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Old 01-06-2016, 10:00   #1
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Carver Mariner 36 vs Cruisers 3750/375 aft cabin

Our original plan had been to search for a 37' Cruisers 3750 or 375 (depending upon the year). In order to keep our options open, we discovered several Carver Mariners available in Florida. We're looking at this one on Saturday. And we're looking at this Cruisers on Sunday.

The Carver has only 285 hours on the gas engines. I know... gas. we had been looking at diesel for their longevity and reliability. However, if gas engines are properly maintained, we should be able to get another ten years or so out of them, right? (figuring 100 hours per year average running time) The engines on the Carver are also much easier to access.

Any thoughts, comparisons would be appreciated. It's a big decision.

John
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Old 01-06-2016, 14:43   #2
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Re: Carver Mariner 36 vs Cruisers 3750/375 aft cabin

My gas engines are 25 years old. Just did a complete rebuild and (like any mechanical system ) if you maintain and don't abuse them they will last a long time.
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Old 01-06-2016, 14:57   #3
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Re: Carver Mariner 36 vs Cruisers 3750/375 aft cabin

Good to know, landsend. Thanks. How many hours did you have on them? Did you trust them over long distance trips?
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Old 01-06-2016, 15:09   #4
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Re: Carver Mariner 36 vs Cruisers 3750/375 aft cabin

1400 hrs. Previous owner kept the boat in a fresh water location all its life. It's now in a salt water environment. Added a fresh water wash down for engine. Engine was still running great when i bought the boat a year and a half ago. We put about 60 hrs a year on engine using it almost every weekend in S Florida.
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Old 01-06-2016, 15:10   #5
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Re: Carver Mariner 36 vs Cruisers 3750/375 aft cabin

Owner brought the boat down from N Carolina.
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Old 01-06-2016, 15:32   #6
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Re: Carver Mariner 36 vs Cruisers 3750/375 aft cabin

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnEasley View Post
Our original plan had been to search for a 37' Cruisers 3750 or 375 (depending upon the year). In order to keep our options open, we discovered several Carver Mariners available in Florida. We're looking at this one on Saturday. And we're looking at this Cruisers on Sunday.

Probably useful for you to look at both, since they're completely different styles/layouts. But then make notes about what you like, what you don't... what feature you need/want/prefer and which boats does or does not offer those...

While you're looking, imagine yourselves cooking a meal, taking a shower, retiring for the night, having cocktails, storing clothing, storing food, storing cooking stuff, changing bed linens or making up the bed in the morning... and so forth... all that normal stuff you might do on a boat... but imagine doing it on THAT boat... and think how that would work for you.

Important, too: imagine yourselves docking each boat. Who stands where? How do you get to "there"? (sidedecks?) What's visibility like from the helm? Can you see the corners of the boat? Can you see the dock structure? Where are the cleats? Can you reach them from "there" on the boat? (Are there adequate mid-ship cleats -- that you can reach -- for operations with a spring line?) And so forth.


And if you intend doing your own maintenance, imagine yourself changing the raw water pump impellers on each engine and genset, changing the oil and filters, servicing or changing the fuel filters, cleaning the sea water strainers for engines and genset and air conditioners, watering the batteries... etc.... on each boat.

And then look at another 25 different boat models, and from additional brands, too, like Sea Ray, Meridian, Maxum, Formula, Silverton... and maybe Mainship... and probably some others -- doing the same evaluations -- before deciding on a way forward.

-Chris
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Old 01-06-2016, 16:55   #7
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Re: Carver Mariner 36 vs Cruisers 3750/375 aft cabin

And the bigger the boat the easier to access all those systems. Good points Ranger.
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Old 02-06-2016, 04:48   #8
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Re: Carver Mariner 36 vs Cruisers 3750/375 aft cabin

Those are some great suggestions, ranger. Thanks! Doing all of those things on each boat should help us find a clear winner... for us.
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Old 02-06-2016, 10:06   #9
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Re: Carver Mariner 36 vs Cruisers 3750/375 aft cabin

John, I was a service tech for one of the largest Carver dealers in the U.S. and we also sold Cruisers. As with any used boat, care and maintenance will determine the worth of the vessel. Having said that, the Cruiser is a much better manufactured vessel with a higher quality and a much faster boat. The Carver is more of a displacement hull, although not a true one, and the Cruisers closer to a planing hull. They will react differently in a seaway. If I had my choice between like boats, I would always choose the Cruisers. Don't know if this helps. Chuck
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Old 02-06-2016, 14:02   #10
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Re: Carver Mariner 36 vs Cruisers 3750/375 aft cabin

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The Carver is more of a displacement hull, although not a true one, and the Cruisers closer to a planing hull. They will react differently in a seaway.

