On Sweden’s coast near Karlhamn a fresh breeze is blowing this morning. In the small harbour master’s hut the coffee steams and the cinnamon rolls smell. We have a quick breakfast, because the Tiger is waiting at the jetty!
It is white and made from plastic. And exactly this is new. So far Silver Boats has not built any Fiberglass-only boats. The hulls were always made of aluminium, a Finnish classic. With the new Z series there is now a GRP series – and Silver Boats has now three model series: the X series completely made of aluminium, the Y series with aluminium hull and GRP deck and – like the Tiger – the Z series completely made of GRP.
“If you compare it to a car, it would probably be a Volvo”, says Silver Export Manager Christoffer Wallgren, as we stand at the jetty right in front of the boat. The new hull shape, the flattened bow section with integrated lights and the low front give the Tiger a sporty look. The cockpit looks spacious and minimalist.
Stowed where you need it
The low, long running windscreen blends in well with the sporty appearance and offers good protection against the cold winds on our test day. Smart and unique are the fender boxes on the side of the aft deck. Here the fenders are stowed quickly and space-saving – exactly where you need them. The lockable stowage boxes are also a nice plus. The best way into the boat is via the bow, which leads over two steps also safely back ashore. In Scandinavia often also to the nearest rock accessible. The flat nose of the Tiger is ideal for this.
Only flying is better!
I go on board with my Finnish Best of Boats Award colleague Jan Sjölund. Out of the harbour, still with a small wave, we take a run-up and are amazed how fast the tiger gets into planing. The boat cuts the waves very softly. You don’t hear any wave sound on the hull. The view over the coaming shows an interesting picture: There is hardly any splash water to see. How is this possible?
The hull of the Silver Tiger has a completely new shape: a Petestep hull, named after the founder and developer Peter Bjersten. While other hulls have stringers parallel to the keel direction, Petestep uses so-called deflectors. These gradations run – unlike the well-known parallel stringers – from an optimally calculated point to the stern.
This effectively reduces the drag of the hull in the water. Through the deflectors the water is diverted aft and not pushed to the side as a spray, as usual. This has quite a lot of positive effects: The hull lifts faster out of the water and planes earlier. According to the manufacturer, this also reduces the fuel consumption by up to 35%.
More thrust, less resistance
Due to the lower water resistance, the friction resistance is also lower. This means: more thrust. Due to the alignment of the deflectors, the hull hits the wave much softer. This makes the ride quieter and more stable. And that is what we clearly experience during our testing. The hull behaves more nimble and this feels great. Although Honda’s 150 hp engine does its job clearly hearable at the rear, the noise level is lower.
As we go further away from the coastline, the waves become more choppy. The hull remains easy to handle, soft and responsive. And even against the wave, it feels much more pleasant to be on board of our Tiger than with other boats of this size. According to Petestep, the G-force (the centrifugal force) is reduced by 30%. The stability when turning is much better thanks to the new hull. No yawing and no shifting of the hull when changing the direction fast and tight.
Even during our extreme test, where we test the course stability with full throttle while turning – we briefly take out the throttle and then accelerate again fully – the hull remains stable. And it feels absolutely safe at the wheel. More than 50% less G-force are present, according to the comparison test of the manufacturer with other hulls.
The relaxed ride across the Baltic Sea is a lot of fun, and the light 1,150 kg boat reacts to all the manoeuvres we put it through as gently as a wildcat. The ergonomics on board are great. You feel safe, have a good grip and sit softly in the padding. The passage to the bow can also be mastered safely when the sea is choppy. We take our time, because there are two models for the selected testers: the Daycruiser Silver Tiger DC with a small cabin and the Bowrider version Silver Tiger BR.
Petestep wants to make prototypes superfluous
Back ashore, Jonas Danielsson, CEO of the Stockholm start-up Petestep, explains the software on his laptop to me. The naval engineer once wrote his master’s thesis on simulating and optimizing planing and stepped hulls. He now uses this knowledge in the development of Petestep hulls.
“Can you use your software to calculate exactly how the hull behaves in the water?” I want to know. “Yes, with the corresponding parameters that Eker Design has calculated for us, we know exactly what angle the boat has in the water. Here we gave 70 hp and now I can calculate the consumption. You see, it’s 0.9 litres at 4,000 RPM.” Jonas plays through different scenarios by changing the parameters weight, engine, hull shape, length, width and number of people on board.
With a second software he can calculate the driving behaviour very accurately. “I think we are the only hull designers who work with this method, for all hulls”, Jonas proudly states. He believes that this will allow shipyards like Silver Boats, who opt for Petestep, a much shorter development time in the future. Because they can do without prototypes.
100% Glassfiber is new for Silver
So how come the Finnish switch from Aluminium to Glassfiber? During the warm-up coffee, Sales Manager Christoffer Wallgren tells me the story behind the Z-Series. Several years ago, Yamaha bought several Finnish shipyards, including Yamarin. The biggest boat of this shipyard, the Yamarin 81, was too expensive for the engine manufacturer to produce.
A Nordic joint project – with Norwegian design, Swedish hydrodynamics and Finnish manufacturer.
That’s how Silver was offered the assets. Silver contacted the Norwegian company Eker Design who had designed the Yamarin boats and bought the intellectual property on the boat. This also included Petestep’s hull design.
The new Z series is therefore a Nordic joint project, says Christoffer Wallgren with pride: Norwegian design, Swedish hydrodynamics and the Finnish manufacturer. A new production hall was built especially for the new boat series.
Three models are planned in total at the moment. The large Raptor, eight metres long, is a day cruiser with a cabin for four people, plus the small Tiger with 6.06 metres as a Daycruiser and Bowrider. Next year, the Viper with a length of seven metres will complete the model range.
Something completely new on the market
With the Tiger Silver wants to bring something completely new to the market. The boat is meant to set new standards. Not only in design and craftmanship, but also regarding the running characteristics. Silver Boats aimed to reinvent the wheel – or, better said, the hull.
Of course, there is also new sales opportunities in this project. There is a large market for Daycruisers in Central Europe, and Silver Boats has targeted this market. And since Germany is the export region #2 for Silver after Norway, the Z series comes just in time for Central European customers.
This is another reason for Silver’s move to the new hull material: Experience shows that aluminium boats are more often perceived as working boats in Germany. In the Nordic countries it’s different: In Finnish waters with their rocky subsoil, a hull has to be extremely stable – you should always be prepared for a hard landing – and perform well in the waves. Because up in Scandinavia the sea is rougher. Also because of the large temperature differences between summer and winter, aluminium makes more sense as a building material here than GRP.
Even without these explanations, the Tiger is a convincing product. The new boat follows an extremely innovative concept, which is excitingly new and different than the competitors in this size. The Silver Tiger with its great Petestep hull brings something really new onto the market: the very best driving characteristics coupled with lower fuel consumption, a chic layout and many smart and exclusive details on deck. For the Best of Boats Award 2019 the Tiger was nominated finalist in the category Best for Beginners during the Cannes Yachting Festival, followed by winning the BOB Award a few weeks later in Berlin.
Technische Daten Silver Tiger
|weight||1,150 kg (ohne Motoren)|
|engines||115 to 150 HP|
|CE category||C (coastal waters)|
|maximum crew size||6 persons|
2 persons on board, almost no wind, swell: 80 cm
|RPM (U/min)||Speed (Knots)||Consumption (l/h)|