346 Motor Yacht — By Capt. Bill Pike
— September 2001
Small Town Girl
|Carver's new 346 Motor Yacht: a sweetheart with straightforward Midwestern craftsmanship.|
I look forward to going up to Wisconsin to test drive and examine the new Carvers. Maybe it's because I like Pulaski, the small town where Carver's located. It's a few miles from Green Bay and reminds me of the little upstate New York town I grew up in. Back when just about everybody I knew owned a boat, most every adult male, upon encountering another adult male in a public spot like Corbin's lumber yard, Vrooman's General Store, or Finn's Bait & Tackle, opened a conversation by asking, "Done any good lately?" Which was a question that sounded pretty darn general but wasn't, having to do instead with discovering specifically where an interlocutor's last fishing trip had taken him and exactly what sort of fish he'd prized from the breast of Mother Nature.
For some reason my most recent trip to Pulaski, to test Carver's new 346 Motor Yacht, engendered just a tad more nostalgia than usual. Maybe the tour of the Carver plant that preceded the actual sea trial in Green Bay had something to do with this. Indeed, some of the Carver folks that marketing manager Tim Schmitt introduced me to seemed to have stepped straight out of a long-gone era that was not only scrupulously hardworking and detail-oriented, but also just a tad kinder and gentler than the current milieu.
Consider, for example, Bob Holewinski, the tall, bespectacled, barrel-chested foreman of Carver's woodshop. While a more citified journalist than myself might have cursorily concluded that Holewinski's cheery artisanal aura comes mostly from working at Carver for 44 years, I spotted a more fundamental factor right away. It manifested shortly after we all shook hands, well before the big guy began extolling the virtues of the mortised, doweled, and epoxy-glued joints of the raised-panel doors he'd been critiquing when Schmitt and I walked in. Holewinski asked two simple questions: Where had Schmitt been fishing lately, and exactly what sort of fish had he caught? The man might just as well have asked, "Done any good lately, Tim?"
Of course, the 346 helped put me in a pretty good mood, too. As we examined several models in various stages of completion, I noted all sorts of nifty features, most resulting from Carver's emphasis on in-house fabrication of equipment and parts, an emphasis that harks back to a time when you did it yourself, if you wanted it done right. Besides the woodworking facility, Carver has dedicated electrical, metal, and upholstery shops. Thanks to these, the 346 sports custom-fit electrical harnesses with waterproof connectors and tinned-copper wire runs, all carefully loomed, tagged, color-coded, and installed; bowrail stanchions that are double-welded to their base plates; and exterior lounge and seat cushions with King Starlite XL bases, water-repellent foam, mesh backing, stainless steel staples, and extra-thick marine vinyl fabrics.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.