Life Below Decks
Carver made a splash in the 1980s with layouts that kept the galley, dinette, salon and staterooms all on one level, a feature made possible by mounting the engines and V-drives under the cockpit. Without midships engines to avoid, Carver's design team was able to create a step-free cabin sole from aft bulkhead to forward island berth. This made the boats more user-friendly for folks living aboard, especially guests who were not used to multi-level cabins.
The 44 Sojourn carries on that tradition. There are still step-ups around the centerline berth in the forward cabin, forced by the narrowing of the hull near the stem. But most cabin traffic will avoid changes in level, which we think is an attractive feature. With two cabins and a convertible dinette, the Sojourn will sleep six.
The arrangement plan is typical: The master cabin is forward, with its ubiquitous island berth and en suite head. A second stateroom with twin single berths is midships – Carver calls this a "VIP Stateroom," but to us it looks more like an ideal cabin for kids, especially since headroom is limited and there's a space for an optional washer/dryer. This cabin has an en suite wet head that doubles as a day head. Both heads have VacuFlush toilets.
Plenty of Room On the Bridge
No matter how much time, effort and creativity yacht designers put into accommodations, it seems to us most people spend most of their time above decks. Carver must agree, since they arranged the 44 Sojourn's flying bridge with maximum socializing potential. There are three seating areas – four if you count the companion helm seat – all under the standard hardtop mounted on a welded aluminum arch.
The helm has space for the usual multi-function nav units, with engine readouts on a 7" color LCD screen. Raymarine-based electronics packages, with and without radar, are available. Electronic controls are optional with the standard 385-hp Crusader 8.1 MPI gas engines, but come standard with all gas and diesel Volvo Penta IPS packages. With standard power Carver includes their Carver Docking System: Side Power bow and stern thrusters with dual joystick control.
V-drive engines under the cockpit made the single-level cabin possible way back when; today it's easy to convert this drivetrain to pods. Carver still lists V-drives and conventional props as standard, twin 385-hp freshwater-cooled Crusader 8.1 MPIs. This will be the least expensive power, and Crusaders are reliable, but you'll be buying 20th-century engineering.A long-time Carver dealer we called said the difference between the new IPS-powered Sojourn and the former V-drive model was "night and day," and he wouldn't go any other way. We agree, and recommend upgrading, ideally to one of two diesel IPS packages, either 370-hp IPS500s or 435-hp IPS600s. Gas IPS550s, 400-hp, are available, too, and of course cost a lot less than diesel power.
We haven't tested a 44 Sojourn so can't comment firsthand on speed and performance. We have seen independent reports claiming top speed near 30 knots, best cruise around 26 knots with IPS500s. Again, these are not BoatTEST.com numbers.Carver offers an optional second joystick control for IPS on the port side of the bridge (the standard set is to starboard); this is an option we'd pay for, since it will make docking portside-to a lot easier.
The Bottom Line
A 44 Sojourn with IPS500s will cost around $584,000; we found a fully equipped boat for sale in Florida for nearly $670,000, including freight and set-up in Florida, full electronics package and a Neptune Blue-painted hull. (Carver White, Oyster Gold and Panther Black are also available.) That's a mid-range price for a boat this size with these accommodations and this power.We like the Carver 44 Sojourn's one-level, step-free cabin and plenty of entertaining space both above decks and below. We'd add the grill and fridge on the flying bridge for al fresco cookouts, maybe the hydraulic swim platform for water sports. For cruising, the Sojourn's smallish guest cabin might make adult guests feel a little cramped, but it should be fine for kids. We'd use the boat as a floating weekend cottage, a place to invite friends who will be going home to sleep, and for summertime cruising with our family. If that's what you're looking for, too, check out the 44 Sojourn.
Standard and Optional Features
|Dripless Shaft Seals||Standard|
|Washdown: Fresh Water||Optional|
|Washdown: Raw Water||Optional|
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
Boats More Than 30 Feet
|Oil Change System||Optional|
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
(It's quick and FREE!)