The Carver 52 Command Bridge is a flybridge sedan with three staterooms and two heads. Multiple social areas including the salon, flybridge, aft deck, and bow seating/lounging area make the C52 well suited for entertaining. The yacht is powered by either the standard twin 480-hp or the optional twin 600 or 715 horsepower Cummings diesels. A lengthy options list allows owners to equip the boat for their specific use. As always, Carver strives to give value for money and this vessel is no exception.
- 6’6” (1.98 m)cabin headroom in most places
- Private stairway to master stateroom
- Full beam master stateroom
- Foredeck seating/sun pad
- Fully opening aft deck door
- Sharp forefoot for a more comfortable ride
- Resin infused hull
- Large, open galley
- Conventional V-Drives, no pods
|Length Overall||51' 10'' / 15.19 m|
Currently no test numbers
1 x 480-hp Cummins QSB 6.7
1 x 600-hp Cummins QSC 8.3
1 x 715-hp Cummins QS M11
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Contents of Report
The Carver C52 Command Bridge is intended to be an owner/operator boat, and has been built to serve multiple functions, depending on the owner’s desires. She can be used primarily for entertaining around home during the summer season with minimal equipment added, using the standard 480-hp engines, for a reasonable cost and moderate operating expenses.
Or, she can be outfitted for more adventuresome work, long cruises with family, or couples cruising. In this case, she can be outfitted with larger engines, generator, and other equipment and creature comforts.
Either way, or somewhere in between, Carver has created a boat that maximizes inside living spaces to make them as comfortable and private as possible given the boat’s envelope. Equally as important, Carver has an attractive base price, on top of which go options and each owner can specify just the optional equipment needed.
- • Extended Flybridge. The flybridge deck extends over the aft deck and is designed for entertaining with wet bar, wraparound aft seating, and has an optional hi/lo teak table which converts to a sun pad.
- • Wide Side Decks. Molded in steps lead from the aft deck to the side decks with molded in toe rail and safety rails that run to the bow.
- • Interior Head Room. There is a minimum of 6’6” (1.98 m) of headroom throughout most of the interior. There is no stooping when entering a stateroom or getting dressed.
- • Forward Lounge Area. The forward seating converts to lounges and is a clever design.
- • Private Full-Beam Master Stateroom. The full-beam master stateroom with en-suite head is accessed by a private stairway in the galley.
- • Large Well-Placed Windows. Large windows wraparound the galley and salon and large hull-side windows, two of which open.
- • Crew Quarters. Here is space in the stern for a mate; otherwise, it can be used as a lazarette.
- • 10-Year Structural Hull Limited Warranty. Carver offers a 2-5-10-Year Limited Warranty. 2-Year Stem-to-Stern warranty protection on all Carver systems components and workmanship; 5-Year gelcoat blister warranty protection; and 10-Year structural warranty protection for the hull and deck. Check with Carver Yachts for details.
Carver has been building boats in Pulaski, Wisconsin for over six-decades. Now a part of the Marquis Larson Boat Group, Carver Yachts fit a gap between Larson sport boats and the larger Marquis Yachts. Top management has been in the boat business for decades and know what they are doing. This sounds like a given, but it is not always the case. The Carver C52 Command Bridge is the largest and most spacious Carver model.
The Carver C52 Command Bridge has a length overall of 51’10” (15.79 m) and a beam of 15’8” (4.78 m) with an empty weight of 42,000 lbs. (19,051 kg). We have not tested the boat, but the folks at Carver say that with twin 600-horsepower Cummins QSC 8.3 diesel engines, and a tested weight of slightly over 47,000 lbs. (21,363 kgs.), the boat has a top speed of 31 knots WOT.
Figures that Carver shared with us indicate that her most fuel-efficient cruise speed is 16.4 knots at 2000 rpm getting .61 nautical miles per gallon.
Since we have not tested the boat we cannot comment on her handling. However, we like her forefoot’s sharp entry. On other boats with a similar forefoot, we experienced a lack of pounding in head seas, and this is definitely a more comfortable design than more conventional shapes which are fuller forward.
