BOAT TEST: BENETEAU MONTE CARLO 47

By: DAVID LOCKWOOD

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  • Trade-A-Boat

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You get more of everything on French Beneteau’s new Italian-designed Monte Carlo 47. DAVID LOCKWOOD wakes up with the gulls to bring this special test

BOAT TEST: BENETEAU MONTE CARLO 47
Beneteau Monte Carlo 47

It's 5am, the alarm sounds, I have a pair of three-year-old's feet in my mouth. Don't ask me why. I'm too rushed. There's barely time to don the Trade-a-Boat uniform, cross town, park in a station, and board our boat. But the photographer is adamant: he wants dawn light. I'll try anything, once. Just look at my sleeping arrangements. Besides, Beneteau's new Monte Carlo 47 deserves a place in the rising sun.

Doubtless you've heard the expression 'less is more'. But on this, the dashing new flagship Monte Carlo 47 more is definitely more. You get more boat for your buck - or Euro thanks to our favourable exchange rate - more space on what is an exceptionally high-freeboard hull, and more nautical style than any other powerboat we have driven from the big French yard. Vive that difference.

Waking to the interior, I found myself imagining spending many more mornings aboard. Was I delirious? Perhaps. But five good hours driving twin Volvo Penta IPS 600s on this boat proved a pleasure. And that says something when you are on 40 to 50-footers as often I am. In short, this 47 presses your I-love-boating buttons.

Arriving at the dock, seemingly the only one without a coffee in hand, I wipe the sleep from my eyes and peer up at what presents as an especially high-volume sportsyachts. The Flyer 12, that it in some ways replaces, appears a minnow tied alongside. Compared with a Riviera 44 (I spent several days and nights aboard her) with the same power, similar footprint and price, the Monte Carlo 47 has greater volume all round.

From the moment you set foot aboard, the design unfolds like a well-configured boat. You step onto the teak-topped boarding platform, range up some stairs, arrive in a cockpit designed for dayboating, sashay inside an airy saloon, and head down to the accommodation.

Although the galley is below decks, so to speak, a large atrium encourages social discourse and, such is its volume, you won't feel confined. Then comes the dynamic full-beam stateroom, which we'll get to in the fullness of time. Or when the Sandman calls.

 

 

TICKING THE BOXES


Although, the Monte Carlo 47 comes with twin Volvo Penta IPS 600s - what powerboat isn't designed for pods these days? -  the must-have Joystick controller is listed as optional. One wouldn't have this boat without one. While she is as easy to dock off the electronic shifts, the joystick is true to name for micro adjustments around the dock, and for newbie skippers. A cinch, really.

But pod-drives are just the beginning of the inventory that goes on to tick plenty of boxes and press even more buttons. There's a garage, opening at the press of a different button, home to a Zodiac 2.6m RIB with 8hp outboard. Oh, and there are owner's fishing rods and expectant landing net poking out from within. Fish for breakfast, anyone?

To launch the tender you flip-down some rollers, grab the remote, press another button, and tug on the duckie's transom. The electric winch is at your beck and call when you return. Access through the same garage exists for attending to serious engineroom matters. Owners on the other hand, lift a hatch in the cockpit and descend a vertical ladder into what is a pretty tight space.

Importantly, you can get around all sides of the six-cylinder Volvo Penta D6 common rail diesel engines and aft pod-drives, the 9.5kVa Onan is serviceable, and you can reach the sea strainer for it and the fuel filters. Elsewhere, I note hot-water service, blackwater tank, and that the twin alloy fuel tanks have shutoffs at the helm, along with a fire-fighting system. All mainstream production-boat engineering that meets European CE standards.

Back up top, the teak bathing platform has the requisite handheld hot/cold shower and swimladder. Take the steps up either side of the garage and you're in the cockpit. We mentioned ticking boxes - an electric awning extends over the U-shaped cockpit lounge and dinette for shade at, at least, midday. Up to six can dine back here.

With a top-notch adjustable Italian Besenzoni pedestal table base on the dinette, and the retractable awning, this same lunch setting converts to a sunpad. Or follow your feet up the moulded steps to the obliging sidedecks, backed by stainless steel hand, far-reaching bow, and moulded toe rails. There's another sunpad up front with drinkholders alongside.

