By Tom Thompson
Cranchi Mediterranee 50: Sea Trial
Cranchi Mediteranee 50: Cutting-edge cruising at 43 mph.
Aldo Cranchi knows a thing or two about building boats. After all, it’s the family business.
For five generations, since 1870, the Italian firm of Cantiere Nautico Cranchi has been turning out finely crafted, well-engineered vessels — and Signore Cranchi is rightfully proud of his company’s flagship, the Mediterranee 50.
This is no prima donna performer. The Cranchi Mediterranee 50 is a big, bold, brawny boat.
The robust sport yacht stretches more than 50 feet and has the fire of more than 1,400 hp in its belly. With a Kevlar-reinforced fiberglass hull, the Mediterranee 50 is ready to take on whatever is thrown its way.
This is the kind of boat that makes you want to go out and simply enjoy driving it. And that’s exactly what we did during our test of this boat, on a winter day off Pompano Beach, Florida.
Riding the Good Ride
Our test boat, provided by Cranchi, quickly reached a cruising speed of 35 mph, with extremely strong and smooth acceleration. We soon discovered it has a top speed of 43 mph.
A pair of 715 hp Volvo Penta D12 EVC/715 diesels are mounted close to amidships, giving the boat excellent balance — both in straight-line tracking and in turns.
We found the Mediterranee 50 to be quite nimble, especially considering its size. From a standing start, there was only a slight amount of bowrise, which was easily compensated for with trim tabs.
Our only regret was that there were no really nasty waves to bash through on the day we tested the boat, as we felt certain this boat could handle just about anything. The ride was solid and smooth, and the 50 handled responsively throughout all our maneuvers.
Follow the Sun
The Mediterranee 50 deck plan offers generous space for open-air entertaining. On the bridge deck, there’s a semi-circular seating area with a table at its center. A refreshment console, to port, holds an ice-maker, a refrigerator and a barbecue grill.
There are four forward-facing seats: two bucket seats at the helm and a bench seat on the port side. The helm console and controls are nicely arranged. A panel to the left of the steering wheel has room enough to mount two optional large-screen electronics displays.
A Bimini top is standard. It’s set on tracks that make it easy to deploy in a hurry, or put away when it is not needed.
The Mediterranee 50 can accommodate a bevy of sun worshipers — in two separate locations. There’s a double sunpad on the bow, plus an enormous sunpad at the stern that covers one of the hidden extras on the boat.
The pad covers the roof of a “dinghy garage” that is designed to hold either a rigid-hull inflatable tender or a personal watercraft. Our test boat had an optional jet-drive-powered Zodiac inflatable tucked away here. It was easily launched and retrieved, using an electric winch and a retractable set of rollers.
For all its exterior brawn and bravado, the Mediterranee 50 has a soft and sensuous interior.
The interior is trimmed in high-gloss varnished American cherry wood. It is accented with supple Alacantara upholstery, which has the feel of suede yet is washable and easy to maintain.
The curved lines in the furnishings and bulkheads are nothing short of artistic. Even some of the interior wood doors have been given a slight arc, so that they don’t disrupt the harmony of the cabin lines.
Even the main electrical panel is a work of art. Its brushed chrome face is highlighted by softly glowing blue LED indicators.
The main saloon offers a seating and dining area, to port, that normally holds up to four adults. Cranchi included a pair of movable hassocks, so two more guests can be seated at the table, when the need arises.
There’s a fully equipped galley, to starboard, that includes a stove, a microwave oven and a refrigerator. It comes with a complete set of dishes and flatware — bearing the distinctive Cranchi logo, of course.
The size of the Mediterranee 50 allows for three generous staterooms, each of which has more than 6 feet of standing headroom.
Forward, the master suite comes with a queen-size pedestal berth. Hanging lockers are thoughtfully provided on each side.
It’s significant to mention that one of the air-conditioning units is located under the berth, but you’d never know it was there unless you needed to reach it. Cranchi uses a chilled water system instead of the usual pressurized gas, thus preventing the compressor noise that keeps many boaters awake on hot evenings in tropical ports.
The master suite has its own head compartment, with a separate shower stall. Another thoughtful touch is an onboard safe, to store jewelry and other valuables. It’s hidden away inside one of the hanging lockers.
Abaft the saloon, you’ll find a pair of almost equally sized staterooms. The one to port has a double berth, while the one on the starboard side has twin berths. Both cabins have hanging lockers and more than enough standing room to change clothes.
A second full head is located at the aft port corner of the saloon. It, too, has a separate shower stall. There’s an entrance from the saloon as well as the portside aft stateroom.
What You Can’t See
What distinguishes the Cranchi Mediterranee 50 from many other boats in its class may not be readily obvious. You need to look beneath the beauty of its exterior.
As previously mentioned, the hull is solid fiberglass throughout. No coring is used anywhere — only Kevlar fabric, for strength in certain areas.
Because of this, Cranchi can produce the hull and deck using monocoque construction, a technique that is more common to aircraft. All of the rigidity is in the boat’s outer shell.
In addition, very little wood is used on board. Instead, Cranchi uses molded fiberglass pieces extensively throughout the interior, for flooring and bulkheads. It’s an expensive method, but the result is a strong and quiet boat.
Another thing to appreciate about the way Aldo Cranchi builds a boat is his affinity for redundancy. Not that he expects anything to go wrong, but if it does, there’s a backup system to keep you going.
For example, there are two freshwater pumps, two air-conditioning chillers, a backup steering system and manual bilge pumps in addition to the electric ones. And none of these systems is buried in the bowels of the boat, where it can’t be reached.
If you look around — carefully — you’ll notice a large number of access panels throughout the boat, all made to attractively blend with the d?cor. Should something need mechanical attention, neither you nor your mechanic will have to break out the saws and hammers: Just open a panel.
With its long list of practical features, a helm that puts an impressive amount of usable power at your command, plus all the cutting-edge style and continental elegance you would expect from an Italian sport yacht, the Cranchi Mediterranee 50 will do more than turn your head. It just might win your heart.
Cranchi Mediterranee 50 Specifications
|Fuel capacity||515 gallons|
|Water capacity||145 gallons|
|Props||Teignbridge four-blade 30- by 42-inch pitch|
|Factory price as tested with twin 715-hp Volvo Penta diesels||$768,500|
|Top speed||43 mph|
|Miles per gallon at 35-mph cruising speed||0.7|
|Range at 35-mph cruising speed||285 nautical miles (with 10 percent reserve)|
|Sound level at 35-mph cruising speed||83 dbA|
Bow thruster; 8 kw generator; cockpit ice-maker; cockpit barbecue; telescoping hydraulic passarelle; Raymarine electronics package including GPS, chart plotter, autopilot and VHF radio; Bimini top; 40,000 Btu chilled-water air-conditioning system; cockpit carpeting; mooring cover; saloon and stateroom televisions.
Zodiac Projet 350 inflatable or Sea-Doo GS personal watercraft; water-maker; Raymarine 36-mile radar; 12-CD changer; complete set of linens.
Solid fiberglass monocoque hull construction, with Kevlar reinforcement in critical areas. No coring used in hull or decks.
For More Information
Marina del Rey, Calif.