Monte Carlo Yachts’ meteoric rise is nothing short of astonishing. But does its latest offering, the MCY 96, live up to the sky-high standards set by its predecessors?
Visitors to the Cannes boat show are no longer surprised to find a brand new vessel from Monte Carlo Yachts making its international debut. In its short lifetime, the shipyard has done so seven times so far, and counting. It seems to have become a habit.
The MCY 96 slots into the range between the MCY 86 and the MCY 105, and in common with those two notably spacious yachts, its design places great emphasis on square metres: on the massive flybridge beneath its equally impressive carbon hardtop, on the capacious main deck which sweeps on one level from transom to saloon bulkhead, and down below too, where owners can choose between three and four-cabin layouts. A raised pilothouse sits above the two lower-deck companionways.
Placing the galley down forward in the crew area has freed up space for the saloon, whose huge windows and optional balconies make spectacular use of the hull’s generous beam. The master cabin on the main deck is similarly well endowed with glass, both inside and out – for those cutaway bulwarks, shaped to promote the views from within, are also glazed.
Other small but nifty design touches worthy of note include the fabric sunroof in the hardtop, which instead of hanging when open in an unsightly concertina of folds, disappears completely inside the carbon shell. By the dining table on the main deck, fitted sliding shelves for glassware and crockery can be locked in place for going to sea. And not only is there no step to trip unwary guests between the cockpit and saloon, the cockpit doors folds away completely to port.
This kind of intelligent thinking goes right back to the beginning of every boat from Monte Carlo Yachts, which is well known for its modular construction methods, where the interiors are manufactured, plumbed and wired in their entirety outside the hull before being lifted and glued into place.
This means that more people can get at their tasks, and get them done more quickly – 45 to 50% more quickly, according to the shipyard. The entire lower-deck assembly of the MCY 96 sits on a ‘soft suspended’ aluminium frame which has no direct contact with the hull, reducing noise and vibration. From start to finish, an MCY 96 takes four-and-a-half months to build.
Article continues below…
The Sunseeker 95 Yacht only boasts an extra half deck over its 28m sister ship, but the affect is astonishing.
But a rigorous approach to streamlined production doesn’t mean that the shipyard lacks flexibility with customisation. Both the saloon and the flybridge come with various custom options, as does the master cabin, and construction can be adapted to suit the owner’s classification preferences, under CE or MCA regulations.
The interior decor can also be specced. You can choose the tint of the windows, for example, as well as the fabrics and finishes, and our test boat, the first off the production line, exhibited a cheerful and pleasing selection of tones, textures and attention to detail.
When it comes to tenders and toys, often a favourite obsession with owners of this class of yacht, there is no need for such flexibility, as the MCY 96’s basic design ensures that you can have pretty much whatever you want. The hydraulic platform is full beam and comes with a 1,200kg lifting capacity, while the garage can take a Williams 445 jetRIB.
Of course, just as there are two sides to every story, there are two sides to every tender well. The underside of the MCY 96’s is a significant protuberance in the machinery space, which reduces headroom between the engines to practically zero. Access around the sides is not too bad, however, and the installation itself was top notch.
With the engines rumbling away far below – we had to take the tachometers’ word for it, as in the wheelhouse at tickover, a noise level of 50dB(A) barely registered on the ear – the big yacht edged out of its tight Cannes show berth and we pointed her broad and well-upholstered snout out to sea. The air was clear, the breeze light, and a mild 2ft chop made no impression.
Unfortunately, the shipyard had a confession to make. It wasn’t the sort of confession that you volunteer without good reason, but reason there was. In high-speed turns with lots of helm wound on, a faint but noticeable vibration set in whose origin was something of a mystery.
The hardtop was oscillating slightly, as hardtops often do, but it wasn’t that. The fact that it only became evident with lots of reflection suggested that the rudders were somehow implicated. Beyond that, it was impossible to tell. We looked enquiringly at the shipyard staff. They pretended to be interested in something on shore, just over there, behind the white building. We weren’t having any of it. Eventually they cracked.
It seemed that having been delivered in time for a month-long summer cruise in the western Mediterranean, based out of Malta, the yacht, or one of its propellers at least, might have made inadvertent contact with a subsea geological feature.
In plain language, it dinged a rock. And there hadn’t been time to fix it before the show. The boat was travelling slowly at the time so only one blade out of five, on one propeller, had made contact, which explained the low frequency of the vibration.
And the fact that the vibration only became obvious under certain conditions suggested that the damage wasn’t too severe. It might also have had some bearing on the top speed we recorded, 24.5 knots, which although perfectly respectable, was a couple of knots lower than the shipyard’s published estimate with these big V16 MTUs.
Otherwise, loaded with half fuel and three-quarters water, not to mention a considerable weight of optional extras, from the Seakeeper stabiliser in the bilges to the balconies on the main deck, the MCY 96 put in a respectable performance.
We found that speed dropped off markedly in hard, fast turns, but that was hardly surprising for 100 tonnes of boat. More importantly, its easily driven moderate-vee hull proved equally happy in the cruise from 16 knots all the way up to 22.
Being happy in the cruise is of course the entire point of yachts like this, and owners and guests should find little to be unhappy about, whether speeding across the waves, dropping anchor in some turquoise cove, or mooring stern-on to some quaint stone quay opposite the best trattoria in town.
Copious outside deck spaces, folding balconies and an abundance of glass ensure guests will always be able to make the most of their surroundings. The MCY 96 is an exceptionally well-appointed vessel, beautifully fitted out and remarkably spacious, even in its five-cabin incarnation.
Monte Carlo Yachts might still seem like a new shipyard, but it has firmly established itself in the market and takes its place on the Jetée Albert-Edouard at the Cannes show every year, as if to the manner born. In its eight years of existence, it has launched seven models, from 65ft to 105ft, which all remain in production. It’s a company with an enviable talent for getting it right – and it can’t seem to shake the habit.
LOA: 96ft 10in (29.26m)
Beam: 22ft 9in (6.94m)
Draught: 6ft 10in (2.10m)
Fuel capacity: 2,420 gal (11,000 litres)
Water capacity: 363 gal (1,650 litres)
Displacement: 98 tonnes light
Test engines: 2 x 2,200-hp MTU 16V 2000 M86
Optional engines: 2 x 1,900hp MAN V12 1900
Top speed on test: 24.5 knots
Cruising speed: 16-22 knots
Range at 9.4 knots: 1,149nm
Design: Nuvolari Lenard / Monte Carlo Yachts