Monte Carlo 66: Stylish cruiser is much more than just a pretty face

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The luxury arm of the Beneteau Group has always offered something different, but the new Monte Carlo 66 is one of its best yet

Monte Carlo Yachts has never been a shipyard to conform to the status quo. The unique styling and modular construction technique alone ensure that the boats stand out amongst the mainstream competition.

The Monte Carlo 66 swoops in to replace the MCY 65 as the smallest model in the range and the one that has to offer the class and refinement promised by the most luxurious branch of the Beneteau Group tree for the least amount of money.

The 65 was a fine-looking machine and, if anything, the Monte Carlo 66 is even better. The profile is cleaner, the lines are muscular but elegant, and its covered side decks and delicately integrated hardtop give the appearance of a boat bigger than it actually is.

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The MCY 66 is not just a spruced up 65, but an all new boat with a fresh hull design

It’s unmistakable and retains the recognisable Monte Carlo Yachts cues of flared bow, circular hull windows and the clam shell outline of the superstructure but, for a craft of 66ft (20.11m) in length and 36 tonnes (dry), has a tightness and proportional balance unique amongst rivals. In a world of high-sided floating apartments the Monte Carlo 66 is a breath of fresh air.

The designers, Dan Lenard and Carlo Nuvolari, refer to evolution not revolution, but the boat is no mere spruce up of the existing 65, it is an all-new boat from top to bottom with a fresh hull design and a flybridge deck that is now the size of the previous 70ft model’s.

In most areas the Monte Carlo 66 feels larger than it is, partly down to the use of high quality, robust components and the intelligent foredeck, and partly due to the volume of the hull and the headroom this delivers within the accommodation.

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Headroom is excellent in the master and the floor space is flat

The materials are a class above too, especially the likes of purple Calcutta marble on the galley tops and saloon table. Expensive flourishes that stop short of going full Mar-a-Lago but add a sprinkle of stardust that will be appreciated by those with an eye for interiors. This boat is thoughtfully detailed throughout, even down to the tiniest cupboard door handle and lavish mix of materials on show in the master suite.

The big boat feeling continues in the cockpit where the flybridge overhang, double access points from the bathing platform, substantial mooring gear and space for free-standing chairs around the table add to the impression that you’ve stepped aboard a bigger craft.

This, after all, is a range that started life with the MCY 76 and has a MCY 105 as its flagship so Monte Carlo Yachts knows a thing or two about building boats on such a scale and wants customers buying a Monte Carlo 66 to share the same ownership experience as one who has ordered a 105.

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The palatial foredeck is a standout feature of the MCY 66

In places the boat truly does feel like a scaled down 105, namely on the flat foredeck with its plethora of lounging options. It’s hard to choose between the deck spaces because they all offer something a little different. The cockpit is well protected and within easy reach of the aft galley in the saloon.

The flybridge feels vast and is versatile thanks to the sunroof embedded within the hardtop and a wetbar with all the amenities needed to keep guests fed and watered. Our test boat had space for free-standing furniture at the aft end of the flybridge but you could (and I would) opt for some low-slung fixed seating here because in reality you’re not going to want to wrestle with sunloungers every time you want to catch the sun.

And the foredeck is quite possibly the finest in the class – apart from the Galeon 640, which is in a class all of its own. Its Portuguese bridge allows easy passage from deck to deck and the central walkway has a superyacht feel about it. The entire area can be shaded with a Bedouin-style canvas and it’s an ideal spot for some secluded sundowners if you’re moored stern to the quay.

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Clean lines and light decor give a cool beachy vibe to the saloon

The main deck has a cool, beachy vibe thanks to a décor featuring a light palette with dark highlights in the flooring and Venetian blinds. Light sycamore makes up the bulk of the woodwork and it lends brightness to an interior that is already endowed with a generous supply of natural light thanks to those massive saloon windows.

Down below

There isn’t as much natural light on the lower deck but intelligent use of indirect artificial lighting offers inviting warmth. The full-beam master suite feels huge and is without obstructions on the floor or overhead until you get close to the aft end. There is space for a stylish vanity station in the entrance hall and the walk around bed is flanked by a sofa and chest of drawers.

