Cranchi’s E26 Classic crams plenty of style and practicality into its eight metre length.

Mo Khatib

Cranchi is a boat builder that gets on with the job without necessarily shouting about it. You won’t find them laying on lavish launches at boat shows, or hiring the Hôtel de Paris for a press conference. Instead, the 149-year-old shipyard lets its boats do the talking, as it has done with its latest launch, the E26 Classic.


Although the shipyard is best known for its 35 to 60ft flybridge, hardtop, trawler and crossover models, it began life with Giovanni Cranchi building dayboats on the shores of Lake Como. That was back in 1870 and today, after 20,000 boats have made it out of the boatyard, the 2019 E26 Classic is the culmination of all those years of experience and ingenuity.


One thing Giovanni would never have dreamed, was that his humble dayboats would eventually be styled by the industry’s top designers. Christian Grande was brought in to create the E26’s clean look, which although sporty and modern, still has a vintage feel about it. “The E26 Classic comes from reading the style of classic motorboats in a new key,” explains Grande. “The history of pleasure boating has been written by this type of boat since the 1950s and 60s, thanks to refined, distinguished enthusiasts who spent time in the seaside resorts, and let’s not forget, the great lakes.” The shape definitely looks at home on Lake Como, with bold, purposeful lines making a refreshing change from some of the more curvaceous day boats on the market. We particularly like the wraparound windscreen that flows into the aft quarters. It’s a timeless look that will always be in fashion, much like Coco Chanel’s little black dress.

Teak peak: There are strong references to boating tradition on the Classic, such as the teak bow deck, which recalls the classic heritage of Italian wooden boat
Although the shipyard is best known for its 35 to 60ft flybridge, hardtop, trawler and crossover models, it began life with Giovanni Cranchi building day boats on the shores of Lake Como.


There’s nothing at all classical about the E26’s interior. Here, we have a thoroughly modern execution, using the finest current materials. From the swim platform, entry is made up and over the full beam sunpad. The lack of a passageway here means an extra foot of lazing space for sun lovers and it also helps keep the Cranchi’s stylistic lines symmetrical. The sunpad slopes up subtly to create the backrest for the L-shaped sofa. Guests can sit at the port side table and thanks to swiveling helms chairs, the skipper can join in the conversations at anchor, too. It has to be said that the red upholstery, with its supercar style pattern adds a touch of exclusivity to the Cranchi’s interior, and with the helm’s seats facing forward, sitting on the aft sofa does feel like being in a large, luxury convertible.

Another great design detail is the dashboard. It’s a modern execution, with a dash-on-dash style, similar to that of the latest Mercedes S-Class. A single Garmin, high-resolution touchscreen chartplotter shares space with the classic white Volvo Penta gauges. The Volvo Penta switchgear continues down to the throttle, which is located in-between the Side Power joystick and the trim control system panel. Either sitting, or standing, the skipper has a commanding view in all directions, and at his fingertips is a distinctive, single spoke sports steering wheel.

Two teak steps can be found at the dashboard’s base. These lead up to the windscreen-opening, with the teak-streak then stretching forward along the foredeck, allowing guests to embark with ease.

The history of pleasure boating has been written by this type of boat since the 50s and 60s, thanks to enthusiasts who spent time in the seaside resorts - and let’s not forget, the great lakes.


Despite its petite length, the Classic still manages to fit a cabin, complete with head, into its 7.85 metre hull. This makes it not only a comfortable day cruiser, but also a completely usable overnighter. As with the rest of the boat, the materials used in the cabin are top of the line, as are the textures and finishing. Surprisingly, natural light is not an issue down here, as the skylight and glazing strips create a warming haze. Most dinky day boats don’t have any windows whatsoever. For those wanting more passenger space, Cranchi also offer a non-cabin version called the Rider. As it’s powered by an outboard engine, the aft section can be fitted with two long, opposing sofas behind the helm seats, with two sofas in the bow in place of the cabin. This layout also makes the Rider suitable for tender duties.


With Christian Grande’s modern take on the classic great lakes dayboat, the E26 has a timeless style. Equipment, quality and fitment are top class, and with a single inboard Volvo Penta diesel powering it through the waves, the Classic won’t be disappointing anybody. For those wanting smoother delivery, there’s a 280hp Volvo Penta V6 on the options list, with a bimini top also available to keep things cool. All-in-all, the Cranchi E26 Classic is a top all round dayboat, that also doubles as a capable tender.