French Groupe Bénéteau is investing heavily in its new Italian Monte Carlo Yachts division. And judging by Georgia, the first MCY 76, it is backing a real winner.
Story by Phil Draper
Beyond her simply stunning lines, the 76' (23m) flybridge motoryacht Georgia is an important new motoryacht launch on all sorts of levels.
For a start, she’s the first of a new model in an entirely new Monte Carlo Yachts range of 60'-plus motoryachts that is being developed by the world’s largest production boatbuilding operation, Groupe Bénéteau, which up until now has been noticeably absent in that sector of the market. The budget is big and the determination steely. Its aim within the next five years or so is to become a leading motoryacht builder above 60', and Monte Carlo Yachts is a key component of that strategy.
Also significant is the fact that Monte Carlo Yachts is an Italian company. The MCY 76 is built in Monfalcone, close to the Slovenian border in Northeast Italy. Thus far, most of Groupe Bénéteau’s boatbuilding facilities have remained on French soil, save for the satellite operation it opened in the US in Marion, SC, almost 25 years ago to build mainstream sailing cruisers for the North American market and a small-motorboat operation it has in Poland. But the choice of Italy was really inevitable from the outset. Apart from the fact that Italy is the spiritual home of the motoryacht and so much of the design talent and system expertise is located there, Monte Carlo Yachts CEO, Carla Demaria, is Italian. And in so many respects, Demaria is Monte Carlo Yachts.
Up until Groupe Bénéteau hired her, Demaria had spent some 25 years in senior roles with the world’s second-largest yachtbuilding group, Azimut-Benetti. For this latest challenge, she was handed a clean-sheet brief to develop a motoryacht range that would ultimately compete with mainstream players such as Sunseeker, Princess, Azimut and Fairline.
It will come as no surprise that the design talent behind Monte Carlo Yachts also happens to be Italian. Following the results of five invitations to tender to various Italian firms, Demaria hired the services of Dan Lenard and Carlo Nuvolari’s Venice-based Nuvolari-Lenard, which for the more than a decade has been one of the world’s most accomplished yacht design studios. They have been responsible for a huge assortment of award-winning yachts built by the likes of Palmer Johnson and Oceanco.
In terms of external styling, the MCY 76 really stands out. The brief was for something timeless, a future classic. “This yacht has real personality, and personality is so very important,” says Demaria. The MCY 76 lines are just that, as distinctive as they are sophisticated. And some of the most obvious features are quite unique for this size of boat. For instance, what other planing motoryacht model under 79' (24m) delivers such a “terrace on the foredeck,” a massive and mostly flat space that’s open to client interpretation, or a Portuguese bridge (the walkaround decking outside the bridge)? The foredeck is truly class leading, and Portuguese bridges such as this are normally reserved for trawlers or explorer-style yachts. Both those features contribute to a unique character.
Also defining are the buttresses at the aft end of the superstructure—note the tinted-glass panels in them—and the way they arc up into the superstructure molding, which mimics the curve of the picture windows it shields. And those signature hull windows complement the whole profile beautifully.
Then there’s the optional flybridge—a huge and wonderfully comfortable affair compared to the standard hardtop and sport fly versions—, the chunky radar mast and the opening carbon-fiber T-Top, which is raked down ever so slightly at the front to give her a more sporty profile. That top has even been proposed with solar panels to contribute to onboard power supplies.
Inside, Georgia has a very Mediterranean décor. Whitened teak veneers for soles and furniture, plus leather tiling and clean lacquer-work keep her bright and contemporary.
The aft deck and almost all the main salon are on the same level, an unusual feature at this end of the market, and the aft-deck doors open up the whole space. It delivers a real loft feel. Only the bridge area under the windscreen is up a step.
The bridge itself functions well. The majority of the working space is under the starboard half of the windscreen, with the wheel just a couple of feet off the centerline. The instruments and switches are sensibly placed on horizontal surfaces, and the high bench seat, with a small repeat armrest console, is suitably supportive.
As for accommodations, the interior can be specified with three ensuite cabins and with the galley situated up or down. But this first one has four ensuite guest cabins and the galley down, with a two-bunk crew cabin.
The owners’ cabin is aft and delivers a suitable wow, despite the fact the bedroom doesn’t occupy the full beam. It’s configured with the bed on the diagonal, which softens its presence. Its ensuite facilities are to port, concealed behind two sliding doors; and note the shower stall and head-and-bidet compartments aboard Georgia also have their own doors.
Then there’s the VIP double forward and two twin-bed cabins amidships, each just as easily specified as doubles or as converting berths.
As for performance, Georgia has proved good for around 32 knots at half load thanks to twin 1,400-hp MANs, V-boxes, and conventional shafts and props. But the intention is for subsequent boats to be pushed along by ZF4000 pods and their contra-rotating props, which could cope with 450 hp less for a given top speed and significantly reduce fuel consumption—or push up the top speed substantially given the same MANs. The MCY 76’s wedge-shaped hull has been optimized for these pods.
The hullform, with its high flared bow, is the result of extensive tank testing by Seaway. And it’s a stiff structure. The sandwich hull, complete with longitudinal stringers, was infused in one shot; it includes aluminum and Kevlar reinforcements.
The starting price for the MCY 76 is a very competitive €2.5 million (approximately $3.5 million), which is getting on for 20 percent less than the major Italian competition. And interestingly, the price is the same regardless of key options, such as hardtop or fly, or three or four cabins.
Thus far, the builder has already sold the first three. The second was due to launch in December, the third in February, and another four could be delivered before July 2011. Demaria also says she plans to have a boat at the 2011 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. Ultimately, the intention is to build around 17 of them a year, which means one every 20 days.
Plus, there are other models on their way. Demaria tells us there is an MCY 62 in progress, which will be the smallest in the Monte Carlo Yachts portfolio and should be shown at Cannes in 2011. Then following up behind will be a fill-in MCY 68 and then a bigger one, probably an MCY 86. And eventually, market permitting, there should be even bigger models.
Yes, the launch of Monte Carlo Yachts’ new MCY 76 is a big deal on multiple levels. ■
Contact Monte Carlo Yachts: +1 (239) 682 7285
LOA: 75'7" (23.05m)
LWL: 73'4" (22.35m)
Beam (max): 18'6" (5.65m)
Draft: 5'3" (1.59m)
Air Draft: 26' (7.92m)
Displacement (Dry): 45.5 tons (100,000 lbs)
Displacement (Full Load): 51.5 tons (113,300 lbs)
Fuel: 1,057 gal. (4,000 L)
Water: 264 gal. (1,000 L)
Engines: 2 x 1,400-hp (1,029-kW) V12 MANs
Gearboxes: 2 x ZF 665V (10º)
Props: 2 x NiBrAl 880-mm diameter four-blade
Generator: 20 kW Kohler
Top speed: 32 knots
Cruise (max): 27 knots