Beneteau Monte Carlo 32 Open Boat Review
Reviewed: January 2009
Author: Daniel Tillack, Editor,
Modern Boating Magazine
A Mediterranean power boat play-toy with all the amenities needed for fun family boating under the Australian sun.
The hull has two planing surfaces, the table can be lowered and covered with an infill to create a big sunbed. Teak-covered swim platform, retractable boarding ladder and hot and cold shower (with mixer tap).
Advantages come with being a huge boat manufacturer: the resources to hire the best designers, architects and boat builders, to develop the best manufacturing practices and to use the best materials. Economies of scale remove the need to cut corners and quality comes easier—especially if the company has the benefit of much experience.
French boat building powerhouse Beneteau is still a family owned business after 120 years and today builds some 4500 boats each year—everything from luxury yachts in their sailing range to powerboats up to 16m. The quality, performance, style and design of all its boats reflect Beneteau’s scale and experience and the Monte Carlos are testament to that.
The Monte Carlo range is expanding, adding a new 47 to the existing 27, 32 and 37. To put it simply: they’re sexy boats. The layouts and designs are surely popular with the playboys of the Mediterranean, and they’re just as fun under the Australian sun. Each model offers creature comforts—relative to its size—for weekend cruising with a dash of party and a twist of performance.
Modern Boating recently enjoyed a test run of the Monte Carlo 32 open. Clever ideas are apparent from stern to bow. Step onto the teak-covered swim platform to begin your tour. A retractable boarding ladder hides in a locker on the starboard side and a retractable hot and cold shower (with mixer tap) is found under a cap to port. The set-up makes it easy to climb aboard after a swim, have a shower, step through the small gate and enjoy refreshments at the cockpit’s outside saloon.
Or maybe you would prefer a siesta on the sunbed to starboard—this is angled, making it easy to socialise with those seated at the saloon opposite and comfortable for reading. Those in a contemplative mood could stare at the stars with an after-dinner drink and think to themselves, “yeah, my boat’s pretty cool”. And if anyone is jealous of how comfortable you are on your sunbed, they can lower the solid wood cockpit table and break out the infill to transform the saloon into a bigger sunbed. With pleasant weather and suitable anchorage, this would make a nice alfresco bed for those who prefer the open air to the cabin.
The self-draining cockpit is carpeted as standard and makes a comfortable space. There’s cosy seating for six in the outside saloon, or spacious for four. Or if you like a party as much as one customer of JW Marine—the Australian importers of Beneteau powerboats—you can opt for the pedestal table to be removable, converting the cockpit to a dance floor for a fun Saturday night on Sydney Harbour. That’s a great way to make use of the sound system, which is CD and MP3 compatible and plays through speakers in the cockpit and the cabin. You could also opt for the blue LED floor lights instead of white to jazz it up.
I noticed the generous storage space under the starboard sunbed is included for stowage of a tender, but you could move that to the foredeck for the party and replace it with a generous sized icebox for drinks and food. For quieter nights, the cockpit fridge located under the sink in the portside cockpit cupboard, opposite the helm, will hold ample provisions for a small crew. But if your appetite for a party makes a quiet night unlikely, an icemaker is available and fits the same space as the fridge. There is a cutting board/food preparation area above, which can be replaced with an optional electric barbecue, but I liked the suggestion, made by JW Marine’s Adam Waters, of mounting a gas barbie on a stainless steel rail on the swim platform.
The helm features a wide seat—enough for two, very roomy for one. I doubt there’s a bottom on earth that could fill the width of this seat. The forward edge folds up to make a bolster cushion for a comfortable standing position—a nice touch—and there’s a stainless steel grab rail for the copilot on the edge of a full instrument panel with 13 slots for various gauges. There’s a central space for a large sounder/GPS unit. Raymarines are fitted standard, either a C80 or C120 will match the space available. autopilot and radar are optional. There is a compass atop and a footrest below.
The combination of comfort and information makes the skipper’s job pleasant and easy. This is complemented by the ride offered by the twin 5.7l petrol Volvos (twin Volvo D3 190hp diesels are optional) matched with Beneteau’s ‘air Step’ hull. This hull design creates two planing surfaces, one forward and one aft of the step, allowing the boat to lift with greater efficiency. It’s another example of Beneteau making best use of its resources by developing innovative features that relate to more comfortable boating.
The afternoon we spent on Sydney Harbour was in windy but reasonable weather. The Volvos delivered enough power to push the 32 open to a speed of 35 knots with a bit of grunt left to spare. The manoeuvrability was hassle-free and it felt a nice boat to drive.
In between the helm and cockpit cupboard is a retractable aluminium sliding hatch. Another clever design from Beneteau. It is lockable and leads to four steps down to the inside saloon. To port is the head with shower, sink, toilet, storage hatches and a hook for a towel or clothes. Forward of the head and up one small step, the saloon features a sofa and light oak coloured table. There is space for five people to enjoy an elbow-to-elbow dinner, or drinks while playing cards. An optional television will face this area. The test boat’s cushions are finished in a cloth fabric; suede or leather are optional alternatives.
In a clever use of space, the table raises to hold an infill forming a double berth at the bow—“Ah, so it’s not a huge padded shelf forward of the saloon”. The deck hatch overhead lets in light and fresh air and features a retractable shade screen and fly screen—great for a summer night’s sleep without mosquitoes buzzing around your ears. There is a privacy curtain for this double berth.
Reading lights will let you escape into a novel, and if it’s Robinson Crusoe, the two portholes on each side open to let you smell the fresh sea air for atmosphere.
The floor of the saloon looks a bit ugly and out of place in this otherwise well-presented boat. Beneteau have this issue covered, literally, by offering optional carpet.
The galley to starboard of the saloon has a sink with hot and cold water and a two-burner cooktop with adjustable rail for saucepan security. Underneath is a fridge, bin and storage cupboard, and including several other storage spaces, there is enough room for weekend provisions.
Aft of the galley is the owner cabin. It has a height of 2m in the doorway and a double berth marine mattress. The space has been designed with enough headroom at one end for any midnight manoeuvring. There is much less height above the foot of the bed. The porthole opens to let in some fresh air, plus there are reading lights and ceiling lights, storage hatches, hanging locker and a 240V outlet. There is also a maintenance hatch.
Passage to the bow is easy enough. The foredeck features space for an optional sunbed, with four beverage holders close by. It’s a good size space and no doubt popular with the ladies for sunbaking while reading Vogue magazine.
The Monte Carlo 32 Open also comes in a hardtop version. If your home waters are prone to foul weather and you go boating regardless, that might be necessary, but for normal Australian conditions I found open worked well for doing what this boat is made for: enjoying the outdoors with friends and family.
The test boat is powered by two Volvo 5.7L 270hp engines and returned these figures on Sydney Harbour:
RPM – SPEED (Knots)
Length overall: 10.05m
Hull length: 9.31m
Light displacement Open/Hard Top: 4980/5380kg