The Power of Proportion
Sleek, handsome, and spacious, the MCY 80 may be the best-looking boat yet from Monte Carlo Yachts, and she offers the performance to back it up.
There’s something about the shape of the MCY 80 that grabs your attention when you first see her, and it all starts with the LOA, a basic dimension that often seems to be set at the beginning of the design process. As the planes, angles, and curves all come together to form her geometry, you notice that they please the eye and stir the senses—proper proportion. And while the strength of that feeling may be something commonly achieved in a boat of this size and, yes, price point, it’s funny how rarely it happens these days.
This boat is a bit different from the other Monte Carlo Yachts, which range from 65 to 105 feet, at least to my eye. Sure, she shares the same designers and many of the general elements are similar, the way siblings look related. But if we put this boat into a spin on her own axis, you see it. She looks good from every angle, there’s no bad side. From the long foredeck, to the curving edge of the brow over her windshield, to her bulwarks cutout and her blacked-out carbon hardtop, the MCY 80 is a culmination of shape and size, performance and volume, technology and soul.
This is the sixth model in the yacht line from Beneteau’s luxury brand, which builds boats in Monfalcone on Italy’s Adriatic Coast, just outside Trieste. Drawings for the company’s seventh design, the MCY 96, were introduced at Boot Düsseldorf in January; it will be launched this summer. The MCY 80 follows on the heels of the 2015 introduction of the company’s first foray above 100 feet, the 105. This 80-footer really showcases the builder’s ability to put many well-thought-out details into a package with a fine finish. Powered by a pair of 1,650-horsepower MAN diesels, this gleaming, pearl-gray hull is punctuated by the trademark overlapping-circle design of amidships hullside windows on either side that, to some, resemble the Chanel logo, fitting enough considering MCY’s French owners.
This builder seems to understand the elite clientele it serves, right down to the fact that customers have the true luxury of choice. Monte Carlo Yachts has an excellent strategy: First, develop a good-looking boat with a hull that performs when it is called upon, and then fit out the boat to the desires of each customer in a true semi-custom model. To those ends, MCY nails the first part by doing its naval architecture and engineering in house, and working with Nuvolari-Lenard on styling both inside and out (as in all things luxury these days, branded design is the name of the game).
What’s more, MCY developed a modular construction system that allows its craftsmen to work on the components on jigs and assemble each stateroom and interior space between bulkheads outside the hull, giving builders full access to rigging below soles and above overheads. Then the entire setup is dropped into place and bonded to the hull below and the deck above so each component functions as a structural member.
It works. The fiberglass hull was rigid and strong, yet felt light and nimble as the boat moved through its paces. A raft of marine journalists from the world over jockeyed for the helm during our sea trial off Monfalcone. On our test of Hull No. 1, she hit 30 knots with the upgraded 1,650-horsepower MAN V-12 diesels, and better props may yet provide a knot or two more at the top end, as the builder was still tweaking the setup. This is a big boat, but she feels agile and offers precise handling. She banked her way through tight turns at a high cruise speed, yet was stable, even with the flying bridge as crowded as it was.
It’s a wholly different experience to conduct a sea trial with a large crowd on board. I got a sense of how other people will fill the spaces, and how the boat would feel full of family and friends. Remember, 15 passengers can weigh up to a ton, and they aren’t always evenly distributed.
Having had a look at the Monte Carlo Yachts facility in Monfalcone, just outside of Trieste, Italy, one gets a sense this builder is just getting started. Indeed, a paint shed equipped with floor-to-ceiling fluorescent lights recessed in the walls (in which 300 guests enjoyed a black-tie banquet at the party celebrating the 80’s debut, with room to spare) was built to handle yachts twice her size or larger.
If you’ve never paid a visit to Trieste it’s definitely a cool part of the world to visit, with a very walkable old city district and some interesting sights. While I was there, the heavy-metal band Iron Maiden (yes, the same band founded in the 1970s) was gearing up for a concert in the city’s main square.
Part of the success of her look and feel is that it continues when you climb aboard—the vibe established by the outside view is not diminished when you’re on the inside looking out. Exterior spaces are well done here, with that enormous flying bridge complemented by a bow area that feels as if it belongs on a much larger boat.
The foredeck sports a pair of settees with retractable backrests to port and starboard, plus hi-lo tables. It’s a really delightful space to enjoy the breeze at anchor or when Med-moored. But if a crowd gathers here, it can impede the driver’s line of sight from the lower helm, as the company captain and I observed on the sea trial.
When you get to a certain level of motoryacht, the expectation for good execution of construction and finish is a foregone conclusion. On the main deck, the boat imparts a European sensibility, thanks largely to the galley-down layout, a helm area that can be closed off from the saloon, and a separate entrance to the crew’s quarters for three located aft.
Remind yourself, this is an 80-footer, so there is no main-deck master. Instead, a full-beam suite makes the most of those trademark hullside windows, and features space and luxury furnishings, including the port settee and starboard desk. A walk-in locker and huge head with double sinks and separate shower and MSD compartments adds a touch of sumptuousness to daily ablutions. A VIP with generous hanging-locker space uses every bit of the bow’s generous volume. A pair of en suite guest doubles occupies the space in between the larger staterooms. Materials in varying textures, such as fine woods, leather, and stone, help to create an impeccable interior.
The pitch-perfect tone struck by this design puts any missteps into sharp relief: The placement of the MSD in the shower in the head of the starboard guest double was surprising. Setting out to make every stateroom a roomy en suite puts available space at a premium. Hull No. 2 is being built more for the American sensibility, but we expect the high levels of interior materials and treatment to be repeated.
The level of engineering behind the design comes through in the engine room, where the pair of 1,650-horsepower MAN V-12 diesels, linked to 10-degree ZF V-drive transmissions, a configuration that allows the engine room’s forward bulkhead to be positioned farther aft, giving more room over to the accommodations. Crew’s quarters are positioned forward of the engine room and aft of the master, providing a sound buffer. The tender garage impinges on the engine space, reducing the overhead to crouching height between the engines, but strainers and service points are accessible.
Having that tender garage makes a lot of sense, since a tender adds to the utility of the yacht. Also, placing the tender within the confines of the hull means removing its weight from the swim platform, or worse, from up high on a boat deck on the flying bridge. Not only would that change the performance of the boat, the tender’s lines would add something off-pitch—a tuneless note—to the look, ultimately subtracting from it. It just wouldn’t be proper.
Warranty: 2 years from Monte Carlo Yachts; other warranty packages available
Conditions During Boat Test
Air temperature: 80°F; humidity: 65%; seas: 2-3'; wind: 5 knots
Load During Boat Test
1,190 gal. fuel, 317 gal. water, 19 persons, 400 lb. gear.
Test Boat Specifications
- Test Engine: 2/1,650-hp MAN V-12 diesels
- Transmission/Ratio: ZF 2050 V
- Props: 4-blade NiBrAl, 40.5-inch diameter
This article originally appeared in the April 2017 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.