It’s a superyact by design, if not by size.
The bow on the Monte Carlo Yachts (MCY) 70 is worth the price of admission. Lounging here on one of the enormous sunpads may make someone feel like she’s on a superyacht. And she is — except this one’s 20 feet shorter than normal and can be operated without a superyacht crew. And that not only saves cash, but it ups the fun factor too.
A combination of French ownership (Groupe Beneteau) and Italian design (Nuvolari Lenard), Monte Carlo Yachts builds contemporary hulls from 65 to 105 feet. The second smallest in the line, the MCY 70 lives up to the reputation for style that Italy is known for — interior accents on luxury wherever the eye rests and swoopy exterior lines that blend with round hull ports to give it a unique profile. The 70 looks at once aggressive and sleek, retro and classic, which also matches its dual personality as a superyacht, yet not.
I rarely start a vessel walkthrough on the bow, but I couldn’t resist making my way to the pointy end of the MCY 70, which isn’t a brand new model but is new to the West Coast. I noticed the width of the sidedecks and the gates that are built into the hull. From the fashionplates that keep wind and spray out of the cockpit, I walked forward, sliding my hand along the large, flat-topped stainless steel railing all the way to the Portuguese bridge at the windshield. There, I transitioned to a bow that’s large enough to land a small helicopter, if it weren’t so posh.
A central walkway leads between two crescent-shaped tables that lower electrically to form two enormous sunpads with popup lights and headrests. Just ahead is a well where crew can stand safely and operate the windlass that is elevated to about thigh level. A fabric sunshade on carbon fiber poles can be erected over the entire lounge. I’m not sure how much wind this setup can take, but there’s nothing flimsy about anything else here. The cleats are massive and the tables, although an elegant combination of stainless and teak, look like they could lift a car. Sitting up here, even without a glass of chilled white, makes one feel like a celebrity in Cannes shunning the invasive lenses of the paparazzi.
The equally impressive other end is dominated by a large, hydraulic swim platform that lowers below the waterline to launch a tender (1,300-pound max loading capacity). When empty, the platform is a great place to lounge, ready dive gear, host a small swim party or enter the engine room via the transom door. Steps lead up either side of the transom to a cockpit that is protected from the weather by the extended flybridge overhang.
A teak-clad staircase to port leads from the cockpit to a large flybridge that is covered by a hardtop with a central retractable fabric sunroof. A double helm seat is amidships behind the reverse windshield. Two Raymarine G Series MFDs front a dash with a full complement of engine and systems controls, and they provide camera feeds for visibility aft when backing into a slip. An angled lounge sits to port and more companion seating is outboard on the other side.
Amidships is a dinette that will seat six for dinner, and behind that, next to the utility mast that holds antennas and KVH satellite domes, is a galley module with an electric grill, an ice-maker, a refrigerator and a sink (all standard equipment). Additional deck space at the rear has room for two chaise lounges for sun worshipers. The view forward from here is excellent, over that fabulous bow lounge and all the way down to the windlass.
Mark Gibbons of 50 North Yachts in San Diego, the MCY dealer, noted that these vessels are fully custom built, which means buyers can opt for just about any layout that will fit within the frame of the structure. Our test boat had the most common, or “brochure,” plan, which eschews the popular aft galley concept and instead dedicates that entire end of the interior to the salon and its L-shaped lounge to starboard. The cockpit opens up to the salon via glass and stainless doors that fold neatly out of the way. The barrier is less a door and more a glass wall, and just as on the bow, there’s a feeling of heft and sturdiness as the doors open.
Inside, the color palette is “greige,” with gray oak, beige and taupe blending to a soft effect and an upsclae appeal. The galley is also to starboard, its Miele and Isotherm appliances subtly camoflouged inside wood and painted surfaces. Across is a pantograph door that leads to the port sidedeck, a feature that will be welcomed by any skipper who has to hurriedly make his way from the inside to the bow. An L-shaped dinette or breakfast nook sits just ahead of this door, and it can serve as companion seating to the captain.
The main helm is every bit as commanding as one would expect on a vessel of this size and sophistication, with a leather-topped dash and a matte lacquered finish to cut glare. Twin Boning monitors serve up all the information from navigation to systems monitoring, and the joystick and thruster controls are side by side to the left of the leather-wrapped wheel. A triangular, opening side window will help the driver communicate with crew outside and bring in a breeze as well.
