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Old 07-28-2020, 11:39 AM   #1
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Carver... Good? Bad?

I'm doing some research on powerboats and the Carver Yachts brand keeps popping up. Does anyone know about build quality?

I'm also looking at some Offshore Yacht boats... mostly the 54. I like the 1000 gallon of fuel -- so extended anchoring shouldn't be an issue (with 1000 gallons).

Any thoughts about Carver?
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Old 07-28-2020, 12:33 PM   #2
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As a previous Carver owner, I would say the boat exceeded my expectations. It was a 2001 356 with Cummins 6BTAs. Not a damn thing wrong with that boat. As always, boats are a compromise. If I had to complain about something, it was engine access. The engine space just wasn't that big...and it never will be on a 35 foot twin engine boat. I do have to ask what Carver you are looking at? I lost interest in them around 2003ish when they went full bleach bottle and mostly all Volvo. Probably my favorite "big" Carver is the 445....it was the continued evolution of the 4207 followed by the 440 followed by the 445. They only made them for two years. It is a big GIANT value in my opinion and usually powered by Cummins 6CTAs...although a few were gas and I did find one with the smaller 6BTAs...which would not be favorable if you want to gettyup and go.

If you are comparing them to Offshore Yachts....there is no comparison. The only place I think the Carver beats the Offshore is value. If you're in love with the Offshore and are willing to part with that kind of cash, then go for it. They are excellent boats and are pretty too. But DAYUM they are expensive.

I'd be happy to answer any specific questions about Carver.
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Old 07-28-2020, 12:50 PM   #3
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Like a lot of the big builders of popular priced boats, Carver has had various models at all points of the spectrum. So I wouldn't make a blanket assumption about the brand one way or the other. Of the ones I have occasion to take a good look at and talk with owners, I happen to think most of the Voyager series are pretty good boats. They started the Marquis brand as an up-sale from Carver and some of the early Marquis were very good boats. I agree that Offshore is a definite upgrade, and really like the 54 too. Quality wise I'd put them similar to the early Marquis; I've spent a fair amount of time crawling around both and have been at sea on a large Offshore.
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Old 07-28-2020, 01:20 PM   #4
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I owned a 1997 Carver 440 with 6CTAs for 17years. An excellent boat with a good sea hull and as i did all the maintenance myself I know every inch. Great at 9 Kts or 20.
As above not all boats by any maker are equally good.
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Old 07-28-2020, 01:33 PM   #5
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The few Carvers I've had a chance to run, they got up on plane quickly and decent cruising speed. Bleach bottle was mentioned, it's the models that have a lot of cabin above the water. My pet name is Shamu, they look like a Killer Whale. Black and white and rotund. This is sail area that gives the wind carte balance to push the boat around, especially when docking and maneuvering in close quarters.
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Old 07-28-2020, 07:20 PM   #6
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Carver: good or bad? Maybe they are just ugly?
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Old 07-28-2020, 07:42 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caltexflanc View Post
Like a lot of the big builders of popular priced boats, Carver has had various models at all points of the spectrum. So I wouldn't make a blanket assumption about the brand one way or the other.
Agreed, they made some decent boats and some real stinkers.
One must know the model/year to provide a useful comment.
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Old 07-28-2020, 08:44 PM   #8
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Carver: good or bad? Maybe they are just ugly?
Some of them are indeed ugly, the Mariner 37 being maybe the ugliest production boat of all time. But, they have made many good looking boats.The aforementioned Voyagers just to name one. Heck, even our beloved Hatteras managed to come up with some doozies, like the 52CMYs post-Hargrave, or the later 63 and 64MYs of the late 90's and early 'oughts. You could say the same thing about virtually every car manufacturer or large house builder as well.
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Old 07-28-2020, 09:35 PM   #9
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We had a Carver 3207 for a few years until we went bigger. I really liked that boat and still miss it. The systems were pretty simple but that boat still taught me a lot. Decent engine access, oddly even better than our bigger boat now in some ways. Not a high end ocean boat by any means but it was decent, and good value for the money. We did look at a newer, more current Carver last year (2019) at the Palm Beach show, a 37 Coupe. All shiny and new, excellent use of space but the build quality wasn't the best - panel seams off, cabinet doors, that kind of thing. But the new boat smell was very nice.
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Old 07-28-2020, 09:42 PM   #10
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We had a Carver in the past, it was a nice boat, but they do look like Clorox bottles now. And then there are the Volvo engines. I also had them in a boat in the past, never again. That is a personal choice but Volvo can be a PITA to get support and parts from, the price of parts aside...

Oh, BTW, welcome aboard.
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Old 07-28-2020, 11:50 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by caltexflanc View Post
Some of them are indeed ugly, the Mariner 37 being maybe the ugliest production boat of all time. But, they have made many good looking boats.The aforementioned Voyagers just to name one. Heck, even our beloved Hatteras managed to come up with some doozies, like the 52CMYs post-Hargrave, or the later 63 and 64MYs of the late 90's and early 'oughts. You could say the same thing about virtually every car manufacturer or large house builder as well.

Wow, George, I usually agree with all of your comments. But I really like the Carver Mariners from the early 80's. My favorite feature was the built-in bow seat (because our dogs love that) and next was the decent-sized cockpit (for fishing).

My only complaint was that their dual-engine running gear was too exposed for cruising in unfamiliar waters; I wished they had a deeper keel.

Now this thread has me wondering how their older models from the 80's are holding up.


Cheers and stay safe,
Mrs. Trombley
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Old 07-29-2020, 06:26 AM   #12
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Here is the Mariner 37 I was referring to. Still disagree?

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Old 07-29-2020, 08:00 AM   #13
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People's opinions on any specific brand will always run the gamut from love to hate. I happen to fall into the category of "love 'em."