Don't think I've ever seen a Carver with a displacement hull...

OTOH, they're known for maximizing interior space... and it looks to me that one way they do that is by carrying the full beam more forward than other makers... which in turn makes them look a tad on the "fat" (porky?) side up front... and that may cause them to plow a bit more than a more svelte planing hull might. I don't know that; just guessing.

It also happens when I see a Carver for sale, they often have only the standard power installed (e.g., gas), and often it looks to me like the boat would have benefited greatly from one of the optional propulsion packages (diesels). Again, I don't know that; just guessing some more. It's also more of a moot point at the lower end of the boat size range, anyway.


Not particularly fair of me to critique by class, though; both brands have made very decent boats, and each individual boat should be evaluated on its own merits...

-Chris
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Old 04-06-2016, 15:41   #11
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Re: Carver Mariner 36 vs Cruisers 3750/375 aft cabin

Today, we toured the 2007 Carver Mariner 36. (tomorrow is the 2004 Cruisers 375) Ranger, we actually printed off your suggestions of things to take a look at.

We found it to be extremely easy entry. Step on the swim platform, through the transom door, and up the wide stairs on either side or go through the sliding glass doors into the salon. We found it quite roomy on the bridge with plenty of seating. Although the write up didn't mention an icemaker, and it technically doesn't have one, both the refrigerator on the bridge and the one in the galley had freezer sections.

The aft deck has three panels. The narrow one in the center has a latch and lifts up to expose the generator. It also allows lifting the much larger deck plates on either side that allow wide open access to the engines. There was about six inches of water in the bilge under the engines and the sales rep didn't know why. (either a fuse is blown or a bilge pump is bad.) We did notice the center panel that exposes the generator has a soft spot in it. It's basically right where you would step when stepping out of the salon. That was concerning. Any thoughts on what is wrong and what it would take to repair that center panel?

When you step through the door into the salon, you go down three steps. There is a switch in the galley that electrically lifts those three stairs to provide easy access to the backside of the engines, the battery chargers, the strainers, etc. With the steps in the up position and the deck plates off, there would be lots of easy access to performing your own maintenance. That's a big plus in my book.

In the salon, there was plenty of storage everywhere. The galley had enough room that the two of us could cook together and it had plenty of storage for dishes, pots, pans, and food. The settee and the dinette were comfortable. We can easily fit on the bed together and there is easy access to either side of the island berth. The shower has plenty of room for one and, yes, I even sat on the head. ;-) The head seals are holding water nicely, too.

The boat was recently detailed. The gelcoat appears really thin on the port side forward. Not sure what could be done about that or if anything even needs to be done.

The rest was all cosmetic but nothing serious. A couple of slits in the eisenglass and a small hole in the canvas around the eisenglass, which could probably be stitched with matching thread and be inconspicuous.

The broker didn't bring the maintenance logs so I have no idea when the bottom was painted or the oil and filters or impellers were changed.

Overall, we gave it an 8.5. High on liveability and ease of maintenance. We're looking forward to comparing it to the Cruisers 375 tomorrow.
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Old 05-06-2016, 05:37   #12
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Re: Carver Mariner 36 vs Cruisers 3750/375 aft cabin

Sounds nice. Sitting on the head was a nice touch, exactly in line with the idea that you should imagine yourself going through the various normal routine operations that you'd do on a boat.


Six inches of water in the bilge needs an explanation (two parts: where is it coming from, and why is it still there?) but it could also have been something simple... like the float switch not rising enough to activate the pump.