The windshield ahead is a thing of beauty. The corners curve gently — no small feat when working with glass — and there’s no center mullion, so looking forward is like watching an IMAX movie with nothing in the way but a pair of Gallinea wipers. Visiblity aft is blocked by the galley but cameras are available to monitor every part of the vessel all the way back to the swim platform. Because the only stairs to the flybridge are from the cockpit, the interior has an uncluttered, open and easy flow.
The best part of the day, besides experiencing the sturdiness of this boat and that sumptuous bow arrangement, was driving pods with 1200 hp engines. That definitely makes an argument for keeping the MCY 70 as an owner/operator vessel. However, it accommodates up to three crew, so if an owner would like someone to bring the chilled bubbly as he and the family lounge on the bow, there’s room for that too.
The MCY 70 is offered with three or four cabins. The master stateroom amidships is full beam and includes a bed on the diagonal, a starboard L-shaped lounge and a large head aft that separates the sleeping accommodations from the noise and vibration in the machinery space. Stone finishes and an optional bidet make the head feel like a European hotel room. A full walk-in closet may be located in the starboard forward corner, but if the owner is willing to forgo it, a fourth cabin with over/under bunks may be added, as was the case with our test boat.
Strips of inset rope lighting illuminate the ceiling over the bed, which is intersting, but by far the nicest features of the main cabin are the round portlights. From the outside, the large windows give the yacht a distinctive profile, but from the inside their effect is even better. The two large ones provide wonderful outside views and the two small ones open, so fresh air circulates. That’s a departure from full-beam masters on other yachts where the space feels buried and is dependent on air conditioning, which is something we don’t rely on much on this coast.
Two crew cabins are aft and may be accessed via the engine room or through the clever lift-up staircase that leads to the flybridge. In the case of an owner/operator vessel, this can become a fifth cabin for guests or kids, because the finish in the crew accommodations is of such quality that guests will not feel at all put out here.
No detail is overlooked in the interior. Everywhere one’s eyes fall are leather-wrapped handholds, contemporary stainless accents and chic fixtures, all of which add up to a functional but sumptuous interior. Two dozen different materials are used in the interior finishes, including gray oak wood veneers, various leathers, travertine stone and a selection of luxe fabrics from elite European designers.
Finishing details are exceptional. In one six-inch square, I noted four different finishes: the stitched leather door covering, the matte paint on the door frame, and the ruched fabric and textured oak wood of the bulkhead. Handled less deftly, this may be overload, but the color scheme works and the effect is one of luxury.
There is only one engine package on the MCY 70: twin MAN V-8s with 1,200 hp. However, buyers can choose V-drives (standard) or ZF 4000 pods (optional). Our boat had the pods and a joystick, both at the lower helm and on the flybridge. Joystick driving with engines this powerful makes for a heady experience. The water churned as soon as I tipped the stick. Counter-intuitively, when docking, it’s almost easier to use the bow and stern thrusters; the engines are so strong they tend to kick the aft end of the boat around with much vigor.
To Gibbons’ credit, he was up for a ride outside the harbor, so we motored toward Point Loma in San Diego and turned into the wind, which was about 12 knots true. By Pacific standards, the ocean was flat but there was a slight swell coming in, so I tried positioning us both bow-on and beam-to the waves to see how the boat handled. The two optional Seakeeper gyros kicked on and the boat steadied.
With tanks at 65 percent (fuel) and 80 percent (water) and three of us aboard, we gradually came up on plane — it’s no small feat to generate momentum on 42 tons (dry). We topped out at 27 knots and 2173 rpm — short of the 33 knots and 2300 rpm that I expected. Also, around 1500 rpm, the whole boat shimmied and the hardtop shivered. (I believe that the top speed and the shimmy are related on this particular hull and will be addressed.)
At 1800 rpm, we slipped along nicely at 20 knots, finding the 70’s smoothest and most economical cruise. At this speed one can expect a range of almost 250 nautical miles with no reserve. However, if an owner decided to idle along at 600 rpm and 7.4 knots — average trawler speed — the range would increase to more than 1,900 miles, depending on conditions. That means the MCY can roam from Alaska to Mexico or be just as at home doing weekly turns to Catalina.
At speed, we turned in about three boat lengths, and with just the joystick, the boat easily spun in its own length, which showed exceptional agility on a vessel of this size. Inside, the boat remained whisper-quiet, even with one of the two 23 kw Kohler gensets working the Seakeepers and the two engines running at 1800 rpm.
From the flybridge we could hardly feel how fast we were moving as the deep-V, flared bow kept the deck dry and the height off the water (25 feet) camouflaged our speed. Heads turned and phones snapped photos as we passed.