REVIEW: BENETEAU MONTE CARLO 6S

By: KEVIN GREEN, Photography by: SUPPLIED

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  • Trade-A-Boat

A cool coupe with a discreet flybridge, the Monte Carlo 6S adds panache to what Beneteau has already created with its flagship Monte Carlo 6.

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HIGHS

  • Overall styling and finish
  • Innovative features
  • Hybrid flybridge

LOWS

  • Sub 30-knot performance
  • Low flybridge safety rails

REVIEW: BENETEAU MONTE CARLO 6S priced from 1,237,048 (review boat, ex-factory, ex-tax)

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The launch of the Monte Carlo range in 2015 caused quite a stir among us international journalists when we gathered in the Balearic Islands to put the first one through its paces and we all agreed back then that it was a game-changer for the French builder who was rapidly increasing its footprint in the burgeoning luxury production powerboat sector. Fast forward to 2017 and another posse of us hacks descended on Barcelona to put hull number one of the coupe version, the 6S, through its paces.

As the flagship of the range that also has the Monte Carlo 4 and Monte Carlo 5, the 6S is a more versatile boat and perhaps appeals to a wider audience – who prefer more entertaining on the top deck than simply spotting coral heads. Australians love flybridge cruisers for some very good reasons – spotting the aforementioned coral heads being just one, but also the ability to manoeuvre from the commanding position up top has been another reason.

However the latest pod drives have largely negated that – as I found when using the highly manoeuvrable Zeus transmission on the 6S.

First impressions often count for a lot, so the smooth swept-back profile of the 6S gave it a leaner look than its flybridge sibling, the MC6, I concluded while walking towards it on the dock at Puerto Ginesta. Italian designers have added discreet portholes along the slab sides while retaining the signature central portlight that bathes the owner’s mid-ships cabin in natural light, while disguising the tall topsides of the charcoal hull (also available in aqua blue). Having done yacht deliveries along this region when living here in Spain, I know this coast to be uninspiring in parts so ideal territory to put the hammers down and blast along. In this department the MC6S may not inspire as its Cummins 600HPs are steady rather than outstanding performers. But the Monte Carlo range with its Italian styling and comfortable three-cabin layout is much more sophisticated than being simply about grunt.

For the couple who want to entertain and go offshore without too much fuss in what is a large yet fairly easily handled luxury production cruiser, the MC6S offers a compelling package without breaking the bank of Monte Carlo.

PETITE FLYBRIDGE

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What Beneteau is calling a "saloon integrated in the hard-top" is a discreet mini flybridge lounge that has gantry space for navigation gear in front yet vastly reduces the windage of a traditional flybridge while also giving a large retractable sunroof for the main saloon. Climbing up the gentle gradient of the stairwell takes me to the middle of this flybridge where I’m surrounded by the L-shaped lounge. Towards the rear is a double sunbed and a small 30l fridge nestles between. Guard rails are welcome here as the topsides aren’t very high and with no sprayhood forward the area is best used when stationary or at slow speed. But there’s plenty to like, such as the adjustable-height main table, which can be lowered to become a sunbed and the stairwell has a hatch to avoid guests taking the plunge after too many G&Ts. Integrated Bose speakers and useful drinks holders finish off what is a comfortable area on the Monte Carlo 6S.

BARBECUE DECK

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The aft deck is shaded by the flybridge but can have a hydraulic bimini extend to completely shade this area for midday dining around the teak table and transom benches. Beyond is the hydraulic swim platform, which can easily lower the optional Williams 325 Turbojet tender for a blast ashore. A handy tip from Sydney Sundance dealer Mark Tucker is simply to lower the hydraulic swim platform which becomes a big stabiliser. Crew quarters nestle below this aft bulkhead, which can also house a barbecue. Given that this a 20-tonne boat, the electric capstans on each quarter are welcome options.

Moving inside, slatted teak guides you through the tall, chromed doors into the saloon which adjoins the galley and takes up both sides. With three levels to move around on and two layout choices, the MC6S is intended to have wide appeal, including one layout named Asian which signals some of Beneteau’s intentions for this cruiser. Our review boat was the three-cabin, three-ensuite European model. The Asian version has a galley down where the midships cabin would be and there’s a bar in the saloon. The starboardside galley is a U-shaped area which has a three-burner electric hob with oven and single sink with stylish swivelling tap; surrounded by marble worktops while across the way is more storage and bench space, along with twin 75L drawer fridges. The style is minimalist with uncluttered surfaces, leather door handles and a tall wine chiller. Whitegoods include a washer-dryer below and a dishwasher here as well. Lacquered overhead cupboards and light brushed Oak ones near the galley finish off this cleanly designed area.

A single step takes me into the lounge, which is an airy space thanks to the tall windows bringing light into the U-shaped lounge/dinette with longitudinal bench seating opposite to port. Here, the table has large folding wings and at the press of a button lowers to become a coffee table or elevates for a dining, while the cream upholstery wouldn’t be my choice – but there’s an extensive option list of materials for your own customisation of this area. Seated, you can see outside while still retaining enough privacy, especially if you draw the Venetian blinds and curtains on the aft doors.

