Cranchi Mediterranée 50
— By Capt. Bill Pike — June 2002
Whether I pointed the 50's bow up-sea, down-sea, or side-sea, she zoomed amid the waves with an enthusiasm that equaled my own. At one point I had her charging almost due north, with the weather on the starboard bow, making pretty close to 30 knots (according to our Raymarine RC 530 chartplotter), with the tabs down-angled just enough to maintain an overall four- to five-degree running attitude. What a ride! I felt comfortable at the helm, confident, empowered. We're talkin' the highlight of the day.
But such an experience is rarely the total product of a single design element, even an important one. Two other factors contribute to the 50's spirited offshore performance. First, the techniques used to construct the boat are both modern and intensely integrated. From the all-glass, longitudinally framed grid that strengthens her monocoque-type skin, to the succession of watertight bulkheads that divide her interior into true watertight compartments, what results is impressive structural integrity and cohesiveness.
And then there's the 50's engineering. To achieve proper balance and an optimized angle of attack at speed, Cranchi mounts the 50's matched set of Volvo Penta TAMD 74P EDC diesel inboards low, fairly close together, and well forward. The first two points enhance transverse stability, and the third, among other things, helps reduce running angle coming out of the hole. Moreover, each engine is trunion-mounted on isolators atop steel beams interconnected with welded-steel brackets, a setup that rivals the boat's monocoque glasswork for pure, structural rigidity. Fuel lines are made of copper, a long-lasting material. Some years ago I took issue with the use of copper lines on Italian boats, primarily because the material tends to fatigue and break when subjected to vibration. Cranchi addresses the issue with flexible bulkhead hangers as well as flexible couplings between the copper and any source of vibration, whether genset or main engine.
Lesser but still admirable engineering details include tall, open PVC pipes fitted over transducers so they can be replaced or maintained without hauling the boat, dipstick access points for directly measuring fuel levels in the stainless steel fuel tanks, and a "soft patch" over the machinery spaces supported on a grid of beefy aluminum box beams so the mains can be extracted with relative ease should the need ever arise.
One final, compelling aspect of the 50's personality announced itself as soon as I set foot inside: an alluring mix of modern styling and old-world craftsmanship. Although the layout is contemporary--with a master and en suite head at the bow, two guest staterooms aft (with a day head nearby), and galley/saloon/dinette area in between--the lacquerwork on the American cherry is as warm and traditionally Italian as the scent of freshly made pesto. Upholstery's finely executed, too. A few details I especially liked were the soft shapeliness of the leather C-shape lounge in the dinette area, the precise finish work on the Alcantara headliners throughout, and the lovely feel of the leather covers on all the door handles.
What really put the frosting on the cannoli for me, however, was what the garage at the stern of our test boat contained: a feisty little Zodiac Projet 350. When launched via a gutsy electric Master Winch mounted on a bulkhead inside the engine room, a couple of sets of rollers in the garage deck, and a fold-overboard bracket that features easy-going pneumatic tires, it soon proved to be a racy bit of entertainment in its own right.
Not to imply that driving a jet-powered RIB around a Palm Beach marina is anything remotely like driving a Cranchi Mediterraneé 50 around the Gulf Stream, of course. But hey! Fun is fun.
Cranchi of the Americas Phone: (305) 867-4355. Fax: (305) 867-4350. www.cranchi.it.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.