Boats have changed a lot over the past few decades. When I was living aboard a boxy, cramped, he-man cruiser called Misty during the early ‘80s, there was little more in her engine room than a diesel powerplant, a bilge pump, a couple of tanks, two batteries, and a five-gallon bucket. Gensets were for wimps, and so were A/C compressors, automatic fire extinguishers, water heaters, and even—would you believe?—pressure-water systems.

Today most cruisers leave ol’ Misty in the evolutionary dust. They’re curvaceously voluminous by comparison, with interior elbow- and headroom to spare, and typically equipped with more auxiliary systems, appliances, and amenities than the average waterfront condominium. One of the acknowledged leaders in the field of such luxury cruisers is Carver Yachts, a Midwestern builder that recently introduced its largest offering to date, the 570 Voyager Pilothouse. With a three-stateroom, two-head layout that’s both deluxe and roomy, the 570 takes the concept of comfortable modern cruising to a whole new level.

Although the large saloon, with its UltraLeather sofa (equipped with twin Flexsteel incliners) and top-of-the-line  entertainment center (with 110-volt Harmon Kardon AM/FM stereo/CD) is certainly impressive from a sybaritic standpoint, as are the thoroughly outfitted galley, the spiffy VIP stateroom at the bow, and the acres of lounge space on the flying bridge, it’s the master stateroom that best exemplifies what the 570 is all about. Accessed via a stairwell from the main deck, the natural-cherry-clad compartment is huge, with a full-beam span and a fore-aft dimension that accounts for almost one-third of the boat’s length. On a recent five-day trip from Fort Lauderdale to the Hawk’s Cay Resort at Islamorada, Florida, I found this space to be so expansive I occasionally felt like I was weekending on the top floor of somebody’s swanky beach house.

Amenities were abundant. Besides a snoozy HandCraft innerspring mattress on the master’s island berth, lustrous Karadon countertops, and solid cherry miniblinds over the opening ports, there were no fewer than three cedar-lined hanging lockers, five cabinets, and five enormous drawers in a built-in dresser. One of these babies alone was big enough to hold the contents of my whole seabag! Additionally, the en suite master head to port offered three separate, roomy realms: a central vanity with a sink, mirrored medicine cabinet, and smart, substantial faucets; a water closet aft, with a cherry-grillwork/frosted-panel entrance door, opening port, fan, and Wilcox Crittenden electric MSD; and a separate shower stall/tub area forward, with high-end shower wand, small fiberglass tub, and opening port.

This sort of roominess and abundance also hallmarks the engine room, which is accessed via a hatch in the cockpit sole and a hinged, stainless steel ladder. Although headroom is only about five feet here, the area encompassed by hull sides and bulkheads is darn near as big as the master stateroom, a fact that makes for excellent all-around access to both the mains— Cummins QSM11 diesel inboards in our test boat—and the genset, an optional 17-kW Onan located close to centerline, just forward of the mains. Saddle-type, welded-aluminum fuel tanks and cross-linked poly water tanks are trunion-mounted close to amidships to obviate trim problems associated with changes in ullage. The rudder stocks in the lazarette and the prop shafts are outfitted with Tides Marine dripless logs.

Two suggestions. First, substitute a fastening that’s more positive and safer for the fabric band with compression snap that’s used to hold the aforementioned access ladder when it’s swung up and out of the way. And second, how about replacing the small halogen lights down here with a couple of large fluorescents? The current lighting is dim.

From what I could see of the electrical system in the engine room, it’s at least as well engineered as everything else. Divvied up abaft the mains are four hulking 8D batteries, one starter per engine, and the other two paralleled for house application. A bank of four Group-31 batteries beneath the diamond plate walkway serves the 10-hp Volvo Penta QL bow thruster, and another Group-31 serves the genset. In addition to a Charles Marine Iso-Boost isolation transformer that guards against shore-power-related low-voltage damage and a Heart Interface inverter for reliable a.c. power, there are two C-Charger multistep, life-extending battery chargers. A top-shelf setup? You bet, especially with added features like tinned-copper-strand wiring harnesses prefabricated by Carver; color-coded, loomed wire runs throughout; and waterproof pin-type connectors, also made by Carver.