The Lewmar anchor winch is recessed, so mud from the chain and 25kg self-stow Delta anchor is kept off the decks, and there is usefully grippy non-skid. You will also notice the pronounced reverse sheer on the foredeck that guarantees clear views from the helm all the way from idle through the throttling-up process to running with abandon.

Last but not least, back in the cockpit is a moulded amenities centre that goes the extra distance. You get a 240V electric hotplate for la plancha-style Spanish or teppanyaki-type cooking. There's also a fridge, sink with hot and cold water, and storage space. Fenders can go in the garage, while LED lights abound.

 

 

GREAT DESIGN 


Big saloon doors let you saunter indoors where the mood is light, bright and airy, but also cutting edge thanks to the sea of light-oak joinery. This is the timber for me: I'm an oak man and have a gorgeous period dining table with a honey-coloured patina not altogether unlike that of this boat's veneered joinery. I just like the grain and colour.

While Beneteau is a production yard, and there is evidence of that in out-of-the-way places, the fit and finish is vastly improved on this big Monte Carlo. Silicon wipers, soft liners, moulded panels, everything comes together nicely. Fittings are also largely Italian-made.

The sense of space we hit on earlier provides the foundation for a very livable boat. Headroom is a highpoint, there is plenty of glass and, press a button again, an electric sunroof. Incidentally, the saloon glass is reflective on the outside and the windows are raked in perfect reflection of the Mediterranean styling of Piere Andreani. He's the in-house pen behind the Monte Carlo boats.

From a practical perspective, the saloon works very well, indeed. Clean and uncluttered, it features a U-shaped dinette with leather lounge to port around a glass table (my preference instead of the optional timber table) opposite a buffet with pop-up television. With supplied stools, the six in the cockpit can now move indoors to air-conditioned comfort, turning this into an all-weather entertainer. Winter boating, no worries.

An AV system with Bose speakers is supplied, as are glasses, various storage spaces for personals, and leather upholstery in cool dark-brown. Italian Cantalupe lighting adds to the ambience at night. An icemaker is optional but, with the fridge in the cockpit, you don't have to go far to find the champagne.

 

 

BELOW DECKS


Whereas single-level sportsyachts and sportscruisers are often like yachts, in that you descend below decks and lose connectivity, Beneteau has gone to great lengths to design things differently on its big Monte Carlo. The atrium above the galley beams provides loads of light below and, without the optional third cabin (don't do it), you get a useful second saloon as a casual seating area for chatting up the chef, eating on your lap, or sleeping a couple of kids.

Opening portholes provide natural ventilation, while the lift-up stairs reveal a large void designed to take a washer/dryer. Traced by moulded counters, the galley is oversized in the most welcome of ways, thereby offering abundant food-prep and servery or smorgasbord space. Come and get it. Alas, not a croissant to be found. But the pot coffee maker was calling.

Storage comes in spades behind a network of light-oak cupboards with matching fascias that also conceal the upright fridge with lower freezer. I also find a pullout pantry, lots of drawers, pot lockers, and the most impressive of magic corners with swing-out baskets. Smart stuff.

Twin sinks, a two-burner hot plate and convection microwave oven take onboard cooking to the next level. The timber flooring and dish-drawer dishwasher will assist with clean-ups. Inside the table base, after all those chores, is the resting place for several bottles of burgundy. You didn't hear it from me.

A nearby door leads into the second bathroom, which therefore doubles as a communal head, as well as the en suite with separate shower for the VIP cabin forward. That guest cabin has an island bed and a voluminous wardrobe with hanging space perfect for your weekend carry-on clobber.

But in respect of accommodation, nothing comes close to the impressive full-beam stateroom aft of the lower saloon. There are big panorama windows, a makeup area to starboard and, wow, a wave lounge to port offering a place to watch the water dancing alongside. Such is the level of luxury they had to tear me away. Small opening windows provide a degree of natural cross-flow ventilation, too.

