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Carver 466

Carver 466 — By Capt. Bill Pike March 2001

Best Of The Midwest
The essence of Carver’s 466 Motor Yacht? Luxury, craftsmenship, and heartland attention to detail.
   
 
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• Part 1: Carver 466
• Part 2: Carver 466 continued
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My first years of commercial seafaring were spent sailing the Great Lakes on ore carriers. After hitting all sorts of ports for a couple of years, from the taconite docks of Duluth to the grain wharves of Sept Iles, I was constrained to conclude that Midwestern cities and towns were alike in at least one respect: They were invariably jam-packed with highly skilled people, most possessing a work ethic that would put Puritans to shame. Whether one of the ships I was working on needed new stanchions welded in Saginaw or radar repairs in Superior, it seemed there were always plenty of shoreside folks around who could do the work, do it fast, and do it well.

Carver Yachts is a Midwestern firm, of course. So I guess I shouldn’t have been that surprised when, prior to a recent sea trial of the company’s new 466 Motor Yacht in Sturgeon Bay, a visit to nearby Pulaski, Wisconsin, and the plant where the boat is built, engendered a heartwarming dose of déja vu. The enthusiasm, expertise, and commitment to quality I encountered among the Carver employees was every bit as compelling as anything I’d seen on or near the lakes years before.

The Wire Shop was a prime example. About the size of a small house and smartly staffed with 17 men and women of varying ages, the place felt charged with can-do enthusiasm and expertise. It was as if you could drop virtually any kind of design or engineering problem on these folks and they’d come up with an answer—fast.

Organization was an obvious priority. Up front were large, meticulously installed and maintained terminal-crimping machines, which Carver uses to obviate the unevenness and unreliability of terminals hand-crimped on an assembly line. In the back, similarly well-cared-for injection-molding devices held sway, deftly turning out beefy, pin-type harness connectors; Carver says they stand up to corrosion and other problems better than cheaper, looser products. And just about everywhere else in the place, amid stools, toolboxes, and long workbenches laden with everything from humidity-resistant magnetic breaker switches to heavy coils of corrosion-resistant, tinned-copper wire, stood huge (8'x16') “harness assembly boards.” Embellished with giant, blueprint-like templates punctuated by hooks, brackets, and other fitments, these babies serve as giant jigs for the modular electrical harnesses that Carver substitutes for more glitch-prone piecemeal wiring.

The other spot I found especially indicative of the Midwestern work ethic during my tour was the Wood Shop. Staffed with 85 people divided among three shifts, it had just about the same can-do, red-white-and-blue atmosphere as the Wire Shop. While most of the machine operators I met here had worked for Carver for at least a couple of decades, I ran into one guy who was finishing off his 32nd year. With obvious pride he showed me several cherry-wood door- and door-frame assemblies destined for 466s. The craftsmanship was superb, with doweled joints, countersunk and smoothly bunged-over stainless steel fasteners, and elegantly chamfered fascia and other surfaces.

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This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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