Author: Capt. Mike Whitehead
Mention the name ‘Carver” at your local yacht club, and you will likely hear most boaters describe a well-built, affordable yacht suited for comfortable cruising.
Carver Yachts are built in Pulaski, Wisconsin, where the company operates a 700,000 square foot manufacturing facility. The company has a long history of building reliable boats that emphasize personal luxury and roomy accommodations.
Carver’s latest model — the 410 Sport Sedan — does that. However, it also offers much more in the way of cutting-edge style than you might expect from this Midwestern motoryacht specialist.
The Carver 410 Sport Sedan design combines the sportiness of an express cruiser with the comfort-laden accommodations of a motoryacht.
As I stepped onto the Carver 410 Sport Sedan’s large swim platform, to board the boat for a sea trial, I was greeted by J.R. Means — vice president of Newport Beach, California-based Bayport Yachts, which represents the Carver line in Southern California. His father, Jack Means, founded the dealership. The family must be doing something right: Each year, Bayport Yachts wins Carver’s top sales and customer service awards.
Carver is one of the Genmar family of companies, which includes such familiar names as Wellcraft, Aquasport, Four Winns and Glastron. J.R. Means mentioned that 2004 will be Carver Yachts’ 50th anniversary — and the company has been extremely successful as the builder of the largest yachts in the Genmar stable.
Known for Quality
Carver’s largest motoryachts, in its Voyager line, are known for their long list of creature comforts and their stability. Right away, we noticed that the smaller 410 Sport Sedan shares that stability at the dock — and we would later be impressed by its ride.
The 410 Sport Sedan is also built like a much larger yacht. There is no wood used in the hull construction anywhere below the waterline. The bottom is all fiberglass, and the cored sides feature closed-cell foam.
In the engine room, the boat’s twin diesel powerplants are mounted on reinforced stringers that have gusseted-angle steel plates. Topside, cleats and stanchions are mounted through the fiberglass decks into aluminum support plates.
A wide, 13 foot, 11 inch beam makes the 410’s interior quite spacious, giving the cockpit abundant room for those who want to catch some rays — and those who want to catch some fish. Amidships in the cockpit, we noticed a hatch for storage below the deck, with additional access to the aft running gear.
On the cockpit’s starboard side, molded steps lead up to the flybridge. A sliding glass door opens from the cockpit into the saloon.
The saloon features an ‘open concept” layout, including a portside galley. This food preparation area is equipped with a full-size upright refrigerator/freezer, a three-burner electric range, a built-in microwave/convection oven and a coffeemaker. All the cabinets are made with real cherry wood, and counters are especially distinctive, with black Karadon tops.
Sitting in the saloon’s U-shaped Ultraleather settee — with a built-in incliner — is especially comfortable, and it is conveniently adjacent to a 20 inch television and entertainment center. Electrical panels are easily accessible in the saloon — and each of the boat’s AC outlets is protected with a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI).
Walking forward, to where a pilothouse station is usually located, we stepped up to the 410’s raised kidney-shaped dinette with seating covered in Ultraleather. We had virtually a 360-degree view out the windows — which is especially important if you opt for adding a lower pilothouse helm in lieu of the dinette.
The lower helm option includes a lounge where guests can join you while under way. This lower helm is a bonus if you cruise in wet weather or in climates that make air conditioning or heating a necessity.
Continuing to the companionway, we found useful overhead handrails to help us walk through the dinette to the starboard-side stairs leading belowdecks to the stateroom level. Here, we found master and guest staterooms, and two full heads.
Each stateroom is equipped with a television/VCR combination, hanging lockers and plenty of storage in cabinets and beneath the berths. Forward, the master stateroom has a queen-size berth and an overhead hatch for light and ventilation. The master head has a bi-fold door and a separate shower stall.
The guest stateroom has two twin berths that convert to a double, with a filler cushion. The stateroom has an integral Ultraleather settee, and the main door is a bi-fold unit, to save space.
Heading up and out to the cockpit, I noticed that the main saloon’s sole includes an oversized hatch for access to the engine room. I opened it and stepped in, before we got under way. There, I found a pair of 370 hp Cummins diesel engines and a 10 kW Kohler auxiliary generator.
The room has ready access for servicing the engines on both sides, along with an automatic fire suppression system and a carpeted catwalk. To quiet the engine noise, there’s double acoustical and thermal insulation between the engine compartment and the saloon — plus, there’s a vinyl vapor barrier.
Start Your Engines
Our test boat was equipped with a pair of 370 hp Cummins 370B diesel engines, rated at a top speed of 33 mph. However, many other power options are available — including three types of gasoline engines (by Crusader, MerCruiser and Volvo Penta) and five models of diesels (by Cummins and Volvo Penta).
While J.R. Means went up to the flybridge to start the main engines, I went to the bow to check out the anchoring equipment. This boat is equipped with a Maxwell anchor windlass that has bow deck pedals and can also be remote controlled from the bridge.
A nice feature on the foredeck is stainless steel tubular foot supports on the port and starboard sides, just forward of the windlass. These supports keep your feet from sliding off the bow — and the round shape will not hurt bare feet like the right angle metal stops on some boats.
We eased the boat out of Bayport’s tight docks, packed full of new boats. I watched from the flybridge to see how well the boat handled in very close quarters.
The upper bridge is differentiated in two sections that, on our test boat, were enclosed with Prestige black canvas enclosures. Just abaft the helm is the command bridge, with a six-person wrap-around lounge and a kidney-shaped table, situated near a wet bar. Forward is the helm, which has two companion chairs, plus the adjustable helm seat that is centered on the bridge.
A tilt wheel allows you to adjust for comfort, and the boat’s controls are easy to reach, sitting or standing. No electronics were yet installed on our test boat, but the console is large enough to equip with all the electronics you care to add.
Once we cleared Newport Harbor’s breakwater, we were able to throttle up. We could feel the horsepower as we trimmed the bow down with the trim tabs.
Our test boat got out of the hole quickly, considering its weight with full fuel and water tanks. We reached 26.4 knots at 2,900 rpm, and 19.6 knots at 2,500 rpm (our cruising speed).
At wide-open throttle, the boat ran smoothly — with no pounding when going into the moderately sized seas, and surprisingly very little roll or yaw when running in the sea’s trough. I was able to walk through the boat while Means made several quick turns, demonstrating the stability of the hull — and the saloon was noticeably quiet while under way.
Hard over with the wheel at full throttle, the wash showed a turning circle just larger than the length of the boat. We hardly noticed as the boat sliced through the wake we had created, and we repeated a hard over turn to the other side then back a few times with similar results. The boat did not chine walk or even hint that the hull might start to skip, and at no time was there any loss of control.
As Carver Yachts prepare for its 50th anniversary, the boldness of this new sport sedan’s styling demonstrates a youthful spirit of creativity. Not only that, but the 410 Sport Sedan’s performance — and cruiseability — is as attractive as its sleek lines.
CONTACT: Carver Yachts, Pulaski, WI; (920) 822-3214; www.carveryachts.com