I learned some interesting things about the 570’s handling during a two-part sea trial. My first encounter took place last summer in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. After an easy undocking and brief test drive in open water, I attempted to return the boat to her slip using the Twin Disc single-lever electronic engine controls and thruster at the futuristic-looking lower station. Despite the simple nature of the task and slick operation of the controls, I got a bit flummoxed and turned the boat over to Carver’s propulsion engineer. While the difficulty perhaps had something to do with the fact that I’m not used to docking this type of boat from a lower station, limited visibility astern was an issue as well.

A few months later, during my second encounter with the 570, the cruise to Hawk’s Cay, I noticed labels at the upper and lower helm stations warning about “limited visibility.” Such labels, I subsequently learned from the American Boat & Yacht Council, have more to do with open-water navigation than with docking. Moreover, they are typically affixed to secondary helms that fail to satisfy certain basic visibility guidelines promulgated by the ABYC, a measure that makes ABYC certification—or in the case of the 570, NMMA certification—possible for a given vessel as long as there’s a primary helm onboard that totally complies with the guidelines.

So why a warning at both secondary and primary stations on the test boat? Carver says the label on the flying bridge during our sea trials was a mistake; topside visibility satisfies ABYC guidelines. The label at the lower helm, Carver says, is there to address a couple of thick windshield mullions that partially obscure the view ahead.

At any rate, the trip to Hawk’s, with its several dockings and near-constant 25-mph northerlies, gave me little reason to revise my original take on the 570’s dockside handling from the lower station, even with a Carver skipper at the controls. I remain convinced that for some folks, maneuvering in high or gusty winds from here (a spot reserved for open-water navigation on most boats anyway) may be a challenge. On the other hand, open-water visibility from the upper helm in the ICW was fine, with clear sightlines forward. And performance was inspiring, with a sporty top speed of 34.8 mph, a dry ride, and smooth, hydraulically assisted steering. The turning radius, however, was wider than most, and based on several foredeck forays, I’d judge the side decks as uncomfortably narrow, although they are well equipped with handholds and rails.

One final aspect of performance I particularly enjoyed was the solidity the 570 evinced while charging the ICW’s feisty gray water, a quality that undoubtedly stems from construction features like a Sika polyurethane-adhesive-bonded hull-to-deck joint, aluminum truss reinforcement around the fashionably frameless windows, linear-span (rail-type) steel engine beds, and an all-glass stringer system. Add such features to an interior layout as plush as it is roomy, and you’ve got a fast, seaworthy coastal cruiser that rivals a condo for comfort.

CARVER 570 VOYAGER SPECIFICATIONS
LOA: 59'2"
Beam: 15'4"
Draft: 4'9"
Weight: 44,000 lbs.
Fuel capacity: 800 gal.
Water capacity: 200 gal.
Test engines: 2/635-hp Cummins QSM11 diesel inboards
Transmissions: Twin Disc MG-5081-A
Ratio: 1.97:1
Props: 30 X 341/2 4-blade Nibral ZF
Steering: Teleflex SeaStar
Controls: Twin Disc electronic
Optional equipment on test boat: Maxwell Lo Profile windlass; Jenn-Air BBQ; Raytheon electronics package; 72,000-BTU Marine Air chilled-water A/C; X-changer system; Marquipt davit

FULL BROCHURE | SPECIFICATIONS/EQUIPMENT LIST | OWNER'S MANUAL | REVIEW (YACHTING MAGAZINE) | REVIEW (SEA MAGAZINE) | REVIEW (BOATTEST) | REVIEW (MOTORBOATING & YACHTING)

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This review/article originally appeared in Power & Motoryacht Magazine, January 2001 and is written by Capt. Bill Pike. For more great boat reviews, visit their website and subscribe at: https://www.powerandmotoryacht.com/uncategorized/subscribe-power-motoryacht