To celebrate their 10th anniversary—and perhaps to put the industry on notice—MCY ups the ante by launching three new models ahead of boat show season.
In its short lifetime, the Italian shipyard of Monte Carlo Yachts has constructed a mystique. It seemed to appear on the scene fully realized, as if from nowhere: great Italian design, innovative construction methods and a bulletproof self-confidence. When the company announced its arrival with a 76 at the 2010 Cannes boat show, the yachting world was quietly amazed. Competitors, meanwhile, were disquieted. The 76 won numerous awards.
Like most successful builders, though, look behind it and you find that there’s more going on than you imagined. MCY was set up by the Beneteau Group, the world’s biggest production boatbuilder, as a way of stealing market share in the burgeoning luxury motoryacht sector. At the helm was the redoubtable Carla Demaria who brought 20 years of production and senior management experience from Azimut. Nuvolari Lenard were engaged as designers. A new factory just outside Trieste was situated to take advantage of the design and technological expertise of Seaway, in nearby Slovenia.
Monte Carlo Yachts might have arrived fully formed, but it didn’t come from nowhere. It was assembled from tried and tested components.
And the company continued to impress. Having made an attention-grabbing debut, the following year it returned to Cannes with another new model. And the next year, and the next. It became such a dependable trope that when, on the one occasion the shipyard didn’t present anything new, the show felt like something was missing.
This year, to mark its first decade in business, MCY has debuted not one but three new models, or rather three “new generation” yachts built on the success of their predecessors. They retain the family identity so carefully created and developed by Nuvolari Lenard, while moving the game on—not just with the significantly larger windows but also with more emphasis on creating interior space.
How you do that within the confines of the same basic hull volume is a moot point, but MCY has been nothing if not creative during the course of its short career. For example, the bed in the master stateroom on the original 76 was 6 feet, 10 inches long. That’s impressive—extravagant, even. The designers have acknowledged that buyers so extraordinarily tall as to require a bed of that length must be few and far between, and have reduced it in the new 76 to 6 feet, 4 inches. It still looks huge—and it is indeed 2 inches wider—but reducing the length by a full 6 inches has allowed them to place the bed in the center, fit an expanded head and dressing room across the full beam aft and create a cabin that not only looks better appointed but also feels bigger than its predecessor.
Gallery: MCY 76
The new 66 sees a similar exercise in sleight of hand. The VIP berth is 5 inches narrower than in the old 65, and the berths in both the master and the guest cabin are a couple of inches shorter. They’re all still of perfectly practical proportions, but the increase in apparent floor area makes a disproportionate difference to the impression of size.
A celebratory summer launch of all three yachts on the waterfront at the Monfalcone shipyard gave me an opportunity to catch up with MCY’s thinking. The shipyard itself is one of the most impressive in the industry. The only other one I can recall where I wasn’t permitted to take photographs was fitting out a superyacht for Queen Noor of Jordan at the time.
You can understand why the yard might be protective of its methods. It is remarkably efficient. Fiberglass moldings are built off-site in two plants. While that is going on, the MCY factory is hard at work building complete interiors in millimeter-precise steel jigs. Engines and tanks are installed in empty hulls. Entire, one-piece interior assemblies—two in the case of the their 105—are lowered into place in a matter of minutes. Apparently it takes four to six months to complete a 105 once the hull arrives at Monfalcone. With the smaller models it can be as few as two months.
Gallery: MCY 70
If it sounds a bit prescriptive, it’s not. There are a surprising number of customization options available throughout the range, from the usual fabrics and finishes to the choice of engines. For these three new models, the shipyard is working on the designs of enclosed flybridge structures for owners in particularly steamy parts of the world. The first one, for a 70, was nearing completion in the yard at the time of our visit.
Perhaps the most eye-catching example of customization aboard the three was the piano on the 76. OK, it was an electric one—no one is going to demand a Steinway grand on a yacht this size—but it had a full-length keyboard and was concealed beneath what looked like a custom-built chart table close to the helm station. It was for the owner’s young daughter, so she could keep up her music practice during the summer vacation.
