Function.
The designers have carefully gone over every square inch to the Monte Carlo 5 to make sure that function, utility and practicality have not been sacrificed on the alter of trendy style or simple bella figura (a beautiful display, often without substance.) As expected from the Groupe Beneteau, performance and practicality are paramount.
Construction and Materials
Building a motoryacht with the level of materials, equipment, hardware and amenities planned for the Monte Carlo 5 can most efficiently be done at a factory, not a traditional yacht yard used for building only a dozen or so boats a year. A second secret of the group's success is keeping pricing reasonable, and that can be best done in its factories.
Modern Methods Pay Off.
The builder has refined the art of production building, eliminating hundreds of man-hours in antiquated boat building practices and replacing them with smart engineering, robots and modern industrial systems. The hull and superstructure are built to Beneteau Group's scantlings and we are told that some proprietary systems from the Trieste Monte Carlo Yachts' yard will also be integrated into the MC5.
A good example of the mixing of these two cultures is the wood treatment being used aboard. Interior joinery is made of brushed oak, the standard galley deck is teak slatted, manufactured by Alpi the supplier used in nearly all of the group's models. The aft deck is "slatted" teak, which means a "teak-and-holly" type treatment that is in traditional yacht DNA. Head compartments have teak soles and stair treads are also teak.
Another example of the builder's attention to detail is the use of "Divine" fabric in upholstery and padded bed headboards of Majilite, with the top of furniture upholstered with "Stonegrey" leather. Every material has been carefully selected to play a role in creating a luxurious feel and look in the boat.
When we got on the boat at the Dusseldorf Boat Show we were surprised to find a level of fit-and-finish and attention to construction detail that is usually reserved for $2 million and up yachts. All joints were straight and tight. Fabric and leather stitching was flawless. Drawers, doors, windows and hatches were all solid, true and closed with the exactitude and tolerances usually reserved for the best-made Japanese products. This is the way we wish all yachts were built, but to pull it off requires remarkable engineering, management, and an esprit de corps on the shop floor that is hard to find anywhere these days.
A New Design Direction
By discarding the flowing lines and stylistic affectations of most contemporary Euro designs imprinted on express cruisers, sedans, motoryachts and even in some convertibles built these days all over the world, the Beneteau Group might well be pointing the direction to a new look in boating. To our eye, that look is more like a traditional motorboat.
Her freeboard is high which not only maximizes headroom below from 6'1" (1.85 m) to 6'6" (1.98 m), but also means she can easily handle larger waves without drenching the windshield at cruising speeds. Her deck line is horizontal and there is no swooping sheer sweeping down to the swim platform. No, the Monte Carlo 5 is more like your grandfather's motorboat or commuter. Her round portlights and deck rails at proper height only add to the retro look.
Perhaps most importantly, her window treatment is sensible and unaffected by styling flourishes such as two horizontal rows of windows with a swirl of fiberglass in between. Her windshield is one huge piece of glass with no mullion on the centerline. And the helmsperson can stand at the wheel and see out thanks to 6'6" (1.95 m) of headroom. Visibility is the watchword for both the captain at the lower helm and for guests looking out.
Not Completely Swept Away.
Of course, the builder has not tossed modern styling completely to the wind. The lines of her coach roof are like those of the big Monte Carlo Yachts. The bulwarks of the flying bridge are low, Italian-style, although the dark plexy wind deflector is a bit higher than normal on this size boat and it is made more substantial with a stainless steel frame.
There are other vestiges of contemporary Euro styling, too: the windshield is swept back at a low angle. The deck of the flying bridge sweeps aft like many other boats we're used to seeing, but the saving grace here is that it extends out to the transom which means the aft deck can be buttoned up with polycarbonate windows should an owner want three-season boating.
Regular readers know we like to have two seats at the helm and the Monte Carlo 5 really does not have that on the flying bridge. Also, cruising boats need a place to carry a dinghy for going ashore. The builder hasn't forgotten about this important subject. While Monte Carlo 5 is primarily intended for traveling between marinas, a tender can easily be fitted on her large hydraulic swim platform. FYI -- Beneteau provides a customized tender that matches the Monte Carlo 5 in hull color and upholstery treatments.
In this case, either a swim platform extension will be necessary, or the use of a Weaver-type hinged device attached to the standard platform.
