35 Motor Yacht — By Capt. Bill Pike
— February 2003
|Silverton takes the midrange motoryacht to the next level.|
It was a perfect day in Ft. Myers. The sun was shining, a faint breeze wafted across the marina behind the Chart House Restaurant, and the Silverton 35 Motor Yacht was tied alongside a weathered old dock there, nose-out and ready to go. Passing the restaurant, I felt a little thrill of anticipation upon seeing the 35 for the first time, the same thrill I've enjoyed since I was a kid. Whether we're talking canoes, Great Lakes ore carriers, or curvy little motoryachts with two staterooms, a fair-size saloon, and two heads, I still love taking a boat ride.
I clattered down the gangway to the docks and headed for our test boat, noting an upbeat detail almost immediately: The Raymarine radar scanner was secured atop a lofty, welded-aluminum radar arch, well above the hardtop. This was a gratifying sight, given the drum banging I've done over the years, trying to get manufacturers to stop mounting radar scanners at low, brain-frying levels on flying bridges.
Another upbeat attribute manifested about the same time as a voice boomed from inside, over the sound of a slamming refrigerator door. "Hang on Bill, I'll help you with your gear." The voice belonged to Silverton rep Chip Shea, who promptly appeared on the aft deck with a cold bottle of water--it gets hot in November in Ft. Myers--and a helpful suggestion. The stern of the 35, he told me, was designed with extra cleats, handrails, and molded stairwells, all configured to allow easy boarding on two levels. Fixed docks at low tide would dictate the use of the boarding gate at the rear of the aft deck, but since I was standing on a floating dock, he advised me to carry the stuff across the considerably lower swim platform and then up the molded stairway to the aft deck.
Not long after we'd got everything onboard, I seated myself at the comfy flying-bridge helm station and cranked our 385-hp Crusaders as Shea began casting off lines. In past test reports on cruisers of the 35's ilk, I've bemoaned the practice of installing split engine controls on gasoline-powered motoryachts because the engines have comparatively little torque at idle speed, and so boathandlers are constrained to manipulate both shifts and throttles while maneuvering them, a task tantamount to walking and chewing gum simultaneously.
Guess what? Silverton's come up with a gasoline-fired powerplant for the 35 with gutsy, 20"x18" four-blade wheels and a torque-boosting gear ratio of 2:1 that works pretty darn well with split controls. Sure, I'd be lying if I said I was an ace at maneuvering the 35 right out of the gate; split controls have never been my thing and never will be. Moreover, I'd be lying if I denied having a little trouble returning the 35 to her berth after the sea trial, walking and chewing gum being a skill I've never been that comfortable with, either. But the bite of the props felt so positive in both instances, I have no problem declaring that I'm a fan of the 35's gasoline option, split controls or no.
Once underway, the 35 scooted across the Caloosahatchee River like a scared dolphin, with solid transverse stability in turns, thanks to a fairly flat Don Blount-designed running surface. Top end was 33.2 mph, with a fuel-burn of 70.4 gph, a hefty amount but consistent with the horsepower rating of our Crusader. Pulling the throttles back to approximately 25 mph cut fuel consumption by half, a radical improvement. Sightlines forward were excellent, primarily due to the elevation of the bridge deck, and I liked that I could see the transom while backing down, thanks to the open space under the hardtop and an open boarding gate.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.