Carver rethinks the aft-cabin concept and comes up with a modern yet practical alternative...

Over the years Carver has occasionally been known to emphasize interior room and comfort over style. But now that's history. As is amply illustrated by the 530 Voyager, Carver's designers have been paying a lot of attention to exterior styling of late, while still figuring out innovative ways to provide maximum interior room and easy access around the exterior. Yet another example of this trend is the builder's new 506 motoryacht, an innovative adaptation of the aft-cabin concept that combines modern styling and wide-open interior spaces.

Unlike many aft-cabin motoryachts, the 506 combines the aft deck and the pilothouse into a single, expansive space. The entire area, which is purposely left unfurnished, is covered with a hardtop supported by hidden aluminum framing that ties it firmly to the deck. The aft deck itself is enclosed by large windows on three sides for great visibility. Two acrylic wing doors lead to wide side decks, while another door aft and to port leads down to th transom via a curved stairway that has four molded-in steps and handrails. There is also a handy stowage locker that can house an optional air conditioning unit designed to keep both the aft deck and bridge areas cool.

Four steps up, the bridge doubles as a kind of sky lounge. There's a port-side, L-shape sofa for four adults across from a straight loung for two. Between them and just abaft the helm lounge seat is a full wetbar with sink and optional icemaker and refrigerrator. Perhaps best of all, the hardtop has a standard smoked-acrylic sunroof that opens electrically when it's time to let in some sea air.

Fully forward and just abaft the three-panel windshield, the centerline helm is positioned to maximize forward and aft visibility. The helm bench seats three, and there's a flip-up bolster in the captain's chair, giving you a choice of it-down or standup driving. But with 360-degree visibility from the helm, you won't need to stand, even while docking. l especially liked the standard Twin Disc electronic engine controls that offer three levels of idle as well as the one-touch engine synchronizer.

With so much open space in this split-level bridge/aft deck area, you get the feeling that you're actually behind the wheel of a floating condo instead of a boat, and that may be very appealing for some. Better still, because the area is fully enclosed, there's no canvas to worry about, and you can walk from the wheel, down to the aft deck, and then on into the saloon without ever getting wet in bad weather.

The wide-open spaces continue below decks, where the main saloon, dining area, and galley comprise one big area. Carver's designers, who have always been masters of space utilization, used aluminum framing here to make the area free of bulkheads and stretched the saloon to full beam by raising the exterior side decks so they're just below eye level when you're standing in the saloon . That creates enough space for an Ultraleather, L-shape lounge (with two built-in recliner seats) along the port side and a second sofa with a fold -out bed just across to starboard. Above and below the side-deck level, tinted, frameless windows admit in plenty of light.

The absence of bulkheads emphasizes the main decks' spaciousness. The galley can accommodate many options.

Carver 506 Yacht Review Test

As you'd expect of a 50-foot motoryacht, the U-shape galley is big enough to handle all of the cooking duties on extended voyages. As with the aft-deck furnishing, Carver's left some flexibility here: Optional items like a dishwasher and trash compactor complement the standard three-burner electric range, microwave, and full-size Marvel refrigerator and separate freezer. When the cooking's done, four people can dine at a round table to port, which comes with four high-backed chairs.

Guest accommodations consist of two private staterooms. The one in the forepeak has an island double berth an an en suite head with separate shower stall. Two cedar-lined hanging lockers are automatically illuminated when their doors are opened. Typical of the 506's level of fit and finish are the rugged hinges on all cabinet doors and nicely finished cherry laminate. Just aft and to port, the second stateroom offers two single berths and its own head with shower. There is no day head. 

The most impressive head, of course, is aft in the owner's stateroom. Its tub and shower are in a compartment separate from the vanity and MSD. The stateroom comes complete with a rectangular island double berth with innerspring mattress, built-in end tables, and good access all around. There are three cedar-lined hanging lockers here and enough dresser stowage to keep even a Hollywood starlet happy (well, almost). Unlike many aft-cabin staterooms, this one is well lit, thanks to a large rectangular window aft. It can be remove and used as a means of egress to the 62-square-foot swim platform in an emergency. A built-in washer and separate dryer is optional.

You might assume that, burdened by all this interior room and an enclosed pilothouse, the 506 would lope along at trawler speeds. In fact, with the standard 450-hp Cummins diesels, our boat recorded a top speed of nearly 28 mph. For more speed, opt for 610-hp Volvo Penta and 635-hp Cummins.

As you'd expect, the 506 has a wide turning radius at speed- probably 10 boat lengths- but she is responsive enough to dodge surface obstructions with little effort. Our test boat accelerated gradually and offered a smooth ride all the way. I was particularly impressed with her lateral stability, which, in contrast to what you'd expect of a flying-bridge motoryacht, was rock-steady at rest in a two-foot beam sea. And even though the two-second delay in the Twin Disc controls took a little getting used to, docking was a breeze.

With a base price approaching $600,000, the 506 isn't an impulse buy. But once you climb aboard and realize what you can do with all that space, you'll want to take her out for a test run. And when you do, you'll appreciate the fact that you're not only operating a motoryacht with copious amounts of space, you're operating one with modern style, too.

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

This review/article originally appeared in Power & Motoryacht Magazine, January 2000 and was written by Capt. Chris Kelly. For more great yacht reviews, visit their website and subscribe at: https://www.powerandmotoryacht.com/uncategorized/subscribe-power-motoryacht

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