Author: Capt. Tom Serio
By definition, a coupe usually refers to a style of automobile with a fixed roof and a two-door body. Carver Yachts uses the word in the name of its new, sleek yacht, the C43 Coupe. Add in a “chopped” effect with a lower overall profile akin to autos of yesteryear, and the C43 is one sporty ride that beckons a second look. Yet rest assured, this is not your father’s Carver.
The C43 is the latest model in Carver’s retooled line of yachts. Currently producing sedan, coupe and flybridge yachts from 34 to 43 feet, Carver’s 60-year lineage of craftsmanship is evident today, as is something else Carver has always instilled: comfort.
With a high freeboard and a beamy 13-foot, 10-inch hull that Carver carries as far forward as possible while maintaining a pleasing aesthetic, the exterior styling is indicative of the volume of interior space that makes the C43 feel like a larger yacht, inside and out.
Speaking of out, the aft deck will be a favorite place to gather. A plush L-settee with backrests flanks a wood table. Have your morning joe or dine alfresco while taking in the surroundings. Extending the recessed power sunshade allows guests to stay outside and out of the sun. Another settee to starboard keeps the crowd together.
I Can See Clearly Now
Designed for maximum usage, the C43 utilizes a three-panel glass aft bulkhead between the salon and the cockpit. The left panel is a wide swing-out door for easy access. For more openness, unlock the middle and right panels, which fold accordion-style to the right side, and create the ultimate collaboration of inside and out in 43 feet.
Noticeable is the amidships galley to port. It doesn’t jut into the walkway or take over the salon, and the streamlined approach offers counter space and appliances but doesn’t “get in the way.” Our test ride included an under-counter side-by-side Nova Kool refrigerator, a twin-basin stainless sink with a Delta faucet, a two-burner Whale flat cooktop with a vent and an under-counter Cuisinart microwave. Vinyl plank flooring fills the area for easy maintenance and a uniform look.
Get comfortable on the U-shaped upholstered lounge to starboard with a high-low wood table (a filler cushion converts it to a berth). It’s long enough to stretch out on and catch some shows on the 32-inch LED TV over the galley. I have spent time on the other Carver models, so I can attest firsthand that you will enjoy chilling in this area.
Flooding the interior with light seems to have been one of the designers’ goals, and they have succeeded, thanks, in part, to the glass aft doors, but those have help. The low-profile galley doesn’t obstruct the view from stem to stern, the salon lounge’s backrests are cut below the window frames and there is a large retractable sunroof with a sunshade. You can sit under the stars, inside or out. The forward twin-pane windshields offer superior visibility, and the side helm windows have sliders for fresh air or to take a peek when docking.
You Won’t Believe…
The cool quotient comes from the “basement.” Via a large hatch at the galley (there’s a smaller hatch for access to the top of the fuel tanks), drop down two steps into a cavernous dry storage area. You know this wasn’t an afterthought, because the first step is molded into the glass and the second is a flip-up. With racks to hold four 14-gallon tubs, a few more along the side, a few fenders and lines, plus whatever else you need, the area displays Carver’s practical use of space. It makes for an excellent storage compartment to stow provisions for an extended cruise.
The Carver C43 is much more than a dayboat or a weekender. It can handle the longer cruise, too. Our test ride was on hull #1, which sported twin Cummins 480 hp diesel engines with V-drives, and they really stood up to the challenge. Wide open, we were cruising at 33 knots (38 mph). Pulling back, we ran at 26 knots at 2600 rpm and at 19 knots at 2200 rpm, which yielded a fuel burn rate of about 21 gph, and that’s combined for both engines. Better economy is found at 9.7 knots (1600 rpm), with a burn rate of 10.8 gph. Point is, even at the sweet spot, the C43 is thinking about your wallet, despite pushing more than 29,000 pounds (loaded) of yacht. Three-bladed Nibral props bit well, even in sharp turns. Bow rise was negligible and settled right back down. There was a good lean into sharp turns, but nothing scary.
Using V-drives allowed Carver to place the engines farther aft, allowing for additional space forward — hence, the basement. Via a deck hatch, the engine room is workable. Access to systems that need checking or changing — filters, sea strainers, batteries, Kohler 11 kw generator, etc. — is cozy but very doable.
Keeping It Simple
Simple is best, and Carver created a no-nonsense helm station. With the helm to starboard, the Teleflex hydraulic tilt wheel is mounted on the left side of the dash, more toward center and not up against the side window, resulting in a central line of sight fore and aft. It also allows the operator to stand next to the helm and operate the Cummins Inboard Joystick docking system, with full visibility all around. Breakers and switches are mounted in the dash, along with the Bennett trim tab controls and electronic throttle controls. A raised console houses the electronics, such as a multifunction display, a SmartCraft Vessel View monitor, a VHF radio, and depth and temperature gauges. All of the important gear is near the helm, including the AC and DC breaker panels, each housed in separate cabinets below the helm seats. The only issue I found was that the helm seat was too close to the dash, so I had to squeeze my generous frame in to get in the seat. A fore and aft adjustable seat would be perfect.
Staying overnight or longer? Creature comforts await in the two lower staterooms. Forward is the master, with a queen island berth, end tables and cabinets. Natural light pours in from rectangle side windows and an overhead hatch that doubles as an egress. The en suite head is large and includes a Raritan electric toilet, a vessel sink, a fiberglass shower stall and a hull-side window with a porthole. A guest stateroom is to starboard and nestled under the helm, with twin berths and a filler cushion to convert the twins to a full-sized bed. A hull-side window has an opening porthole with a screen. Guests use a day head with a handheld shower, a Raritan toilet and a side window. Mini skylights in each head stream in light and are mounted inside just below the windshields above. Neat idea.
Access around the deck is easy. Molded-in steps get passengers from the aft deck to the side gunnels. Grabrails along the house keep guests steady, as does the high railing that runs along each side to the bow. It adds to the safety factor when transiting forward and doesn’t impede visibility from the helm.
Demographically speaking, this is an attractive yacht for many boaters. It has one level, from the aft deck through the salon to the helm. It is friendly for young families, thanks to the large integrated swim platform and the sleeping accommodations, and is comfortable for the seasoned cruiser who can spend several weeks away and not have to pull into port every night. It’s a logical step up from the other Carver models as well as a viable option to other yachts in this range and at this price point. And the low profile reduces waiting for bridge openings, as the air draft is only 10 feet, 10 inches (without a radar or a mast).
Carver seems to really be on its game. The C43 Coupe has style, space, seaworthiness and most of all, comfort.