The Miracle Below
The Monte Carlo 5 has three staterooms below, plus optional crew quarters in the stern, 6'1" (1.85 m) of headroom in the master, and 6'5" (1.94 m) of headroom in the forward stateroom -- all of which is rare in a 43'6" (13.26 m) hull with only a 14'1" (4.29 m) beam. There is also 4'1" (1.24 m) from the mattress to the overhead in the forward cabin.
Now we can see how all of those interior designers earned their fees. How did the they do it? Five things made it possible--
The Monte Carlo 5 comes standard with twin Volvo Penta IPS500 370-hp systems. (IPS600s are available as options. ) The pods allow the engines to be moved aft which opens up 60% of the hull space for accommodations. By using jack shafts the builder was able to place the engines forward of the crew quarters/lazzarette in the stern and connect the engines to the pods just forward of the transom, under the crew bunk.
2. Nearly Vertical Hull Sides.
Most cruisers in this size range have a large discrepancy between the beam on deck and the beam at the waterline. Sometimes it is as much as 2' (.60 m). Such a design reduces the boat's weight and also the frontal area presented to the water, both of which make the boat easier to push. But that kind of design robs floor space from the accommodations. By having nearly vertical hull sides the Monte Carlo 5 has as much waterline beam as some boats with a 16' (4.88 m) beam on deck.
3. Beam Carried Forward and Aft.
The MC5's beam on deck is carried almost completely aft and far forward. While the forward sections are narrow (the builder calls its bow shape the "wave splitter") at deck height they are wide which enables the boat to have bunks in the guest stateroom which are from 24" (.62 m) to 30" (.77 m) wide. Those are both decent widths in most European three-cabin boats under 55' (16.76 m).
4. Bottom Shape.
While the Monte Carlo 5 has a sharp forefoot, once above the waterline the hull is pushed out dramatically by a wide hard chine which maximizes living space in the forward cabin. The hull bottom warps from a remarkably high angle at the stem to low deadrise angle about a third of the way back from the bow. This provides a lot of lift and makes the boat go faster than she would otherwise. It also means that the cabin sole of the master can be carried far outboard. By strategically placing the stringers under the double bed in the master the designers have been able to allow a step-down at the foot of the bed which becomes the controlling 6'1" (1.85 m) of headroom in the master.
5. Careful Placement of Salon Seating.
In the master stateroom in the aisles beside the bed the overhead again has 6'1" (1.85 m) headroom even though the sole is higher because of being under the dinette seating and sofa in the salon. The salon sole is the lower area over the bed where high headroom is not needed.
By having two step-ups in the main deck above, one from the galley to the dinette and sofa level, and another step-up to the lower helm, the designers were able to get the headroom below required for the master stateroom in a proper yacht. At the same time they kept the exterior lines of the boat looking relatively low and sleek, something that is hard to do in a boat under 50' (15.2 m).
Where Does the Monte Carlo 5 Fit In?
One of the challenges with introducing a design as radically different as the Monte Carlo 5 is finding her niche in boat types. But the function of those traditional types has become blurred over the last five years or so because boat owners no longer feel constrained to use their boats for specific purposes intended by the builder. For example, convertibles are used now more for cruising than sportfishing, big express cruisers with accommodations below are used as day boats, and many motoryachts are used for long-range traveling instead of just being a gin palace in the ICW.
With a pair of 435-hp IPS600’s powering our test boat, we reached a top speed of 30 knots at 3600 rpm. At that speed we were burning a total of 42.5 gph for a range of 250 miles. Best cruise came in at 3250 rpm and 25.7 knots. That speed reduced the fuel burn to 31.5 gph which translated to a range of 291 miles.
We reached planing speed in 5.8 seconds and accelerated to 20 mph in 7.2 seconds.
Rated for Offshore Work.
The Monte Carlo 5 carries an EC "B" rating for 14 people, which means the boat is designed for use with up to 14 people aboard offshore in conditions up to, and including, wind force 8. That is a "fresh gale" with winds to 40 knots and seas running 18 to 25' (5.5 m to 7.6 m). This rating places the Monte Carlo 5 in some very good company and essentially means that she can be used in most or any condition short of a strong storm.
