Up, Up, and Away!
Backed by enormous success in its first six years, Monte Carlo Yachts is introducing its first superyacht—a flagship 105—that won’t be its last.
If it doesn’t seem too long ago that we were reading about Monte Carlo Yachts for the first time, that’s because it isn’t. By most standards MCY is still a new company. Established by the giant French yacht builder Beneteau as a super-luxury motoryacht brand, barely six years have passed since it launched its first model at the Cannes boat show. And it has followed that up with a new yacht almost every year since.
The numbers are impressive. That first model was the 76, and following its wildly successful debut, in which the yacht was presented with two awards—the first of many, as it turned out—the Monfalcone shipyard, near Venice, has turned out another 40 or so. The 65 has been equally successful, with 35 completed so far, and the tally for the 70 has reached a similar number. Even the 86, erstwhile flagship of the range, is into double digits.
And now the company is into triple figures, in boat length, anyway, and when I innocently inquired whether this new 105 moored proudly against the quay at the latest Cannes boat show was the first example, I was told not only that it was, but that the second one was nearing completion and a third was also sold, with construction under way. These people don’t hang about. The 105 marks the shipyard’s first foray into the world of superyachts, but it is unlikely to be its last.
Of course it’s not just the construction schedule that’s impressive but the design and development time that has elapsed, which on a yacht this size is usually measured in years. MCY has always used the nearby studio of Nuvolari & Lenard for interior design and external styling, and the 105 is the boldest expression yet of that partnership’s swoopy vision: From the outsized bathing platform to the plush foredeck furnishings, there is hardly a straight edge anywhere.
In a break from “tradition”—albeit a relatively recent one—MCY starts with a pretty clean sheet when choosing the specs of its new flagship. For that reason they don’t like quoting a precise “base price” for the yacht (I was told it ranges between $10 and $12 million), preferring instead to build up a picture of the owner’s particular requirements before presenting him or her with the final figure—presumably after a spectacular dinner, as the port is going round for a second time.
So although you and I might imagine that pretty much everybody would want a carbon-fiber T-top to shade the upper deck, not everyone does, so it’s down as an extra. The same goes for the tender garage, since the bathing platform is hydraulic as standard, and actually capable of lifting a pretty hefty 15-foot RIB weighing more than 2,600 pounds. You might choose to put all that garage space to better use. Of course the balconies—fantastic additions to the saloon, and a signature feature of this yacht—are so complicated and expensive to fit that you won’t be surprised to hear that you have to ask for them specially as well.
This is pragmatism on the part of the shipyard, not penny-pinching. There are areas in the standard spec that seem remarkably generous—two Seakeeper gyro stabilizers are included, for example—while it goes without saying on a yacht of this caliber that the interior is flush with upmarket European brand names like Hermès, Poltrona Frau, Armani Casa, Rubelli, and Pierre Frey, giving the shipyard catalog the feel of a coffee-table magazine.
One thing the owner chose for the 105 I was aboard, and with which I take issue, is the hot tub in the cockpit. That’s not the best place for it, in my opinion, when the shipyard would have been equally happy to put it on the enormous flying bridge, where there is plenty of space, or even on the well-furnished and shaded foredeck. And one thing that the designers decided upon, which I’ll bet every deckhand serving aboard every 105 will quietly curse, is the heavy, teak-laid hatch covering the anchor winches on the foredeck. Of course it is intended to make this area as barefootfriendly as the cockpit, but there is more to onboard safety than preventing stubbed toes.
As a raised pilothouse design, the MCY 105 is guaranteed a spectacular main deck, especially as the galley has been placed down below, in the crew area. The central dining table and expansive seating area of the saloon, surrounded by glass and with a bar on the port side, have a definite superyacht quality about them. Along a short corridor on the starboard side, the master cabin is an equally stunning space. The 105’s hull carries its beam well forward, and this owner’s suite reaps the benefit.
With the option of three or four cabins on the lower deck, the owner of this first 105 chose luxury, and was rewarded with a full-beam midships suite for his VIP guests, which for opulence, light, and even headroom, rivals his own apartment upstairs. Turn right instead of left at the foot of the companionway and you find two more guest cabins, with five berths between them, which obviously cannot begin to compete for size or appointments with the two main suites, but nevertheless fulfill their brief admirably. Even the three-berth stateroom, which would be great for kids, has wide, 6-foot 6-inch beds and headroom of 6 feet 5 inches.
Our 105 was fitted with the more powerful of the two MTU engine options, mounted on V-drive gearboxes and set well aft to maximize the hull’s accommodation volume. Moderately loaded with fuel and water and without, so far, the mass of gear that cruising yachts tend to accumulate, it posted a two-way average of just over 26 knots, which is slightly less than the shipyard was hoping for but nevertheless pretty impressive for a vessel of this size. Our sea trial was unfortunately curtailed by a steering problem which prevented our really getting to grips with the hull’s capabilities, but in what time we had it was clear that its 16-degree deadrise could make short work of the 3-foot chop on offer in the Baie de Cannes, and it tracked true on all points. In fact, even after the crew had manually centered the rudders so we could steer ourselves back into the harbor on throttles alone, the 105 handled pretty well. We’ve probably all had to do it at some point—if you’ve still got two engines, it’s seldom a problem. It certainly wasn’t for us.
As MCY’s latest motoryacht took its place back in the Vieux Port, alongside its siblings, I couldn’t help remembering the first of them I tested, the 76, when it was the only MCY offering on hand. It wasn’t that long ago, and I wondered how long this latest model would retain its crown as the shipyard’s flagship. If the 105 has truly given MCY a taste of the superyacht world, I’d give it a year. Maybe two, tops.
Whether you opt for a full-beam VIP (bottom) or two staterooms (middle) there is really no bad choice.
NOTEWORTHY OPTIONS: Tender garage; enlarged beach club swim platform; cockpit hot tub; saloon balcony with sliding door; carbon-fiber T-top; hull paint (prices upon request).
Generator: 2/33-kW Kohler, Stabilizer: 2/Seakeeper NG 35, Warranty: Upon request, Water (Gray/Black): 634 gal.
Conditions During Boat Test
Air temperature: 73°F; humidity: 49%; seas: 2-3 ft
Load During Boat Test
982 gal. fuel, 223 gal. water, 12 persons, 250 lb gear.
Test Boat Specifications
- Test Engine: 2/2,400-hp MTU 16V 2000 M93 diesels
- Transmission/Ratio: ZF 3060V
- Props: 4-blade NiBrAls
This article originally appeared in the April 2016 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.