Carver 33 Review

Issue: October/November 2005

The Modern Boating team’s last encounter with a US-built Carver cruiser was onboard a hybrid 36-footer the company called a ‘Mariner 36’.

This vessel was a cross between a flybridge and a traditional cruiser and she certainly took the team by surprise. But for traditionalists, Carver boats do offer more conventional flybridge cruisers, like this $398,000, 33-footer that’s been setup for sportfishing.

The Carver boat range includes this vessel and 18 other boats right up to its 65-foot showboat. With decades of boat building behind it, Carver is no flash in the pan operation. Its resurgence in Australia is solely due to the Pathfinder Marine team headed by James Mark Anthony. Pathfinder is so committed to the brand that all of its new vessels are supported by a two-year, anti-foul and engine service package.

There’s little doubt Carver’s are family focussed vessels with an emphasis on cruising. And this Carver 33’s sportfishing package certainly extends the versatility of this impressive craft .

The Carver 33 gets her strength from two heft y 375hp, 6lt petrol shaft drive Crusader engines. The Crusader brand is new to Australia, but has been powering vessels in the USA for more than 50 years. This year, the Modern Boating team has reviewed other vessels powered by Crusaders and reckon the engines deliver on power and engine longevity. What is less common for the Australian market is the petrol installation instead of diesel engines in a craft of this size. There are many pros and cons, but putting fuel costs aside, the petrol engines are quiet, deliver excellent acceleration and offer a wide range of cruise speeds.

We hit the mid 20-knot range at around 4200rpm, but a more fuel-effi cient cruise speed was 19 knots at 3600rpm. The Carver 33 Flybridge Crusier’s top speed was 28.6 knots at 5200 rpm.

Even though the helm station is located behind a lounge on the fl ybridge, it still off ers a commanding view when driving, both sitting or standing. Th ere was no lower helm station, which is common on many American boats. Th e gear and throttle controls are a big boat feature, but the absence of a bow thruster is the product of a boat built to a price.

The helm is made from stainless steel with some wood laminate to give it style. A position had been left beside the helm for mounting a GPS chartplotter. Standard instruments included fuel, temp, enginehours, tacho and volts. There was also a compass and remote controls for the Clarion sound systems and spotlight. A bench seat, bimini covers and storage forward of the helm complete a bridge that offers an open view and room for the entire crew.

The stairs that lead topside will keep the less sure-footed happy, but with only one helm this ‘bonus’ feature is pretty much a necessity. Th e partly covered, carpeted-aft cockpit is a bit small for a table and chair, but the stairs and combings off er quite a few places for a rump to reside.

Speaking of rump, the test boat was also fitted with a stainless steel barbeque mounted on the stern.

Sportfishing extras include rocket launcher-style fishing rod rack, live-bait tank, gunwale rod holders and a wide swim platform, which combine to make this import feel true blue.

Other standout outdoor features include the quality stainless-steel deck hardware and the wide steps to the walkways around the cabin, which have full-length grab rails. The Carver 33’s cherrywood and Ultra Leather saloon is a talking point. It’s spacious, flooded with natural light and has a large lounge/bed, a dining settee and a forward berth with island bed. Th e dual access head has a separate sit down/stand-up shower facility and a stainless steel sink.

In the Carver’s galley is a fridge, a microwave, electric-cook top, ample storage and a cover over the sink to create extra bench space.

The saloon is cooled by an 18,000BTU air-conditioner, which can run off shorepower, or the 7.3Kw generator.

Pathfinder Marine’s James Mark Anthony reckons Carvers were designed for onwater living and I reckon he’s right.

This 33-footer is filled with all of the creature comforts most sea-going boaters should ever need for a life at sea, while its petrol power plants have more than enough grunt to keep the rev heads happy. But here’s a word of advice to the blokes who may be reading this article. If you are even half interested in this boat, don’t bring your wife along when you first go to look at her, because you might end up having to buy one on the spot.

In 1954 in a Milwaukee garage, Charlie Carter and George Verhagen began building mahogany-planked, highspeed runabouts. What started as a hobby soon turned into a business and the two fledgling boat builders began selling boats to friends.

Then, in 1956, the two entrepreneurs moved their growing business to Pulaski, Wisconsin.

They built mahogany boats throughout the 1960s, adding cabin cruisers to an expanding lineup.

In the 1970s, the switch was made to fiberglass hulls. By the 1980s, Carver expanded sales beyond the Great Lakes region to become a recognised leader in the luxury motoryacht market.

In 1991, the giant American Genmar Holdings acquired Carver. The 1990s also witnessed the introduction of the elegant frameless window system. By the late 1990s, no Carver Yachts had any structural wood below the waterline, so with the addition of fiberglass stringers came a seven-year limited warranty on hull and deck.

Twin Crusader 375hp 6lt MPI petrol engines derived from GM’s Vortex engines power the Carver 33. All engine hoses are double clamped and there is double aft engine mounts.

There is also a heat-exchanger freshwater-cooling system fitted to the exhaust.

On the day of this test in calm conditions on Sydney Harbour, the Carver 33 Flybridge produced the following speed-to-rpm figures: 6.6 knots @ 1400rpm, 8.8 knots @ 2000 rpm, 14.5 knots @ 3100 rpm, 18.5 knots @ 3600 rpm, 23 knots @ 4000 rpm, 26 knots @ 4800 rpm, 28.6 knots @ 5200 rpm.

LOA: 38′ 3″
BEAM: 13′ 1″
DRAFT: 37″
WEIGHT: 9867kg
FUEL: 1177lt

+Anti-foul & service package. Built for cruising
– No bow thruster