This has to be one of the sharpest, most thought-filled boats we’ve seen all year – and that’s just at first glance! Hop on board and you’ll find all the amenities you’ll need for an action-packed day on the water with up to 10 of your boating mates. Boasting comfort and luxury, the Monterey M45 is sure to get a lot of attention.
Words and pictures by Dean Castle
As Monterey is relatively new to South Africa, I haven’t had the opportunity to get to know these boats as well as I do others. But, you don’t have to work for a boating website in order to have heard that Monterey makes quality craft! I was rather excited for this test – not just because I’d get more acquainted with this brand, but because this is no ordinary new-arrival. As you’ll see from the accompanying pictures, this Monterey M45 is outboard-driven – which generally means a lower purchase price and all-round running cost, without sacrificing any of the copious amounts of onboard deck space. The outboard version also makes this Monterey more attractive to river and estuary boaters as the motor can be trimmed up, safely out of the way from sandbars and other hidden obstacles, should you become wary of the depth.
Although the Monterey M45 pushes the measuring tape to a lengthy 24 feet (7.31 metres), being onboard this craft makes it feel much bigger. It is cleverly designed to incorporate numerous seating configurations to ensure that when you are full up with 11 passengers on board, each one is allowed generous roominess, no matter their choice.
Starting at the front, you’ll find a (not so) standard bow-rider configuration. With the filler cushions inserted, you have a huge sun-tanning deck; or, remove the cushions, and insert the cocktail table if you wish, and you get a comfy seating area from which to enjoy a few afternoon snacks. It’s also interesting to note that removable cushions and tables do have their allocated storage space below the deck, so you no longer have to decide before leaving the dock if you’ll need them for the day, or not. It’s the small ‘ease-of-use’ details like this which carry right through the craft.
Mid ship, the wrap-around cockpit seating is plush and comfortable. The co-pilot’s back rest is adjustable, allowing you to reverse the cushioning to allow for a passenger to sit facing forward, or have a truly luxurious chaise lounger facing towards the stern. In the cockpit you’ll also find an easily-accessible, fitted cooler box. This great feature will allow you to keep your cold drinks iced and neatly stored, without having to move around a box which would normally be sliding across the deck all day. Aft you’ll find another superb example of seating options; when you don’t require the additional seats, simply flip up the base and transform the cockpit into a truly spacious area – big enough to throw down the dance moves when you’re pumping the tunes through the super high quality Wet Sounds audio system!
The luxury doesn’t stop there. Access to the stern deck (which can be closed off with the mounted gate when you have smaller kids onboard) is granted through a large walkway on the starboard side where you’ll find seating for two, comfortably – to watch the action behind the craft, or get prepped for their time in the water.
Should it be needed, a toilet/changing cubicle is located in the port-side binnacle, though it must be said that head-height here, although pushed to the max, isn’t sufficient enough for someone of my shorter stature.
The skipper is treated to supreme sumptuousness, and the layout in this area really lends itself to making you feel in control. An adjustable, rotating bucket seat holds you firm and safely and the helm is fully kitted with instrument gauges and switches to power all the goodies and gadgets onboard – such as lifting the electronically operated stern storage hatch to provide an opening to the cavernous storage area below the deck.
Grace and pace is what the Monterey M45 brings to the table. Our review craft was paired with Yamaha’s celebrated 300 horsepower 4-Stroke outboard which runs super quiet in idle and highly efficient when under throttle.
I can only expect this Monterey to be an absolute delight on flat-water dams, but I was more interested to see how dominant it would be in the ocean – so we headed out into the False Bay to see what she’s got. While this is a big 24-foot boat, it is commanding of the water, not your attention – you certainly don’t want to feel as though you’re driving a bus around!
Our M45 did have trim plates mounted at the stern, but I found that anywhere from around 50% to fully down allowed the M45 to run soft and smoothly while minimal to no spray finding its way on the deck. The balance of power-to-weight ratio seems to be spot on as this combination was quick to plane and gives good acceleration right up until top speed. Swinging a Saltwater Series II 17” pitch, I did note some aeration around the prop in a fully locked turn; but since this Yamaha has just got so many horses left in its stable on pull away, I’d be inclined to step the pitch up a notch to rectify the aeration, plus you’d probably see a slight increase in fuel efficiency. In its setup as reviewed, instrument readouts show that we were doing 26 km/h at 3 000 RPM while consuming 26 litres per hour.
There wasn’t a huge swell on the day, but I don’t really anticipate this craft being used in much worse conditions. Even so, it’s not hard to see that it would be able to handle whatever gets thrown at it. At full taps, she skips over the waves and chop without as much as a shudder, and throwing the steering wheel more vigorously than required showed that she’s responsive and, in fact, weirdly light for what her specs show on paper. This is a boat I could certainly spend a lot of time onboard without ever getting bored!
There are a plethora of finer details we could go into, from the faultless glossy gelcoat – which itself comes in a variety of colour and decal options – to the noticeably high-quality waketower, which conveniently folds down in a matter of seconds to ensure the M45 can fit into a garage. There is just so much attention to the details that this really would be a long read, but it all goes to show that this Monterey received the designers’ full attention. One thing which does deserve a mention is the padding on the deck – not only does it look great, but it gives a really pleasant non-slip feeling under your feet, while remaining resilient to scuff marks and stains.
If you’re looking for a boat in this price range, there are a few you’d instinctively consider – but I think you’d be hard pressed to find one which offers value for money and exceptional ride quality like the Monterey M45 – and with the Yamaha outboard hitting the sweet spot on the transom, this package really is a winner for you and the whole family! Alternatively, if size matters, make sure to check out the bigger brother, the M65 (26 foot), or otherwise the shorter M205 (20 foot) which are sure to offer elite levels of comfort for ultimate value.
Special thanks to Magson Marine for allowing us to cruise the ocean on the Monterey M45 for the day. For more information and up to date pricing, contact your nearest authorised Yamaha dealers by using the enquiry form below. A member of the Yamaha team will contact you shortly.
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