Carver Yachts C52 Command Bridge

Back in the day, and today.

by Capt. Tom Serio
I hear people, both young and old, use the phrase “Back in the day…” in reference to how things were many years ago but that may not be true today.


  • LOA: 51'10"
  • Beam: 15'8"
  • Draft: 4'
  • Weight: 42,000 lbs.
  • Fuel Capacity: 550 gals.
  • Water Capacity: 150 gals.
  • Power: T-QSC 8.3 600-hp Cummins diesels (as tested)
  • Price: $1,278,370 (as tested)

Back in the day, a 100-foot yacht was big, paisley was in and Carver Yachts was a household name. Fast forward to current times, and yachts are just ho-hum at 100 feet, paisley is gone (or should be), yet Carver Yachts is still a household name. With its latest entry, the C52 Command Bridge, Carver Yachts remains a formidable player in the mid-range market. The C52  Command Bridge tops out the Carver Yachts line, with offerings such as the 34 and 40 Command Bridges and the 37, 43 and 52 Coupes filling in the blanks. If you desire a larger yacht, step up to the Marquis line (from 50 to 72 feet), which is under the Carver family umbrella.

From the top

Let’s start at the top. The word “Command” is apt for the C52 bridge. First, it has a commanding layout thanks to a low profile and good looks. There’s a cushioned L-settee forward to port that does duty as a bench seat or a chaise lounge. Either way, it keeps one in close proximity to the captain. With multiple seating configurations, there’s a comfortable position to suit just about everyone.

Aft of this seat is the wetbar station. The self-contained unit has a Kenyon electric grill, a sink and faucet, a Norcold fridge and ample storage. It’s the perfect place to grill up some hot dogs, throw down a cold one and enjoy the moment.

Hosting friends on-board? There’s plenty of dining space up top with the large U-shaped settee that wraps around the high-gloss teak table. Soft, cushioned backrests make this a great spot to relax at any time, and serving a meal is a breeze with the wetbar within arm’s reach.

Sporting a full hardtop — secured aft by the integrated radar arch and forward by contoured, painted metal stanchions — the C52 can be an open-air deck or enclosed with curtains to beat the elements and extend your boating season. Either way, there are commanding views from every seat, making cruising a spectator sport.

Accessing the flybridge is easy, thanks to the molded-in staircase that leads from the aft deck. Due to an upper helm station, the operator can be part of the party, too.

Positioned forward and to starboard, the helm is a full-function workstation packaged in a smart helm/console layout that doesn’t take up valuable real estate. Twin Raymarine 12-inch chartplotter displays flank a 7-inch VesselView7 engine monitoring system around the steering wheel pod, leaving the left dash area for breakers and ancillary controls, like trim tabs and spotlight. To the right is a Raymarine autopilot and a Cummins joystick controller. The right side arm console houses the VHF and electronic throttle controls, which are well positioned to alleviate fatigue if you have to jockey the controls for a while.

The captain has a single bolstered swivel adjustable helm seat, which is well padded and comfortable. The overall low profile also gives the captain an unobstructed 360-degree view, perfect for safe operation and enjoying the ride.

There are several virtues that help make the C52 a quiet running yacht. When cruising at speed, I was able to keep a normal conversation with my test captain, which was a bit surprising. The Venturi windscreen, which doesn’t look like much, actually deflects the wind up and over your head when seated at the helm and forward seats. Stand up and you have the wind in your hair; sit and it’s a quieter ride.

Additionally, the twin Cummins QSC 8.3 600-hp diesel engines are fairly quiet. At times, I had to strain to hear them, occasionally looking at the gauges to see if the engines were actually running when dockside. Add in generous engine room insulation and powerplants that are set far aft courtesy of V-drive transmissions, and you have the makings of a great boating experience.

All that is not to say the C52 is a lightweight. Power up the ponies and at wide-open throttle she gets up to an impressive 30 knots at 3,000 rpm; that’s a nice cut of speed for a 42,000-pound yacht. Pull back to 23 knots (at 2,500 rpm) for an easy cruise speed. Let the axe bow slice and dice any seas you may come across. With the changing conditions on the Great Lakes, the C52 may be what the doctor ordered for your cruising grounds.

Level with me

Carver displays its innovative styling throughout the C52. There’s sufficient freeboard forward to beat down the green water, but it’s not overbearing to the point where it looks like a wall of fiberglass. Hullside windows neatly blend into the hull’s contour. A sleek profile with an unbroken sheer, a swept-back windscreen and a streamlined bridge accent the overall sleekness of this model.

