43 Sport Bridge — By George L. Petrie
— September 2005
Dynamic styling and gracious accommodations define the new generation of these Jersey-built cruisers.
Over the course of 35 years, Silverton has established a reputation for offering extraordinary spaciousness and livability per foot of boat length. Occasionally, however, it’s been opined that maximum interior volume has been achieved at the expense of exterior styling and proportion. In other words, Silvertons have been accused of looking top-heavy.
That said, I am impressed by Silverton’s new 43 Sport Bridge. Gentle curves and sweeping windows complement a pleasingly proportioned profile that belies her voluminous interior. Most noticeable to me is the deft styling of the builder’s signature “sidewalk” side decks. A practical feature that allows safe and direct access from the flying bridge to the foredeck, it has always struck me on older Silverton models as glaringly out of proportion. But tucked inboard of her radar arch and blended into the upsweep of her deck edge, the sidewalk steps virtually disappear on the new models; the only tip-off to their presence are the high stainless steel rails that extend from the radar arch all the way to the bow.
Intrigued by the refinements I saw in the exterior styling of the 43 Sport Bridge, I was anxious to see what surprises might await in her interior. But that would have to wait, because it was already well into the afternoon when I first got the chance to go aboard, and I wanted to have plenty of time to see how well she would perform. With Mike Usina, Silverton’s VP of sales and marketing, at the helm, I set up our test gear as we headed out of the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, inlet. In the process, I got a chance to take in some of the nice features of the flying bridge. For starters, opposite the forward-facing helm and companion seats there’s an aft-facing settee on the port side (with stowage space beneath) that would let at least one more guest converse with the skipper while underway.
Aft on the flying bridge, there’s an L-shape settee with a sunpad behind; a thoughtfully placed walkthrough on the starboard side gives access to the sunpad, without guests having to climb over the settee. Facing the settee (just aft of the helm seats) is a wet bar with a countertop just right for preparing beverages or serving snacks. Options on the bridge of our test boat included a Raritan ice maker, snap-in carpeting, a zippered bridge enclosure, and a canvas soft-top. During our speed trials, I was especially appreciative of the latter as the top’s sturdy stainless steel frame provided a secure handhold while taking measurements with the radar gun, not a trivial issue while ripping through midafternoon chop at speeds of up to 34 mph.
In truth, I found her ride qualities quite comfortable at all speeds and headings, taking the two-plus-footers in stride. From a standing start, she got out of the hole quickly and moved effortlessly onto plane. Even with an open bridge, the 43 seemed surprisingly quiet, generating only moderate wind noise and leaving much of the engine noise in her wake. My only negative impressions were that her steering seemed stiff and her turning radius wide compared to other boats of similar style and size.
It came as no surprise that the 43 performed well, since she is built on the same hull mold as her predecessor, the Silverton 410 Sport Bridge (see “Extreme Makeover,” this story). Her proven hull form is one of the only elements that was not refined in creating the new model. Indeed, inside the 43 offers a completely new layout, boasting a second full head and a more open main-deck plan that enhances spaciousness.
Next page > Part 2: In assessing Silverton’s construction quality, I took note of the massive angle-steel engine beds through-bolted to heavy transverse frames that provide a firm foundation for the motor mounts. > Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
This article originally appeared in the October 2005 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.