Captain's ReportSuperb Fit & Finish and Volvo's IPS By Captain John B. WenzDue to a prior commitment, I was left disappointed to turn down last year’s invitation to Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. I was pleased to get a second chance this year to test a product that truly is “revolutionary new technology.” The Carver 42 Super Sport now featuring IPS or Inboard Performance System, from Volvo. Not only are the propulsion and steering really new and different, but I was impressed by a whole range of features and amenities found throughout the boat. The bottom line is there’s a lot to like about the Carver 42 Super Sport, even if you decide on the traditional gas or diesel engine options.The Basic Boat- So Much More Than “Basic”The accommodations on the 42 SS are truly first class. The roomy master cabin located in the bow, features a walk-around queen berth, a head to starboard, and a separate stall shower compartment to port. The VIP cabin is to starboard of the companionway, but you’ll only find standing headroom just inside the door as much of the space over the berth is not full height. Nevertheless, it’s a nice cabin. The combination guest/day head is to port of the companionway and it is of substantial size, and it is fitted with a circular acrylic shower enclosure.A full-beam galley and salon provide a generous space for entertaining. Two chairs are opposite a versatile sofa. Options seating include either double incliners, a stowaway bed, or storage. I particularly like the curved settee, the wood floor in the galley area, and the upright refrigerator/freezer. You’ll find one of the 42’s unique features under the galley sole- the “utility room.” It gives you a useful pantry storage space and it’s big enough for a washer/dryer. Through an attractive sliding door is the cockpit- over 45 square feet of hard-topped covered deck space. Along with the sizeable salon, the inviting cockpit could turn this boat into “Party Central” at your marina- if you’re not careful!The abundance of entertaining area on the main deck is a complement to all the room on the flying bridge. Up there are two double-wide loungers at the helm position, along with room for six more loungers surrounding a table and a wet bar. Which translates into seating for ten adults. That’s great for parties, but I’m a little concerned about what that might do to the vessel’s stability in a beam sea. Given the positive steering response provided by IPS, the stability of the 42SS might be more than just a little disconcerting under the command of an inexperienced operator. I asked about it, and the Carver folks told me that they planned to do some redistribution of weight. In addition to Carver’s really attractive finish work the 42SS which is typical of the entire Carver line, this model includes a long list of standard equipment and the kind of details not often included in a competitor’s basic package. Quality EngineeringMost of the work Carver does to build these yachts is done in-house, one hull at a time. They’re committed to quality and it shows. It starts with the CAST (Carver Advanced Structural Technology) System, which is a whole list of construction details and specifications not readily apparent to the layman. The textiles and seamstress work are also executed in-house by what I imagine to be a shop full of sweet, little, old ladies who work painstakingly to provide nothing but their best effort. The Carver 42 Super Sport is 43’7” in length including the swim platform. She’s got a beam of 13’11” and draws 46” of water. Engine packages include two gas and four diesel options ranging from 370 horsepower to 440 horsepower per engine. The standard set-up is a pair of 8.1 MPI Crusaders, delivering 385 HP each, and our test boat was equipped with the 370 HP Volvo IPS 500s. Her tanks hold 400 gallons of fuel, 90 gallons of water and the 42 SS weighs in at 33,650 pounds. IPS- Impressive Both in Close Quarters and Out RunningThe 42 Super Sport with IPS really shines both running at speed and while maneuvering in close quarters. I chose to watch as Jeff Shipley from Carver Yachts handled the IPS joystick as we left the dock. I wanted to get a look at how it’s done before I gave it a shot myself. I was impressed from the moment we got underway.The joystick gives you multi-directional control with the fingertips of a single hand. The boat moves forward and reverse, as well as side to side just by pushing the joystick in those directions. The further you push, the more throttle is applied. By twisting the lever, you can rotate the boat either clockwise or counter-clockwise, and she’ll move diagonally as well. It’s all made possible by the IPS drive units; they steer independently by directing their thrust. It’s clear how with just a little practice, even a novice can learn to transit really tight spots like an expert.When you’re ready to push them up, you forgo the joystick for the standard throttle and shift levers. Since they’re electronic, they’re smooth as silk. Acceleration is impressive- this nearly thirty four thousand pound yacht was on plane in just over eight seconds. And steering was equally impressive. Put the helm over while at 30 knots, using just a single finger on the wheel, and the 42 SS responds like a much smaller performance boat. This does take a little getting used to, particularly while you’re running around the wakes of other boats. I’m told that there are adjustments which can be made to change the response time.PerformanceIn addition to handling, IPS has some other big advantages. Noise and vibration are greatly reduced, and exhaust gases are directed out through the drive units underwater. At our optimal cruising speed of 25.6 mph, the twin Volvos were turning 3000 rpm at a whisper quiet 78 Db! She topped out turning 3600 rpm delivering 34.3 MPH and recording 82 Db at the helm. Both builder and owner can take advantage of other advantages such as reduced space requirements, simplified installation, and ease of service. Ultimately this is a system which has a lot to offer and is truly a breakthrough innovation. I’m going to keep my eye on how the popularity of IPS continues to develop, because it surely will. Thanks to Carver’s 42SS package, that can only happen faster. From the long list of standards, to the superb fit and finish, to the state of the art propulsion system, there’s a lot to like and enjoy. If you’re looking for a boat in this size range, you owe it to yourself to take a good look at the 42 Super Sport from Carver.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Carver 42 Super Sport (Not in Production) is 34.3 mph (55.2 kph), burning 41.5 gallons per hour (gph) or 157.08 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Carver 42 Super Sport (Not in Production) is 25.6 mph (41.2 kph), and the boat gets 0.92 miles per gallon (mpg) or 0.39 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 333 miles (535.91 kilometers).
- Tested power is 2 x 375-hp Volvo Penta IPS500G.
Standard and Optional Features
|Dripless Shaft Seals||Standard|
|Washdown: Fresh Water||Optional|
|Washdown: Raw Water||Optional|
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
|Bimini Top||Optional Prestige|
|Full Canvas||Optional Prestige|
Boats More Than 30 Feet
|Engine Synchronizer||Optional *gas engine only|
|Generator||Standard 10.0 kW (gas)|
|Oil Change System||Optional|
|10 year Yes|
|5 year Yes|
|NMMA Certification||Yes Yes|