When the folks at Silverton decided to redesign their popular 392 Motor Yacht, they called on current owners and dealers for input. About half their typical buyers would opt for diesel power and cruise; the rest would go with standard gas power and spend the bulk of their time entertaining dockside.
All should be satisfied with the new Silverton 39 Motor Yacht. Unlike many comfort-driven boats, she gives up nothing in the way of performance, offers a thoughtful layout and boasts excellent detailing.
Her hull is based on a Michael Peters design. The wave-taming forward sections are parabolic: slightly convex near the chine and a bit rounder toward the keel. Sections abaft amidships are cambered, and the 13-degree transom deadrise seems an efficient choice. A hull-side step optimizes her planing surface without compromising interior volume.
I spent more than an hour running at speed and wiggling about dockside, and was impressed. She felt more like a small, high-performance convertible than a pleasure platform. Kudos to Silverton for keeping weight in check and controlling the center of gravity.
The builder offers a variety of gasoline and diesel engine options. While the roughly $45,000 premium for diesels may not appeal to some, I believe gasoline power is inappropriate for a vessel of this size and service-unless you intend to remain tethered.
Our test boat, fitted with 385 hp Caterpillar 3126s, delivered a top speed of 27.5 knots and a cruising speed of 21.3 knots at 2400 rpm. A 20-knot cruise would be important to me, so I would select these engines or the bigger Caterpillars.
The interior's satin-finished, hardwood cherry cabinetwork, Corian counters, soft goods and fixtures are a notch above average. The L-shape sofa is not a slab-side built-in; it is a deep, custom-made affair covered in synthetic leather.
A pair of matching ottomans hidden cleverly within the cocktail table can serve as footrests or additional dinette seating. The entertainment center also is strategically positioned to serve.
It is a step down to the galley's hardwood sole. There is plenty of counter space, and the polished stainless-steel sink is large enough to wash real plates. There is a cooktop, a microwave, an electric oven and dual-voltage refrigeration.
The master cabin is aft with an island berth and queen-size innerspring mattress. There is excellent stowage, and separate head and shower compartments flank a built-in cabinet and a shelf for a television.
The forward cabin has a queen-size berth, also with an innerspring mattress. A dual-access forward head with separate stall shower serves guests.
Silverton's SideWalk exterior layout lets the skipper and crew move from the bridge to the bow with minimal effort. The bridge gates that lead to the side decks are an improvement from earlier models, which had pocket doors that tended to be wind driven. A three-position helm bench has flip-up bolsters. The control console is ergonomically satisfying with space for a reasonable complement of electronics. Additional bench seating is immediately abaft the helm.
The afterdeck, just steps away, has a built-in bench seat, a wet bar with ice maker, and space for deck chairs and a table. While a boarding area on the afterdeck is convenient, another just forward of amidships would be nice. Silverton considered a rail gate, but had safety concerns.
I would be remiss if I did not grouse about Silverton's ornamental approach to fender stowage. Fenders are not styling accessories. When mounted on the bow rail, as they are on the 39 Motor Yacht, they could run afoul with a piling if the captain is not cautious.
"Indeed, the fender baskets fall outside the gunwale dimensions, creating a potential docking hazard, said Michael Usina, Silverton's director of marketing. "We are going to relocate the baskets to a yet-to-be determined location. They will continue to be topside for easy access.
The 39 Motor Yacht's styling may be challenging to the traditional eye, but the boat is well proportioned and cleverly executed. She will no doubt be as popular as her predecessor, 600 of which were delivered between 1996 and 2001.
The 39 is built at Silverton's Millville, New Jersey, production facility. She is laid up by hand with stitched and woven reinforcement, and polyester resin. The bottom is solid fiberglass, and Coremat is used in the hull-side laminate to minimize reinforcement print-through. Areas below the waterline receive a vinylester skin coat to reduce the chance of blistering. A network of fiberglass stingers and web frames is formed over wood, and bulkheads are plywood. The hull-deck joint is bonded, mechanically fastened and fiberglassed from the inside where accessible. The gelcoat finish reflects the quality of Silverton's tooling, and I was pleased to find frameless windows.
Access to the engine space is through the saloon sole, and equipment removal hatches are provided in case major work is required.
An 8kW generator with sound shield is forward in the engineroom. The generator is a bit out of the way, but there is additional access under the saloon steps. Bilges are finished, and mechanical installations appear well thought out and properly executed. Internal seawater strainers are hearty, there are dripless stuffing boxes, and an engine-mounting system incorporates steel foundation beams within the span between web frames.
Base price with the 385 hp Caterpillars is $330,765. Expect to pay about $416,000 with popular options and a Raymarine electronics package.
Contact: Silverton Marine Corp., (856) 825-4117; fax (856) 825-2064; www.silverton.com.