Monte Carlo Yachts 86By Alan Harper
What a Difference a Yes Makes
Monte Carlo Yachts employs advanced techniques to build its new 86-footer, and the results speak for themselves.
Monte Carlo Yachts is a bit different from other boatbuilders. For one thing it was founded at a time when most of its putative rivals were battening down the hatches and frantically thinking up strategies for staying in business. For another, it looks Italian, tastes Italian, and sounds Italian, but is in fact part of French giant Bénéteau Group.
In fact, as a premier motoryacht brand launched with huge investment by a mass-production boatbuilder, in another country, in the depths of a recession, Monte Carlo Yachts really ought not to exist at all. But the latest Cannes boat show, last September, was its fourth since making its public debut with the MCY 76. At each subsequent show it has introduced a major new model, and 2013 was no exception: Enter the 86.
This new boat was pretty near the top of my show list. It was also pretty near the top of everyone else’s, so when on the first day the answer to my first request for a sea trial was a cheery, “Of course,” I was reminded just how different Monte Carlo Yachts can be. Before I knew it the lines were off and we were making our way past packed pontoons and out into the bay. I went inside for a look around.
One glance at the forward and aft companionways leading down from the saloon, and you already know that the 86’s accommodation is going to be a little different from most motoryachts this size. In fact there are no fewer than five alternative lower-deck layouts available, offering three, four, or five cabins. The most indulgent version has a truly stupendous master suite amidships that occupies fully half of the entire lower deck area, with a twin and a double en suite aft.
The five-cabin layout might be popular with charterers, featuring the same twin and double aft, but with two twins and a double suite in the forward section.
The 86 at the Cannes show had one of the two four-cabin layouts—again with that double and twin aft, plus a big full-beam amidships suite for the owner, and an additional twin en suite forward on the starboard side. It might not be the biggest master cabin the 86 can offer, but our test boat’s amidships suite certainly seemed spacious enough, with a beautifully fitted-out walk-in wardrobe and a notably enormous shower compartment.
Interior space is an important aspect of the MCY concept, and with her engines mounted aft on V-drives, and the galley and crew accommodation forward, the guest accommodation on both decks of the 86 gets the lion’s share of the beamiest bit of the boat. So even in the twin cabins, the berths are 6 feet 6 inches long and more than 30 inches wide, while headroom throughout is a generous 6 feet 6 inches.
The new MCY flagship comes with just one engine option, and as we cleared the cheerful red-and-white lighthouse on Cannes’ Vieux Port breakwater, I wondered whether 1,800-horsepower per side was really enough for a yacht that displaces around 80 tons in full cruising rig. I needn’t have worried. The 86 felt remarkably poised, with a perky throttle response, a tight turning circle, and enjoyably precise handling. There was a light chop on the water, which had no noticeable effect on our progress on any point of sail. With no need for any trim input from the Humphree Interceptors the big yacht stayed on plane quite happily until we got down to around 17 knots, felt very relaxed at cruising speeds in the mid-20s, and accelerated to a maximum two-way average of more than 26 knots. This, the shipyard personnel explained ruefully, was less than they had achieved in their own sea trial, several months before—there was the best part of a season’s growth on the hull and props.
Although she handles like a thoroughbred flying-bridge cruiser, and notwithstanding the shipyard’s disappointment with our top speed on the day, the 86 is being positioned by Monte Carlo Yachts as a sort of mini-superyacht—and not just due to her generous interior volume and choice of layouts. Even more of a superyacht feature than the optional balconies (they fold out, on either side of the dining area) is the fact that the interior design is entirely made-to-measure. Our test boat could list Poltrona Frau, Hermès, and Armani among must-have suppliers of leathers, fabrics and fittings, but you can bring along your own particular favorites and MCY’s designers, Nuvolari-Lenard in Venice, will work with you to create the interior you imagine. “We can do anything,” the shipyard’s Federico Peruccio told me. “There is no catalogue.” That includes the hull color.
Making good use of interior volume is vital, but another way to accentuate the size of a yacht is to exploit the on-deck spaces, and this is another area where the 86 shines. The flying bridge is 40 feet long, with a hot tub, sun-lounger space, sofas, and a bar, and can be sheltered by a huge carbon T-top complete with giant sunroof. The cockpit spreads out to the bulwarks on each side, a width of nearly 20 feet.
And then there is what you or I might call the foredeck seating, but which MCY refers to as the “bow lounge,” a designation it’s hard to argue with. The way in which this remarkably stylish and comfortable area is integrated into the rest of the boat is one of the key design features of the 86. Safe side decks lead forward to a secure Portuguese bridge, which in turn leads you around the wheelhouse and into a recessed section of foredeck, flanked by curved sofas and sheltered by a simple but elegant sunshade rigged on four carbon poles. It’s comfortable, spacious, private, and offers great views, which is all you can ask of any lounge, wherever it happens to be called. With its big unfolding teak table, it’s also a great place to eat—thanks to the door in the wheelhouse, it’s a lot closer to the galley than the cockpit is.
You don’t really notice the absence of bowrails up forward. It’s not an issue for guests—unless you’re planning to ask them to tie some fenders on—and a deep well forward makes a safe working area for the crew while they see to the anchor and windlass.
Of course there are plenty of motoryachts of this size that can offer you the practical and seamanlike delights of deep bulwarks, wide side decks, and a Portuguese bridge—only they tend not to be fast, flying-bridge craft, but trawlers. You’ll also probably be able to find other shipyards prepared to offer you five different lower-deck layouts—but only as long as you’re looking for a steel or aluminium displacement yacht. And no doubt there are boatbuilders who will be happy to give you carte blanche in your yacht’s décor, from carpets to hull color—but not usually in an 86-footer, and certainly not one that is essentially a fiberglass production cruiser.
But then that’s the thing about Monte Carlo Yachts—it’s a bit different.
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This article originally appeared in the January 2014 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.