With power to run at 30 knots and the presence to impress at the dock, the 52 CB is a fit for boaters moving up in size or coming down for easier cruising.
As I stepped out of the car at the marina, the morning cool was yielding to the rising sun’s warmth. Blue colored the sky, reflecting off the glassy-flat cove. A wisp of a breeze was sufficient to keep the no-see-ums at bay. Ah yes, the perfect boating day. All I needed was a boat. Enter the new Carver 52 Command Bridge.
At first glance, every aspect of this yacht was vying for my attention, and I was still on the dock. It had a presence that told me I wasn’t simply getting on a boat — I was going boating!
Carver has produced an eye-catching style in the 52 CB. There’s sufficient freeboard to keep the green water where it needs to be, but it’s not so overbearing that it looks like a wall of fiberglass. Hull windows are properly sized and neatly blended into the hull’s contour, not a hodge-podge of black-out panels placed hither and yon.
A sleek profile with an unbroken shear, a swept-back windscreen, and a low-slung radar arch and hardtop are accented by the blunt axe-like bow that showcases Carver’s innovative approach to its line of coupe and bridge yachts from 34 to 52 feet.
As I stepped aboard from the integrated swim deck, it was quickly evident that Carver built this yacht “up,” allowing the 15-foot, 8-inch beam to be fully utilized, especially below. And utilized it is, with three lower staterooms that scream to be used not just at night.
Sleep Is Overrated
Forward below is the VIP stateroom in the peak. A centerline island queen berth is accented by five overhead lights, rope lighting in the soffit, reading lamps and ambient light via the deck hatch (with an integrated escape ladder). Hull windows add sea-level viewing. Shelving, drawers, lockers and storage compartments keep all tidy. With 6 feet, 6 inches of headroom, an entertainment system and a high-gloss black cherry finish with vinyl accents and textured panels, the VIP might be the place for an afternoon siesta or to take in a good book.
To starboard is the guest stateroom, with twin berths, overhead and courtesy lighting, a side opening port and a nightstand. It’s a good fit for kids but also for adults, as headroom is sufficient. Opt for the washer/dryer and they’ll be fitted within.
Carver designed the master stateroom to be accessible via a private staircase in the salon. Down the staircase are cabinets that house the yacht’s AC/DC breakers and controls, which keeps these critical controls out of the way but easily accessible.
At full beam and amidships, the master is a spacious oasis unto itself. A queen-size berth is centered, and a chaise lounge to port is for times when one just needs a quick recharge. Accoutrements include a textured headboard, a high-gloss cherry wood finish, a variety of materials and shades for the walls and ceiling, hull windows with opening portholes, a 32-inch flat TV and storage all around. Lighting options include 11 overhead LEDs, headboard and soffit rope lights, under-berth accents, reading spots and a table lamp. Set the lights to pretty much any mood desired.
When it’s time to refresh, the master head has owners covered. An enclosed shower stall with a rain showerhead has elbow room and includes a frameless glass door, tile accents and a teak seat. The vanity includes a vessel sink, upper/lower/side storage and a Tecma EZ Fit freshwater head.
Carver offers an aft stateroom, which is a nice addition if crew are regularly used, or perhaps for extended family members (no mother-in-law jokes, please).
Pick the Place
With all that said, it’s going to be difficult to pinpoint a favorite place on board, as there are many to choose from. There’s the aft deck with a U-shaped settee large enough for sitting or lounging and flanked by a teak dining table. Open the glass aft doors, which all fold back, and create an integrated aft deck/salon.
Inside is the port galley, which blends nicely with the overall décor. Its layout is simple but fully featured. Appliances include a recessed Cuisinart microwave/convection oven, a two-burner Whale electric cooktop, an under-counter Nova Kool refrigerator/freezer unit, twin stainless sinks with covers and about an acre of counter space. Interestingly, Carver built in a second Nova Kool refrigerator/freezer unit across in the lower section of the entertainment center. One can separate drinks from food items or just have extra food chilling for longer trips. Not to waste space, Carver also designed a waste receptacle drawer next to the refrigerator.
