Mama mia, those Italians are good at making things look great—and boats are no exception. True, Monte Carlo is owned by the (French) Beneteau Group, but the line traces its lineage to the Monte Carlo Yachts yard in Monfalcone, Italy, and its designers hail from Venice. Their latest and smallest offering, the MC4, can get you a taste of the old country in a boat that also offers modern performance and construction. The MC4 is an IPS boat, powered by a pair of 370-hp Volvo-Penta pod drives. That gives it a cruise in the low to mid 20-knot range and a top end of right around 30 knots. Not bad, for a 13-ton 45-footer. Plus, with the joystick handling, close-quarters maneuvering is a piece of cake. If you haven’t yet experienced a boat with joysticks and pods, believe me, you have to feel it to believe it—it’s like driving a dump truck and then getting behind the wheel of a Corvette. Just as important on a boat like this, though, designing in the pod drives means there’s more space available belowdecks for the cabin. The MC4 is a two-stateroom boat, with the guest’s quarters located in the bow and a full-beam master beneath the salon. The upside here is that the master is significantly larger than you’d expect on a boat of this size; the downside is that headroom is a bit tight, and in much of the master, you’ll have to stoop a bit. The guest stateroom isn’t quite as grand, but it does have standing headroom throughout. Photo courtesy of Annapolis Yacht Sales Then again, why spend too much time down there? This boat is an entertaining machine, and dollars to doughnuts says that most of the time it will be used for day trips with large numbers of guests. In this regard, the boat shines. The flying bridge, for example, befits a 50-footer. Climb the stairs, and you’ll note that along with the helm it has a huge sunpad, seating for 10 people, a wet bar, a dinette table, an (optional) grill, and plenty of stowage. The bow is outfitted with more padded tanning space. And the aft cockpit, which is shaded in its entirety by the extended flybridge, has outdoor seating for several more passengers and steps leading down to a huge swim platform. Cocktail cruising, here we come—along with all of our friends. The salon layout follows modern trends, with a large glass door entry and the galley located aft, so it’s easy to serve those guests their canapés, caviar, and calamari. There’s a large settee and dinette to starboard and a lower helm forward. The helm is smartly designed to make running the boat easier, with an elevated platform and single-piece windshield for good visibility. Side windows slide open electrically, and the big glass salon doors mean there’s also excellent visibility looking aft. All of the enclosed areas of the boat feature lots of natural light and windows all around, even in the staterooms (which also have large opening ports). As you might expect from an Italian build, the detail work is gorgeous. Stitched leather is all over the place, even on things like drawer pulls and window valences. The fittings are also styled to impress, with unique and modern stainless-steel light fixtures, door handles, and faucets you’re not likely to find on any other boat on the Chesapeake. Okay: so we know the MC4 has the eye candy and the luxury Italians are known for. What about the mechanical reliability? In this regard, their reputation may be a bit less, well, impressive. Dimenticalo! This is where the Beneteau Group’s influence shines through, and you can see it clearly in the engine room. The engines are easily accessed, plumbing and wiring is loomed and supported, and accessories are clearly labeled. When running through a chop, the boat feels solid underfoot, part of which can be attributed to solid build and part of which must be due to the hull design. It’s unusual by American standards but commonly seen on Euro boats, with a nearly plumb “tulip” bow, an extremely fine entry, and a deep V that tapers down to 15 degrees of deadrise at the transom. The MC4 starts at about $680,000. That’s a lot of olives, but considering what you get, it certainly doesn’t seem outrageously expensive. Note also that the MC4 comes with a lot of items that many manufacturers would charge extra for: the huge swim platform, a windlass, and the IPS 500 system, for example, aren’t up-charges. Hello, beautiful. Specifications LOA: 45'3" Beam: 13'4" Draft: 3'9" Displacement: 26,499 Max HP: 740 Fuel Capacity: 290 GAL. by Lenny Rudow