Boats are expensive, sometimes ridiculously so, but you don’t have to pay a king’s ransom for a solid, well-appointed yacht that will give you and your family years of pleasure. Through smart management and efficient production practices, the Silverton Marine Corporation builds quality boats at reasonable cost; the result is excellent value for Silverton’s customers. This 42 Convertible is a good example: It’s hundreds of thousands less than similar boats from elite builders, but perfectly suitable for cruising, fishing – in fact, for most boatmen’s needs.
|Length Overall||44' 6'' / 13.56 m|
Currently no test numbers
2 x 440-hp Yanmar 6LY3-STP
2 x 480-hp Yanmar 6LY3-STP
2 x 500-hp Cummins QSC-500
Luhrs’ Back Story
In 1969 John and Warren Luhrs bought the Silverton Sea Skiff company in Tom’s River, N.J. The Luhrs brothers weren’t new to boatbuilding: The family had been at it for generations. Their father, Henry, was one of the first boatbuilders to adopt the production line; in the 1960s the Luhrs Sea Skiff Company built more than 1,200 boats a year – first out of wood, then fiberglass. Luhrs boats were of good quality and affordable, and thousands of baby-boomers learned to love boating aboard their fathers’ Luhrs Sea Skiffs.
When the Luhrs bought Silverton, they recast the company in the family tradition, using the same manufacturing techniques that had worked for their father. While the old Silverton Sea Skiffs were, to be tactful, not so good, the Luhrs brothers, like their father, turned out a nice product at an attractive price. It took them a while to shake off the old boats’ reputation, but today knowledgeable boatmen know that Silvertons are fine boats. Their lower prices come not from cutting corners on the product, but from hard-nosed business practices, investment in modern manufacturing technology and an efficient and dedicated work force.
The Luhrs philosophy works. Today the family owns not just Silverton, but also Mainship, Hunter and a new Luhrs, builders of well-regarded and affordable sportfishermen. European sales and service for all the companies are handled by Luhrs Marine Ltd. in the U.K.
A Traditional Convertible
There are lots of low-40-foot convertibles on the market, and most are basically similar. The parameters of the design demand this: A convertible has a large-ish cockpit, a main-deck saloon amidships and staterooms forward on a lower deck. The only major consideration builders face is whether to put the galley “up,” in the saloon, or “down,” on the stateroom level. Each location has its proponents, but both work out fine if well-designed. “Down” galleys provide more on-deck space in the saloon; “up” galleys make room belowdecks for an extra stateroom. Which is best depends on whether you want to maximize berths or sociability.
Silverton opted for a “down” galley on the 42 Convertible, which means only two staterooms below. And that’s enough, in our opinion; how many people do you want to carry overnight aboard a 42-footer, anyway? We think four is plenty. If you need extra now and then, convert the dinette in the saloon. The cabin is cooled with two-zone air conditioning, there’s a single head – another thing we like: Why take up valuable cabin space with two heads? – and an adequate galley with microwave oven, two-burner cooktop and dual-voltage refrigerator.
Convertibles are all about being outside, and Silverton provides lots of incentive to get some fresh air. The cockpit is big enough for a couple of comfortable folding chairs, or maybe a small fighting chair. You’ll want one that’s easy to remove when not fishing, though; otherwise it’ll take up too much room. A wet bar is standard, icemaker and refrigerator optional. Fishermen will like the transom door; a swim platform with ladder is optional. Optional, too, is the Fish Pak, including rod holders, rocket launcher and other fish-oriented gear. Most builders include this equipment as standard, but if you’re not going to fish – and lots of convertible buyers are not – why pay for them? A fiberglass hardtop is standard.
Engine access is via the cockpit. Diesels are now the only power options; the 42C used to come with gas engines as standard, diesels optional. If you’re shopping for a used boat, keep that in mind when comparing prices. Today, power ranges from twin 440- or 480-hp 6LY3-STP Yanmars to a pair of 500-hp Cummins QSC-500s. A 10-kW genset with a sound shield is standard, along with a bow thruster to make docking easier. An electric anchor windlass is an option. A foredeck davit is also available, handy for folks who like to anchor in remote gunkholes and explore with in the RIB – just the kind of people who enjoy convertibles.
We’ll Take a Porsche, Too
MSRP for the 42 Convertible is $566,369 with twin 440-hp Yanmars. Add a few options and you’re looking at around $600,000 for a well-equipped boat. Now, that ain’t hay – 600 grand is a lot of money. But at the top of the line a Viking 42 convertible starts at $960,000, and you’ll hit a million without much trouble. OK, that’s with pricey Zeus drives, and the Viking is one of the finest boats around, but even so – that’s a 60% increase over the Silverton 42C.
Will you have 60% more fun on the Viking than the Silverton, if you can afford either one? We don’t think so – as much as we like Vikings (which are built a few miles from the Silverton plant, by the way), we’d take the Silverton, use the extra cash for a red Porsche and still have plenty left over. (Silverton builds the 42C only on order, so you probably won’t find one at your local dealer.)
There are 42-foot convertibles priced between the Silverton and the Viking, and some less-expensive than the 42C, but we think Silverton’s combination of price and quality is hard to beat for most people. If we were in the market for a convertible in this size range, we’d put the Silverton at the top of our list. If our boating habits included traveling far offshore after trophy billfish, weekend-in and weekend-out, in all conditions, maybe we’d shop for a boat with a higher fishing pedigree, pay the premium and leave the Porsche for someone else. Otherwise, we’ll take the Silverton 42C and the cash.