Issue: December 2002
Manufacturer: Monte Fino
At what point does a boat become a ship ? My Oxford Dictionary defines a ship as ‘any sea going vessel of considerable size’. The Monte Fino 70 is certainly a sea going vessel, with a range between 600-1500 nautical miles. But she’s also built to Survey, has four cabins all with en suites and displaces around 45,000kg, so she’s no runabout, but is she a ship ?
Some say a ship is defined by the presence of a Plimsoll Line, which is noticeably absent on the Monte Fino 70, so on that technicality I think we can justify reviewing this magnificent new craft in this humble ‘boat’ magazine.
A day aboard the Monte Fino 70 introduced the Modern Boating team to a custom-built motoryacht from the Far East that boasts a bloodline from Italy. However, because most Monte Fino buyers come from the US and UK, Australia only receives a fraction of the shipyard’s yearly output.
At 70′ this motoryacht is erring on being one of the smaller vessels in their range, but at every point Monte Fino offers a level of customisation usually only available on more expensive and much larger craft.
So when commissioning this vessel, Vic Bates, from Monte Fino Australia, customised this 70′ motoryacht to a level of luxury he would accept in a vessel destined for his own use. In the past eight years Vic has sold eight Monte Finos, which isn’t bad going considering Monte Fino only produces 30 motoryachts per year worldwide.
Actually, the first Monte Fino delivered to Australia was his own 60′ craft and as the saying goes ‘he liked it so much he bought’, or should I say set-up, the local importing company. Since then, he has delivered vessels between 60 and 96 ft and at last year’s Sydney Boat Show sold a 120 footer that is currently under construction.
Vic also mention that four of the original owners of earlier Australian delivered vessels have sold their boats at a good profit, which I might add is a rare thing in the marine world. Over the years Vic has worked out that in most cases the Australian way is he who owns the boat, drives the boat.
So with this Monte Fino 70 he customised an open plan layout designed to integrate the galley with a sun filled informal eating area where the pilothouse would normally be sited. With this layout there’s no lower helm station on the main deck, so a central staircase for internal access to the flybridge could to be fitted and Vic installed a remote thruster and engine controller aft on the main deck.
The concept of having a crew running the ship has also been discarded with this layout, although the accommodation would still allow it. Instead the open plan lends itself to social interaction throughout the entire craft.
For example, when you’re in the gourmet galley family and friends can still include you in the conversation by sitting in the spacious dining area on the island bench and leather stools.
Vic was obviously in tune with the Australian way of thinking, because this 70 was snapped up as soon as she hit our shores by a man who knows boats, a tuna fisherman from SA who has a fleet of fishing vessels, most larger in size than the Monte Fino 70.
Enough of the history lesson, let’s have a look around this magnificent craft. As the Modern Boating team moved around the boat we were stunned by the luxury on all three decks. Below there are four staterooms all with their own en suites. When designing this set-up, Vic increased the accommodation to sleep nine in two double staterooms and two cabins with single beds for the kids.
The owner’s stateroom is located aft and has to be seen to be believed. It’s got the lot, soft lighting, cherrywood cabinets, queen size bed, a large dressing table, lounge, bedside tables and a luxurious en suite. Having the master stateroom aft allowed for large windows to be fitted, which let plenty of natural light into the cabin and give a great outlook over the large transom platform.
The second VIP stateroom, or guest’s cabin, is located forward. It has an equally impressive finish, but is not quite as roomy. But don’t worry, there is still a dressing table and luxury en suite. This suite gets plenty of natural light from a skylight that doubles as a hatch to the foredeck.
The other cabins feature a queen sized bed in one and three single bunks in the other. They are also extremely luxurious and both have en suites. The three forward cabins are all accessed via a forward stairway on the starboard side. There is also a small built-in laundry on the lower deck, just what every boat needs.
But what really impressed the Modern Boating team was the standing headroom ship-style engine room, complete with workbench and the control panel for all the boat’s systems.
This room houses the hefty twin 1050hp MAN diesel engines and it’s set-up as a ship’s engine room with a range of features that meet NSW Waterway’s Survey requirements, including additional fire retardant and massive engine-operated bilge pumps.
