Monte Carlo's new MC5 stopped by Hong Kong for some photos and a sea trial, to see just how pretty looks and a new hull design can make for an appealing package
"Will my wife agree to this?" It’s a question that plenty of yacht buyers, both prospective and serial, have asked themselves as they peruse their potential beloved babies in boat shows. Almost as if to answer that question, there is the new MC5 from Monte Carlo Yachts (MCY), a subsidiary of the Beneteau Group. This yacht, which signals a shift in Monte Carlo Yachts to the lower end of the mid-range market, has an almost-feminine quality to its styling, thanks in part to the turquoise-coloured hull that Monte Carlo opted for on hull number one – our trial boat in Hong Kong. There is a slight retro-styling as well, with rounded portholes built into the hull, in contrast with the angular, squarish windows that have become the norm in recent times. These all add to the cute factor of this 48-footer. But on closer inspection, and as our test run in the waters south of Hong Kong revealed, there is much more to this yacht than first meets the eye.
Start with the hull design. MCY recruited naval architects Patrick Tableau and Tanguay Le Bihan to create a hull that would be comfortable to handle and offer excellent economy. The main aspect of the hull is the bow shape, which MCY has dubbed “Wave cutter”. The bow is a vertical plumb shape, with a fine entry to slice cleanly through waves, while a large flare is built in to deflect spray. This combination of fine entry with large flare at the topsides has resulted in a unique-looking yacht. Exterior stylists Nuvolari Lenard, who have worked with MCY on their 65, 70 and 76 footers, handled the new shape with aplomb.
Good design combines appearance and function in an appealing and useful way. So it is with the MC5. The flared bow shape lends to a very spacious bow sunpad, with a handy adjustable back rest. The designers added a steel plate near the anchor locker that bears the Beneteau logo and is a stylish addition. The large chine that widens quickly moving aft along the hull grants more space onboard. It was all adding up to what looked to be a lovely yacht.
Stepping on board at the transom, we were met with a pleasant sight. The swimming platform and aft deck are not particularly large, but there is compensation for that. The MC5 comes with the option of a grill station and sink built into the transom that can be used to serve treats to people sitting on the aft end. Buyers can also opt for a hydraulic swim platform to carry a tender load of up to 350 kilogrammes. In other words, for a little extra, buyers can pack a lot into the aft end of this yacht.
The best treat is the way in which MCY have combined the galley and aft deck into a single, contiguous area. To emphasise the point, the teak decking continues about six feet into the interior. With the aft doors completely open, it creates a single area, where the chef can be a part of the crowd – a nice family touch.
Normally, the aft deck would also be the spot for a table, but on the MC5, this is done away with. The assumption is that people lounging in this space will likely be drinking and snacking, but not dining. The space that might therefore be needed for a table is thus given to other uses, as well as making access to the engine area through the deck hatches easier.
Moving forward into the pleasant saloon area, you find a space that is both relaxing and crisply elegant. The aft doors open up in accordion folding style, a simple yet effective way to get a completely open boat. However, the designers at MCY have also managed to keep the saloon/dining space as a discrete social area if need be. The galley, which is open to the rear, provides some separation from dining table and C-shaped settee that surrounds it. This seating is to port, while to starboard there is a 32-inch TV that lifts up on a pedestal system for night time viewing. The helm station to starboard is comfortable and all the controls are to hand in straightforward fashion.
Strangely, the visibility from the lower helm is obstructed somewhat to the sides, a flaw I wouldn’t have expected, given the prevalence of wraparound glazing and thinner mullions that are becoming popular on new mid-sized yachts. Forward the view is clear thanks to a single piece windscreen. Electric opening windows are an option.
Heading down below, one finds a standard accommodations layout, with a single twin cabin with beds arranged bunk style to save space, to starboard. Opposite is the day head, which doubles as the en-suite for the VIP cabin in the bow. Amidships is the very nice master suite. Here, MCY has left ample room for moving around the bed, with plenty of storage space and hanging lockers for clothes. The private en-suite for the master is quite spacious, though the one for the VIP felt a bit cramped (an incentive to buy, perhaps, rather than be invited on board).