Hard to say, about the soft fiberglass, but these are also the kinds of things that you'd want to have highlighted in the marine survey -- after you actually pick a candidate model... and then pick candidate examples of that model.... and using the 'glass as an example, it wouldn't be out of the question to have a fiberglass guy look at it -- determine cost of repair, if it needs that, and then some additional bartering about the boat price -- before you finalize a deal.


If you can look at enough boats so you have a clear understanding of why about three certain models make your short list... then you can debate with yourselves about which of those three rings most of your chimes best (and remembering that you can add some stuff afterwards, if necessary)... then you can better go on the hunt for the best available instances of that particular winning model.


Portable icemakers are cheap. Bow thrusters are more expensive, but doable. Swim platforms can be added. And so forth. Nice if the boats you eventually see have all the stuff you want, but be sure you concentrate on "bones" more than glitz.



BTW, I haven't looked at the Mariner 36 weight, but I'd guess that's right on the edge of a gas/diesel decision. And that in turn would be heavily influenced by how you might intend to use the boat.

-Chris
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Old 05-06-2016, 05:58   #13
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Re: Carver Mariner 36 vs Cruisers 3750/375 aft cabin

John, a couple more ideas.


Think ahead a little about what kind of electronics you might require. Even if the candidate you're looking at doesn't have exactly what you want (yet). Most is easily solvable, but if you need radar... you'll also want a decent way to mount the array. Which in turn usually means (these days) an arch, or a hardtop.


And you'll want some shade, on a flybridge.


I'm sorta partial to full hardtops, since that also offers some better options for a bridge enclosure... it can also add weight, high up, so these work best on boats designed from the ground (waterline) up with a hardtop in mind. And besides, what I like shouldn't be one of your checklist points.


-Chris
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Old 06-06-2016, 03:53   #14
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Re: Carver Mariner 36 vs Cruisers 3750/375 aft cabin

Great suggestions, as always, Chris. Thanks.

Yesterday, we toured a 2004 Cruisers 375. My first impression when walking up to the stern was a little intimidation due to the size. Looked like a large boat. My wife really loved the multi-level layout and the master head. The galley had an oven so it had fewer shelves and cabinets for food storage, pots and pans, etc, than the Carver we saw the day before.

One thing I was very turned off about was the engine access. A plus was that it was inside the salon so working on the engines could be in air conditioning. And the bilge was dry, also a good sign. However, the access was by lifting up a section of the salon floor and that only allowed access to the starboard engine. To access the port engine and three of the batteries, the sofa had to be removed so that panel could be lifted. While laying on the floor of the salon and looking around, I realized the strainers could easily be reached and the water separators were visible but the belts couldn't even be seen from my vantage point. Since I hope to do some of my own routine maintenance, that was a big negative sign.

Also, the aft-cabin design meant gaining access to the interior of the boat involved going from the swim platform up the steps, across the aft deck, through the hatch, and down the steps to the salon. If you're carrying several loads of groceries or whatever, that could become a pain in short order.

The gelcoat seems to have been worn off in a lot of places but that's probably not unusual for a 2004. There were a few places where there seemed to be stress cracks, probably superficial. One was on the starboard side about a third of the way back. Not really sure what that was from. Then my wife noticed a lot of barnacle build up just below the waterline.

Overall, my wife really liked the two stateroom design for privacy and we both agreed the multi-level design was nice but, in the end, we don't think this boat is for us. We're going to take a look at a Carver Sport Sedan next. Multi-level, two staterooms, island berth in the master, lots of storage. The only compromise I've seen in the photos is to squeeze in the second stateroom, the toilet is in the shower. Meh.

Easy four hour drive going down to Miami but the edges of the tropical storm started to hit on the way back. The bad weather, very low visibility, and total traffic stoppages added roughly three hours to the return leg. Ugh.
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Old 06-06-2016, 04:50   #15
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Re: Carver Mariner 36 vs Cruisers 3750/375 aft cabin

Sounds like you're getting the hang of this "boat shopping" thing.


FWIW, I'm a firm believer in solving some of the boat issues during the shopping stages. (Docking is an example, but that's just one of many.) Not to expect a perfect selection on your very first boat... but forethought can at least help you get the majority right.


And then continued use over can help you flesh out your preferences, in case you ever decide to move up... or sideways... or whatever.


-Chris
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