Civility meets ability...

Crash pumps, straight-shaft diesel inboards, and surge tubes on the exhausts are just some of the features that make the Silverton 45C at home a hundred miles from shore- just like any good convertible fishboat. Yet its large swim platform, relatively low horsepower engines, and opulent three-stateroom, two-bead accommodations make its cruising mission as large and clear as its expansive cabin windshield. Oh, this boat will hunt, but it's also happy romping around a field.

And then there's the cost. Most fishing convertibles this size displace about 25 percent more- so the Cabos, Oceans, and Vikings of the world need twin 700-hp motors. More displacement makes a boat more expensive to build and to run. If you don't need to crush waves for a hundred miles with a ton of fish and ice aboard, then you don't need the extra displacement. With the 45C, Silverton offers a cruising boat that has many of a battlewagon's best qualities, allowing it to stand a head above the cruising boat pack in terms of seaworthiness and machismo.

Silverton 45 Convertible Performance SpecificationsPOWER DOWN. If you think the above qualifies the 45C as the perfect boat, don't. You should have heard me bellyaching about the lack of sealing compound on bonding and electrical terminals in the bilge. But that's where my engine room gripes stopped.

The twin 540-bhp Cummins MerCruiser QSC-8.3 diesel inboards were installed on powder-coated steel I-beams. Each of these spanned bulkheads fore and aft. With beds like these, engines and shafts will stay aligned through all but the most abusive operation by the most inexperienced owners in rough seas. And even then, they're idiot proof.

Limber holes are sealed, clamps are double, and all seacocks, filters, and dipsticks are at hand. I liked the battery box, a beam-width fiberglass cabinet against the forward bulkhead. Its lid keeps things clean and service doesn't get easier. If you don't work on your engines, know that access to the engine room is fishboat style: a cockpit hatch against the cabin bulkhead. Greasy-footed mechanics won't be tromping through your salon (and you won't have to leave the boat unlocked when you schedule service).

To see how all this gear makes the boat go, take the stairs-yeah, stairs; there's no fishboat ladder here- to the flying bridge and grab the controls. My test boat surged onto plane. Visibility is good- inclination wasn't excessive- and Silverton thoughtfully notched the boss at the front of the bridge. That gives the captain and any crew seated at the forward lounge a view across the pulpit at all times. The standard EZ2CY panel that connects between the hardtop and brow enhances visibility even more.

Wide open, the 45C made 32 mph with half fuel, canvas up, and the bottom painted. I found 2300 rpm and 25 mph an ideal cruising speed-the engines weren't being overworked and the boat was responsive to helm commands. During one of my passes, minimum plane, what I use to assess a boat's ability to maintain positive steerage in rough water, was a confidence-inspiring 12.6 mph at 1490 rpm, tabs down. For me, any speed under 15 mph is the mark of a boat that can remain comfortable in steep, short seas. Many cruisers with aft-mounted, V-drive power can't make this benchmark.

LUXE DIGS. The 45C's 87-square-foot cockpit sports space for fish fighting- or a slew of chaise lounges. There's a rigging center with tackle stowage and an icemaker against the bulkhead and a livewell at the transom. A gated tuna door leads to the swim platform. Macerated fishboxes are in the sole. The rodholders drain to the bilge, hence the rubber caps. There's no toekick, hence the rubber caps again. There are coaming bolsters, but they were likely installed after the cockpit shower. How could I could tell? The bolsters overlapped the shower door, preventing it from opening-a gaffe that has no place in a convertible's cockpit. Silverton said this would be corrected in production.

In the cabin, you'll find a mix of fixed and opening windows, a TV that rises from a burled wood console, and an overall luxuriousness tempered by ruggedness. For instance, the counters are a custom solid-surface pattern you can get only on a Silverton. A luxury. Yet there are no hull ports in the forward stateroom. The reason? They eventually leak, which is why most fishboats forgo them. A queen island berth and a private head with beveled mirror, Amtico faux-wood flooring, and shower complete this master stateroom.

Port and starboard guest staterooms are also behind solid-framed doors. Portside, two twin berths can be filled to make a queen. Private access to the day head, with its shower, is here. To starboard is an athwartship queen berth. The laundry is in this room, not in a bilge space beneath the passageway stairs. More convenience: It's a stacked washer/dryer, not a combo unit.

There's no reason why you couldn't shop the 45C against fishboats, such as Ocean Yachts' 42,600-pound 46 Super Sport ($866,500, with twin 710-bhp Caterpillar C-12 diesel inboards). But i'd bet that if you like the 45C, you'll look at Sea Ray's 44 Sedan Bridge ($630,781 with twin 500-bhp Cummins MerCruiser QSC-500 diesel inboards), a straightshafted, 28,500-pound displacement inboard cruiser .

EXTRA POINT: A standard isolation transformer prevents stray current corrosion from sneaking aboard via your shore-cord, regardless of voltage. The more common and less expensive galvanic isolators only eliminate stray currents below 1.2volts.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW OTHER SILVERTON YACHTS CURRENTLY FOR SALE IN CALIFORNIA

This review/article originally appeared in Boating Magazine, May 2006 and is written by Kevin Falvey. For more great yacht reviews, visit their website and subscribe at: https://subscriptions.boatingmag.com/

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