Throughout the interior, MCY has aimed to create a production yacht that also has the look and feel of much more expensive yacht. For the most part they have succeeded. There were a few minor things here or there that could be improved on, but considering that we were looking at the very first yacht out of the factory, it has to be said that MCY has done well.
Heading up to the flybridge, you find a great spot for hanging out, and for helming the yacht, which is surely where most captains will be in fine weather. The flybridge is spacious, and you actually have better seating for dining up here than you do in the main saloon. MCY says that the main deck dining area sits six, while the flybridge table and settee can seat eight.
The optional bimini is pretty much a necessity in tropical and sub-tropical climates, and considering how much time will likely be spent on this part of the yacht, it’d be wise to have it. Getting up to the flybridge is reassuringly easy, with decent sized stairs and grab rails to hand all the way up.
The large and comfortable seating area also includes a big sunpad located next to the starboard-aligned helm station. There is room up here for as many as 10 people to be relaxing and enjoying themselves while the yacht is at anchor. MCY seems to have opted for fewer amenities to make more space for people. There is a storage box that can be used to fit an optional 100-litre fridge or icebox to keep drinks handy and cool. A small unit behind the helm seat is reserved for a Kenyon grill and sink.
From the helm station on the fly, you get the views you need to really feel in charge of the MC5. The designers seem to have anticipated this, considering that the helm controls are as thorough as on the main deck.
As we pushed off from the docks in Aberdeen, it was clear that the pod control system, standard on the MC5, is a must in Hong Kong when manoeuvring around in a crowded typhoon shelter. Once clear of the shelter, we headed out for a run towards Repulse Bay and Deepwater Bay to see how the MC5 handled.
Heading south into calm conditions, I had the chance to open up on the throttles a little. The MC5 is a relatively light boat by comparison to other yachts in her class, and though not overpowered, she accelerates well. Overall, I found the performance and handling to be pleasing rather than pressured. The MC5 was not built for high powered cruising, and with the cruising speed of about 24 knots with the Volvo IPS 600 engine option, you have enough speed to enjoy daytrips to nearby beaches and bays with time to spare.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have much breeze on our test day and not much chop to test the bow shape of the MC5. However, running through some S-curves and seeking out some wake from passing cargo ships did give some indication of how the MC5 would do in slightly rougher conditions, and the impressions are good. Spray was deflected as expected, but most importantly, the ride felt very cushioned when we did pass through some waves. I’m sure that owners who take their MC5s out in slightly breezier conditions will feel at ease.
As you’d expect with pod drives, the turning circle on the MC5 was relatively tight, and putting the wheel hard over produced a comfortable heel angle. Using throttle control the whole time, at no point do you feel that you are missing something or that a control is difficult to get to. Even manoeuvring on normal throttle control to get a good shot was easy enough on the MC5.
On the engineering side of things, the MC5 also comes with a crew cabin, tucked into the transom, and the designers have even managed to find space for a day head in there.
Overall, the MC5 is a charming yacht that refreshes the look of the Monte Carlo Yachts’ range, while sticking true to their principles. As a pleasurable dayboat or overnighter, it will surely get plenty of admiring glances at whatever bay you drop anchor. And who doesn’t value a little extra attention?
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Technical Specifications – Monte Carlo Yachts MC5
LOA: 15.2 metres
Hull Length: 13.26 metres
Hull Beam: 4.29 metres
Light displacement: 13,200 kilogrammes
Air draught: 5.85 metres
Draught: .91 metres
Fuel capacity: 2 x 650 litres
Fresh water tanks: 2 x 330 litres
Engine options: Volvo IPS500/Volvo IPS600
EC certificates: B14/C16/D16
Naval architects: Patrick Tableau/Tanguy Le Bihan
Exterior Design: Nuvolari & Lenard
Interiors: Andreani Design