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More Than Just a Pretty Face

More Than Just a Pretty Face

A close look at how Carver builds the new Marquis line reveals a beauty that’s more than skin-deep.

By George L. Petrie

   
 More of this Feature

• Part 1: Carver Marquis
• Part 2: Carver Marquis
• Part 3: Carver Marquis
• The Marquis Team
• Carver Marquis Photo Gallery


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Over the years, I’ve visited more boatyards than I care to remember, and while each one has differed in the details, the similarities far outweigh the differences. But from the minute I arrived at Carver’s sprawling 56-acre facility in the rural town of Pulaski, Wisconsin, I suspected this tour would be different. I was right, and the reason, I soon discovered, is the way Carver builds its line of Marquis yachts.

The story of the Marquis begins when Carver started rethinking its long-term strategy about five or six years ago, with an eye toward adding a line of larger yachts to complement its Voyager line, which topped out at 56 feet. Feedback from focus groups of dealers, customers, and others was predictable: Carver’s loyal following just wanted the company to keep doing things the way it had always done. But Carver management realized that the marketplace for a yacht in this size had evolved, and for their new line to succeed, it would have to be not only truly different from the existing Carvers but its own separate line.

So Carver assembled an international team of experts (see “The Marquis Team,” this story) to collaborate with its in-house designers in styling, hull design, electrical systems, and interior decor. The results of that effort are the Marquis 65 and 59, both built in Pulaski, along with the Nuvari 63, which is built in Italy using previously acquired tooling. All three are beautiful yachts that frequently invite the query, “Is that a Carver?” But the real story is not their external appearance; rather, it’s how the company builds the Marquis and how that will impact the future of the existing Carver line.

As a first step Carver decided to create a separate production line tailored to Marquis but integrated with many of the yard’s established facilities—a plant-within-a-plant, if you will. Areas such as the electrical, upholstery, and metal-working shops now serve both the Carver and Marquis lines, sharing facilities but with different teams of workers assigned to each product line. In some instances, workers are selected for the Marquis line because they are more experienced—for example, in the upholstery shop they may be selected because they can produce the premium stitching that the line demands. In the electrical shop, the differences are more in the specifications; for example, wiring harnesses for a Marquis are bundled differently, with cable wraps more closely spaced than on a Carver. Similarly, in the metal shop, there’s more hand-finishing of welds (such as for deck rails) for a Marquis than there is for a Carver.

Next page > Part 2: The entire massive deckhouse was designed to be removable. > Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

This article originally appeared in the August 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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