About 18 months ago I received a call from Mike Murawski, Carver’s vice president of sales and marketing, asking if I’d be interested in taking a first look at a “major new project.” Over the years I’ve been privy to more “major new projects” than I’d care to remember, and without casting aspersions on Murawski or Carver, in most cases those three words have translated into “a new boat” and not much more. Murawski assured me this was different.
Wonder of wonders, he was right. For I discovered that Carver was working on not just a new boat but a new line of boats radically different from anything it—or, according to Murawski, any American builder—had ever built. Carver intended to build an Italian boat in America, or as Murawski put it, “blend Italian style with American craftsmanship.”
It seemed just a tad pretentious, a traditional Midwestern boatbuilder challenging the best of Europe. Yet as I watched the project develop and met the people involved in it—especially the Italian duo of Carlo Nuvolari and Dan Lenard—it was hard not to be convinced. In fact, it was hard not to get excited.
Then came the first model, the 59 Marquis. Yes, so determined was Carver to give this boat its own pedigree, it gave it a different name. In fact, as I walked around her, I was hard-pressed to find the Carver name or logo. In PMY’s exclusive first test of the Carver 59 Marquis, I concluded that Carver had, with a couple of exceptions, met its goal. The boat was beautiful, stylish, and well fitted, right down to her custom stainless steel bollards. I also guessed that a lot of people would have trouble figuring out whether the 57 was American or Italian.
A year later comes the 65 Marquis, touted not as just the second Marquis but the second-generation, and as I stepped aboard her at the 2004 Yacht & Brokerage Show in Miami, I wondered whether Carver could repeat its success. It didn’t. It exceeded it. It quickly became obvious that the 59 was merely the first step on a learning curve. The 65 is better than the 59—noticeably better.
Let me give you three examples. First, the joinery is perfect, the cherry and pomelle sapelle being finished to a level on par with some of the best yachts in the world. The finish is deep, clear, uniform, flawless.
Second, the 65 is better proportioned than the 59. While the 59’s master and VIP were generously sized, her third stateroom was barely big enough for two kids. The 65’s three-stateroom design provides plenty of room for everyone and justifies Carver’s reputation as a master of space planning. Indeed, overall the 65 is one of the roomiest boats I’ve been aboard in this size range. The forepeak VIP is only marginally smaller than the midship master, and the two en suite heads, each with a stall shower, are virtually identical in size.
Third, while the 59 was finely detailed, the 65 bristles with high-end touches that mark it as a world-class yacht. All plumbing fixtures are manufactured for Carver in Italy by Valli and Valli, and the door hardware is heavy, solid, and stylish.
Nearly everything displays the Marquis logo (the Carver “wave” is all but extinct), giving this the feel of a custom yacht. The stainless steel work, particularly around the anchor and in each aft cockpit corner—all done in house—is a work of art. And not only can those corner line-handling stations have warping winches—they’re optional—but the bins for the lines have spigots inside to make rinsing them easier.
The attention to detail here is impressive, my favorite example being in the master head. Hull No. 1 has a midship tub flanked by his and hers (hers being significantly larger) facilities. To give each side more privacy, the shower doors’ glass changes from clear to opaque at the flip of a switch.
One thing that hasn’t changed in the last year is the styling of Nuvolari & Lenard. The two boats are clearly related, but the 65’s added length gives her more pleasing proportions. When I say she stopped crowds on Collins Avenue, I don’t exaggerate, and the two most common comments that I heard were that the boat had to have been built in Italy (that distinction actually belonged to Carver’s 63 Nuvari, which was berthed directly behind the 65) and that she must be around 75 feet long.
The 65 will not be mistaken for another yacht, and that unique look belies a major engineering achievement. Believe it or not, her entire deck and house, including the sole, is a single piece—and it’s the product of a mold that’s quite an accomplishment. It has eight major pieces and another two dozen or so small ones to allow for all the three-dimensional surfaces. The unibody is noteworthy for the engineering, but it’s more important because it obviates leaks and squeaks and significantly reduces torquing. To make sure, the 65’s hull also has its own deck to which the deckhouse bolts and bonds, so it, too, is a much more rigid structure than conventional designs that depend on a separate deck to keep the hull from flexing.
As for that feel that you’re on a much larger boat, credit goes not only to Carver’s space planning, but also to its use of 3D CAD that allowed engineers to create full-scale models of all major living spaces and create 6’8” headroom nearly everywhere. Carver designers admit that much changed after they were able to walk around these plywood mockups. But nothing substitutes for Midwestern ingenuity. Take the dining table directly across from the port-side galley. Rather than narrowing it to allow a workable centerline passageway, Carver made it full-size and fashioned rails that allow it to slide out on its pedestal when it’s needed and slide back against the wall when it’s not.
Of course, compromises were inevitable. You won’t find 6’8” headroom in the engine room, accessed via a watertight transom door and passing through the crew quarters. Still, at six feet, it’s hardly cramped, and once you’re inside you find impressive details like sight gauges for each 600-gallon saddle tank, powerful supply and extractor fans, underwater exhausts with muffled bypasses, a centerline workbench, and a lack of clutter, thanks to separate spaces outboard of the crew quarters for gensets, watermakers, A/C compressors, and other gear.
A standard CCTV system monitors the V-drive diesels, 1,350-hp MTU 12V 2000s on our boat. Volvo Penta D-12s, rated at 715 hp each, are standard, presumably to keep the base price down. Indeed, while a lot is standard on the 65 (including a hydraulically raised and lowered swim platform), a lot is optional, including most electronics, the aft bridge sunpad and seat, and most surprising, the hardtop, without which the boat would frankly look unfinished.
The 65 isn’t perfect. I’d say the beautiful aft cockpit table is about half the size it should be for dining, and I didn’t care for the photo-effect burl on the pilothouse helm station—especially compared to the fine joinery everywhere else. But it’s damn hard to find much wrong with this boat. Carver’s second-generation Marquis can compete with any production boat in the world. Makes you wonder what the third generation will bring.
4-zone, 80,000-Btu A/C; 5/battery chargers/AC-DC converters; 19-kW Kohler genset; 2/Glendinning CableMasters; 9/3,700-gph bilge pumps; bow and stern thrusters; Color CCTV monitors for engine room and aft deck; hydraulically actuated swim platform; 32” plasma TV; AM/FM stereo receiver; 5-disc CD/DVD player; satellite radio
safety package; teak decking and swim platform; special helm seat
Test Boat Specifications
- Test Engine: 2/1,350-hp MTU 12V 2000 diesel inboards
- Transmission/Ratio: ZF2000/2.5:1
- Props: 38x46 4-blade ZF
- Price as Tested: $2,273,060
This article originally appeared in the May 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.