|LOA||w/platform 56 ft., 3 in.|
|Engines||Twin Volvo Penta D9 EVC-500|
The hull bottom is solid fiberglass with Knytex substrates and a vinylester barrier coat. The hull is cored above the waterline. The stringer system is one-piece molded fiberglass.
Twin Volvo Penta D9 EVC-500 engines, Carver Docking System w/Side Power bow and stern thrusters, Teleflex hydraulic steering, engine-room fire-suppression system, Kohler 15.5 kw generator, Charles Marine inverter, watertight pilothouse entrance door, extended swim platform, molded nonskid surface on all decks, galley appliances — microwave, three-burner electric range, drawer refrigerator/freezer, integral sink — storage, and more.
|Twin Volvo Penta D9 EVC-575 or CAT C9-575 engines, cockpit control station for engines and thrusters, four-zone air conditioning, transom and bow washdowns, Raymarine navigation electronics packages, autopilot, video monitoring system, WalVac central vacuum system, 42-inch HD TV, 15-inch LCD TV in VIP stateroom, Plasteak decks and more.|
Carver Yachts, Pulaski, Wis.; (920) 822-3214; carveryachts.com
|West Coast Dealer|
Cruisers West Yacht Sales, Newport Beach, Calif.; (949) 723-1098; cruiserswest.com
SD Yacht Group, San Diego;
Breakwater Marine, Washington and B.C.;
Posted: March 1, 2012 | Boat Type: Motoryacht
Built to go places
When many people hear that a boat is built to be a “long-range cruiser,” their initial impression is probably not of an eye-catching vessel that cuts an impressive figure on the water and at the dock — unless we’re talking superyachts, which cut an impressive figure based on sheer size. That impression is changing, even in boats under 60 or 70 feet, as boat builders have realized they can deliver cruisability and functionality in a dressed-up package.
Carver Yachts has done just that with the 54 Voyager. Built on a proven platform, the 54V can deliver its owners to distant ports in comfort, or it can be one of the most recognizable boats in the homeport. It starts with the Bronze Basin hull color (Neptune blue is an option), a striking departure from white, and continues with the dark-tinted windows that wrap all the way around three sides of the main cabin. I am a fan of Oakley sunglasses, and the windshield and wrap-around window combo looks like something Oakley designers might have envisioned. The flybridge hardtop stands out, too, and not just because it’s unusual to see on a Carver. It is gunmetal gray all around, which stands out from the white radar arch that supports it, and it has two large tinted skylights that don’t open but let in plenty of subdued light.
During the sea trial, when I asked Cruisers West’s Jerry Reeck about some of the feedback he’s received from potential buyers, he said something that I’d been hesitant to admit: “A lot of people don’t even think it’s a Carver.” Part of that impression is no doubt due to the natural progression of the boat-building company’s evolving designs, but another reason for it is Carver’s partnership with Marquis. Some of the Marquis influence can be seen throughout the yacht — whether it’s the modern look and feel, the hull color, the more open layout or the water-jet-cut steel plates on the pilothouse door or the corners of the cockpit transom.
The swim platform, the best way onto the boat, is big, and you might wonder why until you realize it’s hydraulically operated and is meant to hold a tender. A boarding door to starboard grants access to the 66-square-foot cockpit, which has an aft bench seat with storage underneath. The seat can be eliminated from the boat, but I think it makes the cockpit more inviting as a gathering place, especially considering the flybridge deck covers most of the cockpit to offer shade. A ladder with large Plasteak-covered steps leads to the flybridge. All of the decks on our test boat are covered with Plasteak, an option that looks nice and provides a surface with plenty of grip.
Inside, through the curved, sliding, stainless steel-framed entrance door, the 54V looks and feels like a high-end European yacht, just with more room. The woodwork sets the stage. The sole throughout the main cabin is a dark patina wood, and the cabinets, bulkheads and doors are made from exotic Zatara oak hardwood, which has a rich look that complements the upholstery and fabrics that are done in shades of taupe and ecru.
Depending on their familiarity with each other, seven or eight people will find seating in the salon on a U-shaped settee to starboard and a sofa to port. The settee wraps around a dining table, and both seating areas have a good view of the 32-inch LCD TV, which is part of an entertainment package that includes a CD/DVD player, a Sony stereo system, Sirius satellite radio and an iPod dock. There is also a wet bar with a sink.
Forward of the salon and up a couple of steps is the combined galley and pilothouse. The helm station is complete with Raymarine electronics, engine and thruster controls, and a captain’s chair. People who are comfortable with only one helm, on the flybridge, can eliminate the lower helm and go with a dinette. The galley is fully decked out with stainless appliances — a microwave, a three-burner electric stove, a drawer-style refrigerator and freezer, a sink — and plenty of storage. In the aft portion of the galley is a set of open stairs that lead up top.
