When it comes to boats the Italians do things differently than the builders in most countries, and perhaps that is why they have had the most profound influence on powerboat styling of any nationality. The Cranchi Zaffiro 36 is a good example of that innovation and trendy styling, and Cranchi, like several of its fellow Italian builders, continues to stay a step ahead of its imitators.
Cranchi is a family-owned company in business since 1870, building boats in the beginning on the shores of Lake Como. The first Cranchis were sold mostly to fishermen, and they were all built of wood. In the 1950s Cranchi expanded into recreational boats, then, in 1970, into fiberglass powerboats. Working in fiberglass, the company for the first time could build boats in large numbers, and it began to grow.
In the 1990s, led by Aldo Cranchi, the company took off in one of the most impressive expansions of any boat company anywhere in the world. One small factory grew into four over a 25 year period, and in the early 2000s the largest plant was opened, one of 350,000 sq. ft. That is huge for the boat business anywhere in the world. In 2006 the company went public, but it is still run by 4th generation Aldo Cranchi, with no fewer than five 5th generation Cranchis now working for the brand. Today the company builds about 25 different models from 28’ to over 50’.
The Zaffiro 36
This 35’6” (10.9 m) express cruiser is almost 27’ (8.3 m) on the water with a 12’9” (3.9 m) beam and is powered by standard Volvo Penta twin D4 EVC/DP 260-hp diesel engines driving stern drives. Stern drives in a 36-footer? Well, as we said, she is 27’ on the waterline so the stern drives will give her better performance than V-drive inboards, and are a lot less money than pod drives. The folks at Cranchi tell us that her WOT is about 38 mph (33 knots) and best cruise is about 32 mph (28 knots). These are good speeds for a diesel-powered boat. Cranchi offers only one other option, twin 300-hp Volvo Penta diesels, which probably won’t increase her performance much.Italians are day boaters and ardent entertainers. In fact, they never saw a boat they didn’t want to throw a party on. And the Zaffiro 36 is no exception. Her cockpit is designed for comfortable day cruising for three couples, and sleepovers for two couples.
Topside, the design is as sleek and elegant as they come. Her curves are gentle and look nautical, unlike the sharp, angular Cadillac-look that some other Italian designers have been favoring of late, particularly in designs they are doing for American builders. Cranchi has the self-confidence to know its own mind, and stay with the soft styling that is inherent in classic yacht architecture, and not the flavor of the month. The Cranchi Zaffiro 36 has a very large swim platform which normally looks ugly to our eye. Perhaps that is because they are a new trend and our eye has not yet become accustomed to the look. But for some reason, on the Cranchi 36 it doesn’t look bad to us. The platform tapers inward as it moves aft, with teak inserts and the passerelle in the middle breaking up the expanse. In any case, we like it and it provides a lot of space for all sorts of watersports activities, and is big enough for a tender.In addition, pleasing style, Italian boat designers also like innovation. This proclivity often gets them into trouble with American boat buyers because quite often their innovations look good on the computer but do not work well at sea. We are happy to report that we find no glaring errors (round chart tables, helms where you can’t stand up, foredecks that are impossible to walk on, etc.) on the Cranchi Zaffiro 36. In fact, we found the cockpit ergonomically correct even for beefy Americans. Look closely and you will see that the seats are all large, and that passageways are ample.
We like the pull-out refer drawer with wire bins in the portside wetbar. Finally, someone has solved the problem of getting to the cans behind the bottles in the front of the refer without them all tumbling onto the deck. And like all things Italian, the wet bar has a rounded fiberglass cover over the sink and the counter so that everything looks smooth, neat and well-designed. (Most American boat builders would never do this.)
Below we find an expanse of deck covered in a light-colored hardwood. There will be plenty of room for guests to get around without bumping into each other as they use the galley, go to their cabin, the head, and the settee. This is good design, and made possible because Cranchi has pushed the interior as far outboard as it possibly could. You can actually see two athwartships stiffening ribs protruding from beneath the foot of the settee seat where it meets the deck. We know many builders would not dream of such a thing because it looks “crude” or “unsightly,” but again Cranchi has shown its self-confidence by choosing functionality, acknowledging that we are on a boat, after all. By doing so they have created at least three inches more of sole space.
As you can plainly see in the pictures, the interior design and decor is au courant. We leave the soft, rounded, lovely curves of the deck and going below are greeted by just the opposite – an interior that is simple, angular, plain, bordering on the austere. Outside the boat was designed with French curves, and inside it was designed with a straight edge. Only the four corners of the settee table are rounded (thank goodness). The light-colored woods, earth tone-colored fabrics, plaid bed spreads, and the contrasting dark brown cabinetry below the galley counter are precisely what is coming out of the tony interior design studios in Rome and Milan right now.
The double berth is offset to port which is a bit unusual, but we like it because it is a good use of space. It opens up the cabin and creates more sole space so two people can get by each other. Note there are two hanging lockers and the one on the port side is as large as you will find on any 36-footer.
The galley is functional, has everything you’ll need and is about as big as you will find on this size boat.
This cabin has some measure of head room as you walk in and there is one spot with full standing head room. Otherwise, it is pretty typical of what you find in boats of this type. The cabin is full beam which is nice and makes it more roomy than on some other boats. The bed can be made up as two singles or an insert can be added to make it a king size bed or playroom.
If you are the kind of person who doesn’t want to have the same kind of boat as everyone else in your marina, and you like the excitement of a well-executed Italian design and build, then you should look at the Cranchi Zaffiro 36. As you can see in the pictures, she is an exciting boat and it should be fun to own something so different. In Europe the boats sell for just over $300,000 MSRP. Cranchi has dealers all over the world, and eight in the U.S. Find out for yourself if the Zaffiro 36 is as fun as she looks.
Standard and Optional Features
Boats More Than 30 Feet
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!