33 Endurance — By Capt. Patrick Sciacca
— April 2003
|This Italian express cruiser matches eye-catching appearance with impressive performance.|
The Cranchi 33 Endurance, a sleek, blue-hulled express cruiser, generated some talk among attendees at last fall’s Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show for her streamlined profile, artistic centerline radar mast with arrow-shape top, and centerline helm station. Truly a different-looking boat, she was also reported to dart across the water like a flyingfish. So when I got the call to test her, I high-tailed it from New York to Fort Lauderdale to meet up with Cranchi’s U.S. representative James Clayton.
Prior to setting out for the test, Clayton took out a special plug-in tool that interfaced his laptop to one of the standard 300-hp Volvo Penta KAD300 electronic (EDC) stern drive diesels, which would allow us to record our boat’s fuel-flow data. To access the engines, Clayton flicked a switch next to the aft sunpad, and a hydraulic ram lifted it to reveal the powerplants. Even with the sunpad up, I found twisting and contorting necessary to get into the engine compartment. However, once I was in there, all regular maintenance items were accessible.
Clayton took his position at the helm station, which is fitted with a burlwood dash; analog gauges that show fuel levels, trim position, engine and oil temperature; and a standard Raymarine Raychart 530 Plus with seven-inch display. I made my way forward to release the bow line and found the side decks were tight for my 101⁄2-size feet. I’d have been better served accessing the foredeck from underneath, via the hatch in the middle of the foredeck.
Clayton started the engines, which were coupled to Volvo Penta’s own Duoprop drives (aka DP-Gs), eased the optional ($2,761) Volvo Penta bow thruster to starboard, and pushed the Volvo Penta single-lever electronic controls forward. As we motored towards the ocean, Clayton handed me the wheel, and I felt the 33’s Teleflex responsive power-assisted hydraulic steering (I’d later find out it was just as good operating at high speeds) and the Volvo Penta controls comfortably under my right palm. The centerline helm made it easy to determine the boat’s position in relation to nearby bulkheads and other boats, which made close-quarter handling a breeze.
Clayton took back the wheel as I readied my own test gear. The sea was tabletop flat, so he firewalled the diesels, and we took off with exhilarating force. The 33’s Volvo Penta Duoprop stern-drive propulsion offered superb directional thrust, making all turns immediate and purposeful.
I was gaining confidence in the 33’s abilities as we prepared to check her speed, and Clayton wanted to demonstrate her outstanding turning abilities. I’d estimate our boat speed at around 30-plus mph as Clayton turned the wheel hard-over to port. The turn was sharp, and it felt like I was on a roller coaster at Disney World. She handled it brilliantly. That turn was so much fun, it was criminal.
Everything was going according to plan, until I asked Clayton if the boat could make that turn at WOT. Although as a boat tester I’m always looking to find a boat’s strengths and limits, sometimes the envelope gets pushed too hard. The two of us discussed the maneuver and braced ourselves--at least we thought we did. Clayton pushed the Volvo Penta electronic controls full forward, and as the boat reached 47 mph, he put the wheel hard-over to port, and suddenly the 33 heaved to starboard and snapped back to port. I had a what-were-we-thinking moment and vowed to not repeat that turn again.
This article originally appeared in the March 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.