Cranchi 50: Due Diligence

It's all in the details.

Let's start in the engine compartment. As you climb down through the in-sole hatch, notice the strong stainless-steel gas strut that supports the hatch. (A grabrail has been mounted on the base of a nearby lounge to make your climb easier.) Once inside the compartment, check out the engine mounts on the Volvo Penta TAMD74PEDCs. Capping the molded Divinycell engine bearers are aluminum channels that are welded to aluminum cross members beneath each motor. For added support and to spread vibration loads, the port and starboard engines beds are linked by additional cross members. Whew.

On a lot of boats, you'll see a feature or two that are showcased to try to prove that its builder has been sweating the details. Too often, that's about as far as it goes. Train your eye inside the new Cranchi Mediterranée 50, however, and you'll discover that when it comes to details, this builder knows its stuff.

The Highs: Enough space between the motors for a Tae-Bo workout. System that keeps house batteries from draining is smart. Bolt-on pulpit makes repairs easy. Excellent belowdecks stowage.

The Lows: Excessive glare at helm. Undersize hanging locker in master stateroom. Master head shower door is tight. Leather door-handle trim will show dirt easily. A 13" TV? C'mon.

Ever accidentally kick a seacock? Not possible here. Plastic blocks have been installed above the seacocks' handles to protect them and to keep them in position. Also, you'll especially like the space between the engines - the narrowest point between them is 2' - providing lots of room to move about with ease. Engine swaps? It doesn't get any easier than this. Sections of the cockpit sole can be removed in about 30 minutes.

The batteries are easily accessed and clearly labeled, but I was most impressed by the protective system that shuts down all unnecessary accessories if the house battery bank drops below 11.6 volts. The EDC engine management system, bilge pumps, and other critical equipment will maintain power.

Crawling aft into the lazarette, I found convenient access to the water heater and chilled-water air conditioning. Shop lights and a wet-vac to suck up standing water after cleanups are handy. Cranchi installs the transducers for depthsounders and other accessories on the chines to port and starboard in the lazarette. A tall tube mounted over each transducer extends above the waterline to prevent water from entering the boat if the transducer comes loose. Dummy plugs for the transducers are attached to a nearby bulkhead for maintenance removal.

Bullet Proof. Cranchi builds the Mediterranée 50 without any wood. The garage, cabin, and cockpit sole are all constructed with fiberglass liners. The cockpit wetbar and seat bases are also molded and bolted in place. There are plenty of inspection plates throughout the boat that let you access the mounting bolts.

To save weight without sacrificing strength, Cranchi lays up the Mediterranée 50 with bi- and tridirectional fiberglass and reinforces the bottom with Kevlar. This makes the Mediterranée 50 almost 10,000 pounds lighter than Sunseeker's 50 Camargue ($797,394 with twin 450-bhp CAT 3208s), which has a displacement of 41,400 pounds. However, the Viking Sport Cruiser V50 ($839,500 with twin 700-bph Volvo Penta D-1200s) nudges the scales at a svelte 28,000 pounds, more than 3,000 pounds lighter than our Mediterranée 50.

The Mediterranée 50's construction and deep-V design combine to give the boat a secure, predictable ride. Cranchi cut away the keel aft to minimize its influence on handling, making the boat more responsive in maneuvers. The nice wide spacing between the props makes the boat a breeze to work around the docks.

Moving forward on the Mediterranée 50's deck is easy, thanks to 10"-wide side walkways and rails that are tall enough to keep you onboard should you stumble. The rails have integrated fender holders, but I wasn't crazy about the stranded stainless-steel wire used in place of real steel tubing for the lower half of the rail. There's a recessed area for a sunlounge on the foredeck, but I'd like to see rails or handholds for the occupants. Cranchi argues that guests may trip over rails, which is why they're omitted. Forward, the anchor locker has a box formed out of Starboard polyboard to contain the chain, another small detail that makes a big difference. There's a freshwater hose for washdowns and extra hangers for docklines. Sometimes even the most experienced skipper can misjudge speed or distance and smack a piling. You'll appreciate that the Mediterranée 50's pulpit is a bolt-on piece that can be easily replaced.

Chillin' and Grillin''. After you work your way back to the cockpit, stretch out on top of the sunlounge that covers the garage or take a seat on the eight-person cockpit lounge.

