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Navigator Vs Carver

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by Syf350, Feb 7, 2021.

  1. Syf350

    Syf350 New Member

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    I know this is a loaded question. but hoping for objective opinions, not brand ambassadors.

    Looking at a navigator 53 (volvo) and carver 530 (cummins). same year, same price, lets assume same shape. I am not looking to travel the world. I am looking to liveaboard on something reliable with the occasional jaunt to the bahamas, possibly the loop.

    go.
  2. BRyachts

    BRyachts Member

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    Navigators seem to have a pretty good reputation, Carvers not so much.
    While I generally prefer Cummins (parts are cheaper and easier to get) to Volvo, a lot comes down to what model of each one, and how well they've been maintained.
    Some would depend on your liveaboard lifestyle too.
    Louis1979 and Syf350 like this.
  3. SeaEric

    SeaEric YF Historian

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    Neither of those models have aged graciously in my opinion. It's been my experience that the Carver is, in general a much easier re-sale. My choice would be the 53 Carver.
    Syf350 likes this.
  4. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    I'd prefer the Carver because of a better support network and easier to resell, and also the Cummins for the reasons in #2. Another reason is because around here there's far more Carvers to choose from, but that could be different in your area.
    Syf350 likes this.
  5. gr8trn

    gr8trn Senior Member

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    Sorry, I am a brand ambassador. Actually just an owner operator. I have never run a Carver.
    Look at them both. Sit on them both. Operate them both. Buy the one you like the best.
    I would go Nav>Carver
    Cummins all day>Vovlo based one longevity and parts pricing
    I see your dilema.
    Syf350 likes this.
  6. Ralph Holiman

    Ralph Holiman New Member

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    I know someone with a 56 Navigator. It's nice looking boat, but, the side decks going forward are so narrow they are hard to negotiate when it's tied up to the dock. I can't imagine trying to do it when any kind of seas, anchored or moving.
    Syf350 likes this.
  7. JadePanama

    JadePanama New Member

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    Based in Seattle, there are a ton of Navigators up here. We actually recently bought a 2011 Californian 55 (which is a Navigator with a different look/layout). One of our closest friends has a 57' Carver and we spend a ton of time on both. I honestly cant say there is anything I like better about the Carver. They have had constant problems.
    I have never really held either in the highest regards, but after owning the Cal/Nav, I am actually quite impressed with the build and finish. The woodwork is outstanding and the cabinetry hardware they used is top end stuff. I get its still not a Grand Banks or even an OA, but for the Puget Sound waters its a hell of a bang for the buck.

    Comparing the two, the fit/finish is much higher on the Navigator imo. I never have understood the Volvo hatred. They are very solid, efficient engines. Folks bring up parts, but I have found a pretty plentiful supply out there.

    As you have probably noticed if you have looked much, at the end of the day it really matters more about that particular boat you are looking at. How was it maintained and used before you means far more than the name on the side.

    Best of luck!
    Syf350 likes this.
  8. cleanslate

    cleanslate Senior Member

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    Well put. That is a very good informative review and opinion . I really don't know much about either boats. I've seen them around , but never on one.
    I thought Californian was bought out and built by Carver back in the late '80s? Would that make all them Carver's so to speak?
    In my opinion the Navigator looks to be a bit more ''sea worthy'' to me. So I would go for the Navigator.
    Syf350 likes this.
  9. JadePanama

    JadePanama New Member

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    the Californian brand has changed hands several times. Not gonna go too deep into the history but the original founder of Californian was Jules Marshall founded in 1972. He sold it to Wellcraft in 1980, bought it back in 84, sold it to Carver in 86, went on to create Navigator in 1988, and bought Californian back from Carver in 1991. From then till they closed around 2016 Californians were really Navigator Hulls and Engines, with a different layout and body.

    Not sure either is more sea worthy than the other. They both (carver/navigator) have very different layouts so functionality and design preferences probably should drive this. Not trying to be a homer, but I have always considered the Navigator line to be a step above Carvers. I will say the more I dig into mine, I am continually impressed by the neatness of wiring, plumbing, systems etc.
    Syf350 likes this.
  10. cleanslate

    cleanslate Senior Member

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    Now I'm really confused !! LOL..
    Ok good to know. Thanks for the education.
    Me, I have an Ocean Yachts, which is kin to Pacemaker, Egg Harbor, Topaz, not sure what else. I'm happy with it, the boat and the pedigree.
  11. Rusty Mayes

