When Carver Yachts first offered the 370 Voyager, the company saw the boat as a logical step for boat owners moving up the size ladder. With a comfortable double stateroom forward and another twin stateroom for kids or guests, it was sized and priced for growing families.
What surprised Carver, however, was that many of the buyers were moving down from larger yachts. The 370 Voyager had all the creature comforts these owners demanded, but in a smaller package that was easy to handle as well as being less expensive to maintain and moor.
Responding to this trend, Carver redesigned the interior of the 370 for 1995 to enhance the living arrangements for both groups of owners and the result is not just a good offshore cruiser but an ideal weekend pied a terre.
Carver, of course, has been building motoryachts for more than 40 years and, along with companies such as Hatteras, is part of the Genmar conglomerate that is the largest independent manufacturer of recreational powerboats in the world. As such, Carver can draw on a vast resource of technology and experience that is hard to match.
In profile, the 370 Voyager is a pretty boat that is unquestionably modern, yet won't be going out of style like those with more avant Euro lines. Technically a raised pilothouse design, the 370 has many of the features of a convertible, with a roomy cockpit and a flybridge designed for entertaining underway or at anchor. Our test boat, provided by Jack Means of Bayport Yachts in Newport Beach, California, was just launched and I was impressed by how complete the boat was direct from the factory.
The wide swim platform makes getting aboard easy, particularly with the walk-through transom door into the cockpit. There's a hidden swimming ladder and the transom has mounting pads for davits to carry a dinghy or personal watercraft. Unlike many yachts, the cockpit is large enough for deck chairs or even a sun lounge. Wide steps lead to the side decks, and the combination of non-stop hand rails and the welded stainless-steel bow rail makes the bow easily accessible.
A large sliding door not only provides access to the salon but also serves to open the interior to the cockpit on pleasant days. The living area is on two levels: an upper pilothouse and a cockpit-level lounge area. A comfortable sofa is to port and a pair of chairs with a table are to starboard in the lower area, while the large windows provide plenty of visibility while seated. The sofa converts to a double berth for guests, and Carver has included a spacious stowage bin under the sofa for extra bedding.
Up a step to pilothouse level, and you'll find both the galley and a large dinette. With a counter wrapping around the port side, the galley has all the amenities of your home: full-sized upright Norcold refrigerator/freezer, flush-mounted microwave, Princess two-burner electric stove with oven and plenty of stowage space in drawers and lockers. There's a trash bin cleverly built into the counter top and the round stainless-stell sink maximizes the available counter area for cooking.
Opposite the galley is a dinette large enough for five or six guests that can be converted to another double berth if you have a houseload of guests and, since the entire living area is open from cockpit to forward windows, there is a feeling of space and airiness that makes the 370 seem to be a much larger yacht. If you live in an area with climate extremes, such as cold and rainy or hot and dry, you may want to add the optional lower helm which slightly reduces the size of the dinette but provides inside steering in less than ideal weather. With both air conditioning and heating available, an inside helm makes the 370 Voyager a true all-weather pilothouse cruiser.
Down two steps forward are the living quarters with the master stateroom forward. An island double is on a raised platform with steps on each side and three large drawers underneath. Hanging lockers are to port and starboard, and lockers are on each bulkhead, giving a surprising amount of stowage space.
The port stateroom, with a sliding door to save space, has a double lower berth and a single upper bunk, plus a hanging locker. Opposite is the shared head, which is spacious and bright. The VacuFlush toilet is optional, and our test boat also had the TankWatch system installed to monitor the holding tank. A multi-mirrored medicine cabinet is larger than on most homes and there is also a storage bin under the vanity, giving plenty of storage. One luxury is the large stall shower with molded seat, which is protected from the rest of the head area by a Lucite panel and door, so you don't feel as though you're showering in a telephone booth.
Underway, the heart of the boat is likely to be the bridge, which has gently sloped stairs that make access much easier than the usual vertical climb. A lounge wraps around to port, ending in a sun pad behind the windshield, and two beautifully upholstered helm chairs are behind helm console. The dash holds a full array of VDO gauges including engine synchronizer, Sea Star/Teleflex hydraulic steering and Carver includes the Fireboy halon system and trim tabs as standard. A hinged chart table (with storage underneath for rolled charts) makes on-bridge navigation easy, and there is ample space for flush-mounted electronics in the dash. Our test boat had the optional aluminum radar arch which combined with Carver's own Bimini top and enclosures to provide a weatherproof bridge that can be opened up in good weather.
Power for our test boat was the standard pair of Crusader 454 gas engines of 330 horsepower each, which provide good speed and fuel efficiency. You can also upgrade to the electronic fuel injected (EFI) 454 Crusaders, or pick the 210 or 250 Cummins diesels. Our test boat also had a Kohler 6.5 kW generator in the lazarette.
I couldn't fault the construction, with all hand-laid fiberglass hull and decks, a vinylester barrier coat on the underwater surfaces to prevent blisters, and an overall excellent fit and finish. Carver builds most of their own components to keep a tight control on quality, including all of the interior furniture, the upholstery, and even the bow rails. Access was good to the systems such as rudder posts and through hulls, and there is ample room to get around the engines for routine maintenance.
Underway, the 370 was a remarkably quiet boat, and we recorded just 60 decibels at harbor speeds, which means that the bow wave was the loudest noise. Put the throttles down and she responds promptly, coming up smoothly onto plane. We were running fairly light on fuel and water, so a touch of the trim tabs brought the bow down and, at 3,200 rpm, we were cruising comfortably at 23 to 24 mph, which is a good compromise between speed and engine rpms.
Crank the wheel over and the 370 banks solidly into turns and, though our test day brought absolutely flat seas, we circled back through our wake several times which showed that the sharp forefoot knifes through swells with no fuss. The modified vee-bottom has a stubby keel, so the 370 tracks arrow-straight without wandering. The keel also improves the backing control in tight spaces, and Jack Means slid us into a tight slip that would have daunted a boat half our size.
You'll find that there is a long list of standard equipment that you'd expect to be optional, including the Halon fire system, carbon monoxide monitoring system, salon chairs, both a hot water heater and heat exchanger, bottom paint and pre-wired stereo system. Our test boat had a retail price of $189,700, including options such as the generator, radar arch, full canvas, shore water, anchor windlass (with bridge remote control) and fresh-water cooled engines.
Whether your growing family is stepping up from a 30-footer or you're backing down from a 48-foot convertible, the 370 Voyager is not only going to provide you with all the luxury you want, but at a price that is going to make everyone happy.
This Carver Voyager is priced to sell.
819 N. Harbor Drive Suite 228
Redondo Beach, CA 90277