396 Carver | Denison Yacht Sales

29 Апр 2014 | Author: | No comments yet »
Carver 396 boat

396 Carver

Source: James Corns, Sea Magazine

Carver’s 396 Motor Yacht doesn’t have to worry about clawing its way to the top it’s already there

Sleek and agile, with lines as sharp and sure as Hamlet’s dagger, the Carver 396 Motor Yacht cut across the calm water with all the confidence of a boat twice its size. The craft dodged and weaved through wakes and waves like it had something to prove.

Heavy is the head that wears the crown. With Hatteras being spun off to become an independent corporation, Carver is now Genmar Industries’ premier boat line. I was well aware that Carver expects the 396 to be one of its most popular models, but could this fresh prince fill the shoes of its noble lineage?

That’s what I had come to find out.

When it Reigns, it Purrs

Testing the boat out of Southern California’s Newport Harbor, I was joined by J.R. Means of Bayport Yachts, who was kind enough to serve as skipper. Carver is the only line of new boats sold by Bayport Yachts, so Means’ knowledge of the boat and its manufacturer was considerable.

Means has seen a noticeable improvement in the line particularly since 1991, when Carver underwent a complete redirection in an attempt to redefine its place in the market. As Carver has gone from following the market to forging its leading edge, warranty repairs have dropped by 50 percent.

Our test boat was remarkably quiet, part of which was due to the 396’s Kohler 8 kw auxiliary generator with underwater exhaust. When we stopped to refuel before leaving the harbor, Means pointed out that “you almost can’t tell it’s on.” He was right; the generator operated with an unobtrusive hum.

Engines tend to act like bridled horses when you increase the power. They want to charge out of the gate faster than you’ll let them. Equipped with 380 hp MerCruiser 454 Horizon gasoline inboards, our Carver loped through the waterway like an impatient steed.

Visibility in the harbor was fair on the morning we went out, but as soon as we hit the open ocean, the fog intensified. We were enveloped.

A Noble Performance

Keeping a close eye on the radar, we ran our test boat to a top-end speed of mph (at 4,800 max rpm). As the 396 cut through the light chop at wide open throttle, I envisioned demonic apparitions in pursuit of our vessel.

We tried to shake the beasts in the fog with some tight doughnuts and a sharp series of turns, but our attempts were of no avail. The apparitions drew closer, trying to grab hold of the boat’s fully integrated swim step.

The 396 handled responsively and precisely, no matter what we threw at it. Burdened with just over half a tank of fuel, the boat remained stable and solid-riding throughout the sea trial. I couldn’t be sure that the apparitions were impressed, but I certainly was.

The 396’s helm was trimmed in burlwood, with gold bezels around the gauges.

I went back to scanning the electronics, most of which were from Simrad including the radar, the plotter and the autopilot. Our 396 had no lower helm in the saloon (it’s optional), so everything was in one place. The helm seat was in the center of things, with an L-shaped settee to port. A companion seat and a snack/wet bar area were to starboard.

King for a Day

As I descended into the full-beam saloon, it was apparent that the boat’s designers recognized the importance of optimizing every inch of space. Means confirmed my observation, saying, “This is the first time I’ve seen this much volume in the saloon of a boat this size. It has more space than my 43.”

Serving as my own tour guide, I happened upon one resplendent feature after another. The cabin was trimmed in rich cherry wood (maple is also available), the saloon settees upholstered in ultraleather were buttery soft, and I transmuted into one of Pavlov’s dogs when I saw the high-low table that could serve as an excellent dinner tray.

Carver 396 boat

Being a little over 6 feet tall, I was thankful for the 6 foot, 10 inch height of the leather-like overhead. Halogen overhead spots are sprinkled throughout the interior, including the aft deck hardtop.

As you enter the cabin, the entertainment center is to port. The 396’s well-arranged DC and AC electrical panels are right beside the television and VCR, with a compartment below that is perfect for your remote controls.

While sitting down on the long starboard-side settee that runs almost the entire length of the saloon, I could get a full view of the water through both side windows. Most boats have higher windows that don’t offer this kind of view.

I checked the galley’s many drawers, imagining where things might go. The stainless steel sink, three-burner Princess stove and sizable Nova-Kool refrigerator were all exceptional.

The 396 has two VIP staterooms instead of the usual single master stateroom with a smaller guest quarters. A pocket door closes off the bow stateroom from the galley. The second stateroom is at the stern and has a built-in 13 inch color television. Both staterooms have cedar-lined hanging lockers, a full-size queen berth and split head facilities (with a sink and shower).

Resistance is Feudal

When I arrived back up top, Means was right where I’d left him, steering us through the fog. I went back up to the helm and started quizzing him, making use of his familiarity with the Carver line.

We talked about the boat’s 7-5-1 warranty: seven years for the hull, five years of blister protection and one year on the entire boat. Means talked up the ample storage, stressing that the boat is as practical as it is comfortable.

Enjoying our conversation, I never even noticed the fog slowly dissipating. As quickly as we had gone into the mist, we had come out of it. We were back in the harbor, safe and sound.


Carver’s 396 had served us well, keeping us in comfort as it protected us from the marine haze. I had come to see whether or not the 396 could take its place alongside the other models in its noble lineage, and I had found out that it most certainly could.

To buy, or not to buy that is the question. With Carver’s 396, you don’t have to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. Allow the Carver 396 to take arms against a sea of troubles; and by opposing, end them. (For those of you who are Shakespeare-impaired, that’s a good thing.)

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