Cranchi has made quite a name for itself during the last decade for its very creative, out-of-the-box designs in smaller boats. And that is saying something, because European boat builders, particularly the French and Italians, have been producing some very innovative and exciting boats the last 15 years or so. With the Sixty 6 the Cranchi has clearly set out to try to top every other boat on the market in its class.What makes this boat so remarkable, in our opinion, is the care that has gone into engineering and the quality and cost of the materials used in the boat's build. She is the only yacht we can think of in this class that has a Kevlar bottom -- not just a strip of Kevlar along the keel, but the whole below-the-waterline area. Further, her stringers are stiffened with carbon fibers and her whole laminate is made with vinylester resin instead of a mix of polyester and vinylester.These aspects of the boat along with several clever design wrinkles makes the Cranchi Sixty 6 rather unusual in our book, and worth a detailed examination.
Cranchi is a family-owned company, officially founded in 1870, although Giovanni Cranchi built his first boat years before that. The company was originally located on the shores of Lake Como – before it was the home of movie stars and moguls, Lake Como was an important nautical center, teeming with merchant, fishing and military vessels. Today, Cranchi builds its yachts in a huge, modern facility in Piantedo. In 2006 the company went public, but it is still run by 4th generation Aldo Cranchi, with at least five 5th generation Cranchis are now working for the brand.
Cranchi builds in fiberglass, but the laminate schedule for the Sixty 6 Fly includes not only multi-axial fiberglass fabrics, but also Kevlar reinforcement below the chines and carbon fiber added to stiffen the hull's plywood- and foam-cored internal support grid. The topsides are foam-cored, and the entire hull is laminated with vinylester resin. Some of the superstructure is also cored.This is a remarkable construction regimen, going much farther than any other yacht in class that we know of. The fact that the entire hull laminate is vinylester resin is unusual as it is so expensive and is usually limited to between one and three skin coats on most boats. Vinylester resin is what stops water osmosis into the laminate, eliminating gel coat blisters and any chance that wood in the structure will become water-logged. The addition of Kevlar to the hull bottom gives the hull considerable protection against puncture from floating debris. The Kevlar also saves weight as it replaces several layers of fiberglass. The carbon fiber gives the hull stiffness.
Cranchi's boatbuilding factory is state-of-the-art. The environment is carefully temperature- and humidity-controlled to ensure optimum curing conditions; the laminate components are carefully measured to ensure the precise resin-to-glass ratio, and as much work as possible is done robotically to remove the human element from the equation. Fiberglass lamination isn't brain surgery, and once the laminate is engineered, the weak link is usually the worker spreading the fabric or spraying and rolling in the resin. Robots remove this variable – they never have bad days, unless somebody pulls the plug.
There are two noteworthy areas on the foredeck. First, the windlass is farther forward that you will find on most boats in this size range. Cranchi says that placing the windlass there saves space both on deck and below. Second, there is a large table on the bow that has U-shaped seating for a crowd. While this is not a new idea, we think that Cranchi has done a good job of execution. The table top drops down to make it a bunny pad.
In the Saloon
The Sixty 6 Fly's interior design is both simple and elegant, with clean lines and light colors to maximize the open feel. The saloon benefits from large windows all around, off-white, leather upholstery and even a light-colored, wood sole; there's just enough dark joinery to accent the decor. This is how boats used to be before teak took over belowdecks: white-painted panels highlighted with varnished trim. We like it.
There are a couple of noteworthy elements in the saloon: First, it has two settees, a relatively small one to starboard forward, and a second, larger one to port. In the photos the forward one is barely visible so look closely. Cranchi says the smaller one is for breakfast or aperitifs. The larger one is for dinner. Obviously, there is a lot of space available here so Cranchi would probably work with the buyer on a new build.
We think that Cranchi's designers have done a masterful job of getting three en suite staterooms below in this 61' (18.65 m) boat. The space between the twin beds in the port cabin is a bit tight, but it works and remember her beam is just 16'8" (5.10 m). This is a matter of performance and cost vs. a slight compromise in the tertiary stateroom.
In owner/operator boats, the crew's quarters aft can be used as a guest cabin. That gives the boat four cabins and four heads, which also automatically makes this boat ideal for the charter trade. Cranchi has thoughtfully finished off the aft cabin with the same high-quality woods and joiner work as in the accommodations forward for just this possibility. (And, if you have a captain or mate sleeping here, he will appreciate being pampered.)The master cabin is full beam and has a vanity, plus bin storage in the gunwales of the boat to utilize every bit of space. The mast head has a glass stall shower, as does the VIP stateroom in the bow. The port guest stateroom has a wet head.