The topside galley makes it easy to entertain under the sun. There's a stainless-steel sink, a two-burner ceramic cooktop with a removable barbecue grill, and a refrigerator and icemaker. On many boats, an icemaker would cost extra, but Cranchi includes it standard. Another intelligent idea: The stove lid sports a heat-resistant panel and has a microswitch that turns off the burners when closed.

Working forward, the helm seat accommodates two people with a port half that slides out and spins to let the first mate join the fun in the cockpit. The skipper's half of the seat is power adjustable, moving up and down and fore and aft. The Volvo Penta gauges are set in a burled-wood panel, and each one has an eyebrow over it to shade the instrument from the sun. Even so, there was too much glare coming off the shiny white helm behind the framed windshield. A flat gray or black finish would be easier on a skipper's eyes.

Ahead of the helm, the belowdecks area is unique for a 50' boat with a garage because it offers three staterooms yet still feels open. By comparison, the Viking Sport Cruiser V50 and Sunseeker 50 Camargue both offer only two staterooms. The Mediterranée 50's forward master stateroom features a queen-size berth, an overhead deck hatch, and a safe. I was unimpressed, however, by the small hanging locker. Also, the white leather-trimmed door handles may look swanky, but they'll soon soil.

On the plus side, the light switches in each stateroom are reachable from bed. That may seem unimportant until you're under the covers and realize the only switches are by the door.

In both heads, Cranchi uses exhaust vents incorporated into the air-conditioning system to extract steam and humidity, which is smart, and there's ample stowage for toilet paper and towels in deep overhead cabinets. The shower curtain in the aft head that closes off with magnets on each end worked better than the folding door in the master head. Once I was inside, I had to suck in my gut to get the door past - and I'm not very big. The Mediterranée 50's salon has a spacious feel with a horseshoe-shaped port lounge that seats at least four around a leafed table. The backrests pull off for access to service items. More deep overhead cabinets offer good stowage, as does a locker in the salon sole that measures 2'4"-by-1'9"-by-1'9". Opposite, the galley takes up most of the starboard side of the belowdecks area with the rest occupied by an entertainment center that has a too-small-for-the-U.S.-market 13" TV/VCR combo unit.

The galley is adorned with a Corian countertop with a wood fiddle rail. Like the stove in the cockpit, the unit in the galley can be converted to a grill, and there's a refrigerator behind a door matched to the rest of the polished cherry wood. To be environmentally friendy, there are two wastebaskets, white for trash and green for recyclables.

Last Word. Sweating the details produces a finely finished, easy-to-maintain boat.

LOA..........50'3"
Beam..........14'2"
Draft..........3'5"
Displacement (lbs., approx.)......31,560
Transom deadrise...19°
Bridge clearance...13'0"
Minimum cockpit depth......2'6"
Max. cabin headroom..........6'10"
Fuel capacity (gal.)..............422
Water capacity (gal.)..............132
Price (w/standard power) ..........$564,900
Price (w/test power) ..........$564,900

Standard Power:Twin 480-bhp Volvo Penta TAMD74PEDC in-line-6 diesel inboards.

Optional Power: None.

Test Boat Power: Twin 480-bhp Volvo Penta TAMD74PEDC in-line-6 diesel inboards with 420 cid, 4.2" bore x 5.3" stroke, swinging 24" x 36" Radice four-bladed Nibral props through 2:1 reductions.

Standard Equipment (major items): Removable bow pulpit; 1,200-watt windlass w/remote; ss framed windshield; windshield wipers/washers; 5kW bowthruster; ss bowrail w/fender holders; twin-ram hydraulic trim tabs; Bimini top; reclining radar arch; wetbar w/icemaker, refrigerator, sink, and stove/ grill; swim ladder; transom shower; garage; tender winch; shorepower; hydraulic gangway; twin stern cleat windlasses; power helm seat; full instrumentation; Volvo Penta engine controls; Ritchie magnetic compass; hydraulic steering; GPS/ chartplotter; autopilot; VHF with loudspeaker; 2 galleys; ceramic stovetop; ss sink; Corian countertop; refrigerator; queen-size berth in master stateroom; 4 AM/FM/CD stereos; forward and aft heads w/vacuum-flush toilets and showers; 24-volt, 155-amp batteries for engines and 2 24-volt, 220-amp house batteries; 40,000-Btu water-chilled a/c; 8kva generator with own battery; 35-amp battery charger; battery switch w/electronic remote control and manual override; fuel/water separators; 2 auto. fire extinguishers; bilge pumps.