Monte Fino 96 Review

Issue: March 2002
Manufacturer: Monte Fino 

The Australian Oxford Dictionary describes the word dream as an aspiration; to allow one to think; or to contemplate the possibility of. And while most of us will never be able to afford the almost $7 million price tag of this Monte Fino 96 motoryacht, we can all stop to dream and appreciate her beauty, in awe of the superlative standard of fit-out and finish.

Stepping aboard this luxury motoryacht is like walking into the foyer of one of Europe’s finest hotels. Our senses reel with the smell of fine leather and the visual impact of magnificent cherrywood joinery and panelling.

The Monte Fino 96 offers luxurious interior appointments and a level of quality, style and attention to detail that make this floating palace an ideal motoryacht for long range cruising, or simply entertaining guests dockside.

The main saloon is a masterpiece of clever design and the maximum use of available space. There are cupboards in every conceivable crevice, vast areas of glass – all with full-length blinds of course – and heavy duty deep-pile carpets.

Sink into the main lounge and luxuriate in its fine leather. Or sit in one of the beautiful handcrafted club chairs and write to a friend at the wooden saloon table.

Drinks anyone? There’s a fully equipped marble-topped bar with a drink fridge, icemaker and secure bottle and glass storage. Then it’s time to crank the party up a few notches, swap the pleasant dinner music, flowing from the Bose’ surround sound system for some good ol’ rock ‘n’ roll and hand around the Wild Turkey.

Then, for your less energetic moments sprawl out on the lounge and enjoy the full stereo sound effects and the crystal clear pictures on the DVD.

But apart from the state-of-the-art visual and audio systems onboard, there’s one other feature that makes this Monte Fino stand out in the crowd. She can be custom built to suit a new buyer’s individual requirements and preferences.

For example, the owners of the test boat Masteka – a Melbourne businessman and his family who use this 96 footer the same way you and I would use an 18 footer – re-designed the forward stateroom into a huge galley come family room, moving the master stateroom down a level. Why ? Simply because this is the area they spend many of their waking hours in. This galley is also five-star and would easily give any top-class restaurant a run for its money – the appliances are to kill for. Refrigerator; freezer; icemaker; wine cooler; microwave; stove; oven; dishwasher; garbage disposal; water purifier; television; sound system; and intercom. All these appliances are of the highest quality. There’s also ample storage cupboards and massive family dining table.

Of course, if fine dining is on the menu a move back into the main saloon is in order. Here there’s a magnificent eight-seater dining table with exquisite wood inlays and superbly upholstered chairs.

Behind this table is a large, mirrored, silver cabinet, while above the dining table, framed mirrored ceiling panels accentuate the feeling of space. It’s easy to sit at this table and visualise yourself enjoying a seafood platter over a glass of chardonnay, while anchored off some remote hideaway.

Back from the daydream, there are four luxurious cabins with en-suites, plus a crew’s cabin aft of the enormous, soundproofed engine room and workshop – more on that later – and a second two-bunk crew quarters located forward of the lower helm station.

A unique spiral stairway leads from the main saloon below to the staterooms. Here soft lighting, luxurious upholstery, lacquered timbers and mirrors combine with tasteful furnishings to create a truly elegant effect.

There are hanging lockers on either side of each stateroom, dressing tables with mirrors and plenty of storage areas to stow all the gear for extended cruising. But another feature these staterooms can boast is space; room to move without tripping over cupboards and the likes. These staterooms are the size of a modest hotel room.

Access to the lower helm station is via a set of steps in the hallway that leads to the galley. At first glance this helm station is a maze of electronics. You’d be forgiven for thinking you’ll need a pilot’s licence to drive her, but actually that’s not the case at all.

She’s fitted with a dual set of engine gauges, a GPS/plotter, sounder, radar, auto pilot, VHF radio, intercom, fire control system and bow and stern thrusters. The only real addition to a standard helm configuration is a computerised navigation system.

Yes, it’s all very high-tech, but it’s well laid out and surprisingly easy to follow. With the help of the bow and stern thrusters, the skipper can park this 96 footer easier than some weekend boaties could berth an 18 footer.

Up on the flybridge, the heavily instrumented helm station adjoins a spacious deck featuring a wet bar with fridge and icemaker, lounges, sunpads and an oversized seating area for entertaining and informal dining.

There is one BBQ located here and another sheltered in the rear cockpit on the lower deck. So no matter what the weather you can always throw another shrimp on the barbie. Out on the flybridge aft deck is a davit and a storage rack for the Masteka’s 5.3m tender.

The excellent layout of the Monte Fino 96 also features a large transom platform, which accesses a garage for storing a personal watercraft or diving equipment and wide walk-around teak side decks.

Unlike some of the other superyachts to come from Taiwanese shipyards, this Monte Fino doesn’t have the region’s signature stooped-bow. Instead she has a high, fine bow entry that carves through swells and a wide, stable beam of 21′ 3″.

She’s 96 feet long with a waterline length of 77′ 3″, displaces 102 tonnes and has a freshwater capacity of 2000lt and a standard fuel capacity of 15,000lt. This gives Masteka a cruising range of around 2000 nautical miles at 12 knots.

The massive twin 1350hp Caterpillar diesels have a top speed of 18.5 knots, but at this speed fuel consumption really jumps into the expensive mode.

Then again, if you can afford the initial purchase price and maintenance costs of this vessel, you’re not going to worry about the cost of diesel.

Engine fit-out is also up to the purchaser. The buyer can opt for larger or smaller engines of any make, depending on how they wish to power their new vessel. Down in the engine room everything is extremely well thought out. There’s plenty of room to move about with a wide walkway between the two engines.

There is also good access to the generators, air-conditioning unit and saltwater converters. Nothing is cluttered, there aren’t any fiddly wires or small bits of machinery obstructing access to major components and the engine room is easy to keep clean.

Across the rear bulkhead of the engine room are two raised work benches and well-laid out tool racks. The whole area is fireproof and fitted with a foam fire extinguishing system, which operates automatically, with a manual override.

To qualify as a Modern Boating dreamboat a vessel must be of an extremely high standard. She has to be luxurious, have an excellent level of fit-out and finish and be a vessel readers can aspire to. The Monte Fino 96 more than fits the bill on all counts.

Yes, her almost $7 million price tag may be a little out of the reach of most of us, but as you can see by the accompanying photos, this is an extraordinarily beautiful ocean-going vessel. And one connoisseur’s of all things boating will appreciate.

Story by Ian Macrae