The shipyard is a short distance up a dredged channel from the sea. We took the 66 out first. It’s a three-cabin yacht with fully half of the volume belowdecks dedicated to the midships master stateroom, with its unusually generous head alongside the entrance on the port side. Wide side decks, a Portuguese bridge and a full-beam flybridge are signature traits of MCY design, as is the carbon-fiber hardtop, which oscillated gently, as they all seem to do, as we carved a clean wake across the shallow open waters of the northern Adriatic. They are dotted with fish traps and mussel beds. There are a lot of seafood restaurants in Trieste.
Gallery: MCY 66
Powerful 1,200-hp MAN V8s on shaft drives gave our 66 a lively turn of speed, and excellent handling. The yacht turned willingly with just the right amount of heel, and the trim tabs—manual only, unless you request otherwise—proved very effective. Searching for an economical cruising speed, I discovered that a 50 percent downward offset at about 1800 rpm boosted our speed by half a knot, and the yacht planed happily at 19 knots for a safe cruising range of just under 250 nautical miles.
Climbing aboard the 70 felt like a definite step up. The lower helm is set well forward across from a large open-plan galley, which accentuates the length and beam of the salon seating area. The private aft companionway down to the master stateroom is a luxurious touch, and the standard lower-deck layout includes two good-sized twin-berth guest cabins.
Weighing in some five tons heavier than its smaller sibling, and with commensurate increases in fuel and water capacity, our trial MCY 70 was fitted with the same engines, on V-drives, and consequently—by contrast with the lively demeanor of the 66, at least—felt a little under-powered. Top speed was perfectly respectable, but perhaps we are so spoiled by the standards achieved in modern motoryachts that 26 knots felt a little ordinary. Whether it was fair or not, this perceived lack of essential grunt led to the yacht’s handling feeling fairly ponderous, with a wide turning circle and a slightly underwhelming air. MAN 1400s are available as an option. I imagine that these would transform the 70 into quite an engaging drive.
They certainly do a very good job aboard the 76. Representing yet another step up in the world, there was a faint aura of the superyacht aboard the biggest member of our trio, with its huge salon windows, excellent sightlines and carefully selected Giorgetti furnishings all conspiring to convince you that you have strayed on board a 90-footer. Fully custom decor added to the illusion. There was gray and white oak, reflective lacquered surfaces and Carrara marble.
The standard layout down below is also four cabins, but with just the one companionway—for less privacy, perhaps, but more space. There is one slightly quirky aspect of the interior design. In the master suite you walk through the dressing room to get to the head and shower. It looks fine, but I did find myself wondering what the humidity would do to your silk shirts.
Although it brings another 7 tons to the scales, the extra power available to the 76 gave it almost the same top speed as the 70. And the way that power was delivered was something else. Nothing felt lacking, and the torquey MAN 1400s gave the yacht the sort of poise and attitude that might persuade you that even big flybridge yachts can be fun to drive.
The wind had picked up during the course of the day, along with the temperature. A short chop on the shallow seas was batted aside nonchalantly as we headed toward shore, to thread our way back through the mussel farms and into the channel. At the shipyard, all was quiet as the crews secured their yachts for the night and thunderclouds gathered. It wouldn’t be long before yet another Cannes boat show opened its gates. But MCY seemed all set to burnish that legend.
MCY 66 Test Report
MCY 66 Specifications:
Displ: 79,365 lbs.
Fuel: 925 gal.
Water: 198 gal.
Power: 2/1,200-hp MAN V8 1200
MCY 70 Test Report
MCY 70 Specifications:
Displ: 90,388 lbs.
Fuel: 1,056 gal.
Water: 211 gal.
Power: 2/1,200-hp MAN V8 1200
MCY 76 Test Report
MCY 76 Specifications:
Displ: 105,820 lbs.
Fuel: 1,320 gal.
Water: 237 gal.
Power: 2/1,400-hp MAN V12 1400