In the past Italian yard Cranchi would occasionally concentrate more on the technicalities rather than on the detail, but they intend to change this with the new Evolution line. They have two new models in the line, one a traditional 52 flybridge, and the other, the Cranchi E 52 S, a sport model, which we took a close look at in the First Look Video below.
A three-deck cruiser of moderate length tends to struggle in the looks department. All too often, the quest for a class-leading acreage of deck space creates inelegant, top-heavy proportions, oversized surfaces and bulging lines – so when you first lay eyes on the new E 52 S, it’s quite an affecting sight. In addition to a short, low-slung upper deck, the prolific use of tinted glass panels helps break up the fibreglass, generating a remarkably svelte and light-footed looking motoryacht. To my mind, the effect is most dramatic in standard white than it is in the show boat’s optional grey, but whichever variant you choose, this new exponent of Cranchi’s progressive ‘Evoluzione’ line is as good to look at as any boat in its sector.
Main deck creativity
As you might expect, accommodating the fly without unduly elevating the boat’s profile has meant the use of a two-tier main deck. On the upper forward section, a large C-shaped dining station sits opposite the helm, with an extra settee running fore and aft along the starboard side. With the table erected, that turns this entire area into a sheltered party space, but it feels anything but constrained or claustrophobic. On the contrary, with a Skipper’s door, a one-piece screen, a sliding overhead sunroof and a large starboard window that can be lowered at the push of a button, the dining experience can be made to feel impressively fresh, bright and open.
Step aft to the main deck’s lower level and the emphasis appears to shift from passenger interaction to the practical demands of cooking, prep work, movement and storage. There are lots of work-friendly surfaces here and a very large galley section but there is also a striking degree of interplay between this working zone and the aft cockpit. These two regions occupy the same level, so with the patio doors pushed to starboard and the port hatch folded upwards, there is an attractive continuity to the space.
Out in the cockpit itself, an asymmetrical bench is employed to help free up extra room for the fly steps and starboard walkway; and there’s also a huge, sport-ready swim platform, alongside a compact crew quarters beneath the sunbathing pad. Make your way up either of the lateral walkways toward the bow and it is plain that Cranchi has worked hard to further maximise your leisure options with another very useable space. Ahead of a forward-facing bench sits a large sunbathing platform, with adjustable backrests and a ready-rigged fold-up canopy for shade from the sun. You could happily spend a few hours up here with a bottle of wine - and while it exhibits nothing outlandish or revolutionary, its user-friendliness is distinctly impressive.
Up and down
Down below, a compact, light-filled central atrium leads off to three cabins and a day heads with separate shower. The full-beam stateroom amidships comes with its own ensuite facilities, the starboard twin can easily be converted to a double and the forward-most of the three cabins offers a useful footprint, decent headroom and plenty of storage. Cranchi is offering no alternatives to this layout, so it is appropriate that the standard arrangement is fairly versatile. But what is particularly enjoyable down here is the finish, which employs pale woods, clean angles, tasteful fabrics and some classy touches like LED strip lights, recessed into the roof lining. It’s a bright and enjoyable region of the boat and that’s thanks in no small part to the appointment of Christian Grande, whose influence has helped clarify the design direction and hone these finer details.
However, when you move up to the fly deck, it’s clear that this is the area where the most crucial and defining decisions have been made. It’s a shallow, short and radically modern platform, with a helm station as minimal as any you will see. In fact, such is the modesty of its scale that it is swallowed up in its entirety by access to the steps, a starboard walkway, a pair of impressively low-slung side-by-side bucket seats at the helm and a two-and-a-half-man sunbathing platform to port. Even so, with its peripheral wraparound rail, it feels serviceably secure and in terms of its scale, you could feasibly plonk six people up here, which on a six-berth boat seems perfectly adequate.
Of course, the facilities are very spare and the view is partially obscured by some low-level nautical gadgets, like antennae, radar domes and searchlights. And in tune with the less-is-more approach, Cranchi has also decided to forego any attempt at a screen. But despite this apparent simplicity, you still get all the Volvo Penta tricks you could want, from intuitive joystick operation to cruise control and trip computer; and you still get all the benefits Cranchi was pursuing with its ‘fly-deck-in-miniature’ approach…
For instance, the reduced weight and lower centre of gravity should provide a useful boost to performance and handling, precisely as you would expect of the ‘Sport’ model. The abbreviated back end of the fly deck should also enable extra sunlight to reach the sunbathing space in the lower cockpit. And the inclusion of a sliding forward sunroof (which is of course impossible with a traditional flybridge) does a great job of bathing the main-deck helm and dining station in natural light. Plainly, those accustomed to a fly deck that mirrors the proportions down below will find it limited, but given this boat’s explicit commitment to excitement, style and dynamism, the compromises make sense.
Cranchi E 52 S summary
There’s very little to dislike about the E 52 S. In fact, aside from a couple of the more elaborate (and unnecessary) design statements, the only real bone of contention is likely to centre around that fly deck which, though ideal for those in pursuit of a bright main deck and a sporting drive, is pared back so much that it appears in Cranchi’s ‘Hard Top’ rather than ‘Fly’ range. However, given that this new 52-foot Evoluzione is also available in E 52 F form (with a traditional flybridge), it’s unjust to cite that as a problem. Like most boats in this segment, it lacks the market-defining flexibility of Galeon’s ingenious 500 Fly, but with better looks, sportier credentials and a healthy dose of Italian chic, it’s a first-rate job from Cranchi.
Cranchi E 52 S specifications
LOA: 15.8 m
Beam: 4.6 m
Weight: 14,500 kg
Fuel capacity: 1,350 litres
Water capacity: 536 litres
People capacity: 12
Power: 1,100 hp
Engines: 2 x Volvo Penta IPS D8/700s