Carver does it again, with a 36-footer that has the interior volume of a larger boat.

The Carver 360 Sport Sedan is the second in a series that debuted in 2001 with the 410 Sport Sedan. The idea behind it is to offer boaters a command bridge (sedan) alternative to the company’s aft cabins and Mariner models while keeping the extra interior volume that Carver is noted for.

Carver has a reputation for getting maximum living space out of every foot, and it’s earned it by challenging conventional ideas of what a boat should look like. You don’t need to be a marine architect to see where the 360’s volume comes from: She’s tall for her length. What you don’t see right away is the design sleight of hand that translates that added volume into living space.

The pieces of the 360 are familiar: two staterooms, a dinette, a galley, and a saloon, but how they’re arranged is not. The V-berth master is about the size you’d expect in a boat this size. Three cabinets and hanging lockers bracket the requisite queen-size berth, and overhead lamps provide light for reading, but oddly you can’t aim them. A hatch takes care of air and daytime light, and you can order a 14-inch TV with DVD player for the starboard aft bulkhead. Beneath the bed is more stowage in a deep drawer and shallow cabinet.

Aft and to port is a large head with doors to the master and a vestibule. The head has a large shower stall occupied by a standard Vacuflush MSD. There’s also a small cabinet for toilet paper, but since its doors don’t close tightly, expect soggy TP after a shower. A larger locker above is for things like shampoo and soap. The bifold shower door is sturdy, but the stay that keeps it open had already broken onboard our boat. Outside the stall is a vanity with an FRP countertop, whose attractive surface mimics Corian, and more stowage, a recurring theme on the 360.

One of the ways Carver maximizes space on the 360 is by employing pocket doors between the master and the vestibule and between the vestibule and the stateroom aft of it. Twin berths, which with the insertion of a filler convert to a double, take up a large part of that stateroom. The foam mattress seemed comfortable, and there’s a lot of stowage, especially in two deep starboard lockers, and two halogen reading lights that unlike the master’s can be aimed.

If you’re looking for the aspect of the layout that allows for a second cabin with decent headroom, just look at the saloon: The dinette above it is elevated three steps from the main deck. This is a classic Carver maneuver: It looks a little weird, but when you use it, you realize it’s inspired. Anyone sitting here gets a 360-degree view—out the windshield, both side windows, and the aft glass sliding door—so it’s a great place to watch the world go by, whether at anchor or underway, and since it abuts the port galley, meal service is easy. About the only thing the dinette isn’t perfect for is watching TV, since the standard 20-incher—along with the DVD player and AM/FM stereo/CD player—is immediately abaft the galley. Fortunately, a starboard Ultraleather Flexsteel sofa (with stowage beneath) is perfectly placed for viewing.

Since the galley has no overhead cabinets, it also affords a great view, yet there’s stowage aplenty in under-counter cabinets. A sink and a two-burner stovetop occupy the forward athwartship leg, leaving the outboard counter for workspace. The refrigerator is aft and is an apartment-size, side-by-side Nova Kool that Carver says offers 20 percent more volume than undercounter models.

Three things are noteworthy about this interior. Thanks to nicely done cherry joinery, it has a classier appearance than you might expect. It’s covered in 65-ounce nylon carpeting that, whatever your opinion of carpeting aboard may be, feels nice underfoot. And there’s an unusual amount of standard equipment for a boat in this class, namely the saloon TV, DVD player, and two-zone air conditioning.

Engine access is through a centerline saloon hatch, and things below are generally well-placed and accessible, with one exception: The oil fills for the gasoline V-8s were right up against the overhead, so you’ve got to remove floor panels to add oil. The batteries are in a nice wooden box ahead of the starboard engine, but its lid is screwed down, hardly conducive to regular checks. On the other hand, despite the fact that this boat has a compact V-drive engine configuration, the shaft logs under the mains are visible and accessible. Moreover, the catwalk between the engines, which covers the waste tanks, is carpeted. It looks and feels nice, but if you’re ambivalent about carpet up top, you’ll shudder at the thought of it in the engine room. It’s secured by snaps, so it’s easily removable.

The one place Carver compromised to get that interior space is the cockpit. At six feet long it’s a little small for anything other than maybe four people sitting. A lazarette below offers stowage, although it’s mostly taken up by the freshwater tank and optional genset, which thanks to its remote location is virtually inaudible from the living spaces. Access to both side decks from here is via port-side molded-in steps, and it’s both easy and safe to get forward thanks to effective nonskid, a sturdy, high bowrail that extends well aft, and handholds on the house sides. The foredeck is nearly flat, and the Maxwell windlass there is standard, another notable exception.

No spatial compromises are apparent on the bridge. It has seating for at least six (and drink holders for at least eight) in three pedestal seats and an aft bench. Sightlines forward and to the sides are good, but not so good aft. Our test boat had the enclosure in place. Visibility might be better with the aft curtain removed.

The one feature where you might expect the 360 to give up something in exchange for her volume is handling—tenderness due to a high profile. Admittedly, I tested her on a dead-flat river in a mild breeze, but I noted no tenderness in hard turns and switchbacks where you might expect it to show itself. She does have quite a hump—a maximum of nine degrees—while planing, but you can ameliorate that by adding about half tab, then taking it off once she’s leveled out. With a top end of nearly 35 mph, the 360 has a nice turn of speed, although her twin 375-hp V-8s are thirsty. However, if you can temper your need for speed, she has a relatively efficient cruise at 3500 rpm, where she makes 28 mph and 0.85 mpg.

She’s also pretty quiet, partly because of underwater exhausts, a type of system I rarely see on boats in this size range. The only sounds you hear at speed are from the engine air intakes, water, and wind, and at slower speeds she’s whisper quiet.

The Sport Sedan line may be a new venture, but the things that make Carvers so popular—good value and superb space efficiency—remain. To them the company has added standard equipment and upgraded interior fitments. When you consider that, there’s really no magic here, just a knowledge of what boaters want and how to deliver it.

Base price: $232,270 with 2/320-hp Volvo Penta 5.7 GXi gasoline inboards 
Optional power: various twin gasoline inboards from Crusader, MerCruiser, and Volvo Penta to 420 hp each; 2/210-hp Cummins 280B or 315-hp Cummins 330B or 2/200-hp Volvo Penta KAMD 300 EDC diesel inboards
Standard equipment: Marine Air 32,000-Btu A/C; dripless shaft logs; 7.3-kW Kohler genset; water and waste tank monitors; 3/1,500-gph bilge pumps; Fireboy fire suppression system; galvanic isolator; Maxwell Freedom 800 windlass w/35-lb. anchor and 125' of chain
Price as tested: $279,620

SPECIFICATIONS
LOA: 37'8"
Beam: 13'2"
Draft: 2'7"
Weight: 24,746 lbs. (w/full water and fuel)
Fuel capacity: 280 gal.
Water capacity: 75 gal.
Test engines: 2/375-hp Volvo Penta 8.1Gi gasoline inboards
Transmissions/ratio: Hurth 630 V-drive/2.5:1
Props: 22x26 4-blade Michigan bronze
Steering: Sea Star hydraulic
Controls: Volvo Penta electronic
Optional equipment on test boat: transom shower; fresh- and raw-water bow washdowns; bridge top and enclosure; central vacuum system; saloon ice maker

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ALL CARVER YACHTS CURRENTLY FOR SALE IN CALIFORNIA

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This review/article originally appeared in Power & Motoryacht Magazine, September 2002 and is written by Richard Thiel. For more great boat reviews, visit their website and subscribe at: https://www.powerandmotoryacht.com/uncategorized/subscribe-power-motoryacht