39 — By Richard Thiel
— February 2002
|Is the new 39 aft cabin really different from other Silvertons, or does she just look that way?|
Companies, like aging movie stars, sometimes find that the image they've spent so many years cultivating no longer works. Whether the result of a change in their focus or their ever-changing constituency's, crafting a new image is daunting because of the inherent risk of alienating existing customers and ending up with a new persona that doesn't attract new ones.
Boatbuilders are no different. Take Silverton. It spent years creating an image based on one simple premise: maximum boat at minimum cost. Consequently its models were known for spacious no-frills accommodations and low prices achieved by strictly controlling costs. Vinyls, laminates, construction materials, and finish goods were of good but baseline quality.
A few years back Silverton decided to upgrade not just the quality of its boats but the public's perception of it, without losing the things that attracted people to the brand. The strategy involved investments in computer-controlled design and manufacturing techniques and equipment, which allowed quicker, cheaper product development and better cost control. The result was a new generation of more finely finished models: the 453 Motor Yacht in 1999, the 43 Motor Yacht in 2000, and the 39 Motor Yacht, which was unveiled at last year's Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.
What sets the 39 apart from previous Silvertons is not her layout. This is your basic aft-cabin motoryacht: forward V-berth, raised saloon/galley/dinette (with lower station available soon), and spacious aft cabin. There are twists, like the "side walks," a Silverton signature that in this latest iteration allows you to go from either side from bridge to the bow while negotiating but two steps (and a wide, inclined side deck) and never without a rail or handhold. But what really sets the 39 (and the 453 and 43) apart is construction and finish.
In the case of using vinylester resin in its hulls, Silverton is frankly playing catch-up with most of the industry. But it's also breaking new ground in this price range. Take the engine-mounting system: Each gasoline or diesel powerplant is affixed to a pair of steel I-beams that cap the stringers and bolt to fore and aft bulkheads. Such a system, heretofore associated with high-end brands like Viking, costs considerably more than simply through-bolting fabricated platforms to engine beds but virtually eliminates engine-alignment issues.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.