I have toured the factory and had lengthy discussions with their customer service reps. The employees there seem to be genuinely happy and proud of their work. In fact, most teams sign the inside of the boat when they finish their work. You can't see it and likely couldn't find it if you were looking for it but the signatures are probably there. The company is also multigenerational, meaning there are fathers, mothers, aunts, uncles, sons, daughters, cousins etc that work there.

One big factor is that the company is still in business. Let's say you bought a 53' Voyager and had a question about how best to access something or trace the wiring or plumbing on the boat. You can call Carver and they'll email you the owner's manual, sometimes they'll even send you the actual CAD-CAM drawings of the boat's design. They have all of the original purchase orders and can tell you exactly what was and was not on the boat when it was originally ordered, based on the HIN. One time, I even called to ask about about some details of the engine wiring on a 2001 506 owned by one of my clients. After discussing the specifics with the customer service rep, he put me on hold for a few minutes. The next voice on the line was one of the actual technicians that installed the engines on that particular boat back in 2001. He still worked for the company and was able to provide invaluable insight. That kind of service is really hard to beat.

Out of the 255 slips in our marina, at least 12 of the boats are Carvers or Marquis.

Carver builds a lot of attention to detail into their models and there are pretty much no unused spaces. If there was an empty space, they put a door on it so you can use it for storage.

They do have some drawbacks and design quirks. The cabin space is roomy but they did that by building tall boats with high side decks so they could maximize interior space. The drawback is windage. On my client's 506, the sliding screen door could not be removed to clean the wheels without removing the entire bridge (customer service's words). But overall, great boats that you will likely enjoy for years.

We would likely have a Carver right now if we hadn't lucked into a boat that was already kitted out exactly like we wanted and was owned by a friend of ours.

Go for the Cummins engine models if you can find them. But don't be afraid of a well-maintained Volvo engine, either. We have Volvos in our boat and they're rock solid. Just stay on top of the maintenance... but that's the same with any engine.

Let me know if you have any additional questions.

John
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Old 07-29-2020, 08:11 AM   #14
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Here is the Mariner 37 I was referring to. Still disagree?

Its actually the Mariner 36

While the shape takes some getting use to, I think it would be an excellent boat for the older boater. It has:
  • 4 wide steps (on both sides) from the cockpit to the bridge
  • 3 steps down to the saloon
  • huge bridge area with wide walkways on both sides
  • very large saloon all on one level
  • v-drives mean easy engine access from the cockpit

[IMG][/IMG]

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Old 07-29-2020, 08:36 AM   #15
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Our first boats in the PacNW in 88 (28 sedan) and 89-94 (32 sedan) were Carvers. We enjoyed them a lot. Not the stiffest hull designs but good in a seaway. Agree with storage comment - great use of space. Agree with the bleach bottle analogy - Carver wasn’t the only builder to go down that rat hole. One thing that’s irritating in the newer designs (and. Are er is not alone in this) is the use of round galley sinks. Just dumb. As for the larger Carvers, on of the Ben’s on panbo.com lives aboard a 53 (?) with his family. I bet he’d gladly share his experience.
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Old 07-29-2020, 09:26 AM   #16
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We have a Carver 450 Voyager Pilothouse with Cummins engines. We love, love, love our boat. Handles rougher water well, can go faster when needed but also very comfortable at "trawler" speeds. Our Carver has a full cover over the flybridge, lots of windage! However, the engines are powerful enough to overcome most wind situations we find ourselves in. We do have bow and stern thrusters, however, they are generally only used to pin us or un-pin us to a dock when we are fixing dock lines.

Recently we shattered a side window (operator error). Carver service promptly provided us with part number, drawings, installation instructions, and contact information for the window manufacturer.

Other than this Carver we only have experience (from many years ago) of a SeaRay 30 Sundancer so we can't compare our Carver to other brands. But we are very happy with our boat.
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Old 07-29-2020, 10:54 AM   #17
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We’ve been bouncing back and forth between the Mainship 390/400 and the Carver 390/400/404 models. I’m in favor of the MS build quality, engine access, operating economy and ease of maintenance. My wife loves the Carver interior, deck layout and that awesome sliding glass door to the cockpit. I’m not sure that the dog can climb the stairs to the flybridge on the MS and unfortunately, that’s a factor working against me. Not many aft cabin, cockpit boats out there with access from the aft cabin to the cockpit. Fewer still with no stairs more than 4 steps.
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Old 07-29-2020, 03:44 PM   #18
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Iím in favor of the MS build quality, engine access, operating economy and ease of maintenance. My wife loves the Carver interior, deck layout and that awesome sliding glass door to the cockpit. Iím not sure that the dog can climb the stairs to the flybridge on the MS and unfortunately, thatís a factor working against me. Not many aft cabin, cockpit boats out there with access from the aft cabin to the cockpit. Fewer still with no stairs more than 4 steps.
As a former owner of both Mainship and Carver, I am here to tell you Carver build quality is better than Mainship. Overall design, engineering, and access was better on the Carver. The 400/404 is the same boat as the 355/356 with cockpit added. Those boats are a great compromise of size as it relates to handling. They really pack a lot of boat into that 35 footer!!!! I highly recommend especially if you can get one with the Cummins diesels!!!

Also if your wife loves it, I highly recommend you listen to her!!!...
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Old 07-29-2020, 05:32 PM   #19
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We had a 1989 3807. Great boat, but had gas motors. Great use of space and a ton of amenities. Great value and actually pretty good quality.
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Old 07-29-2020, 06:00 PM   #20
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Gotta say that 355/356 is one of my favorite aft cabin (non-trawler) boats!

Space is really well designed and priced around 75K. The only issue for me, is that since most have gas engines, it really wouldn't be a great boat for long distance cruising.

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