IN THEIR WORDS
Hardly a day on the water goes by when Eric Scrivano doesn’t think back to his boating mentor, Sal Mangiafico. A friend of the family, Mangiafico had a summer cottage next door to the Scrivanos’ cottage in Old Lyme, Conn. And when he took then 18-year-old Eric out fishing one day, a boater-for-life was born.
“I was hooked,” says Scrivano, 41, a sales account manager for AT&T living with his wife and two children in East Hampton, Conn.
Since then, as is the case with most boaters, Scrivano has owned a host of boats, moving up as the years went by. “I started out with a 12-foot aluminum boat with a 9.9-hp outboard on it,” he recalls. “I would go out fishing out at Hatchetts Reef.” A 15-footer followed, then a 28-footer with twin I/Os that really got Scrivano out to the fishing grounds. “It was set up for fishing and had what I needed to stay out all weekend,” he says.
After getting married Scrivano and his wife, Kelly, bought a 34-foot convertible more suited to family boating. “It was a Silverton and had one stateroom, a head with a shower, and a dinette and a large galley,” says Scrivano. “It worked great through our first child. With our second child, we started to have [accommodations] issues.”
It was time for a change, and the couple turned to the Internet for help. “There was a 1986 40-foot Silverton Convertible for sale [nearby]. We went to see it and fell in love with it,” says Scrivano. “It had everything we needed: a master stateroom and another cabin with bunks that was perfect for the kids.” It also had a head with a separate shower, a bigger galley, a dinette and a roomy saloon. They bought the boat in 2003 for around $80,000, and the builder’s reputation helped seal the deal, says Scrivano. “We liked the 34 Silverton, so [buying] a 40 was a no-brainer,” he says. “For the money and what you get in the boat, you can’t go wrong.”
The bigger boat needed little work, too. The previous owner had installed a new flybridge enclosure, added new carpeting below, and kept the boat clean. Scrivano updated the electronics with a new integrated navigation system that includes radar and GPS. She’s perfect for the kind of boating the family enjoys — cruising, a little fishing, or just going out for a ride. The Scrivanos’ favorite destination? Block Island, R.I.
“We spend about 30 nights at Payne’s Dock in the summer,” says Scrivano. “Most of the time if the boat is away from the dock [in Niantic, Conn.], we are there.”
The Silverton’s twin gas engines — Crusader 454s — had just 300 hours on them, and they’ve proven to be well-suited to the boat and the waters. Cruising speed is 18 to 20 mph at 3,000 to 3,200 rpm, depending on winds and waves, says Scrivano. In most conditions, the ride is soft, and that’s important on a family boat with youngsters aboard. “It doesn’t slam in rough seas,” says Scrivano. “The 40 goes right through the waves, which makes for a much nicer ride. We’re happy with that.”
All in all, the Silverton 40 is working out just fine. “This boat has kept us in boating,” says Scrivano. Still, there may be yet another Silverton in the family in a few years. “I know the children are getting older,” says Scrivano. “And we’re thinking about going to a 48-footer someday to get the third stateroom.”
To think it all started on that fishing trip with Sal.
The Silverton 40 Convertible’s styling is conservative. Designer Bob Rioux gave the boat a long foredeck, swept-back cabin topped with a flybridge, and a distinctive stepped sheer that breaks well aft. The fishing-oriented cockpit and flybridge steering station, set up to give the helmsman a good view of the angling action, make the boat popular with anglers. Wide side decks help give the boat all-around deck access. The fiberglass hull has a modest 14 degrees of transom deadrise, and standard power came from twin 350-hp Crusader gas engines for a cruising speed of 17 or 18 mph and a top speed of around 25 mph.
Though the flybridge and deck layouts remained the same over the years, the interior went through some design changes. The original floor plan centered on a galley/dinette to port, a step down from the saloon. Beginning with 1989 models, the galley/dinette is truly down. The later plan replaces the bench-seat dinette with a U-shaped one. In both plans, the master stateroom is forward, with an offset bunk to port and a vanity to starboard. The head compartment has a separate shower. The saloon is roomy, taking advantage of the boat’s 14-foot beam, and came equipped with a standard convertible sofa/sleeper. An inside helm station wasn’t offered.
The Silverton 40 Convertible is easily found on the used-boat market, and prices begin around $40,000 to $50,000, with later-model or well-maintained vessels fetching up to $90,000. A 1988 model was selling for $40,000 in Florida, with AC/heat, new carpeting and drapes, bow pulpit with windlass and a swim platform. A 1989 model outfitted “for serious fishing” was for sale in Maryland at $59,999, with twin Crusaders, a full slate of electronics and a new flybridge enclosure, AC/heat, and teak sole in the galley. A “well-maintained” 40 Convertible in western Florida was listed at $45,000, with twin gas 350s, a full enclosure and an electronics package that included depth- and fishfinder, GPS and radar. In New York, a “like-new, pristine” 40 Convertible was selling for $89,900, with a custom radar arch, two head compartments, a new flybridge enclosure, and a pair of gas engines with less than 500 hours.
The Silverton name has been well-known for decades. Originally a small-shop Jersey skiffbuilder (Silverton Sea Skiffs) out of Toms River, N.J., the company was bought by John and Warren Luhrs — sons of Henry Luhrs, founder of Luhrs yachts — in 1969 and renamed Silverton Marine. Production on midsize fiberglass boats began, and the brothers struck pay dirt with the Silverton 34 Convertible in 1978. An immediate success, it went on to become Silverton’s best-selling model, establishing the builder as a force in the family cruiser/convertible market.
The 40 Convertible, introduced in 1985, was a good example of the Silverton brand: economically priced and versatile, with suitably contemporary styling. Production continued for six years before the 40 was replaced by the 41 Convertible. Other well-known models include the 31 and 37 Convertible (both with 10-year production runs) and the 34 Convertible (1978 to ’83).
Today, Silverton Marine is part of the Luhrs Marine Group, which includes Luhrs and Mainship powerboats and Hunter sailboats.
LOA: 40 feet
BEAM: 14 feet
DRAFT: 3 feet
WEIGHT: 23,000 pounds
HULL TYPE: planing
POWER: twin 350-hp gas engines
TANKAGE: 300 gallons fuel,100 gallons water
BUILDER: Silverton Marine, Millville, N.J.