While our test didn’t include taking her through a named storm, we did manage to scrounge up some sizeable wakes of passing yachts and we made straight for them on each occasion. Regardless of what speed we encountered with these sizable wakes, the result was the same. We simply sliced right through with no pounding, spray, or hardly any feeling at all. It was perhaps the most anti-climactic result to the efforts we put forth to test her sea handling abilities.
When we had to stop to change camera crews to the chase boat, she laid broadside to the wind and only rolled to within 10-degrees in the swells. This was no doubt to her relatively flattish stern sections, rather than being a deep-V. This is another indication that she is a sea-kindly boat.
We can see the Monte Carlo 5 being used as a day boat for entertaining. Indeed, her aft deck with table that seats six and her large dinette table on the flying bridge for eight present ample venues for cocktail parties and dinners. And then there is the salon with its U-shaped seating and sofa to starboard -- and electrically actuated flatscreen TV.
Her twin sun pads
forward with chaise lounge-type back rests and the sun pad on the flying bridge adjacent to the helm provide designated areas for sun worshipers. At rest, of course the swim platform can be used for laying out as well as the dinette seating on the flying bridge.
With the galley
situated between the salon and the aft deck, delivering lunch or snacks is handy either to the dinette forward or the table on the aft deck. While the galley is too small to be for followers of Julia Child, it is large enough and properly equipped for preparing lunch and finger food.
With three staterooms and two heads the Monte Carlo 5 can comfortably accommodate six people for cruising. The optional crew cabin in the stern means that a captain, mate, cook or nanny can be brought along to make the adventure even more comfortable.
While there isn't a seat next to the captain's on the flying bridge, two guests can join the captain and face forward in the settee to port. Below, the helm seat is double-wide so that two sets of eyes can be on watch.
Long Range Cruising.
While the Monte Carlo 5 is not built as a long range cruiser, the fact is that with her "wave splitting" bow and her relatively flat sections aft she provides comfort and stability. We think she would make a fine extended cruising boat, limited only by her quite modest 344 gal. (1,300 L) fuel capacity, which in many ways defines this vessel.
At moderate cruising speeds in the 16-knot range, our tests show her to have a fuel burn of only 19 gph allowing her to be able to run for over 16 hours covering more than 261 nautical miles. That will get most people we know between fueling marinas on the way up to Alaska or around the Mediterranean. Remember, fuel-efficiency at moderate cruising speeds is the strong suit of the IPS drive.
We measured a WOT speed of 26.6 kts at 3400 rpm. That speed produced a fuel burn of 44 gph and a range of 187 nautical miles. She had a time to plane of 6.4 seconds, and reached 20 mph in 9.3 seconds.
What all of this means is the Monte Carlo 5 has versatility and can be used like a conventional sedan, a Downeast picnic boat, a coastal trawler, a motoryacht, or with her large hydraulic swim platform, a staging platform for scuba diving. She can be used for entertaining family, friends and clients, or for accommodating six people on short or long cruises. -->
For a Discerning Boater Only
We happen to think that with the Monte Carlo 5 what is important is not what function she might be used for, but rather what type of boater the owner is. We doubt that she will appeal to the gang down at the marina who only feel confident if their boat looks like what everyone else has. And she certainly won't appeal to boaters who like the looks of a mega-sportboat with a flying bridge. She is in no way a "plastic fantastic," and people who don't know the difference probably won't buy her.
For Veteran Boaters.
Rather, we think, the Monte Carlo 5 will catch the fancy of people who are secure in their boating experience and have over the years developed a sophisticated nautical eye. These are the boaters who will appreciate the retro aspects of the boat's styling and will understand the benefits of a hull with a high freeboard, horizontal side decks, high deck rails, and superstructure that is simple with a minimum of design clutter.
These people will appreciate her modern interior with woods, upholstery and bulkhead coverings in light, harmonious, tasteful tones that are understated. Boaters who want to get away from fiberglass interiors, but were afraid they couldn't afford it will be pleased to see the luxurious décor materials and interior joinery of the MC5.
Given the IPS propulsion with joystick, the quantity of joinery work and its fit-and-finish, the quality and taste levels of the fabrics, upholstery and leathers used, the copious use of polished stainless steel all over the boat, the three staterooms below, and the flying bridge -- the Monte Carlo 5 seems to us to be a lot of boat for the money. In fact we can think of many express cruisers, sedans, Downeast cruisers, trawlers, and other types of boats that don't offer as much utility and cost more.