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Review: Carver C34

This first in a new line of cruising boats from Carver Yachts is roomy and well planned.

Based in Pulaski, Wis., Carver Yachts has carved a niche in the recreational boating marketplace as a builder of flybridge cruisers that maximize almost every inch on board for entertaining areas and accommodations that are among the roomiest in their class. The brand has been on the scene since 1954, and over the decades the builder has made waves with models that made lasting impressions. In the early 1980s, for instance, Carver cruised onto the scene as one the pioneers of the aft cabin motoryacht. Today, the builder is poised to make another big statement with plans for a new line of cruising boats, one it calls the next generation in design.

"This is an exciting time for Carver," said Robert VanGrunsven, president of Carver. "We’re developing new, finely crafted yachts while remaining true to what made Carver the respected brand it is today. We see this new product line as just what the market is demanding: great design, comfort and space, and most importantly, tremendous value as compared to what is currently offered on the market."

The first boat in this new series is the C34, which made its debut at the winter boat shows. With an overall length of 35 and a half feet, it’s anchored in the heart of the production powerboat market, a competitive slot filled with models of all types. Yet arguably, many of those makes just don’t offer the same amount of usable space within the same footprint.

Add to that the Carver’s very competitive price. At $325,000, the C34 represents eyebrow-raising value, as that price includes twin inboards, two staterooms, enough standard equipment to make this a turnkey cruiser and homelike living areas.

The exterior lines show the new direction that Carver is navigating toward. The sheerline is new for the builder, as is the plumb bow. The lines are full and enhanced by the 34’s broad, 13-foot beam. The beam makes for nice accommodations. There are two good-sized cabins. The master, forward, has an island berth, hanging lockers, an impressive six-feet-five-inches of headroom and a bulkhead with door for real privacy. Likewise, the second cabin with twin berths also has a door, plus standing headroom near the entrance. A head with a separate shower stall is shared by both cabins.

One of the best uses of the broad beam is along the sidedecks, which are close to 13 inches wide amidships. You’ll be hard-pressed to find another cruiser in this length class that’s so easy to get around. And with tall rails, the sidedecks are safe to maneuver.

One of our favorite spaces is the salon, which is open and contemporary in style. The galley is up and located aft, so you can more easily serve passengers in the cockpit. Opposite the galley is a long settee with high/low table. (Lower it to create another berth.) Key here are the views. When seated in that settee, you can take it all in.

For power, there are two Mercury 5.7-liter gas inboards coupled to V-drives. A diesel option is available, too: twin 300-hp Volvo Penta D4s. Docking with twin engines shouldn’t be too challenging if you’re new to twin-screw boats, but if you want a confidence booster, the C34 is offered with bow and stern thrusters.

On the diesel boat, thrusters can be rigged to an optional Xenta joystick control. Teleflex SeaStar hydraulic steering is standard, as are Bennett trim tabs. The boat is operated from the helm station on the bridge, but an optional driving station in the cabin is available, too. That’s a good choice for those who want to extend the cruising season.

The C34 has been designed to deliver easy handling, competitive creature comforts, a new look and a great price. It’s no wonder the company is calling the debut of this boat an exciting event. www.carveryachts.com

Carver C34
Length Overall: 35 feet, 6 inches
Beam: 13 feet
Draft: 3 feet, 6 inches
Dry Weight: 18,000 pounds
Fuel Capacity: 250 gallons
Water Capacity: 90 gallons
Power: (2) Mercury 5.7L gas inboards
Price: $325,000

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