Silverton Marine, which has long been a price-point competitor in the marine industry, recently faced a serious gap between its 42- and 50-foot Convertible. The jump in size wasn't that great (the 42 is really 44 feet, 6 inches, and the 50 is 51 feet, 7 inches), but the price gap was about half a million dollars.
That's how boats are born: To make it easier for Silverton owners to move up the line, the 45C was commissioned. Its design brief: to provide the interior of a larger yacht with three staterooms, two heads and a galley-up arrangement like the 50C.
The layout is classic convertible with a large cockpit that is equally at home fishing or cruising, and a tourney-style flying bridge with the helm aft and lounge seating forward. Again, this is ideal for keeping track of the cockpit action, and it allows the skipper to socialize with his guests on the bridge. A thoughtful touch.
The accommodations are surprisingly large, with the owner's cabin forward with a double berth and private head, another double cabin aft to starboard and twins in a portside cabin. The latter two cabins share the day head with shower. The interior is finished in cherry with a raffia wall covering, and Silverton provides innerspring mattresses on all berths.
To shoehorn all this into a nearly 48-foot hull requires some sacrifices, however, most notably in the saloon where the raised sheerline places the windows so high that guests seated at the couch or dinette cannot see out (except aft).
Standard power is the new Volvo Penta D9 with 500 hp (options include Volvos to 1,200 hp plus Yanmars), but our test boat had a pair of Cummins QSC diesels of 533 hp each. The engine installation is clever, with a pair of powder-coated steel beams that serve as engine beds suspended between the fore and aft engineroom bulkheads. The more usual procedure is to bolt the engines to stringers integral with the hull, but this suspension method not only allows Silverton to easily switch between optional engines, according to the company, it also serves to insulate vibration. Plus, it enables access under the engines with room to clean up the inevitable oil drippings.
Fit and finish are commensurate with a price-competitive yacht: Silicone is used to fill seams, and I found some rough joints between panels. On the other hand, handrails were solid and plentiful, and the steps to the flying bridge make for safe passage even in rough weather. I liked the lighted steps to the side decks, but the piano-hinged transom door was a bit shaky.
Underway, we topped out at 32.6 mph and, though the 45C weighs in at just 38,000 pounds, the deep 13-degree transom deadrise means that she's going to be comfortable in a seaway. Although we had flat water for our speed runs, the boat had a solid feel that I expect would continue even in rougher seas.
Built for the growing family and the casual angler, the Silverton 45C offers a lot of space for a lot of fun at a reasonable price.
Contact: Silverton Marine, (877) 863-5298; www.silverton.com