Author: Capt. Tom Serio
When I hear the term Monte Carlo, I think of James Bond (you choose the actor), playing baccarat or poker, dressed in a tuxedo, exuding confidence while ordering a martini “shaken, not stirred” at the Monte Carlo Casino in Monaco.
I had a bit of that same sense when I stepped aboard the Monte Carlo Yachts 65 Flybridge. Suited for the bikini-clad set or men dressed in their best penguin suit, the MCY 65 will make you feel at home either way. It’s elegant, yet simple; fun, yet assured in handling; solid, yet transformative, from day to night, casual to black-tie.
From the dock, I first noted its unique flybridge/window styling. While the bottom of the wrap-around salon windows have a slight rise going forward, which is in line with the side styling, the overhang of the flybridge sweeps downward, giving the yacht the appearance of a scowl. It’s a look, maybe a little “mean,” that says this yacht can take on any conditions and get you there safely, and in style — a look Bond may have given to Dr. No.
Styling for the MCY 65, as well as the 70 and 76 models, is from the folks at Nuvolari-Lenard, famed for lending design prowess to yacht builders such as Oceanco, CRN, Palmer Johnson and others. Think of the Monte Carlo brand as a multinational effort. Designed by an Italian firm, the MCY line is built in Italy and is part of France’s Beneteau Group (yes, the sailboat builders, as well as other power-driven brands).
Modular in construction techniques, Monte Carlo has streamlined the build process to decrease the time to build while maintaining a high level of fit and finish. The focus is to follow principles of efficiency and eco-sustainability.
Cool in expression, the MCY 65 is also cool in function. Aft salon doors open wide (one slides over, the other folds back), making the salon and aft deck essentially one big area, no step needed. Enjoy the aft-deck table, with cushioned stern seating and chairs for at least eight, for alfresco dining. For a more casual experience, you can watch the 40-inch HD TV that’s inside the salon (it’s on a lift and rotates 90 degrees to face across the salon or aft), enjoying the outdoors while taking in, say, the Monaco Grand Prix.
Inside, the salon is richly appointed with walnut cabinetry and wood flooring, leather panels, an aft starboard L-shaped settee, an aft galley and a forward U-shaped settee across from the starboard helm.
Galley duty is not a banishment from the proceedings, since the chef is still close to the action. A bevy of standard appliances blends well with the overall décor — meaning most are well hidden and out of sight.
The coolness quotient spikes with the lower helm station. Unlike in a regular wheelhouse, the console is designed with a narrow, raised central steering pod finished in leather. Display pods for chartplotters, radar and other instrumentation are set back and off center. Each display pod has a smaller wing pod, housing a smaller display (e.g., autopilot, speed/depth log). Throttle, thruster and display controls, switches and more are installed on the flush surface in front of the console.
Our test yacht has Boning touch-screen displays, which make it easy to scroll through menus to display ship systems, such as engine logs, fuel- and water-tank capacities, and alarms — essentially anything that has a dial or needs to be monitored or controlled.
A few steps down from the helm are the accommodations. In the forward peak is the VIP stateroom, with a centered double berth, dual wardrobe closets, four opening portholes and an overhead hatch. The accompanying head has a Tecma toilet, a basin sink, storage and a stall shower with a glass door. I like the shower fixture overhead with 256 individual water ports. Let it rain!
Off the main hall to starboard is the guest stateroom. It has twin beds, which makes it ideal for kids, and there’s decent headroom for adults. It has direct access to a head, but there’s a second door from the main hall to this head for day use.
Down a small, private hallway aft and to port is the full-beam master suite. It features a centerline king-size berth flanked by nightstands, and there’s a side chaise seat for additional relaxation. Read a book, or peer out the multiple round hull-side windows, which open to create a cross breeze. These windows look great from the outside, too, with beveled edges and polished trim — not just a cutout in the fiberglass. Adding to the open feel is 7 feet of headroom.
There’s plenty of room in the large wardrobe closets for shoes, shirts, pants and maybe even a tuxedo. A hidden safe adds a level of security. Dresser draws are self-closing, keeping clothing in its place. The master head is large, with twin, square marble sinks and a shower stall with a rain-shower fixture. Access to the head is from the hallway, which adds a level of privacy.
The real allure of the MCY 65 may well be its exterior. In addition to the covered aft deck, sidedecks yield access to the forward lounge spaces. A Portuguese bridge is “styled-in” forward of the wheelhouse. I say styled-in because, even as this bridge can deflect water and prevent its full force from hitting the windshield while improving visibility, as most other Portuguese bridge setups do, there’s more. It acts as the backrest for the forward lounge pads and has copious amounts of storage within.
Walk down the centerline deck between the pads, and the flush deck yields a forward cockpit. The recessed area provides a safe level from which to access ground tackle, other gear and storage, and accommodate forward line handling and other tasks.
Ground tackle, except the capstan, is recessed in two compartments, resulting in clean lines and less toe stubbing. Access to the windlass and its controls, rode, lines and fenders can be gained easily. There’s even a freshwater chain washdown nozzle mounted in the pulpit. Q would be jealous.
Worried that you won’t hear the tunes while stretched out on the pads? No problem, as there’s a built-in CD/stereo with four speakers in the pit, to keep the jams coming. An added feature is the pop-up lights forward and aft of the lounge cushions that illuminate a typically hard-to-light area.
Up on the flybridge, it’s all about the R: relaxation. Stretch out on a port-side L-shaped settee that’s close to the starboard helm. Mix it up with other passengers at the U-shaped settee aft of the helm, complete with a high-low dining table. Cook up some steaks on the grill, which is mounted aft of the radar arch in a combo unit with a sink, a refrigerator and an ice-maker. Want to get some sun? The hardtop has a convertible roof that opens for suntanning or stargazing (ejector seat not included, sorry).
The designers at Nuvolari-Lenard made sure the bridge lines blend with the overall scheme. Tahe carbon-fiber hardtop pitches downward slightly to mimic the lines of the bridge brow. And the integrated radar arch at the aft end of the hardtop is chic, with a bold, angular black base topped by polished tubing that supports a wing deck where satellite domes sit. Extended tubing creates the deck for the radar. Maybe some Bond-style anti-pursuit systems can be mounted here, too.
Making the MCY 65 as speedy as an Aston Martin are twin MAN V8 diesel engines producing 1,200 hp each. We had no problem putting those to the test and comfortably ran the ocean at around 20 knots. Cruise speed for the MCY 65 is 26 knots, and it tops out around 31 knots. We had to dial it back due to some snotty seas — hey, it’s a new yacht that we didn’t want to beat up too much. Still, with 5-plus-footers trying to push us around, the 65 tracked true, rode the head seas well and was not subject to any significant snap-roll as we ran beam-to the seas.
Noise levels were not an issue, other than the wind blowing. Engine noise was low, and conversations were not a strain. Not to be forgotten, the engine room is accessed via an aft door from the large swim platform. A smart layout works well, as systems, breakers, filters and the generator are all easy to access. A washer/dryer is located here, also.
Aft of the engine room is the crew area, with two bunks and a head. In my opinion, this yacht could easily be operated by a cruising couple, so the crew space could be converted to a garage or a work area.
The Monte Carlo 65 has class, style and panache. It will leave you satisfied, not shaken or stirred.