Her sharp entry, combined with a 14-degree deadrise at the transom, hard chines and reasonable beam, should all work together to minimize pounding in sloppy conditions, provide a dry ride, and to be as stable as possible.
The 14-degree deadrise at the stern is also normal for many boats of this type, and we think it is better than the deeper-V hulls which are more rolly at rest, may need more attention trimming while underway, and are less fuel-efficient.
Many boats in this size range use much more costly pod drives which, while they may be more fuel efficient at cruising speeds, turn in a very large arch. In this regard, conventional straight shafts and rudders are more agile.
Close in maneuvering and docking should prove simple with the optional Cummins Inboard Joystick. This system is designed specifically for use with traditional inboard engines and transmissions. Using the joystick control and a new class of DC thrusters with extended run time capability gives inexperienced boaters a new level of confidence in close quarters and around the docks.
Cummins also backs up every component in the inboard joystick system with the same warranty, global service, and support network as their engines.
We would remind our members that there were no such things as joysticks on recreation vessels for nearly a century, yet people managed to maneuver and dock them just fine. In fact, with a little practice, nearly every owner could do it. For those still concerned, we’d recommend a bow thruster only, as the best, lowest cost solution. With them, a joystick is not needed, and a lot of money can be saved.
Carver saves a lot of interior space by using V-drives on the C52 Command Bridge. With a V-drive system, the engines are mounted with the front of the engine facing aft and the transmission facing forward. This allows the engines to be mounted further aft than traditional forward facing inboard engines with traditional single drive shaft.
We prefer V-drives to pod drives because they are so much less expensive, and maintenance with dripless shaft logs is minimal.
The Stern and Transom
While Carver intends this boat to be an owner/operator vessel, it has thoughtfully created what could be an optional crew cabin, or nanny cabin, complete with head. While it is small, it certainly will be adequate for a young deck hand to help with cleaning chores, or a nanny to watch a young child.
The default use of this space is as a lazarette. Even the most fastidious owner needs a place of gear, and this is the ideal place for it.
Dual Access. It is never a good idea to be on the swim platform while the boat is underway. By providing an access under the bench seating on the aft deck, if there is a mate, access to the crew cabin is safe. Likewise, items stowed in the transom storage locker can be accessed safely while the boat is being operated.
Optional Extended Swim Platform
The base boat has a swim platform which is adequate for normal operations such as…swimming, getting on and off the boat from a floating dock, and receiving guests who come to visit in their tender. For many boaters that is enough.
But for those who plan on serious cruising, the extended swim platform should be considered so as to have a convenient place to store the ship’s tender when underway. There is really no other place on the boat for it, and a hinge-style arrangement whereby the inflatable tender is pulled up on its side, is ugly and not appropriate for this caliber of vessel.
The added benefit of the submersible platform is that it can be used as a “beach” and on hot days provide a platform just below the water for sitting and cooling off. Everyone will love it.
The Aft Deck
Carver has maximized seating space on the aft deck by having just one stairway to it, and by putting seats on both sides of the walkway. Two or three folding chairs can be placed around the table so that six people can be served here with 8” plates.
The long overhang of the flying bridge not only provides more entertaining space above, but it also gives shade to those sitting on the aft deck. As a bonus, this area can be buttoned up with isinglass to create a three-season sun room. And it also comes in handy on a chilly summer night in northern latitudes.
We like the fiberglass stairs to the flying bridge, as they are much easier to negotiate than a ladder, even one at an angle. There is a welcome stainless steer railing inboard, and we’d like to see another one outboard, as well.
Please note that a “must-have” option on all boats with fiberglass stairs, even those with a non-skid texture on the gel coat, is a complete set of teak treads for all weather deck stairs. There is probably nothing more dangerous on a fiberglass boat than wet fiberglass stairs.
