Remember when people-carriers like the Renault Espace first came to the UK?
Carver 450 Voyager
Remember when people-carriers like the Renault Espace first came to the UK? People said they’d be great for families but never really catch on who else would want all that space, or put up with the chunky styling? But, of course, they did. Carver’s designers probably don’t draw much of their inspiration from the European car market, yet there are some obvious parallels here with the 450 Voyager’s chunky styling and emphasis on space. And boating is much more than just people-carrying: you don’t need a large family to appreciate the acres of saloon. Plus, for the first time, an American boatbuilder has really begun to grasp the essence of European interior styling.
Length 46ft 11in (14.30m)
Flat out 24.7 knots
Engines Twin 430hp
Price from £326,644 inc VAT
At a Glance
According to Carver’s president, Bob Vangrunsven: “Carver aim to build much more than just boats. We want to provide our customers with a real home from home a floating condo, no less.” This may be perfect for the US market, but is this what Europeans really want? Isn’t a sleek-looking beast that can effortlessly achieve the 30-knot Holy Grail more to our taste?
I suspect what most of us yearn for is the impossible a superfast boat with boundless accommodation, packaged in a stylish skin and all for a knock-down price. Still, the reality is that most motorboaters spend little time tearing around, or gazing at their boat from the quayside, and the majority of it socialising in the saloon or on the flybridge. And it’s here where Carver have concentrated their efforts.
Sliding back the stainless steel patio doors reveals a vast, airy space. Carver have deftly accentuated the feeling of spaciousness by keeping the pilothouse seat-backs below the eye level of anybody standing in the saloon or the galley, so there’s always a clear view out through the deep windows and front screens. If
you are used to a typical European flybridge boat, the scale of this area will come as a big surprise.
Better European builders are still ahead of Carver with their finish. But it’s only the fit and finish of the joinery and woodwork which is lagging behind. Things like blinds, fabrics, and especially the Ultraleather upholstery on the seats, are all top notch. And in place of the usual delicate timber countertops, Carver use a near-indestructible material (similar to
Naturally, successful boats need much more than just a great saloon and flybridge. Fortunately, the 450 can boast sound engineering, heavy construction, an impressive standard specification, steady handling, a competitive price (albeit one helped by the strong pound), and only a few small details that need sorting out. Of course, with such chunky styling, it will never catch on over here… MBY
Contact: CYS Yacht Sales
Tel: 01703 235421
Fax: 01703 235436
All things being equal, a planing hull form with flattish forward sections, like the 450 Voyager, will slam more in choppy conditions than, for instance, the deeper vee form of the similarly sized Princess 460. However, all things are not equal. In the Voyager’s test condition, with the fuel tanks three-quarters full and the water topped up, the boat weighs over 17 tonnes. Similarly loaded, the Princess weighs around 13.9 tonnes. As a consequence, in comparative conditions, the forward sections of the Voyager remain more deeply immersed, as the extra weight normally keeps the hull firmly planted in the water and reduces the pounding and the spray you might expect. Unsurprisingly, the Voyager is not as nimble as the Princess. It is not just its large mass which keeps the Voyager on course: there is the added directional stability provided by the propeller tunnels and the deep-vee sections aft, which, at 20° deadrise, are probably about 2° higher than the Princess. These things do not make the steering imprecise in any way, just slower. Helming the Voyager will never be like driving a Golf GTi, more like a big Volvo estate.