Issue: March 2006
One Perfect Day
More than 135 years of boat building experience and Italian styling has gone into this classic cruiser.
WORDS + PHOTOS ANDREW RICHARDSON
The biggest bane of a boating writer is cracking it for a pearler of a day. You know the ones bright sunlight, no wind or clouds, ideal boating conditions. Sure, these days aren’t the best for checking out a boat’s rough water handling characteristics, but boy oh boy, don’t the photos come out well, as the ones in this feature attest.
It was on one of these magic Sydney days that the Modern Boating team met up with Fabio Graffia, the importer of Cranchi Boats (pronounced cranky), for this test. Having now driven a Cranchi, I can assure readers that even if it had been blowing 30 knots, it wouldn’t have troubled the Cranchi Atlantique 40.
Plus, when it comes to style, this boat has an edge over some other craft in her class. Fabio explained that the Cranchi Atlantique 40 has very different styling to the standard look of the flybridge cruisers we are used to in this country. The blend of Italian styling and 135 years of boat building experience has created a boat with much softer lines.
The boat’s outstanding quality starts right at the stern with a laid-teak swim platform complimented by various built-in compartments including a large, fully lined wet locker. Step through the wide transom door and the obvious quality of the L-shaped cockpit lounge gives you a feeling that a boutique, five-star hotel has influenced the boat’s styling. The attention to detail is fabulous.
The sea is never kind to vessels that are neat as a pin and it doesn’t take long for a bit of mud and salt to take the sheen off the gloss of a new boat. The Cranchi builders know this all too well and have used plenty of easy-to-replace teak on many of the exterior heavy traffic areas. Not only is the teak easy to replace once worn, but it offers a surefootedness that, coupled with the well-positioned grab rails scattered about this vessel, will ensure even inexperienced guests feel secure moving about the boat.
With her comfy twin helm seat, glossy wooden wheel and electronic throttles, the Atlantique offers a ‘total’ helm experience. The flybridge instruments are duplicated from the lower helm station and feature Volvo engine gauges, a Raymarine GPS and Autopilot system, trim tabs, bow thruster control and a well-positioned rudder angle gauge.
The Cranchi 40’s helm gearing means it takes a few turns to get the boat to go where you want her to, but with such light steering, it takes no time at all to get used to this feature.
The flybridge deck features three forward seats and a twin lounge behind the helm. The area is serviced by a tidy, moulded wetbar. Access to the flybridge is via wide teak and stainless steel steps.
Below deck, the vessel featured a two-cabin layout, each with its own en-suite ? a rare find on a vessel of this size.
The timber-lined forward owners berth has an island bed with good all-round access, two clothes lockers and an LCD TV. The second twin berth is tucked away under the helm floor. You enter its bathroom from the saloon, making it an ideal day head for guests and the kids.
The galley is tucked away amidships on the lower level. It features Corion style bench tops, a gas cook-top, microwave and ample above and below bench stowage. Even though the galley is on the lower level, anyone standing there still has an uninterrupted view aft.
The boat has three fridges; one in the galley, another in the saloon and the third in the wetbar up on the flybridge. A 4kVa generator powers the air-conditioning and supports the electronics, which include the two LCD TVs and DVD players.
With the aft doors open, the saloon flows seamlessly into the aft cockpit and creates a large and versatile indoor-outdoor entertaining area. The cherrywood panelling/joinery and light-coloured leather upholstery in the saloon are standout features of the Atlantique. Cranchi has even managed to include a good-size lower helm station into the saloon without cramping the area too much. And while the saloon may not be as open as some interiors on other boats of this size, the seamless flow aft compensates for any lost ground.
Wide walkways around the main cabin lead to the bow. Once forward, it’s easy to weigh anchor using the 1000watt windlass, or step off the boat through the split bowrail with its non-slip decking.
There is no clearly defined place to store a tender on the Cranchi Atlantique 40.
The bow is a possibility, but I feel the large swim platform might end up being the place of choice.
PERFORMANCE & HANDLING
Putting style aside, it’s the Cranchi Atlantique 40’s performance that grabs my attention. Driving from the flybridge, the twin Volvo Penta D6 370hp diesel engines emit only a gentle hum.
But it’s always quieter on the flybridge, so I make a point of going below while underway and it’s clear the Cranchi has some exceptional engine insulation, because she is still very quiet down here.
It takes little time to get used to the boat’s handling characteristics and once the trim is set for the conditions, little adjustment is required. A good cruise speed is between 20 to 24 knots with a maximum speed of around 28 knots.
You know how the story goes, “I liked this product so much, I bought the company”. But I doubt this 130-year-old family company is planning on selling.
Even so, importer Fabio Graffia likes these boats so much he brings them into the country. So, if any reader is looking for that little bit of extra panache from a flybridge cruiser, you’ll be glad he does. How much will it cost you to park a Cranchi Atlantique 40 at the marina? Try around $689,000.
THE CRANCHI STORY
Its founder, Giovanni Cranchi, originally set up Cantiere Nautico Cranchi Srl on the banks of Lake Como. In his home village, San Giovanni di Bellagio, the enterprising Giovanni opened his first workshop around 1866, even though the true date of foundation of the company is 1870, the year when it was officially registered. Originally, the company made boats on commission for fishermen and for the transport of goods and passengers.
From the 1930s to the 1960s, Giovanni Cranchi, the father of Aldo and grandson of the founder, Giovanni, bought a factory in Brienno where he built his first vessels. He had a true passion for quality and a job well done, with cleverly designed lines, great care dedicated to the selection of the materials, meticulous operating techniques and impeccable finishes. All of which contributed to make his boats truly special.
From the 1960s to the 1970s, thanks to the efforts of Aldo, the concept of today’s design emerged.
In 1970, the company had to expand, to give a new impulse to production. Because there was no room for further expansion on the lake, Aldo Cranchi identified the nearby Italian village of Valtellina as the ideal place to base his new operations.
Aldo Cranchi, who represents the 4th generation, set up the company in Piantedo in 1970 with Tullio Monzino.
Twin Volvo Penta D6 370hp diesel engines power the Cranchi Atlantique 40. It’s a bit of a squeeze getting into the engine room, but once inside it’s okay and has good lighting.
The twin DuoProp sterndrives produced the following performance figures.
KNOTS – RPM
4 – 600
7.6 – 1200
16 – 2200
18 – 2500
22.3 – 2800
24.5 – 3100
28.2 – 3400
BEAM: 12′ 8″
DRAFT: 3′ 2″