When you walk the pontoons at a well-stocked show like Southampton, you become quickly aware that there is a formula for the way a powerboat of a given size and type tends to look. When you then stumble across something that appears to sidestep the norm, its impact is particularly stark – and with its aggressive forward hull shape, the Monte Carlo 5 flybridge motoryacht is exactly such a craft.
Watch Alex Smith's short video of his first look at the MC5 here.
Making its UK debut at the Southampton Boat Show, the MC5 is the result of a joint project by two yards (Monte Carlo of Italy and Beneteau of France) and the idea behind this collaboration is very simple. You take the high-end style and panache of Monte Carlo and blend it with the industrial might and production efficiencies of Beneteau. What the companies hope to achieve by this means is big boat luxury and big badge desirability on a sub 50-footer that is much more affordable than it looks.
It’s a laudable plan and one with a very sound basis. After all, Monte Carlo has a strong reputation for large flybridge motoryachts with sporting lines, acutely contoured hull shapes and lavish fit-outs. And as the largest producer of sail and powerboats in the world, with a 130-year history and a penetrating global reach, Beneateau is able to offer the kind of large-scale industrial know-how that very few boatbuilders can match. So just how successful is the new MC5?
Beneteau Monte Carlo MC5: The ‘Wave Cutter’ hull
The designers claim that the MC5’s undoubted beauty is all about “reason, maturity and discipline” and the ‘Wave Cutter’ hull is one of the key exponents of that approach. In addition to eight per cent greater efficiency than a traditional hull, the tulip-shaped bow of this elegant looking design apparently enables a flatter trim and better wave deflection for improved visibility from the helm. The designers even go as far as to talk about “perfect seakeeping” – and while that is plainly an absurd notion, what they are no doubt alluding to is the traditional softness of ride that tends to come with finer hull angles.
Certainly, when you inspect the hull, the fine entry and the deep forefoot suggest an attempt to soften the point of impact and graduate re-entry in a lumpy sea. That does tend to mean slightly less buoyancy in the bow and a tendency to steer by the nose as the forward angles grab and carve at the water shapes. However, there is a decent bit of bow flare here and that should certainly help deflect the spray and offer some extra buoyancy at moderate speeds through the swells.
Beneteau Monte Carlo MC5: Internal Layout
With an air draught of nearly six metres, this flybridge yacht plainly has a decent bit of windage but the fact that it was designed for Volvo Penta’s IPS system (IPS 500 or 600) means that it’s not likely to be a problem. In addition to the splendid user-friendliness of joystick control, IPS also promises a reduction in fumes for those on the aft deck, allied to reduced vibration, greater running efficiency and significant extra internal space.
Happily, the MC5 makes the most of that extra space with three generous cabins. You get a full-beam Master with private bathroom and separate shower, plus a well-lit ensuite cabin in the bow and a third guest room to starboard with a pair of bunks. Each of these bunks is equipped with its own mini-porthole and because the heads compartments are housed on the port side, the staggered portholes lend the external aesthetics a very attractive asymmetry.
Back up on the three-tiered main deck, everything remains pleasantly open plan. From the external aft deck beneath the shelter of the fly structure, you step through wide, fully opening concertina-style sliding doors into the galley. It’s a great position for the cooking area, as not only does it give the lower deck maximum space for the shaping of the accommodation, but it also means it sits right at the heart of the boat, providing refreshments just as easily to the flydeck and the helm as the saloon. Additionally, the smells and humidity of the galley are much easier to disperse without clinging to fabrics or offending the boat’s occupants.
Further forward, the helm position forms part of a large saloon space, which means that rather than feeling like a neglected employee, the driver is very much part of things. It’s a fine area and like the rest of the boat, both headroom and natural light are extremely good. However, the visibility at the helm seems far more restricted than it needs to be. I appreciate that a flybridge cruiser requires robust screen stanchions to help support the upper structure but you will rarely see pillars of such extraordinary size as this.
Having said that, you can always step up top to the second helm, where the huge flybridge emulates the mid-deck’s layout with a forward seating section that embraces the helmsman as part of the group. It also offers a large C-shaped aft seating section plus a storage box and a mini-galley so you can avoid carrying refreshments up those external stairs.
In short, the MC5’s internals are undeniably impressive and that’s not because they scream out ostentation or expense but because they do entirely the opposite. There is quality everywhere, with clean lines and high-class materials like tanned leather, stainless steel, brushed oak and lacquered woods but the general impact is not loud. It is simple, modern, modest and extremely attractive.
Beneteau Monte Carlo MC5: Summary
The Monte Carlo 5 is designed to be timeless rather than vogueish, but with a distinctive originality that still manages to set it apart – and from an aesthetic perspective it certainly succeeds. It also appears to back up its stylistic sophistication with a clear-thinking layout, lovely materials and great attention to detail. Of course, I can’t yet verify the company’s rather lofty claims regarding its dynamic performance but what the MC5 most certainly does achieve is immediate credibility as one of the most desirable and freethinking sub-50-foot flybridge motoryachts sensible money can buy.
Beneteau Monte Carlo MC5: Specifications
Air draught: 5.85m
Fuel capacity: 2 x 650 litres
Water capacity: 2 x 330 litres
Engine options: Volvo IPS 500 (370hp) / Volvo IPS 600 (435hp)
See also: Powerboat Bucket List: 10 Best Boats to Drive, Clean Means Quick: Taking Care of Your Hull Saves Fuel