Carver C34 Coupe

A great family cruiser, from beginning to end.

by Capt. Tom Serio
Let me begin this story with the last sentence of the story: The Carver C34 Coupe is a great family cruiser, with the features and amenities Carver is known for.


  • LOA: 34'
  • Beam: 11'6"
  • Draft: 3'1"
  • Weight: 17,300 lbs.
  • Fuel Capacity: 200 gals.
  • Water Capacity: 78 gals.
  • Power: T-Mercruiser 6.2L 300-hp I/O Gas Engines
  • Price: Contact dealer

I could end this article right here, but my editor wants more meat on this bone, so let me tell you how I came to the above conclusion.

Carver builds a range of yachts that includes the Command Bridge Series (36 to 52 feet) and the Coupe Series (34 to 52 feet). Having been on most of the models in the past few years, I can attest to the fact that Carver did not skimp on the C34, even though it’s the smallest model produced. The same level of thought, design, innovation and inherent fun is evident throughout.

Fun in the sun    

The fun factor is apparent when behind the wheel at the starboard helm. Our test ride had Mercury joystick and throttle controls wired to twin Mercruiser 6.2L DTS 300-hp gas powerplants with Bravo 3 sterndrives. My captain — Steve Campbell of Sovereign Yacht Sales in Stuart, Florida — pushed the sticks forward, spinning the engines to a cruise rpm of 3800 yielding 21.8 knots, a sweet spot with the hull planning and burning just 23 gph combined. Cranking it up to 4500 rpm resulted in a 29.3-knot rush at 32 gph. At WOT, we had 5100 rpm, which produced 37.7 knots.

We ran only one direction in a 1-foot light chop inland around slack tide, and our speed/knots figures were right on with the manufacturer figures, so you can count on their numbers. In full disclosure, our gph meter wasn’t calibrated yet (brand-new hull) so those posted here are the builder’s figures. I’m comfortable with them, and you should be, too.

In the engine room, there’s sufficient space to work on the engines and great access to the engine serpentine belts. There’s also a location for a Westerbeke 6.5kw generator.

From the helm seat, this is a very responsive ride. Joystick control assisted well in getting us around a corner at the marina and not into the side of a tricked-out center console at the dock. Returning was just as effortless, as the point-and-go action of the stick was right on. In the open, the throttles had no delay when moved, and the steering was smooth. Running in a few tight circles and figure eights, the C34 leaned into the turn with full control — not unwieldy or unpredictable. Biting hard were the Bravo 3 outdrives, with no apparent bogging down on one side or over-revving from the high side.

With this engine package (Carver also offers a Merc 350-hp option, as well as 260- and 335-hp Merc diesels), it’s a go-anywhere cruiser. A vacuum resin-infused hull is stiffened by a beefy fiberglass stringer system, resulting in a solid ride and maximum fuel economy due to a lighter yet stronger construction process. For easy maintenance, Carver coats the entire hull interior with gray gelcoat, and extends the stringers up the bow, which adds rigidity to the peak while reducing vibration when running into head seas.

Hard chines control side rocking while the strakes add lift. Coupled with a modified V-hull with a plumb bow, the C34 handles seas head on, and the 14-degree aft deadrise added to the fast ride.

Creature comforts abound

Comfort is the name of the game for the operator, as the single helm seat is contoured to hold you in place, with a diamond stitched padded seat, dual armrests and a big, fat bolster to lean against when standing. The helm is an angled console, with room for dual 12-inch Raymarine multifunction displays and several breakers. The dash has a Teleflex hydraulic tilt-steering leather-wrapped wheel, Mercruiser engine display, Bennett tab control, joystick and throttles. A VHF radio is installed on the sidewall.  

The main deck layout includes an aft deck and salon/galley. Bring the outside in by sliding the aft bulkhead’s three large glass panels; the right side panel slides over to the center, and then all three panels shift to the port side, creating an unobstructed walkway between the salon and aft deck.

On the aft deck, there’s a starboard entryway from the swim platform, as well as a large L-shaped settee with fiberglass table and engine room hatch. The aft section of the settee lies flat to convert into a sunpad.

Lots of goodies can be added to complete your ride, including a grill, cupholders and sink in the transom cabinet, a transom shower and underwater lights. Opt for the aft deck fridge. A great option is the SureShade cockpit power sun shade that’s recessed into the hardtop. Shore power and dockside water connection points are on the transom, so there’s no need running cables across the aft deck.

Open sesame

Stepping inside, there’s a well-appointed galley to starboard. Appliances include a two-burner Kenyon electric cooktop, Whirlpool microwave oven and Dometic under counter fridge/freezer. Mounted over the galley is a 32-inch LED TV with Blu-ray drive. There’s also a stereo system and a couple of USB jacks for devices.

Relax on the raised wraparound settee to port with a high-gloss hi-low dining table. This is a good arrangement for a cruising couple as it keeps the operator in close proximity to other passengers. It also creates a comfortable lounge, perfect for watching TV or keeping an eye on the kids on the aft deck. The raised seating also allows for great visibility from any direction. And 6 feet, 8 inches of headroom add to the open feel.

Other nice features are the single-pane forward windshield, opening power side window at the helm, and an overhead sunroof with screen and shade. Carver uses satin and high-gloss American cherry woods and Arctic Sea Stone collection of Opulence Tusk vinyl exterior seat coverings, Outback Pearl interior coverings and a pewter colored master bedspread, amongst other finishes. Our ride had laminate wood flooring in the salon and lower level.  

Sleep Is Overrated 

Accommodations are below, down three large, padded steps, and include a forward master and midship lounge/guest staterooms. The master has a queen berth situated in the corner, taking advantage of a broad beam forward. With a 32-inch TV, the berth also doubles as a lounge area thanks to the open layout. Fixed hullside windows, an overhead hatch, and reading and overhead lights illuminate the area.

The guest stateroom is perfect for kids or cruising guests and converts into an L-shaped lounge with the shift of a cushion. It’s a nice, private getaway area. Storage can be found under the sleeping berths and in a large hanging locker, as well as under the aft deck seats.

A single head has an enclosed shower stall, hull window with opening porthole, freshwater Tecma electric head, deep mirrored cabinet up and vanity with vessel sink below.

Carver has an eye towards safety, as evidenced by its use of molded steps to the side decks, grabrails and high railings all the way to the bow. There’s room for a pad or chairs forward as the deck is large and just slightly crowned for water runoff.

The Carver C34 Coupe is a great family cruiser, with the features and amenities Carver is known for. 

South Shore JUN17