Wide-Open Doors. The painted aluminum doors from the aft deck to the inside are made up of three hinged panels. Two of them fold together to the port side, and one swings to starboard. When open, there could be no wider access to each of these spaces which makes the aft deck-galley-salon, one large cocktail party venue.
Carver has paid a great deal of attention to the side decks. They mounted 1” diameter hand rails on a substantial toe rail. These are important and many boats this size don’t have any toe rails, or not ones this high. They are important when going forward to keep guests’ feet from slipping too far outboard, or overboard.
Note that there are stainless-steel framed cutouts in the toe rail where cleats are positioned. This keeps toes from tripping on the deck hardware. All boats are a compromise, and this is one area where Carver’s designers had to think long and hard – whether to skimp on the symmetrical side decks for a few extra inches of added cabin space – or, to make the boat safer at sea. These side decks are about as wide as they come on this size boat.
The designers of the Carver C52 Command Bridge have taken what would have otherwise been a trunk cabin with two sun pads on it, and have created a marvelously versatile sunning/reading/socializing venue with two extra-wide chaise seats. In between are two cupholders and a padded platform for snacks or a light lunch.
The Flying Bridge
The Carver C52 comes standard without the hardtop, but we recommend specifying this option because it is the most economical way to create a lot of added three or four season living space, for not much money. With the optional reverse cycle air conditioning it can be a cool oasis on hot, humid days in the tropics. And in the shoulder seasons – or the winter -- with the heat turned on, it can be a pleasant venue to watch the passing scenery.
The hardtop creates much-needed protection from UV rays that are harmful, even on cloudy days. With the addition of side curtains, it makes operating the boat from here pleasant in the rain or on chilly days. The top also becomes a substantial for mounting radar, radio antennas and satellite domes.
The Upper Helm
Carver recognizes that all skippers enjoy being with a companion when at the helm. And, four or six pair of eyes looking forward is better than two. Therefore, an L-shaped seat has been positioned to port.
When docking, most operators prefer the upper helm and to stand to be able to get a better view all around. With the joystick on the starboard side of the helm the operator is close to the side of the flybridge and able to view down the stairway to the swim platform when reversing.
One Helm or Two? The standard boat comes with the upper helm only, but owners can opt for a lower helm as well. A lower, inside helm comes in handy when it is raining or cold – but if the boat is equipped with a hardtop and isinglass, the operator can be out of the elements on the flying bridge. So, the added expense of the hardtop and isinglass is mitigated by eliminating the expense of the lower helm.
The Main Deck
The galley on the Carver C52 Command Bridge comes complete with a stainless-steel sink, port side refrigerator freezer, two-burner cooktop above a microwave/convection oven and overhead storage. Shown on the starboard side is the optional refrigerator and wine cooler.
High Utility. The designers have resisted the urge to put in an island, and we applaud that. (One is optional if desired.) The result is a large open, uncluttered space that two or three people can work in without being in each other’s way. It also makes passage fore and aft easy, as well as doubling as a stand-up venue for a cocktail party with drinks and finger food on the counters.
Forward of the galley, and up two steps, is the salon. To port is a U-shaped settee with a table that can be lowered to be a cocktail table, or raised to be a dinner table. So, depending on the moment, this area can be part of a huge salon, as large as ones that are found on 70’ (1.78 m) motoryachts, with lots of seating both port and starboard. Or, it can be a dining table. Because the deck under the table is not raised, two folding chairs can be placed inboard at the table to seat six in comfort.
On the starboard side of the salon is a long L-shaped sofa. Storage is under all seating in the salon. The salon deck has been raised in order to accommodate 6’6” (1.98 m) of headroom in the staterooms below, but a fortuitous consequence is that while sitting there everyone can see out the windows. This is important for a number of reasons, and certainly raises the utility of the boat.
There are a number of subtle touches to the salon that should be noted. First, the air conditioning wafts out over the wide molding varnished dark wood strips above the window valances. The indirect lighting in the molding creates the illusion of a tray-style overhead. We like the tasteful sconce on the mullion separating the salon from the galley, marking the division of the two.