It would take quite a while to digest all the features installed in the engine room. One look at the backlit control panel reveals around 80 switches controlling everything from the air-conditioning to the power for the bow and stern thrusters. This panel would keep any small ship enthusiast occupied for hours; perhaps days.
Leading from the main deck to the teak decked swim platform are two stairways. But from a practical point of view there’s also easy access to the hydraulic steering/stainless steel rudder mounts through a neat hatch concealed in the swim platform.
Essentially, everything about this boat is bigger and better. The custom-made outdoor table has its own lounge and seats up to 10 adults. You could easily stage a fantastic outdoor seafood feast around this table.
But on a more practical side, as with any ship, fire prevention onboard the Monte Fino 70 is taken seriously and mounted on the portside bulkhead of the aft deck is a high-pressure fire hose/pump outlet.
The main deck saloon is impressive and utilises a large mirror forward of the main settee, which enhances the feeling of space. The area is finished in cherrywood and features a wide-screen TV, Bose surround sound stereo, adjustable down lighting and quality carpets and curtains.
The main saloon also has a hint of the Far East about it thanks to the smattering of elaborate figurines, sculptures and lavish lamps scattered around the area.
Forward of the saloon is the galley. It’s a big, gourmet affair that would put some restaurant kitchens to shame. It’s fully equipped and features a dishwasher, fridge and even domestic oven. As far as options go this Monte Fino was fitted with an amazing list of extras that was about as long as the boat.
Some of the ones that stood out to the team include the 1000lb stainless steel davit on the aft flybridge level and the bigger than usual engines.
I mentioned earlier that this boat was built to NSW Waterway’s Survey, which involved Vic sending Waterway’s officers overseas several times to inspect the building progress. Did I also mention that the new owner has video cameras installed throughout the boat, so when he’s at the helm he can see everything that is going on’
Then there’s the complete climate control system, icemaker, teak laid aft deck, 17.5Kw Kohler generator ‘ the list goes on and on. So with the guided tour out of the way we fired up the hefty engines and took the biggest boat on the bay out for a burl.
It was a perfect midweek day and it took next to no time to unleash the hull from the marina, then using the bow and stern thrusters we moved off with ease. Even though this is a large vessel she’s been set-up so a husband and wife team can handle her, big, but manoeuvrable.
To illustrate this point Vic put the boat through some impressive manoeuvres around the fuelling dock in a space that would normally make it hard for a 25′ boat to manage. We were impressed; this boat can turn in its own waterline.
Once we found our way to open waters the Monte Fino really put on a show. Up on the bridge deck the engine noise was next to nothing and before we knew it the boat was travelling at a graceful 22 knots. Yep! That’s 40kmh, even though she would have to weigh around 45 tonne.
Powering along I studied the vast array of instrumentation on the dash. Talk about comprehensive, this boat seemed to have every conceivable electronic aid and gauge on the market.
The tachos were showing 2400rpm, speed 22 knots and fuel. Fuel ! The tanks were close to empty. I pointed this out to Vic and he replied ‘Yeah, I know. If she runs out can you fill her up”. Since I didn’t have a lazy $6000 on me, to fill the 7000lt tanks, we did a few more manoeuvres then headed back to shore.
It’s a time-honoured law in boating, if you have to worry about the cost of filling her up you can’t afford her. But with a price tag of around $2.5 million for all the luxury and quality inclusions, this boat represents pretty good value for money.
So if you have a lazy few mill lying around and you’re in the market for a quality motoryacht, have a close look at the Monte Fino 70.
Her looks and performance are breathtaking and she’s one of the few motoryachts on the market that allows the buyer to customise her layout to suit their own requirements.
The engine room on the Monte Fino 70 doubles as a workshop and features full standing headroom. It houses twin 1050hp MAN diesels that propel the 70′ hull along at a comfortable 22 knots or around 40kmh at 2400rpm. A more fuel efficient cruising speed would be around 16 knots, which would make those 7000lt fuel tanks drain a bit slower.
Story by Andrew Richardson