Silverton 42

PMY Boat Test: Silverton 42
Silverton 42 — By Capt. Stuart Reininger — February 2000

K.I.S.S. Me, Kate
Broadway puns aside, Silverton is serious about sticking to the basics.
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• Part 1: Silverton 42
• Part 2: Silverton 42 continued
• Silverton 42 Specs
• Silverton 42 Deck Plan
• Silverton 42 Photo Gallery

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I’ve long been an advocate of the K.I.S.S. theory of boatbuilding–keep it simple and they will come. And after testing Silverton’s new 42 convertible, I no longer feel like a lone voice howling into the wind.

With an eye toward the bottom line, Silverton took a tried and true design–the 42’s hull is basically the same as the company’s successful 41-foot convertible of the early 90s–and built a brand new superstructure for it. Not only that, but it’s built the way Silverton knows how to build. If you’re looking for high-tech materials and construction techniques, look elsewhere. Do you want to save a few pounds in exchange for the added cost of expensive knitted fabrics and exotic coring materials below the waterline? Sorry, not here.

The 42 is built the way Silverton knows best, with a solid glass bottom that’s laid up with proven 24-ounce woven roving. Instead of the all-glass stringers and molded liner that are all the rage, Silverton uses resin-impregnated marine plywood for the cabin sole and wood wrapped in 32-ounce cloth for the stringers. In response to the common argument against this technique–the possibility of rot–my answer is, not in this millennium, folks. Silverton has a lot of experience building boats this way. The way it wraps those stringers, it would take an eon for stagnant bilge water to work its way through. As for that sole, today’s treated plywood is all but impervious to rot. Plus you never see it. It’s covered by a wood-grained vinyl overlay that I swore was real pine planking.

So what are you giving up by avoiding high-tech construction? Well, not light weight. The 42 is listed at about 25,000 pounds dry, which is hardly overweight for a boat of her size. By way of comparison, the Mainship 430 Trawler carries a displacement of 36,000 pounds. Such relatively modest heft means, among other things, a fine turn of speed. With optional twin 450-hp Cummins 450C diesels, our test boat topped 32 mph. And should you be content to cruise at about 2000 rpm (a shade less than 20 mph), the 42 will burn less than 13 gph and manage nearly 1.6 mpg. With a 524-gallon fuel capacity and 10-percent reserve, that works out to a nearly 750-mile range.

But the biggest payoff of this K.I.S. boat (you’ll see why I’m leaving out the s for stupid) is just that, the payoff. You can buy a 42 for less than $300,000. Way less. Like $249,000 if you stick with the base twin 405-hp 8.2-liter gasoline EFI Crusaders. But I think this is one case where the gasoline option is false economy. The 42 lists for just $288,520 with twin 350-hp Caterpillar 3116 diesels, and even for our test boat’s Cummins you’ll pay only $304,275. You won’t get eaten out of berth and brew with the options, either. Our well-loaded test boat–including air conditioning, genset, electronics, windlass, and autopilot–totaled up to a reasonable $385,790.

So is this 42 for you? Well, if you’re a social type who wants to take a party of 10 out for a comfortable day on the water, then keep six of them aboard for an overnight, it could be. And if you enjoy but are not obsessive about fishing, she is definitely for you. For instance, $10,425 of our test boat’s price went for what Silverton calls its Fish Pak. This includes the fiberglass hardtop along with fishing-oriented goodies such as washdowns, an electronics box, floodlights, a set of rocket launchers, a tackle locker, a livewell, and a fighting chair backing plate. If you’re not a fisherman, you can skip that and opt instead for the $2,280 bolt-on swim platform.

All well and good, except if you take a look at the photo of the 42, imagining her without a hardtop is like trying to picture Bill Clinton as a skinhead. The hardtop shouldn’t be an option on this boat, and Silverton agrees. Based on the fact that no one has ordered one without it, it will soon be standard. (Of course, the base price will go up.)

Next page > Silverton 42 continued > Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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