Boat Reviews By Owners
1986 -- 29' 6" SILVERTON
Model: Sport 29
Cockpit: This boat has a radical design that can not be found on any other vessel of any year or model under 32 feet. It is NOT a bubble boat but follows traditional hull/exterior design with flat surfaces everywhere possible. Acurately it would be called a raised bridge mid-cabin cruiser. With over a 10 foot beam it is "incredibly" over a third wide as it is long, it has the stability of a cement dock in any seas. Like exploring? This boat will float in a mud puddle at only 28 inches of draft.
The helm is located on the bridge which has loads of seating. Imagine actual STAIRS to the bridge !! (Not a ruddy unsafe ladder). Three steps down is the so-called cockpit. Here again the design is highly unique and the advantage of a raised bridge over flybridge is that the guests on the bridge are not in the least isolated from those in the cockpit and all remain as one group. The low bridge also makes it easier to dock when windy.
Another highly valuable feature on the bridge is a hatch which opens to the galley in the cabin below, on those long hauls or bad weather this enables the skipper to interact and converse with those in the cabin, not to mention a great way to pass up drinks and sandwiches.
The Wide gunwales all way round are another "must have" safety feature which few boats have anymore.
Cabin: Interior walls are light oak as is all the trim and cupboards and gives the interior a warm traditional feel.
Claustraphobic? Imagine also a boat with (five)large fully opening/screened windows all way around, as well as THREE hatches. Forget the air conditioners, enjoy the fresh cool breeze and sound of the water lapping the hull in your quiet anchorage.
Imagine an aft cabin that you don't have to crawl into on your hands and knees but that you can walk into, stand up to get dressed and close a full size sliding solid wood door behind you. And if that wasn't enough, the bed is a real mattress not a piece of foam! The second cabin is a traditional convertible dinette with drop down table but with one important exception, you can also stand up to get dressed and it can be curtained off to make it a true private second cabin. The third sleeping area is the V berth which also can also be curtained off with standing room but is cramped and best suitable for small children. No more pajama parties, all sleeping arangements are such that anyone from any of the three quarters can get up to make coffee or use the head in privacy without disturbing the others. Each also has it's own opening window.
Imagine a "10 foot" galley counter that you could prepare a thanksgiving feast at! No its not a typo, it's actually "over" 10 feet long and has a reasonable size fridge, double burner elec /alc stove and simply incredible cupboard space including a large built in ice box.
Remember this is a 29 ft boat!
Construction: The construction of this boat is where it fails the grade miserably. The attention to detail and pride of workmanship is entirely non-existent. It is possibly the most poorly assembled boat afloat. If your looking for quality of construction dont buy a Silverton. That said the problems are in how its put together NOT design or quality of materials. Fittings are mostly stainless or plated bronze and windows, trim, etc are all good name companies. The construction issues are resolvable if you want to do what should have been done at the factory, such as running and fastening the wiring properly, putting a good coat of varnish on interior woodwork, installing shelves in the numerous cupboards and lockers, grinding the millions of fiberglass spikes from the sloppily laid matting on the hull interior/bilge and patching the air pockets where the matting has not been properly smoothed around stringers. A big one is drilling out the gobs of fibreglass which plug the drain holes between the partial (honeycomb)bulkheads which make up the hull structure.
The other issue is printhrough on the hull. This is where the woven roving shows through the gelcoat as a pattern on the hull. This is not a problem but is a reflection of a thin gelcoat and the method of construction. ie: no chopped straw or matting as filler. The upside to this is the boat is almost pure resin and roving which makes it virtually impossible for these boats to develop so called osmosis or blisters. You will however find air pockets from shoddy workmanship in the glass around the prop/rudder areas where the glass is thickest.
I could go on and on, these are small things but some can drastically shorten the life of the boat if not fixed. They are also easily resolvable by Silverton at little extra cost which, beyond the hollow words, gives a deep insight into where Silvertons REAL stand on workmanship is. You can have amazing designers / engineers like they do and use reasonable quality materials like they do but if you dont put it together properly its no better than the other junk on the market.
Handling: Handling is good in most all conditions. Because the boat is so wide and short the ride gets increasingly rougher as the waves get higher. In three to four foot seas expect to pick stuff up off the floor and drawers to come open. The shallow draft also means that you can not go fast in severe conditions because the props will consantly come out of the water which is fatal to the engines. I have been caught in 6 to 8 ft seas on a few ocasions and it is the absolute limit in terms of safety, the bow will bury itself and the shallow draft causes it to be tossed and pitched uncontrolably, the small rudders are useless at this point. Control is maintained by engines only, that is when the props are in the water.
In summary I would still not trade control 'in severe conditions' for the shallow draft. The draft makes this a fantastic boat for exploring and finding those secluded hideaways. You will never have to put into a crowded anchorage again.
Another handling negative is that this boat will not backup due to the rudders/props being recessed in the hull. ie: it has short & shallow prop tunnels. This is overcome by skill through practice & use of throttle.
Engine Room: It is powered by twin Crusader V6 engines (229CID I believe)and although rated at 30 mph, it is a heavy boat and a realistic top end is 25 mph with crusing at 18mph. Not much to say, Crusader engines are the best inboards on the market. Mine have 800 hours and still have full factory compression. (I use 100% synthetic and Duralube)
General Comments: This boat MUST MUST have full canvas (camper back) to realize its full potential as a cruiser. If your fishing it doesnt matter but once you have the camper back this boat doubles in size and we use the cockpit area as a family room - chairs, TV, games table etc.
Although it is only 29ft the space in these boats is impossible to believe untill you see it for yourself. The size makes it perfect for older couples like ourselves to handle stress free and yet it is so comfortably spacious we can be away exploring for weeks on it and still not want to get off.
In summary, if you like puttering on boats you can overcome the lousy workmanship of this Silverton and end up with a practical, safe, and the most unique usable small cruiser ever built.
Date Submitted: 2006-06-13
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