SUPERYACHT SEAT

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Up ahead, the skipper can easily cast a glance from the elevated navigation area that has double co-skipper seats to port and our review boat had the large Besenzoni superyacht leather seat (Euro 12,000) fitted. Its armrests house a trackball and joystick Zeus controls which proved very workable at sea and electronics adjusters customise the height and angle. Console controls included an upgrade to a single 24in Simrad NSO Glass bridge screen (rather than twin 16in ones) with a small cowling that shaded it both from the large front window and sunroof. The skipper enjoys comprehensive views forward through the large single-piece toughened glass window; while looking aft was clear as well thanks to the cabinetry on port and starboard bulkheads. Usefully, the angled helm window can be fitted with a slotted track for blinds. Around me the key controls were all to hand: large twin levers for the Cummins with tabs below them, bow thruster joystick on my right and chunky switches for all the electrics, include knobs for emergency shut-offs for power and fuel.

FULL BEAM CABIN

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A portside corridor leads down into the three-cabin layout that has the owner’s suite across the full 4.88m beam of the MC6S while guests have the bow and there’s two singles in the third cabin. The main ensuite is a comfortable space, dominated by the single large Nemo plexiglass windows on each side . Beside the large starboard one is a Corian sink nestling between the shower and head compartments; a clever idea to allow simultaneous use of the ablutions. The downside could be spilt water in the bedroom of course but this is small price to pay for outstanding views from these large Nemo windows, an idea credited to Monte Carlo’s former president Carla Demaria who joined the French builder from Azimut Yachts, bringing a female sensibility to the design.

Underway, I marvelled at the kaleidoscopic colours from these Italian Nemo windows as the MC6S rolled in the swells, while checking out the (moderate) noise levels from the nearby Cummins. Looking across the king-size bed to the portside, there’s a set of drawers and wardrobe finished in light brushed Oak. Ventilation should be adequate thanks to the opening portlights and overhead ducted air-conditioning that all makes for a comfortable owner’s suite which has two-metre plus headroom. 

SUNDECK

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Down at deck level, the working parts of the MC6S are well proportioned, so there’s sizeable cleating and capstans aft while deep bulwarks guide you safely to the foredeck, to yet another party area. Before the party kicks off, anchoring is well taken care of with a 2000 watt 24V Lewmar vertical windlass and capstan with tall cleats plus deep chain locker. Ideally a second roller would be good for serious cruising though. Then it’s just a matter of clicking a button, to summon the two teak sun loungers from the deck which I adjusted to my slim frame, before clicking the pop-up mood lights. The final touch for daytime would be the optional Bedouin awning that shades without catching too much of the breeze; stylish, like much else on the MC6S.

BUILT FOR POD DRIVES

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Engine maker Cummins was chosen, as its 600HP motors were deemed the best for this 60-foot hull, and the rear-facing propellers are arguably less prone to damage than the forward-facing Volvos. Climbing down from the hatch in the rear cockpit to check them out showed a fairly traditional engine room with sufficient workspace around the motors, pod drive gearboxes, wall-mounted electrics and 17.5kVA generator; along with twin stainless fuel tanks located inboard and forward. Stored power comes from eight 12V batteries (four engine batteries: 50 amp/hour + four service batteries producing 140 amp/hour). Bilge depth is sufficient to withstand a deluge and filters are high up on the transom bulkhead which is well soundproofed. Alongside the engine room is another locker for the life raft and behind all this are crew quarters with single bunk and toilet. Beneteau’s efficient production line means these boats are built economically, using infused GRP with balsa-cored sandwich, incorporating a solid fibreglass grid for structural integrity.

BARCELONA SEA TRIAL

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The imposing cliffs that towered above me as we edged out of Port Ginesta lacked the glamour of the French Riviera, a more apt backdrop for the stylish Monte Carlo 6S, but there was enough breeze to create wave motion as we sped north towards Barcelona. Snug in the leather-clad Besenzoni skipper’s seat that cushioned what little motion the calm Mediterranean could generate, the Spanish coast whizzed past as we reached a cruising speed of 16 knots. At this rate the six-cylinder Cummins were burning about 167lt in total – giving a 220-mile range. Fairly low noise levels allowed our seven crew to talk easily as I banked into some turns, while the MC6S dug her chine in a few degrees, giving me confidence to go for some tight circles which showed predictable handling and inspired acceleration as the tall silhouettes of distant Barcelona came into view. Returning to the harbour, I slowed for a departing fishing boat so clicked on the Skyhook/GPS fitted to automatically hold station while we deployed the fenders. Then edged forward towards the entrance, clicking the bow thruster on to adjust for the windage, before edging the MC6S towards the narrow berth. It’s in these confines that the joystick controls and Zeus pods shine. Simply twist the joystick to turn the boat while choosing high or low power modes as you approach the dock – always good for marital harmony.

SPECIFICATIONS

Priced from

€1,237,048 (review boat, ex-factory, ex-tax)

General

Material GRP (solid under waterline and balsa core above)

Type Semi-displacement

LOA 18.35 m

Beam 4.88 m

Draft 1.17m

Air Draft 6.02m

Weight 19,628 kg

Capacities

People 7 (night)

Fuel 2200lt

Water 800lt

Engine

Make/model 2 Cummins/Zeus QSC 8.3 pod gearbox

Rated HP 600HP, six cylinders

Generator 17.5kVA Cummins-Onan

Manufactured by

Design Nuvolari & Leonard

Interior Andreani Design

Australian dealer www.sundancemarine.com.au

Tel 1300 55 0089

Check out the full review in issue #498 of Trade-a-Boat magazine. Subscribe today for all the latest camper trailer news, reviews and travel inspiration. 

 


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