The Master Stateroom
The full beam master stateroom is accessed via a spiral staircase from the galley. This cabin achieves its 6’6” (1.98 m) of headroom by dropping the deck down to the floors of the vessel between the stringers. In that way, the maximum headroom is achieved around the foot of the bed on each side and into the head.
Master Stateroom En-Suite Head
The master head has the same 6’6” (1.98 m) headroom as the cabin. The shower has upscale frameless glass doors, and a molded fiberglass pan on the deck. Inside there is a tile accent and teak seat. An opening portlight is in the shower stall which is remarkably large for this size and type of boat.
All toilets on the boat are Tecma Ez Fit heads that use freshwater to flush. There is an exhaust fan.
On the Carver C52 Command Bridge, the guest head is comfortably arranged with a separate shower stall. All of the fixtures are contemporary. There is light from the side window. A full width mirror over the sink and overhead lighting provides an appropriate vantage to check hair and makeup.
The engine room does not have full standing headroom but it is close. V-drives are employed to create more living space forward. The fuel tanks are situated between the engine room and the master cabin instead of being outboard, which makes it easier to get outboard of the engines. We’d opt for an oil changing system and a Cablemaster or two.
Power Selection. Carver offers three Cummins diesels – the standard twin QSB 6.7 480-hp, or optional twin QSC 8.3 600-hp, or twin QS M11 715-hp engines. Our guess is that most people will select the one in the middle. For those who need to go faster than the low 20-knot area and are comfortable cruising in the high teens, then perhaps the twin 480s will be a good choice.
Must Have. The C52 Command Bridge does not come with a generator, so buyers wanting air conditioning and other electrical amenities should opt for the optional Onan 21.5 kW or the Kohler 23 kW diesel generator. Both are good units and will be adequate. Perhaps we would tip the scale to the Onan since it is owned by Cummins, and that means one stop servicing.
The hull is built using the vacuum resin infusing method. This permits a high glass-to-resin ratio for maximum strength and minimum weight. In addition, Carver also uses end-grain balsa coring material in its hull, including below the waterline. This cored laminate saves a tremendous amount of weight.
Because the skin coats of the surface are vinylester resin, the hull should be impervious to water migration. Carver warranties the hull against blistering for 5 years, but, in fact, they should never blister. Coring below the waterline with balsa is often criticized by traditional builders, but some of the world’s most highly regarded builders do it.
Furthermore, we are told that David J. Blount & Associates has consulted with Carver with important aspects of their hull design, scantlings and substructures. Blount & Associates is one of the most respected naval architects in the U.S. and has a long list of boat builders as clients.
Decks are hand laid fiberglass.
Options to Consider
- • Flybridge hardtop
- • Cummins Joystick
- • Kohler 23 kW generator
- • Cablemaster
- • Flybridge grill
- • Flybridge stairway door
- • Air conditioning
- • Autopilot
- • Electronics, including radar, 2x chartplotters, gps, VHF/hailer
- • Dishwasher
- • Exterior carpet
- • Hydraulic swim platform
- • Underwater lighting
- • Aft deck icemaker
- • Bridge air system
- • Bridge refrigerator
- • Washer/dryer combo
- • Crew quarters storage only
- • TV and DVD player in all staterooms
Price as configured with all of the options listed above and the Cummins QSC 8.3 600-hp engine: $1,419,375, without freight.
Over the years, Carver has sold many boats, and many of those owners would like to move up into the 50’ (1.27 m) range. A 50’ boat is big enough to cruise with a family, or with two couples, for a couple of weeks during the summer. It is also big enough to go to the Bahamas, or up to the Inside Passage to Alaska, or to the Canadian Maritimes, to say nothing of cruising all of the Great Lakes. The C52 Command Bridge can do all of that if properly equipped.
Carver also knows that many boaters’ sights are focused more on boating entertaining closer to home. They want lots of room, and they don’t need to load the boat up to make the Northwest Passage, nor do they need a goldplater. For these boaters also, the Caver C52 Command Bridge should make a lot of sense.