On the main deck, Carver has taken style to a new level. There’s great space management, which maximizes the entire 15-foot, 8-inch beam. Stepping aboard from the integrated swim platform, you’ll see the aft deck with a U-shaped settee, sufficiently sized for sitting or lounging, and flanking a teak dining table. Enter through the aft glass doors that fold back seamlessly — blending the aft deck with the main salon — and you’ll find the port aft galley.

Designed in a simple L-shaped layout, the galley is full-featured with appliances that include a recessed Cuisinart microwave convection oven, a two-burner Kenyon induction electric cooktop, an undercounter Nova Kool fridge/freezer unit, twin stainless steel sinks with covers, and about an acre of counter space.

What’s interesting is that Carver built in a second Nova Kool fridge/freezer unit across in the lower section of the entertainment center; you can now separate drinks and food items, and properly provision on longer excursions. Carver has also cleverly designed a waste receptacle drawer next to the extra fridge.

Midship is an oasis unto itself. Two steps up from the galley is a raised level (offering additional headroom below) that is open but feels like a separate area. To port is a U-shaped — I hate to say settee — as it’s more like a contemporary sofa. It rings the hi-lo pedestal table, which is the perfect setting for meals or casual dining. There’s an accompanying sofa to starboard, making this an inviting dinning or lounging area. Add in the Samsung 43-inch flat screen TV and Polk sound bar speakers for a true entertainment experience. Dark wood flooring, contrasting lighter fabrics and leather trim highlight the interior salon, as well as the rooms below. The views are great through the forward twin-pane windshield and large side windows. You can opt for a lower helm station, but with a flybridge like the one offered on the C52, why would you want to be below? It will also take space away from the starboard seating, so why ruin a good thing? If you need to run the C52 from the main deck, I’d recommend investing in a good remote control system.

Stately staterooms

As you read this section on the lower staterooms, keep in mind this is all on a 52-foot yacht. Maybe not so surprising nowadays, but Carver was able to construct three staterooms without cramming or making you walk sideways to get around.

Nestled in the starboard aft corner of the salon next to the entertainment center is a private staircase to the master stateroom. As you descend the several steps of the curved staircase, note that there are several cabinets here that house the AC/DC electrical breaker panels; it’s out of the way and out of sight.

With a few cool features, the master stateroom can double as a mid-day hideaway to refresh and recharge. Located midship and at full beam, the master boasts spaciousness that eliminates that closed-in feeling sometimes found on yachts this size.

Along with a centerline queen-size berth, there’s a portside lounging chaise for those times when you need to lay down but not on the bed, or sit back with a good book or a favorite boating magazine.

The textured headboard, high-gloss cherry wood finish, a variety of materials and shades for the walls and ceiling, hull windows with opening portholes, a 32-inch flat screen TV and storage all around are eye-catching. Lighting options include 11 overhead LEDs, a headboard and soffit ropes, underberth accents, reading spots and a table lamp. The lights can invoke pretty much any mood.

Another place to relax is in the glass-enclosed shower stall. With a L-shaped teak seat, frameless glass door, tile accents, porthole, and Delta faucet and rain showerhead, a quick shower or a relaxing steam are both at your fingertips. The vanity includes a vessel sink, upper, lower and side storage and a Tecma EZ Fit freshwater head.

Other staterooms are below forward, accessed via a staircase from the salon. In the peak is the VIP stateroom, with centerline island queen berth, five overhead lights, rope lighting in the soffit, reading lamps and ambient light via the deck hatch with escape ladder. Hullside windows add sea-level viewing. Shelving, drawers, lockers and storage compartments keep it tidy. With 6 feet, 6 inches of headroom to boot, and an entertainment system with high-gloss black cherry finish, vinyl accents and textured panels, you might think the VIP rivals the master stateroom.

An additional guest stateroom is to starboard with twin berths, overhead and courtesy lighting, an opening port and a nightstand. Headroom is plenty sufficient for adults or tall kids. There is a washer/dryer option that can be fitted in the closet space in this room.

Believe it or not, Carver also offers an aft stateroom — a nice addition if you carry a crewmember or perhaps extended family members.

There’s more to the Carver C52 Command Bridge, like the wide side decks, forward sunpad lounge area with stereo, and engine and system access. You need to check one out for yourself. And then you might find yourself in the future saying, “Back in the day, on my Carver C52 Command Bridge…” Perhaps while sitting on your newest Carver.  


South Shore JUN17
South Shore JUN17