Monte Carlo Yachts 76By Alan Harper
An award-winning newcomer from France by way of Italy.
You may not recognize the name of Carla Demaria, but in Europe she is boatbuilding royalty: 20 years a senior manager with Azimut-Benetti, driving force behind the Atlantis brand, and now tasked by Beneteau, the world’s largest boatbuilder, with creating a brand-new line of luxury motoryachts.
Beneteau may be French, but as far as Demaria is concerned there’s only one place to build boats like this. “In Italy, of course,” she says. “It has to be.” And that explains why she set up Monte Carlo Yachts in a new shipyard near Trieste, engaged the design services of superyacht supremos Nuvolari-Lenard in nearby Venice, and called in the structural experts from Seaway for naval architecture and engineering.
Technology is key to the 76. The hull is a stiff, monocoque sandwich designed without longitudinal stringers and laminated with a considerable amount of Kevlar. This sounds like a weight-saving strategy, and I admit I was reminded of a naval architect who said that an ordinary yacht on the way to a fuel dock is lighter than a “high-tech” one on the way back. But there’s another reason for this construction: The lack of stringers makes more depth available in the hull, allowing interior structures to be set more deeply and in turn lowering the center of gravity (COG) while providing more headroom.
COG considerations also decreed that lightweight carbon fiber be employed in the hardtop, which can be clad in photovoltaic panels. A state-of-the-art, totally “green” bacteriological black-water treatment system is another option. High tech has also found its way into the engine room—although not in this first boat, which has a relatively orthodox pair of 1,400-hp MAN V12s powering ZF V-drives and propellers. According to Demaria, the most popular power option for subsequent orders has been the 1,200-hp MANs coupled to ZF pod drives, whose efficiency reportedly makes up for the lower engine output to give similar performance and fuel efficiency.
You can tell by looking at her that the 76 was conceived using pretty advanced thinking. Apart from those stainless steel frames, the bridge overhang is unsupported, and yet according to Seaway’s calculations, this carbon structure can safely carry a tender—although perhaps with a nervous eye aloft. (All customers so far have opted to mount the tender on the aft platform.) There is ample evidence inside, too: The curved stairway down to the forward accommodations gives you a sense of the depth of this hull; the VIP berth is much higher than your bed at home—some 32 inches—because the floor is set so far down in the V of the bow. The other advantage is a lower sole and thus generous headroom—about 6'9" in the saloon and 6'6" throughout the lower deck—which certainly doesn’t show in the yacht’s sleek profile.
Some of the thinking though is not so much advanced as just plain clever. The wide side decks that culminate in that excellent Portuguese bridge around the front of the wheelhouse are safe, practical, and on a boat of this size, truly innovative. So are the accommodations.
A four-cabin yacht in standard form, the MCY 76 is also available with just three, the principal difference being that in place of a fourth cabin, the owner gets more living space and a stupendous bathroom. The other main layout option concerns the galley. Down and aft in the crew area on this first 76, it can alternatively be sited on the main deck, on the starboard side. This would obviously be a more sociable layout, but it has to be said that the single-level main deck spaces work very well with no galley in the way.
The interior decor of the first 76 involves leather and teak flooring, gray fabric upholstery, tactile ridged-velvet trim around the cabinetwork, sanded-teak panelling, mosaic shower tiles, bronzed mirrors, and stainless steel fittings. Everything was put together with undoubted quality, but to me the overall effect seemed a little monochrome. But hey, no one has yet hired me to style so much as a garden shed. And as Demaria explained, the yard is happy to consider any custom interior decor that you or your designer care to suggest—for better or worse. I was told that it was this boat’s owner who selected the particularly annoying locker door handles—you can’t get a grip on them. Fortunately, they will be absent on future boats. The Tonelli dining table, on the other hand, is a particularly happy union of glass, steel, and leather, and those amazing molded-plywood chairs from Moroso were designed by British architect Ron Arad.
While the first MCY 76 was conceived at Demaria’s customary breakneck pace—she is not known as a woman to waste time—this boat was clearly assembled and finished with great care and attention to detail. There were no visible signs of rush or improvisation, from the carbon-shaded vantage point of the flying bridge to the darkest recesses of the engine room. There were, however, a couple of signs that this was a prototype, but to find them we had to head out to sea.
I enjoy the Cannes boat show for the weather, the French food, and the celebratory atmosphere, but I also enjoy leaving it, especially for a sea trial. The wide blue bay puts everything into perspective, and this year an overnight rainstorm had left the air so uncannily clear that the rocky shore beyond distant Chateau de la Napoule looked to be close enough to touch.
The 76 took to these waters willingly, with good acceleration and positive feedback from the hull. Mounting the MAN displays atop each other made it hard to see which engine was which, but that will be easily remedied. As, I trust, will the slight oscillation that appeared to be coming from the hardtop’s carbon frame. MCY’s engineers discovered a broken anti-vibration cylinder was to blame. And although the yacht’s handling exhibited no vices, her turning circle could have been smaller, which it will be when fitted with larger rudders. The boat that will debut in America next fall will have no such issues; she’ll have the ZF pods.
Overall though, the Monte Carlo 76 is a terrific piece of work, having garnered plenty of acclaim, including the Nautical Design Award from Europe’s highly respected Association of Industrial Design. You’d have to say that Carla Demaria has done it again. PMY
Monte Carlo Yachts (727) 531-1700 ext: 10098.
This article originally appeared in the January 2011 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.