Before 1964, Petersen-Viking Yachts built unexceptional wooden sport-fishing boats in New Jersey – ultimately foundering financially. But in 1964, brothers Bob and Bill Healey bought the company, renaming it Viking Yachts, and they’ve never looked back. Since then, Viking Yachts has improved its product every year, either through design or construction innovations. Today, Viking Yachts takes a back seat to no one in the semicustom production marketplace. Using many creative ideas to improve process and efficiency, the company’s boats have never been better. At the same time, however, some things haven’t changed much at all.
For example, President Bill Healey still stands at the door of the factory saying good night to his workforce at the end of each shift. And though cruising smoothly through his 70s, Bill still does 100 sit-ups and 100 push-ups each day. That’s the kind of energy that drives Viking Yachts.
In a society that often seems to settle for mediocrity, I must admit that it takes a lot of substance rather than cheap flash to impress me. Cruising comfortably at 32.8 knots, I cranked the 64’s wheel hard over, and my jaw dropped. The 180-degree course change in less than two boat lengths took my breath away. I love being able to control a boat with a single finger. And when the inboard engine dips deeper, generating higher torque, the synchronizer has no problem maintaining the same rpm for both power plants.
Chasing down a sailfish outside of Palm Beach, Florida, I managed 6.5 knots in reverse with total control, and virtually no water at all came through the tuna door or scuppers.
The Viking 64 accomplished a lightning-fast 6.5 seconds to plane and exhibited an excellent range of trim with the tabs. The optional twin Caterpillar C32As putting out 1,825 hp each allowed us to cruise at 35 knots in insular bliss, burning a total of 120 gph. At wide-open throttle turning 2,330 rpm, we topped out at 38.5 knots and burned 190 gph. The standard engine package consists of a pair of V-12 MANs rated at 1,550 hp.
I have to assume this Viking will be a superb head-sea boat, but the seas were 3 feet or less on the day we tested, so the best I could come up with was about a
6-foot wake from a passing ship. At 35 knots, the Viking 64 merely sniffed at it in disdain. I’d call it a nonevent. The 64 proved totally dry and smooth on all points and at all speeds.
The Caterpillar electronic engine displays noted that 34 knots at 2,050 rpm rate at 72 percent load, while the most efficient cruising speed computes to 30 knots at 1,900 rpm using 102 gph (64 percent load).
At a 7 1/2-knot trolling speed, the wake exhibited moderate subsurface turbulence on centerline and virtually nothing else. You can’t say it had clear alleys because outside of the centerline, white water from the hull hardly existed.
Viking widened the beam of this 64 as well, making for an incredibly stable ride whether trolling the troughs or drifting in a beam sea.
|MAX POWER||T 1,825-hp|
|BASE PRICE||by request|
Unadulterated elegance greets anyone who enters the Viking 64 salon. Loads of drawers and cabinets assure that when you embark on your extended cruise, you won’t be forced to leave any essentials at home for lack of storage space. An entertainment center to starboard just inside the door and a big flat-panel plasma TV on the starboard forward bulkhead connect to the satellite antenna so you can always get CNN and the stock reports.
Granite counters throughout, under-counter refrigerators and freezers, a four-element cooktop and a dinette that can honestly seat four adults comfortably all add to the functional livability of the Viking 64.
Step down the few steps to the stateroom level to find crew quarters to starboard, with fore and aft singles and a private head and shower. Opposite to port you’ll find the master stateroom that boasts a queen berth and a private head with a spacious separate shower.
I found the bilge access for storage and pumps through the companionway floor extremely easy to use. In fact, all such hatches sport magnetic switches so when you open one, lights automatically go on.
All the way forward, the forepeak holds an oblique double berth to port and a single opposite – though feel free to configure this space in other ways to suit your particular needs.
Design and Construction
Viking uses five-axis routers and computer design software to build its own plugs and molds. You may find some refrigeration equipment or electronics onboard that Viking didn’t create, but rest assured that a remarkable 90 percent of every Viking yacht has been created in-house.
The 64 boasts under-water exhausts for both a quieter ride and more room under the cockpit. They allow you to orient the fish boxes fore and aft rather than athwartships. This Viking’s running-surface design varies from previous lines, exhibiting a slightly more convex shape, where previous hulls were somewhat concave. This has absolutely improved the ride. Other evolutionary changes made to the design include a more rounded house and additional rake in the windows.
Look at the 64 in profile and you’ll notice a difference in the sheer line compared to its predecessors. Where the sheer used to curve back downward near the bow, this Viking 64 carries the upward slant for the full length of the boat, providing measurably more headroom belowdecks. A higher bow also adds security when running down-sea. But don’t be fooled by the windows. Viking has cheated the window lines inside so they look parallel to the waterline, while from the outside, the window lines have a dramatic rake to them.
Take a sea trial on this Viking 64 – or any Viking for that matter – and you’ll instantly understand why the marque represents one of the most popular production sport-fishing boats in the world.
Read more about the Viking 64 in the October 2006 issue of Marlin magazine.
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