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The bathrooms are filled with classy detailing

Those elevated details spring out down here, like the rose gold wraps on the drawer and cupboard handles and the chunky, leather-encased handhold that runs from floor to ceiling on the bathroom bulkhead. Inconsequential on their own maybe but combined with the feel of the bits that you come into contact with they really make a difference.

The bathroom is lovely and features a washbasin seemingly carved out of the Corian counter, subtle down-lighting, and a shower cubicle large enough to include a seat.

Guest accommodation comprises a VIP ensuite forward and a twin cabin to starboard, which also has an ensuite, though it plays the part of day heads too. The VIP is obviously the pick of the guest cabins but the twin is as well finished as the double cabins and has a decent amount of natural light thanks to its attractive round portholes.

For crew there is a well-appointed twin cabin aft, with shower and toilet, accessed via a door in the transom. It’s compact, so not ideal for long periods at sea, but will do the job for the occasional overnight stay.

Both helm stations suffer the same pitfalls of not enough adjustment and driving positions that do little to engage the person at the helm. This is a boat set up for cruising that will spend most of its life on autopilot, but it wouldn’t hurt to add some adjustment to the seats so the helmsman can sit closer to the major controls.

The annoyances melt away once cruising though – the meaty yet refined MAN 1,200hp V8s effortlessly driving the Monte Carlo 66 through the water with very little to disturb the peace on board. Even at its 26-knot cruising speed, sound levels remain well below 70 decibels and there is such effortlessness to its progress that long journeys won’t feel a chore.

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The steering wheel is in a good place when standing but too far away if seated

Though 30 knots is a perfectly achievable top speed it’s the low to mid twenties where the boat feels most comfortable, and at a laid-back cruise of 22 knots the engines are using a combined 293 litres per hour.

It’s worth pointing out that these figures were achieved with half load and 14 people on board (the joys of a group press sea trial) but it’s to the credit of the Monte Carlo 66 that its living spaces coped so well with such a number of bodies on board.

If time is of the essence then a 29-knot cruising speed will return nearly 200 miles of range with a 20% reserve and, even then, noise is contained to just 70 decibels at the lower helm.

The yard offers fin or gyro stabilisers on the 66 but the benign conditions of our sea trial did little to prompt the use of the Seakeeper fitted to the test boat. The fuel tanks are mounted amidships and as low as they can possibly be in the hull so weight distribution is good, meaning the boat has a comfortable natural running attitude without the need to rely on the trim tabs.

Price as reviewed:

£1,750,000 for ex. VAT

Verdict

It’s 11 years since the first Monte Carlo Yachts model hit the water yet if feels like a brand that has been around for decades, given how quickly it has caught up with the established yards and elbowed its way into the market place. Fabrizio Iarrera, the managing director of MCY who was poached from Azimut/Benetti, spoke during our test of giving customers a reason to stray from the brands they were familiar with and how that begins with the aesthetic. If buyers love how a boat looks, that’s half the battle. This still rings true with the MCY 66 but it’s far more than just a pretty face, it’s impressively well engineered, cleverly laid out and the interior is appointed with a unique flair. If you really enjoy driving your boat then Princess and Sunseeker will build you a 65ft flybridge with more engaging dynamics and driver-focused ergonomics but the Monte Carlo 66 is an accomplished long distance cruiser, with a style all of its own that really stands out from the crowd.

Details

LOA: 66ft 0in (20.11m)
Beam: 17ft 0in (5.2m)
Draught: 4ft 1in (1.24m)
Displacement: 38 tonnes (light)
Fuel capacity: 3,500 litres
Water capacity: 750 litres
RINA class: A for 14 people
Test engines: Twin MAN V8-1200hp
Top speed: 31 knots
Cruising speed: 21.8 knots
Consumption: 293lph
Range: 208 miles
Noise: 64 dB(A)
Design: Nuvolari Lenard & Monte Carlo Yachts