Posted: March 1, 2012 | Boat Type: Motoryacht
A sequel that’s better than the originalIt was obvious, even over the phone, that Silverton West’s Chris Droz was excited about the Silverton 40 West Coast Edition, and when we met for a sea trial of the boat I found out why. It’s like his personal boat, only better. Those are his words, not me making a judgment about Droz’s taste in boats. He used his Silverton 38 Sport Bridge model, which he really likes, to create the 40 WCE. So it’s not exactly a new model, but rather a new design. The differences, however, are significant — not little tweaks — changes that were made to fit with the way people boat on the Left Coast and its changing conditions.
People familiar with the 38 Sport Bridge are going to notice a couple of things about the 40 WCE before they even board. First, the flybridge has a hardtop, which is unusual among still-American-built Silvertons. And, something you won’t notice until you’re on the flybridge, the hardtop has a vinyl and crushed velvet headliner that matches the décor in the main cabin.
Another thing people are bound to notice are the three big windows in the hull sides. There are two forward, where the master stateroom is, and one about halfway back on the port side, where the second stateroom is located. Each of those windows has a built-in porthole that opens. On the 38 Sport Bridge, the staterooms have frosted, oval portholes that don’t provide a view. Droz said this is the first Silverton with a hardtop as well as big windows in the staterooms.
Something else you’ll notice before you get on the boat is the forward sunpad area. Lots of boats have a sunpad, including the Silverton 38 Sport Bridge, but this one stands out because it is actually two reclining pads and includes a fold-down canopy cover. It’s a great spot for taking it all in during a jaunt through the harbor or during a slow-cruise run to a nearby island.
Another change Droz made to the 40 WCE, one that you won’t see, was to add 90 more gallons of fuel, bringing the total to 462 gallons.
Come on In
Access to the boat is via the swim step and into the cockpit, with a staircase to the flybridge and a tinted, curved sliding-glass door that opens to the interior.
Once you do step inside the 40 WCE, you’re greeted by a salon that’s wider than most salons on boats of similar size. It’s a full-beam living space made possible by the now-familiar Silverton SideWalk — the raised sidedecks that run from the flybridge to the bow. To starboard in the tri-level main cabin is a soft, comfortable sofa, which has a flip-down table in the center and a recliner built into the forward third. In the aft port corner is the entertainment center cabinet, which houses a 32-inch Google-powered Sony TV with a DVD player and a 300-hour DVR.
Up one step is the dinette, with a J-shaped settee and a large dining table. Down a step is the C-shaped galley, with ample room to cook and move about. There is a Corian countertop at waist level and then another countertop at bar height between the galley and the salon sofa. A microwave/convection oven, an under-counter refrigerator/freezer, a two-burner electric range and a sink make the galley fully functional for a day, a weekend or longer.
Down another two steps is the accommodation area. A companionway provides access to the head and both staterooms. The shower, which is separate from the head, can be accessed from both staterooms. To port is the second stateroom. It has lots of headroom near the hull but loses most of that toward the middle because it is situated under the dinette. The bed can be configured as two twins without the filler, or as a queen with the filler. Either way, the view out of the window is wide, and an opening porthole provides fresh air. The cabin also has a hanging locker and two reading lights, so a visiting couple or your children will be comfortable in there.
Forward is the master and its queen-size bed, two hanging lockers, bedside shelves on both sides and reading lights. In addition to the opening portholes in the large hull windows, there is an overhead hatch to allow even more breeze to filter through the room. The ceiling is quite tall, and the owners have direct access to both the head compartment and the shower. Between the hull windows and the hatch, there was plenty of light in the room, even on an overcast day.
We climbed up to the flybridge, a large gathering space in its own right, because that is where the 40 WCE’s only helm station is located. There is seating for 11 people on the bridge on an aft bench lounge, a rear-facing mid-bridge lounge — the two of them facing each other to create a cozy conversation spot — triple captains’ chairs and two molded fiberglass seats to either side of the helm. I’m not sure I’d be comfortable with an NFL team’s starting defense up there, but 11 normal folks will fit just fine, whether it’s for drinks, dinner or just watching the sun go down.
Between the wet bar, the soft seating, the carpeted deck and the colored hardtop headliner, the flybridge doesn’t feel like a sterile environment only meant for the hard-core boaters in the group. It is inviting and comfortable. Our test boat’s bridge is fitted with full canvas, including solid acrylic forward windows and strata glass on the sides and back, all of which can zip open, and the bridge can be heated and cooled, depending on the weather.
Droz fired up the Yanmar 6LY3-UTP engines, with a combined 760 hp, pulled away from the dock and steered us toward San Diego Bay, our playground for the day. He made a couple of speed runs up and down the bay, during which we reached a top speed of 24 knots, while burning a combined 39 gph. At 16 knots, the engines were burning 26 gph, while they burned through 37 gph at 21.5 knots.
Using our test numbers, and leaving a 10 percent reserve, I calculated the range for the 40 WCE at various speeds and found that from 16 knots up to top speed, the range is roughly the same — about 256 n.m. Between those speeds, at 19.5 knots, range drops to about 240 n.m. At the bottom of the speed scale, around 8.5 knots, range increases to 320 n.m. Choosing a comfortable cruising speed is going to be measured against fuel costs and the captain’s desire to get somewhere.
No matter what speed the captain chooses, the boat is going to deliver a stable, comfortable ride. I checked out all areas of the boat while we were under way, and I never got bounced around or rattled, and the sound level was well-controlled everywhere. It was loudest in the cockpit, which is to be expected, while on the flybridge our conversation never had to get much louder than at the dinner table (which is relative depending on your family). In the forward stateroom, the whooshing of the water against the hull was more noticeable than the engine noise, which I consider a good thing. My walk around the boat also confirmed one of the things Droz had said earlier, about wanting people to be comfortable in every spot on the boat.
Back at the helm, I took the wheel for some hard-over turns and a few figure 8s, trying to shake something loose, maybe even a passenger. Alas, nothing shook loose. The 40 leaned slightly into the turns and came back the other direction quickly when prompted. When I was done, the 8 looked tight — more like two circles on top of each other than the infinity symbol. The 40 cut hard, circular turns rather than loping ellipses, and it did it while losing only a few knots.
What Droz and Silverton have done is re-create an existing model for the right reasons, not just because it was time to mix it up. A hardtop is easier to maintain than a canvas top. The enclosure with zip-open windows makes the boat comfortable in any conditions. Bigger hull windows make the staterooms more livable. Internet TV acknowledges the connectedness of people today, even while aboard. What they’ve designed is a sporty cruiser that can accommodate a large group for the day or a couple for an extended journey, with many of the amenities of larger boats but without the price tag to match.
Posted By: On: 3/2/2012
I want one !!!!!