Silverton 38 Sport Bridge — By Capt. Patrick Sciacca —
A Family Focus
Silverton’s latest launch was built with your tribe in mind.
Some boatbuilders concentrate on perfecting a boat’s performance, while others are all about creating an eye-catching interior design. There are those that focus on giving a smooth ride, and even more are fixed on striking exterior lines. To me, it’s a combination of all these elements that helps give one builder an edge over its peers. However, there are also the intangibles that can put one builder in front of the competition.
For instance, when I was a kid scampering along the docks in Point Lookout, New York, I saw many Silverton 34 convertibles. On the surface this appears to be no great shakes, but all of them had something in common: families. While the marina had a few go-fast boat guys bearing gray chests and big gold chains and beer-bellied anglers lying to each other aboard their sportfishermen, mom, dad, and the proverbial 2.2 children (where do the two-tenths come from, anyway?) always occupied the 34s. And it’s the family appeal of Silverton’s boats that has kept it a leading production builder for more than 35 years. A fall trip to Brick, New Jersey, gave me a chance to see if Silverton’s latest launch, the 38 Sport Bridge, would be embraced by the next generation of boating families.
I soon concluded the answer was yes, and there were several factors leading me to this decision. First, it’s the way Silverton builds safety into its vessels. My test boat featured the trademark SideWalk, which provides molded stairways between the foredeck and flying bridge. The security afforded to kids who want to go forward to the standard sunpad and hang out or to the crew accessing the bow lines or optional windlass is of prime importance. In addition, the boat’s one-inch-diameter 316 stainless steel bowrails encircle the molded steps and foredeck to ensure that everyone stays in the boat.
The same forethought that goes into the 38’s safety features is found in this boat’s build. The hull is solid hand-laid fiberglass below the waterline with a fiberglass-encapsulated wood stringer system that is laminated to the hull to further strengthen the structure. All bulkheads and built-in furniture are also glassed to the hull. On top of this, Silverton utilizes a four-step hull-to-deck securing system that includes a polyurethane sealant, butyl tape, through bolting on six-inch centers, and additional fiberglass in critical areas for further strengthening. You can be sure that during your family’s cruise, the 38 will be as sure-footed underway as your feet are on that stairway and the standard diamond nonskid.
The proof came to me while doing her sea trial. I took the wheel at the flying-bridge helm station (the 38’s standard with Teleflex SeaStar hydraulic steering) and carved quite symmetrical S-turns without any feeling of tenderness or excessive leaning. Good sightlines here are available 360 degrees, and this is definitely the parents’ play space. I noted, however, that when I throttled the Teleflex controls forward and put the wheel hard over for some more performance-oriented turns, the 38 required a little more than two boat lengths to complete the maneuver.
Next page > Part 2: The 38 Sport Bridge is built by an employee-owned company. And that makes it a family of its own. > Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
This article originally appeared in the January 2005 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.