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BOATS

BOAT TESTS

Cranchi Endurance 41

The water off Hillsboro Inlet in Pompano Beach, Florida, is not a nice place when the wind and seas are up. On the day James Clayton, Cranchi’s stateside rep, and I were to sea trail the Endurance 41, it had been raining for most of the morning.

Did I say rain? How about torrents that quickly produced up to four inches of standing water on the highways and streets? Rain that, when it wasn’t coming straight down in buckets, was sheeting every which way at the whim of a gusty onshore wind.

The only thing Clayton and I could do while I maneuvered the 41 out of the dock during a momentary letup was to grab some lunch at a nearby Intracoastal eatery and wait it out. I eased the 41 into the northbound current and brought her alongside. There was no need to use the standard Volvo Penta bow thruster, as I managed what in the Intracoastal was a mere 10-mph wind with the 41’s butter-smooth electronic controls. The positioning of the levers, as well as of all switches and instruments, perfectly suited my 5’9” frame, whether I was seated or standing. Part of the credit for that goes to the standard Besenzoni electrically operated helm seat, which also features a flip-up bolster for stand-up operation. No sooner did I have the 41 squared away at the dock when it started to rain again, although not as hard as before.

As we waited out the rain, Clayton filled me in on some company history. Cranchi began operation in 1870 when Giovanni Cranchi set up his facility on the shores of Italy’s Lake Como. The enterprising young man took on projects for local fishermen and supplied boats for commercial projects. The same family still owns the company, and Clayton told me that if they’ve learned anything in those 133 years, it’s that forward thinking and quality construction techniques are essential for success, especially for a builder who wants to export.

Leading me through the boat, Clayton pointed out features that proved that commitment, such as fine woodwork, double-side-finished lids and hatches that are also gasketed, a Whale manual bilge pump (a European requirement), and a floorboard in the garage that removes for complete access to the engine space. (Unfortunately it takes two people to remove it.) Once in the engine space I noticed that all the main service points are easy to reach and that all bulkheads have thick grommets to prevent fluid or vapor infiltration, especially where wire runs or piping go through.

That same garage floor has a small day hatch for quick oil and filter checks and provides the base for an optional tender or ten-person liferaft. The engines are on stainless steel bearers, the standard 4.2-kW Fischer Panda genset is secured to a custom bracket, which in turn is mounted to the starboard stringer, and a vacuum pump in the lowest point in the bilge can suck up any debris. All major components are designed for easy access and removal.

As proof of the company’s dedication to forward thinking, Clayton explained that the 41 was conceived by a 22-person research team whose sole responsibility is to give shape to new models. They gave her a deep-V hull that combines strength with moderate weight, it being a combination of hand-laid fiberglass and Kevlar. Like all Cranchi boats, the 41 is laid up using state-of-the-art robotics.

With a small break in the cloud cover, it looked like we might be able to finally leave the dock. When I poked her nose out into the confused four-footers just outside the inlet, I was pleasantly surprised to find she took this kind of sea quite well. Once I had the rhythm of the swells, I adjusted my rpm and settled her in near 2000 rpm. At just over 17 mph the 41 ran with little pounding, except when the occasional six-footer came along. Of course, when I brought her around to come up on a reciprocal course, she rolled, but then most boats her size and even bigger would do the same in such seas. Once I got her positioned just right, I found the ride comfortable for the conditions and was even able to bump her up to 2250 rpm and 21.6 mph. That speed had me working the wheel as I kept a sharp eye out for errant waves; the trip was not the jarring, teeth-rattling experience you might have expected.

But as a quick look eastward revealed thick, quickly lowering piles of gray clouds, I decided to return to the protection of the waterway to complete my testing, and the calmer conditions of the Intracoastal let the 41 really show her stuff. Powered by a pair of standard 310-hp Volvo Penta D6 DuoProp diesel stern drives—the first pair in the States and the only engines offered on the 41—the Endurance hit 43.1 mph (37.4 knots). Acceleration was smooth and rapid, and while I noticed a maximum five-degree bow rise from 1750 to 2500 rpm (with no tabs), it lasted only a few seconds. Even then, with the seat in the bolster position, my view was fine. The 43 ran straight and true, and with her DuoProp drive and Teleflex hydraulic steering, she handled turns with sports-car-like enthusiasm.

When I brought her down to a cruising speed of about 39 mph, I was able to appreciate the efficiency of the Volvos. I calculated a 302-mile range as the D6s sipped fuel at a rate of only about 12 gph each. That translates to 1.64 mpg. With the Gulf Stream behaving (or even kicking up a bit), Bimini or West End, Grand Bahama, and environs would be within easy reach.

The 41’s amenities would make that trip, or a long weekend away, plenty comfortable. For entertaining, there’s a seating area aft of the helm with a table that conveniently stows in a compartment hatch in the sole, a standard electric grill and refrigerator to port, and a large sunpad aft. For living accommodations a leather seating area with stowage areas in the forepeak easily converts to a queen berth if you lower the cherry table. (The insert stows in the port-side midcabin.) I noticed the two large hatches in the overhead let in plenty of ambient light, even on my dreary test day. As for diversion, the entertainment center, aft and to starboard of the seating area, houses a standard 15-inch Sharp flat-screen TV.

The galley is to port and features a Corian countertop, two-burner electric stove, and stainless steel sink. Both the stove top and sink have stowable covers doubling as cutting boards. A fiddle keeps pots and pans secure while cooking at anchor or underway.

The midcabin, aft of the galley, is just what you would expect on a 41-footer, a little narrow and lacking in headroom in certain areas, but with twin berths and a Sharp 13-inch flat-screen television, perfect for the kids.

With the day quickly waning and rain starting yet again, it was time to return to the dock, chamois the salt water from the 41’s lustrous finish, and button her up for the night. Despite the inhospitable weather, I’d enjoyed my time aboard the Endurance 41. She’s well-crafted, easy to handle in both calm waters and rough, and surprisingly spirited for a diesel-powered boat. In short, she’s the kind of boat that’s as at home daytripping as on an extended cruise.

Cranchi Florida
(954) 784-7833

This article originally appeared in the January 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.