Viking Yachts provided an excellent reason for me to skip town on Friday and head down to Riviera Beach for the company's VIP Boat Show, held at their service center. A good crowd showed up the event, which is much like a mini-preview of the upcoming Miami Boat Show at the end of the month. A multitude of vendors ranging from tackle stores to engine room ventilation companies displayed their wares up under in the warehouse, while the working models graced the fleet of Vikings waiting to be demonstrated down on the docks.
I ran into Patrick Healey under the main tent just after he announced the newest model in the Viking fleet, a sweet-looking 55 Convertible. I was a bit ashamed to admit to Healey that this was my first Viking event of the nature, especially after he told me that this was there 16th one! I assured him that I wouldn't miss it again, and thanked him for his help with the Galati story that is coming out in the March issue. (Galati is one of Viking's largest dealers.)
I headed on down to the dock to check out the boats and I was standing there admiring one of the larger convertibles, Capt. Ryan Higgins backed in on the 82-footer, making it look easy as usual. In addition to being Viking's company captain, Higgins holds a degree in Naval Architecture and is an excellent fisherman - so we are very proud of him here in his hometown of Winter Park, Florida.
The folks at Release Marine were there with their new wares and so were some of the other fine furniture and chair companies like Murray Brothers Products and Bluewater Chairs of Fort Lauderdale. It's great to see all of these great products in one place; it's amazing how different companies can all find unique ways to solve the same problems - and do it at such a high level of quality.
I walked the event for about 2 1/2 hours and then had to skeedaddle to get my rental car back on time, but I didn't make it. Even though Viking was gracious enough to provide some Too Jays for lunch - one of my favorite deli-style restaurants - I opted to stop at the Brass Ring for cold beer, a cheeseburger and an order of hot wings. Yeah I know...that's a lot of food, but I don't get to the Brass Ring very often anymore!
Check out some of my pics of the Viking Event...and my Brass Ring festival of meat!.