The flybridge has a hardtop that covers most of the bridge deck, and there is more room for people on the bridge now, thanks to the optional hydraulic swim platform. Wait. What? How does the swim platform open up space on the flybridge? Easy. Carver was able to get rid of the crane that used to occupy the aft portion of the flybridge and replace it with a rear-facing lounge. For seating, there is also a captain’s chair, a U-shaped lounge with a table and a bench settee. A wet bar with a sink and either an ice-maker or a refrigerator completes the flybridge features.
Three staterooms and two heads are down a set of curved stairs to starboard of the lower helm. At the bottom of the stairs is a landing. The amidships, full-beam master is to the left, the VIP stateroom is to the right, in the bow, and the twin-bunk guest stateroom is straight ahead. A soft cut-pile carpet runs throughout the accommodation area, and the Zatara wood continues its presence in the lockers, tables and dressers.
The master has enough clearance for my 6-foot, 6-inch frame and comes with an oversized queen island berth with storage underneath. The mattress is a pillowtop innerspring type, as is the one in the VIP, and oak end tables are on either side. The head has a center vanity that’s up a step from the rest of the room, with the toilet in its own room to the left and the shower stall in its own space to the right. A dresser and two hanging lockers provide even more storage, and two hull windows let in plenty of light. Two round portholes in each of the windows open to ventilate the area.
A second head has a separate shower stall and is accessible from the VIP stateroom.
The VIP has an oversized queen berth that’s angled to port, two hanging lockers, six overhead lights, an overhead hatch and four portholes — two that open and two that don’t.
We had a nice day for the sea trial — maybe too nice, as the only challenge we could muster for the 54V on the 1-foot seas was its own wake, which it handled like you would expect a 25-ton boat to handle a chop. No problem. I sat in the salon and went belowdecks while we were cruising at around 16 knots, and noise didn’t present a problem anywhere. Guests could have a conversation in the salon — with the cockpit door wide open — as easily as they could in any of the staterooms. And there were no problems getting up and down the stairs between levels.
When we did crank up the Volvo Penta D9 EVC-500 engines, with a combined 1,000 hp, the boat topped out at just over 28 mph, at which point the engines were spinning at 2500 rpm and burning a combined 48 gph. At 2200 rpm, our speed was 21.2 mph and the boat was burning 35 gph. At 18.5 mph, which is a comfortable cruising speed for the 54V, the rpm count was 2000 and the fuel burn was 28 gph, while 1800 rpm yielded 14.7 mph and 22 gph. For folks who want a little more power, the 54V has two other engine options. The D9 EVCs come in a 575 hp configuration, as do the CAT C9s. That’s a total of 150 hp more, which will yield a few extra mph but will also burn more fuel, so it’s up to buyers to decide what they prefer.
The 56-footer responded quickly to commands from the helm, thanks to its hydraulic steering, and it had no trouble executing the couple of hard-over turns we used to create “rough seas.” While it dropped a couple of knots during the hard turns, the boat performed well through them, never shuddering or skipping, and up on the flybridge, any lean was minimal — I never felt like I was going to be thrown to the deck or slammed against the side.
We conducted the test from the upper helm, but had the weather been less agreeable, the lower helm would have been a nice substitute. Sitting there during the trial, I looked around and had a 360-degree view through an expanse of glass that nearly encircles the main cabin. And since the helm station is with the galley on a level a couple of steps up from the salon, the captain has a clear view of the cockpit and beyond through the glass door that separates the salon and cockpit.
Docking the vessel was simple, thanks to the bow and stern thrusters and the remote engine control. Those are the kinds of amenities that make a 50-plus-foot boat a real option for people new to boating or people wanting to step up to a much bigger boat.
The look of Carver’s Voyager series yachts is sure to turn heads, as they have at the last two boat shows where I’ve seen them, but it’s the interior flow and the all-around exterior accessibility that are going to impress potential buyers. There’s room to move around and live in the boat. And that’s going to be important for boaters who plan to use the 54V for its intended purpose and get out and see new things.
Posted By: JoeTheBoatBuilder On: 3/2/2012
Title: Long Range Cruiser? My Ass!
With those fuel consumption figures quoted, this boat is only a "long range cruiser" in their marketing managers dreams, hence the distance this boat can cover on a tank of fuel is not shown. The "voyaging" that this boat does will be from fuel dock to fuel dock.
The reason people don't recognize it is a Carver is that it doesn't look like a condo block as did previous models.