The galley below is large and has a stand-up refer/freezer, large dishwasher, microwave oven and a four-burner stove top. The overhead is open above the galley giving it a cathedral-like feeling. Since it is connected to the saloon, plates can be passed up if someone above reaches down. (We can picture a little dumb-waiter here.)
On the Bridge
The Sixty 6 Fly's raison d'etre is the flying bridge, and it's set up for the whole ship's company to hang out, eat and enjoy life. A radar arch, either open-design welded stainless or molded aluminum, keeps the scanner above everyone's head; as part of the Excellence package sold in the U.S., a satellite TV receiver is also included.
The upper helm station has room for two nav screens and they are considerably closer to the skipper than the one below. Otherwise the flying bridge helm has virtually all of the instruments and controls found below. To port of the helm and forward of it there is a huge wrap-around sunning pad, one large enough to hold many tanning bodies. What we would like to see on the boat in these pictures is another forward-facing seat so the skipper could have an extra set of eyes helping in the navigation of the vessel. Cranchi has made provision for this as you can see on the flybridge drawing.
Like almost all Italian flying bridge yachts, the bulwarks around the skipper's seat are low by American standards. However, there is a husky stainless steel safety rail to starboard of the helm seat that exceeds the ABYC-mandated 24" (.60 m) minimum for all weather decks. This rail is higher and more substantial than what we find on most Italian-built boats. Abaft the large settee is a clever floating island bar which has a sink as well as a grill under its cutting board. A refer is below in the console. Further aft there are two large skylights in the deck which help illuminate the saloon below. We have never seen sky lights placed in a flying bridge deck, but why not? There is room for several lounge chairs or a large sunning pad. We like the fact that Cranchi has left this space open so that the owner can use it in a variety of ways.Some owners might consider using this space for their tender, skylights notwithstanding. The addition of a hydraulic davit, a support structure below, and viola, you don't need the extended swim platform. With removable chocks once the tender has been launched the deck is clear for lounge chairs or a sun pad. Our guess is that this arrangement is a lot less costly than the hydraulic swim platform. Of course such an arrangement would destroy the sleek lines of the flying bridge, and drive the designer to drink, but it is something to think about.
Cranchi builds the Sixty 6 Fly only with the MAN 1400-hp diesels. If you know marine engines, you know that MANs are serious diesels, engineered to crank out thousands of hours of service. Using MAN diesels suggests that Cranchi is taking seriously the engineering of the Sixty class, thinking of them more as small big yachts rather than big small ones. MAN engines are also known for their advantageous power-to-weight ratios.We haven't tested the boat ourselves, but the builder says top speed is 32/33 knots, roughly, cruise anywhere between 17 and 29 knots without adversely affecting range: It varies only a bit across these speeds, according the Cranchi, from 275 nm at low planing cruise to 290 nm at high.A spokesman for the company says that the boat's best cruise is at 19 knots where she burns 220 liters per hour (57.9 gph). He also says that at best cruise the sound levels at the lower helm are 67 dBa, which is very good, indeed. We can't confirm these numbers as we have not tested the boat. However, we can say that Cranchi has well insulated its engine room with sound-absorbing foam that looks as good as anything we have seen on a yacht in this class.FYI, she comes with both stern and bow thrusters and three control stations, the third being on the aft deck. Even though she does not have a joystick, she should be a piece of cake to handle at the dock.
The Price and Recommendation
Cranchi is currently advertising this boat for 1.520 million Euros plus VAT, which is about $2.2 million U.S. In the U.S., the Cranchi Sixty 6 Fly is typically sold with the Excellence package, which is basically all the options other than a satcom; it includes the hydraulic platform, satellite TV, complete electronics, a night vision camera – basically the whole kitchen sink and then some. And, of course, there is the added cost of freight across the pond. With all of this included the price is about $2.8 million, delivered in Ft. Lauderdale. (The hardtop Sixty 4 HT costs a bit less: $2.6 million – for $200,000 extra, we'll take the flying bridge.)
She's built by a company with 150 years of history, and with family running the company who care about their reputation. We've tested several Cranchis over the years, and always found them to be very nice boats; we think the Sixty 6 Fly won't disappoint us, or you.Is the Cranchi Sixty 6 Fly a boat you should look at? We think that she is more practical than a lot of Italian-built boats we look at and certainly her hull is about as well built as they come. Cranchi boats usually have an exciting design flair and this one is no exception. She is pricy, but clearly the company has spared no expense on the build. If you're in the market for a serious yacht with Med-inspired styling, and a few unique features that set her apart from the crowd we think she's a yacht to add to your list.
Standard and Optional Features
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