Relax in the amidships raised salon, which includes port and starboard seating and nary a bad view from any seat — I tried them all. With dark wood flooring and contrasting lighter furnishings, the interior motif is carried throughout. Enjoy a meal at the high-low pedestal table or pop out a few folding tables for extra guests. It’s also a comfortable area for lounging or watching the Insignia 40-inch flat TV with Polk sound bar speakers.
A lower helm station is available as an option, but many owners, including myself, would not recommend it. First, it eats into the salon area, reducing the starboard seat’s length. Second, the flybridge can be enclosed, so owners are more likely to pilot the 52 CB from above rather than below. Sure, it may be easier for some owners to handle lines or run solo with a lower station, but with all of the remote operating devices on the market, I would go that way for the few times you may really need to be on the main deck when during docking.
Take the Con
Have I mentioned the command bridge? It is a patently functional level with a smart layout and a low profile, so it looks good and will certainly attract a crowd. With a full hardtop secured by metal stanchions forward, which are contoured to the hardtop and support it across the width to eliminate any vibrations, and the aft radar arch, this area can be fully enclosed for year-round boating. Just add AC and heat. Easy to access thanks to the molded-in staircase, the CB actually becomes another functional area, even at the dock.
Carver placed the helm forward to starboard and gave it full functionality without creating a sprawling dash/console. Twin Raymarine 12-inch multifunction displays flank a seven-inch VesselView7 engine monitoring system around the steering wheel pod, leaving the left console area for breakers and ancillary controls such as trim tabs and the spotlight. To the right is a Raymarine autopilot and a Cummins joystick controller. The right-side arm console houses the VHF and electronic throttle controls.
The captain has a single bolstered swivel barrel seat but is never too far from the festivities.
And let the games begin. Want a front row seat? No problem, as there’s a plush cushioned L-settee to port with a chaise lounge. It’s great for keeping company with the captain or as a place for someone to sit and provide another set of eyes to navigate. Thanks to the three-way seating — forward, to the right or facing aft — everyone should be able to find a comfortable position. Behind the seat is the wet bar/grill station. The unit contains a sink and faucet, a Kenyon electric grill, a Norcold refrigerator and storage. On test day, it would have been very easy to drop anchor, grill up some burgers, crack open a few cold ones and enjoy the sunset with my gal. Trouble is, I had no meat, malt liquor or mate, but you get the idea.
Crowd control is easy with the large U-shaped settee that wraps around a high-gloss teak table. Serve a meal, pass some drinks or just take a bit of solitude and enjoy the plush seating with soft backrests.
Sounds of Silence
When we were running at speed, I was surprised at how quiet the 52 CB was. Of course, down in the salon is no problem. Up on the bridge, thanks to the helm seat being a bit low and a windscreen, the wind actually runs up and over the driver’s head without the blasting wind sound (unless one stands up). This makes it easy to hold conversations with nearby passengers.
In addition, the twin Cummins QSC 8.3 600 hp engines do a pretty good job of being quiet, and the insulation in the engine room helps a lot. With V-drives helping to keep the engine room as compact as possible, there’s plenty of room for systems, filters and the Kohler 23 kw Decision-Maker 3500 generator.
The 1,200 hp of the Cummins diesels pushed the 42,000-pound 52 CB up to 30 knots at 3000 rpm. Pull back to 23 knots at 2500 rpm for a kinder cruise. Either way, the axe bow will slice through any seas it comes across. It’s a family-friendly platform for running to Catalina Island, inland cruising or island hopping.
Lest I forget, there’s a forward sun lounge with split oversized chaise seats, a center console to hold drinks and gear, and stereo controls. It’s a perfect location to end a perfect day on the water.