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power_boat_review-monterey_400-largeWhile many of our readers may know Monterey Boats for their cottage size and trailerable models, the company also builds a line of cruisers and sport yachts ranging up from 40 feet in length. Monterey may also be a larger company than some of our readers realize with 171 dealers worldwide. Monterey is a family owned business that even through the US marine industry downturn last year continues to offer high quality in both styling and construction.

Our test boat is the Monterey 400 SY model and the flagship of the fleet. It featured a particularly innovative stern treatment with a spacious integrated swim platform, transom storage for big items like shore cables and fenders and the cleverly designed aft sun lounge with a flipflop backrest. This allows the occupants to either face the stern for swimming and suntanning, or to face forward and join the substantial U-shaped cockpit seating area. The entire aft seat is also an electrically operated engine hatch; there is a smaller inspection hatch on the cockpit floor.

The innovative and very practical seating arrangement is only the start of the many, good features on this boat. A transom gate leads up to the cockpit from the swim platform and there is a refreshment center directly ahead of that. This is equipped with well-positioned stainless steel handholds, a Kenyon electric grill, and a sink with a cover to increase the counter space; there is a refrigerator, or icemaker available here as well.

The big Monterey is a sun worshiper's dream come true. The companion seat is also a sun lounge bookended by both forward and rear facing seat backs for maximum versatility.

One small detail I quite liked was that Monterey has been generous with the footlights both in the cockpit area and also under the toe spaces of the interior cabinetry down below. This makes things look very elegant and more safe at night too.

The helm seat is an example of the excellent in-house upholstery skills at Monterey. The handsome seat has a flip-up bolster as well as fold-down armrests that adjust for reach.

A handsome sport steering wheel is fitted with a tilting feature and the helm ergonomics include a place to rest your arm near the throttles as well as an angled foot rest to brace yourself against when leaning back on the bolster.

In a seated position, the top of the windshield happened to reach exactly eye-height for me but most owners will find themselves leaning on the bolster, or standing up much of the time anyway. It seems to be the more comfortable way to drive this type of express cruiser.

The dashboard is very impressive with an attractive symmetrical layout and the joystick docking control for the IPS is conveniently mounted near the throttles. The dashboard is formed to exactly fit the optional Raymarine display screen which looks great but means that an owner can't change his or her system easily.

The above deck features continue with side decks wide enough to be safe around dockside, sturdy stainless steel bow rails, an electric windlass, remote control spotlight and additional stainless steel handrails flanking the deck mounted sun pad.

While it may seem that the Monterey 400 SY is very much geared to the sun worshiper's needs, Monterey includes a handsome hardtop both for weather protection and as a mounting location for radar, aerials and the optional Intellian satellite TV system that our test boat had. The hardtop also has recessed lighting, stainless steel handholds and an opening hatch for additional ventilation. Zip out Isinglass curtains offer weather protection when you want it.

Moving inside to the cabin, a sliding hatch door leads down four steps into the salon and has an important stainless steel handrail on the bulkhead. To starboard, is the entertainment center with an LG flat screen TV, DVD and stereo system. The two hassocks offer useful storage inside and store under the entertainment center when not in use.There's a particularly nautical look to the cabin thanks to the teak and holly strip flooring. Monterey has used slightly different flooring in the galley that is more resistant to spills and things falling.

The galley includes a Contoure convection oven, microwave combination, a two-door Isotherm refrigerator, Karadon counters and a Kenyon two-burner ceramic stovetop. The sink is underneath the cover for expanded counter space and we appreciated the stainless steel hand rail. It is a good safety feature. We also found four drawers, two lockers and a huge trash locker as well as the two above-counter lockers. There is even a standard wine chiller. Nice touch!

The aft cabin has two single berths plus a filler for the center. The solid mahogany pocket door is a nice touch as is the dresser and vanity with mirror. You can store the optional removable 19-inch cockpit TV in this area for security.

The second head includes a hand-held shower, VacuFlush MSD, a vanity and a well-positioned shaving mirror in a fully enclosed private compartment off the aft cabin.

The forward stateroom features an island berth with storage under and in the side panels as well as port and starboard lockers with cedar lining. The large deck hatch is appreciated. The test boat had an LCD TV/DVD combination for entertainment. For convenience, there is a door to the main head off the master stateroom.

The main head is comfortably large with a seat in the separate shower stall, vanity with well-placed shaving mirror and the whole space is fiberglass lined for easy care. The large opening deck hatch will be useful too.

Monterey has equipped the 400 SY with a host of additional features but let's get to the performance. The test boat had a pair of Volvo Penta IPS 600 pod drives with joystick docking and the boat ran great.

Dockside handling is a breeze with the joystick system, even in the wind, and we had a windy day to contend with. Acceleration is impressive and you will have no problem getting up to speed. The test boat was equipped with Volvo Penta IPS 600s which actually have 435 hp each – plenty to run this boat at high speeds. The cruise of 37.7 at 3,000 rpm will take you places at a fast pace while still getting surprisingly good fuel economy. The factory says 1.30 mpg at that rate for a range of 386 miles. The top speed of 46.1 is really flying for a big boat yet we felt the ride was still comfortable in the moderate waves of our test day and the handling was more like a sport boat than a big cruiser.

With a very contemporary blend of luxury and style, the Monterey 400 SY is a strong contender in this class.

By Andy Adams

To see if this boat is available, go to www.boatcan.com to check listings!