39 — By Richard Thiel — February 2002
|Part 2: Silverton 39 continued|
More noticeable is the woodwork. It's all cherry, including solid raised-panel doors and dining table top. Don't look for the flawless, mirrorlike finish on something from England or Italy, but finished in satin varnish and accented by a plush vinyl overhead and Ultraleather upholstery, the result is a warmer, classier ambiance. The joinery is noticeably improved as well, courtesy of CNC routers, and better-quality brass-and-chrome door hardware and Moen plumbing fixtures and countertops of Corian instead of molded fiberglass provide pleasing counterpoints.
How did Silverton upgrade all this and keep the base price of the 39 under $279,500 with gasoline power ($328,530 with diesels)? Beyond improved production efficiencies, one answer is judicious selection of standard equipment. While the 39 has a lengthy list of standards, some of what you might expect to be standard on a 39-footer is not: the aft-deck enclosure ($2,553), exterior carpet ($1,225), fore and aft washdowns ($385 each), electric--as opposed to just heat exchanger--water heater ($535), and for me the biggest surprise, TVs. That's right, no TVs are standard. A 20-inch unit with separate VCR for the saloon costs $980, and you'll pay $820 each for the 13-inch TV/ VCRs that grace the forward and master staterooms.
Is this a rip-off? Hardly, given the fact that even with a 20-item options list that included, besides the gear noted above, three-zone air conditioning, Kohler diesel genset with soundshield, VacuFlush MSDs, windlass, Raymarine electronics (autopilot, chartplotter, GPS, radar, VHF, and Tridata), and Glendinning Cablemaster, our 39 carried a list price of under $416,000.
For that price you also get some neat twists to the aft-cabin paradigm. The windlass is inside the anchor locker, hidden from view and errant feet yet easily accessible. The bridge has good sight lines forward and to either side, and the console perfectly accommodates the optional Raymarine electronics with minimum clutter. The helm seats--not always Silverton's forte--are comfortable and feature flip-up bolsters for stand-up operation. And there are seven drink holders up here.
Unlike many aft cabins, this one has no partition between the bridge and aft deck, so passengers on both levels won't feel isolated. To maximize cockpit deck space, the aft seat is recessed into the transom, and a forward port-side wetbar is standard, although it has only cold water. There are six more drink holders here and two ways to board: a molded-in raised starboard step for fixed docks and a port-side stairway to the four-foot-deep swim platform for floating docks. A starboard pod at platform level provides stowage and a place for shore-side hook-ups.
The saloon is also different: unusually bright, thanks to a glass windshield and big flush-mounted side windows with opening panels for cross-ventilation, a touch you'll find in the aft and forward staterooms, too. That's a welcome departure from builders who assume everyone orders air conditioning and uses it all the time. Although TV is optional, a Glomex TV/FM antenna with tuner is standard, presumably to accommodate the standard full-size tuner and three-CD player. (More upscale entertainment gear is available.) A small cabinet by the companionway holds the battery switches, so it's easy to turn everything off as you leave.
The galley, down a step and to starboard, is notable for its abundant counter space, stowage--including a nice counter-level slide out pantry--and oak sole. A coffee maker, microwave/convection oven, full-size refrigerator, and three-burner stovetop are standard; a conventional oven is an option.
Like the galley, the fore and aft staterooms, separated by sliding doors, are marked by an abundance of stowage, but the real news here is the split shower and head in the aft master. Each compartment--especially the aft shower--is large and has its own solid cherry and frosted-glass door. Silverton upgraded the cabinet pulls here and throughout, but while they look nice, I found their openings too small for my normal-size fingers.
The roomy staterooms come at the expense of a less-than-commodious engine room accessed by a narrow hatch in the saloon sole. Once I was inside all the mechanicals seemed to be accessible, although doing anything more than fluid checks on the genset would require extra nimbleness. PFS dripless shaft seals, engine-coolant reservoirs, and interior strainers are all standard, but alas, battery boxes are not.
Because a gale on test day restricted our performance tests to the Intracoastal I can't say much of the 39's seakeeping. Silverton is refreshingly candid about her abilities, however, saying her dimensions and hull form weren't conceived with bluewater passagemaking in mind. From what I could tell, she's stable and her handling is predictable.
Predictable is not a word I'd use to describe the 39, however. If you board her expecting to find the same old Silverton level of fit and finish, you'll be surprised, even more so when you discover that this is one image makeover that apparently didn't leave any of the admirable qualities--like price--behind.
Silverton Phone: (856) 825-4117. Fax: (856) 825-2064. www.silverton.com.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.