Carver’s C34 abounds with details that impress experienced skippers, such as raised edges on stair treads to ensure safe footing, deep hatch gutters to promote good drainage and keep gear dry, and cleat placement that provides security and several options while docking, anchoring or rafting with other boats. Also, from its seven-seater flying bridge lounge to its two-stateroom, two-head cabin plan, the C34 boasts features bound to impress guests.
What else did we discover? Read on, learn more details, and take a vicarious ride aboard the Carver C34.
While the C34 topped out at 31.8 mph, I was more impressed with the comfort this broad-bow, straight-stem little yacht delivered at 24 mph cruising in our test day’s blustery Atlantic chop: I enjoyed both the ride and the view from the flying bridge, and that’s not something that can be said of all flying bridge boats this size.
Running from a flybridge is like being on the long end of a stick. Motion is amplified. The three major components of a boat’s motion — roll, pitch and heave — which can feel comfortable at deck level, often become tortuous when experienced from 8 or 10 feet higher. It’s hard to pin down exactly why a certain boat behaves a certain way in a given set of conditions, but in the C34’s case, we can make some assumptions as to why it delivers a rather comfortable ride.
For one thing, its straight stem gives it a longer waterline length than those of similar boats possessing similar length overall (LOA), such as Meridian’s 341 Sedan ($545,201, with twin 320 hp MerCruisers), allowing it to bridge waves a bit better and reduce pitch. Though its 18,000-pound displacement is par for this class, the C34 is not as tall as comparable boats, yet it’s a bit wider. Both attributes contribute to stability. The aluminum trusses I saw installed during the plant tour portion of this test helped prevent the house from being wracked. Subjectively, the boat feels balanced, and it responds as expected to input at the helm.
On the flying bridge, snap-in woven carpet, a plush swiveling helm chair, an aluminum-frame venturi and two large Raymarine touch screens made this skipper feel comfortable. (However, the teeny compass needs to go; a boat like this demands a 5-inch, flat-card compass, in my opinion.) There’s a lounge that seats seven guests wrapping to port. Behind that is a thick sun pad ringed by a stainless-steel rail. A stowage locker beside the helm features a recessed tray top and a built-in stereo. A taut and rugged Bimini top covers all, and the steps to the cockpit feature grippy nonskid and the aforementioned raised-lip risers.
The cabin impressed me. The C34’s decor achieves luxury, while remaining bright, functional and easy to maintain, thanks to an artful mix of faux wood, taut fabric and just the right amount of glossy fiberglass. Moreover, the twin, sliding-glass entry doors hinge open as well, swinging wide to seamlessly connect salon and cockpit. This arrangement will be just as useful for a cruising couple as it will when entertaining a dozen guests. In effect, it provides an express boat’s egress and access to and from the water while retaining the maximized living quarters only a bridge boat can provide in any given length. Small details, such as the handy little retainers for the miniblinds, also impressed.
The salon features a six-person settee and table that converts to a double berth. Opposite, find the U-shaped galley, with its two-burner cooktop (for cruising, specify a model with potholders), microwave and a deep sink. The two-tiered forward section of counter is functional and is also where a second control station can be fitted (price on request), a desirable option for those seeking climate-controlled helm time.
Belowdecks, the C34 boasts a two-stateroom layout. The starboard-side guest stateroom features twin berths that convert to a double, and is privatized by a wood door.
Across the passageway is the head, with its fiberglass stall shower. I sat on the shower seat and believe cruisers will find it a welcome amenity, particularly since the shower head can be used as a hand-held wand. The vanity sports a vessel sink. There’s an exhaust fan, and the fiberglass sole makes it easy to keep things sanitary.
The master stateroom features a residential-height master berth. We appreciate such residential-height berths not only for their ease of entry but also for the extra headroom and sense of space they provide. (Intangibles and a space’s “feeling” are important, in our view.) The round portholes, as distinctive here as when seen from outside, open for ventilation, yet dog down tight for rough-weather motoring. In all, I felt that one could comfortably “escape” one’s crew for a few hours in this stateroom. That’s a tough feat to accomplish aboard a 34-foot boat.
Sea-trial Carver’s C34. You might find that it manages to pull off numerous feats that other boats fail to accomplish.
Comparable model: Meridian 341 Sedan