I like a boat that stands out from the crowd – even more so when it achieves it with a mix of visual appeal and real-world practical design features. If some luxury and spacious accommodation can be included, then they’ve really got my attention.
This Monte Carlo MC5 is a good example. The external lines are clearly contemporary-Euro inspired, but they do not follow the trend toward super-streamlining that makes some boats look more like space ships than water craft. Perhaps I’m a bit of a traditionalist, but I find it alluring the way the MC5 carries its more-vertical stem and quite tall topsides below a deckline that flairs upward toward the transom to blend with the curvaceous sides of the flybridge above.
It is not surprising, then, that the style of the MC5 is derived from the renowned Nuvolari Lenard design studio.
And I’m not alone in my admiration of the lines and execution of the MC5. It’s worth noting that it won the Over 45-foot European Power Boat of the Year Award in 2014, which reflects the innovation and quality that comes from being Italian-designed and French-built to world standards.
The MC5 is available in sedan and flybridge layouts, the latter version the focus of this review. It is priced from $1,150,000 and, as presented, with various options, comes to $1,385,524. I must say that the Sydney office of Monte Carlo’s Australian distributor did an excellent job of presenting this boat.
The flybridge of the MC5 is huge, even for a 50ft (18.2m) cruiser. The fully equipped helm station is right forward to starboard and twin settees are to port (one facing aft, one forward) with a fill-in panel to make it a welcome sunpad to relax by day or even to sleep on a balmy summer night. What a spot to wake up on a clear, crisp morning – looking down on tendrils of mist drifting from the water as the local birdlife sings into your consciousness the joy of another boating day …
Behind those settees is another huge U-shaped set of lounges around a fold-out extendable table with a shading bimini overhead; it’s a ‘heavy-duty’ bimini, too, and can be kept erected even in arduous conditions as, indeed, it was during a run from Hamilton Island to Sydney.
LED lighting along the underside of the bimini adds both luminescence and ambience at night. Just aft of the helm seat is a wet bar and fridge to keep the entertainment supplies handy and cool; optionally an electric grill can be fitted. Another large fridge is aft to starboard.
Access to the flybridge is by teak-lined steps from the cockpit that, in turn, is reached by steps from a large boarding platform. This platform lowers hydraulically to below water level to aid wading/swimming and dinghy storage/handling. An extension of the upper transom moulding neatly houses a wet bar and barbecue.
Large doors allow the cockpit and saloon to connect seamlessly and a full-facility galley is located just inside the saloon to port, where it can serve both areas equally well. The saloon is spacious and bright with large windows that allow appreciation of the never-ending parade of scenic delights no matter where you’re seated.
Throughout the MC5, the fabrics, trim, carpets and finish are of the highest order, but manage to keep the luxury entirely practical in use. While appreciating the craftsmanship, you don’t feel intimidated or cautious about relaxing and enjoying being surrounded by such indulgence.
The saloon continues with a lounge to starboard and dinette to port. The lower helm is right forward to starboard and gives good sight lines through the large raked and curved one-piece screen. A reversing camera helps (at both helm stations) when backing into a marina pen.
Alongside the helm, steps lead down to the staterooms with the owner’s suite aft/amidships in a very spacious full-beam layout featuring an island queen berth with bedside tables, hanging lockers and an optional TV. Panoramic portholes allow natural light to stream in and offer an interesting waterscape, both when cruising and moored.
The owner’s en suite is forward to port with another bathroom ahead of that to serve both the island-double-berth VIP cabin toward the front of the MC5 and the third cabin to starboard with under-and-over berths. All the bedrooms have good storage and offer a bright and welcoming atmosphere. Combined with the saloon and flybridge, there are plenty of spots for everyone to enjoy conviviality or privacy.
Power comes from twin 325kW (435hp) Volvo IPS 600 engine/pod systems, offering all of the usual benefits of the innovative Volvo-Penta pod drives. In short, the six-cylinder Volvo diesels are aft-mounted under the cockpit for quieter operation and very easy access. This releases space amidships for the full-beam owner’s stateroom. Streamlined pods carry forward-facing, counter-rotating props for very efficient operation, and joystick controls make it easy to manoeuvre the boat for docking.
I can certainly report that driving the MC5 is a pleasure from either helm station, with supportive seats, great ergonomics and well laid out controls and electronics. The lower helm has twin Simrad displays (upgraded on our review boat to 16in from the standard 12in screens) with fully integrated GPS plotter, sonar and radar – as well as the reversing camera.
SMOOTH AND POTENT
The IPS600s were smooth and potent from idle through to a top speed on the day of 30.1 knots (55.8km/h) at 3600rpm. At 1500rpm the MC5 was already doing 9.2 knots (17km/h) and cruising was relaxed in the 1500 to 3000rpm band, delivering 15.7 to 21.7 knots (29 to 40km/h). The throttles and steering were light and precise and, along with responsive trim tabs, gave a reassuring feeling of being fully in control at all times.
The hull was equally impressive, with moderate banking through turns and a soft ride through the wake of our camera boat. We had calm waters for our run, but the MC5 heritage carries a good reputation for offshore cruising.
There are many more features and clever touches on the MC5 than we have room to describe here – including an electric sun awning over the cockpit, foredeck sun lounges, upgraded refrigeration, Bose entertainment system and dual station bow thruster and anchor winch controls. If you are looking in this market space for a luxury cruiser with unique appeal, you need to inspect a Monte Carlo and chat with Sundance Marine for a full appreciation of all of the features and prestige that come with Monte Carlo ownership.
MONTE CARLO MC5
Overall length: 15.10m
Sleeping capacity: 6 persons
Fuel capacity: 1300lt
Water capacity: 600lt
Power (as tested): 435hp twin Volvo IPS600 diesels
Price from: $1,150,000
Price as tested: $1,385,524
More information: Sundance Marine, tel: 1300 55 00 89. Web: SundanceMarine.com.au.