    Rusty Mayes Member

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    We were looking for a Navigator 56 rival because we liked the cabin lay out and were also interested in the Carver 530 Voyager. I did a tone of research and forum reading on each. Owners love them both, I had Cummins on our last boat and would prefer to stay with them. The one thing that I have heard and seen first hand on the Navigators is windshield and side window sealing issues. There is a local boat that we almost bought and saw 6 months later that had the cabin ripped apart chasing interior wood damage. During my research on the Carvers I have not seen too much negative on the overall quality for a boat in its price category. We ended up falling into a local deal on a Carver 506 which for our five year plan will suit us well. It has Volvos so now we just get learn about them.
    Happy searching
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  12. gr8trn

    gr8trn Senior Member

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    Congratulations on your decision and the new boat. I recall you have mentioned Benicia as your home port, I recall that as my wife is from that wonderful town and learned to sail on 9th street beach. We have walked the Marina perimeter many times as her mom lives there.
    Anyway, you are correct about Navigator windows. There was a move to flush mounted windows in about 2008, don't quote me on that year. Navigator used a 3m product to paint the inside of the windows to give the adhesive something to "stick" to. Short story, it failed and they need to be pulled, fritted or prepared and rebedded. This can be a $30K project at the top end or a $3K project if done as needed one window at a time.
    Not ideal, there was a law suit over this around that time but as we all know 2008-2009 was not a good time in boat building and Navigator did not make many hulls and finally ceased operations in the years to follow.

    Pre 2008 or 2007 or so, this Window seal failure is not an issue as far as I know.
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  13. Dweintra

    Dweintra New Member

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    Hey JadePanama!! My Carver 56 with Volvo TAMD-75's has been reliable other than usual boat stuff as boats age. I think it comes down to the maintenance and history of the particular boat as they age. I believe corrosion was the big issue with the one you mentioned. The Carver 560 is the .2 version of the 530/570 but shares a lot in common. If the OP can spend a bit more the 560 has many improvements and should be considered along with the other Carvers and the Navigators. I took it from San Diego all the way to Seattle and up into Canada and felt very safe with the handling. Carver has incredible support from Pat, Brian and others no matter how old or new your vessel is. The design is very European but roomier inside......and the layout is amazing. The Navigator offers a lot as well, but they felt a little more dated/simplistic than the Carver design (to us) but people seem to love them and we gave them a serious look. We went ahead and put in some quartz counters, new carpets, some new hardware , removed dated stripes, etc and it feels really fresh even today. They are really nicely depreciated and seem to be easy to resell with a big following.
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  14. JadePanama

    JadePanama New Member

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    Agreed Dweintra. Both are solid boats and I think it really comes down to maintenance and preference of layout. Yours is a beautiful vessel and I know it will serve you and the fam for many years. Now.. I just need to find a way to get me a private dock off the backyard as well lol :)
  15. Rusty Mayes

    Rusty Mayes Member

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    Thank you, We really love the marina and it is only30 minutes from our home. Great place to relax on the weekends.
    I was sure that the boat we looked at was a Sundance in the 2000 vintage. It had big problems with several leaking deck plates and cleats as well as the window leaking. I am not knocking Navigator in general I just want the original Poster to make sure to have the windows and deck plates looked at for any signs of water intrusion as I know it was a very expensive issue to deal with. The prior owners of the boats were very cavalier about the maintenance and it cost them dearly when it came time to sell. The current owners thankfully went in with eyes wide open and are bringing the boat back to ship shape the right way.
    Cheers
  16. Dweintra

    Dweintra New Member

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    I look forward to seeing your Californian since I have not been on one before. And don't worry....I can find you a private dock that comes with a house:)
  17. Dweintra

    Dweintra New Member

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    The Carver 530/570/560 series has the same issue with the side decks. When you get about half way forward they get really skinny to make the cabin wider. We thought that was a good compromise, but I can understand why some people will have an issue with it.
  18. gr8trn

    gr8trn Senior Member

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    Agreed. Eyes wide open is the name of the game. Sundance model has framed windows and is not the same issue as I am discussing. There is plenty on this forum if one searches about this subject. Sounds like that boat found the right owners and these things are fixable, hopefully they caught some of that before too much balsa deck core was wet. Since it never rains in California, no biggie:)

    Boats that are poorly maintained are likely also pushed hard, bad combo right there, so eyes wide open for sure.
    Cheers!
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  19. Syf350

    Syf350 New Member

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    Thank you all. I have now found a carver 570 that is a few years newer and in the same price range, muddying up my decision even further. But it sounds like i can't go wrong with any of them, provided maintenance and soundness are there.
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  20. Rkbk

    Rkbk New Member

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    I have a 2000 53 Carver Voyager and love it