Bénéteau has Fairline and Sessa firmly in it's sights with a sublime new sportscruiser...
Bénéteau‘s plan for world domination is coming along nicely. Its reach extends from cracking little dayboats to serious, go-anywhere trawler yachts, so all it needs now is a sharp sportscruiser to compete with the big boys. Enter the Monte Carlo 42.
The hardtop is rakish, the hull comes in a range of smart colours (red, grey, blue or plain white) and below the waterline Bénéteau’s proven Air Step hull design promises plenty of performance.
A wonderful example of how Bénéteau’s attention to design and detail comes together can be found at the helm. Surrounded by a sophisticated grey moulding, the helm features a chunky teak trim and an architectural curve of skylight that morphs into the below-decks entranceway.
It’s the same story below decks where the MC42 boasts shape, detail and cabinetry that curves. We also like the polymer moulding Bénéteau has used for its sinks, which looks and feels like soapstone.
The real star is the full-beam amidships master cabin, which features hull-side windows with inset ports and a large low-set double berth with stacks of headroom above it.
The 42’s guest cabin features another low-slung berth that you can fall in to rather than climb on to, as well as oodles of lockers. Both cabins are served by toilet compartments with separate shower stalls.
The saloon benefits from almost 7ft of headroom and that arc of skylight overhead. The seating will take four or five in comfort with Ocean Air blinds adding some subtle detail around the port lights.
During seatrials Bénéteau’s Air Step hull is once again a roaring success. The response from the helm is electric, and the pick-up and trim as you accelerate are near perfect. The ride is incredibly smooth, although catching a wave on the chine will reverberate up through the hardtop coaming with an acoustic slap.
There are a few questionable areas that we can pick on, however. Plastic fuel tanks might be OK on small boats but we prefer stainless steel ones on £300,000 cruisers, and the ugly sight of self-tapping screws piercing the enginebay was a shame.
The MC42 is one of the best cruisers in the world both in terms of its size and price. It's also miles better than the MC47 - sorry Bénéteau, but it really is. If you can find a better sportscruiser for the money or length we'll be impressed and surprised in equally massive measures.