Headroom exists in the stateroom before the queen-sized bed then you duck into the digs, kick off your socks, and grab some zeds. A second AV system with television faces you for late-night movie watching. And there are blinds for privacy when back in the marina, or to assist with sleep-ins - if only.

The separate shower and freshwater heads on this Monte Carlo 47 aren't always givens on Beneteau powerboats, but here they separate the big Monte Carlo from sailing siblings and underscore the fact your on a near-million-dollar boat.

 

 

MED' STYLE CRUISING


A baby-soft leather lines the dash-pod that's in keeping with cutting-edge Euro powerboat designs, standing proud without obstructing your sight lines. A Raymarine C or E120 Wide (with optional radar) holds court, surrounded by a spread of Volvo Penta analogue gauges, ST 70 autopilot, rocker switches and engine starts. With this lot, you can cruise the coast hands-free and safely. The 640lt water supply will cater for a week aboard.

The are windscreen vents and air-con, but our dewy morning meant the windscreen needed wiping on more than one occasion. Otherwise, wipers with freshwater washers work well. What's more, the boat's level running attitude doesn't require the use of trim tabs. An occasional duck of the head and crane of the neck was all it took to locate the peak-hour ferries during the tightest of turns in Port Jackson.

Top speed was 31kts - up to 32.5kts according to Beneteau - with the twin six-cylinder Volvo Pentas revving out to 3600rpm, but remaining nice and quiet in their housing well astern. Cruise came in at about 3000rpm and 24kts for 113lt/h and a safe working range of around 250nm, with 10 per cent of the 1300lt fuel supply left in reserve. A flybridge version of this boat is available for regular coastal work.

But let's face it, this is more your big-city cruising conveyance for heading out during gentleman's hours in high-style. Although the composite balsa-cored hull did feel a little lighter, or perhaps fuller in the bow when crossing wakes than its blunter-stemmed brethren, the boat was plainly good fun to drive.

Acceleration was swift and, as touched on, vision remains great. With twin helm seats you can share in the fun with your partner, while the twin electronic shifts, sports wheel and, back at the marina, joystick all fall to hand. In fact, it took only moments for this well-conceived boat to instill confidence and impart a sense of joie de vivre, despite the 5am bleary-eyed start.

What great photos and what a great time to be cruising on Sydney Harbour a la mode, French-style. As I said, I'll try anything once. Beneteau has just bought a factory in Italy. New 55-to-85-foot Monte Carlos are in the pipeline and, we hear, the yard is working on a raft of new and innovative design features that may extend to propulsion systems.

Plenty to get out of bed for. Set your alarm!

 

 

 

Specifications- Beneteau Monte Carlo 47

 

 

HOW MUCH?


Price as tested: $985,000 w/ Volvo Penta IPS 600s and options

 

 

OPTIONS FITTED


IPS Joystick; Raymarine E120 sounder, plotter and 2kWa radar; Raymarine autopilot; cockpit griddle; 32in flatscreen TV, DVD and Bose in saloon; second TV with DVD/MP3 in stateroom, and more.

 

 

PRICED FROM


$919,800 w/ Volvo Penta IPS 600s (at time of writing but subject to exchange rate)

 

 

GENERAL


Material: GRP hull w/ balsa-sandwich hull and deck
Type: Monohull
Length overall: 14.80m
Hull length: 14.22m
Beam: 4.37m
Draft: Approx 1.10m
Deadrise: n/a
Weight: 11,600kg (dry w/ standard motors)

 

 

CAPACITIES


Berths: 4 + 2
Fuel: 1300lt
Water: 640lt

 

 

ENGINE


Make/model: 2 x Volvo Penta IPS600s
Type: Six-cylinder four-stroke D6 common rail electronic turbo-diesel
Rated HP: 435
Displacement: 5.5lt
Drives: IPS

 

 

SUPPLIED BY


JW Marine,
Jones Bay Wharf,
19-21 Lower Deck, Suite 90,
26-32 Pirrama Road,
Pyrmont, NSW, 2009
Phone: (02) 9518 6977
Website: www.jwmarine.com.au

Find Beneteau boats for sale.

 


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