Boat Review: Viking 82

Big and Quick

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Many sport fishermen say that an 82-footer can't possibly fish as nimbly as a 40-footer. And although there was a time when that may well have been true, with today's hull construction, propulsion and steering advances, those change-averse naysayers can kiss my transom. The Viking 82 not only lets you take your mansion to sea with you, it competes with the most agile boat out there.

Performance
I once watched a 747 jetliner fly upside down over a runway during a test flight. Just because people don't generally call on them to perform that way doesn't mean they can't. That's how I feel about the Viking 82. Yes, it's a leviathan. But while standing at the helm, you almost suffer the illusion of "no big deal" size. This 82 came equipped with the optional MTU 16V2000 M93, 2,400-horsepower diesels and got up on plane reasonably quickly, with virtually no bow rise. One moment you're idling and the next you're running at 30 knots. We topped out at almost 38 knots, though at more than 200 gph - that's not something you'll want to make a habit of. However, drop back to a realistic cruising speed of around 25 knots (1,750 rpm), and you burn 104 gph, providing a range of 676 nautical miles. Slow down to displacement range at night, and you'd have absolutely no trouble making it to Bermuda for the July billfishing series using only your built-in tanks.

During our test off Palm Beach, Florida, we tried everything from kite fishing for sails to sight-casting to cobia. Not once did I feel disadvantaged by our boat's size while fighting a fish. We had no problem spinning, backing or even releasing fish in comfort and security. In fact, since the switches for the 40 hp hydraulic bow thruster are incorporated into the shift levers, maneuvering the Viking 82 takes on the same feel as a much smaller vessel.

A fascinating new technology automatically adjusts the toe in/out angle of the rudders for optimum turning performance. Most boats' rudders are installed at a slight, permanent angle away to make them turn better. But that creates drag when running straight. Viking's new system eliminates that problem.

**Interior
**This mostly traditional interior does come with a few innovative changes that I appreciate. For example, the dinette easily seats six, full-size adults before you pull up any occasional chairs. You'd expect a well-equipped galley on such a boat and you get it - with all the bells and whistles. For example, all the flush-mounted latches use magnets to lock the cabinet doors.

Viking finally went to all LED lights aboard - nary a halogen lamp anywhere. The amazing entertainment system by Judge Audio can be controlled from almost any point aboard and includes individual iPod docks throughout the entire boat.

Cockpit
There's nothing in the world that Viking Yachts' president, Pat Healey, would rather do than fish, so every Viking sport-fishing boat overflows with innovations in the cockpit. This boat even boasts a system that allows you to regulate the baitwell flow to match the species in the tank! A special cabinet with drawers and removable tackle boxes lets you keep the day's tackle close at hand while everything else remains stowed elsewhere. The mezzanine hides copious dry storage, bait freezers, an Eskimo ice receptacle, a rigging station, drink box and more. Elsewhere around the cockpit you'll find special compartments for chamoises, squeegees, freshwater and saltwater washdown spigots, dedicated gaff and mop storage, and quick-connect oil-change fittings, to name just a few. You can plumb the transom fish box to double as a livewell and give it an "aquarium" window if you choose. Our test boat came with another livewell installed in the deck, and each metal scupper plate in the cockpit corners sports a 2-inch threaded hole that accepts additional livewell outflow hoses - or tuna-tube exhaust.

Engine Room
I am frequently amazed when I climb down into the engine compartment of a large boat to find myself squeezed for space - not the case here. The big engine-room hatch affords easy and comfortable access. Once inside, I still enjoyed more than six inches of headroom above my more than 6-foot frame. I found it equally easy to work all the way around the engines. Between the design and placement of equipment, and the white surfaces painted with Awlgrip, this engine room qualifies as starkly clean with everything totally accessible. You can even reach the backs of the generators (located under the mezzanine) through the mezzanine seats. Viking wisely avoids locating noise-generating machinery on the forward bulkhead. Instead, Viking installs a layer of SoundShield just to be sure that the master stateroom remains remarkably quiet under way.

Another innovation: Viking uses a single 2½ hp pool pump to supply eight raw-water washdown systems with a clone as a backup.

**Flybridge
**This 82-footer sports a totally unique layout for a fishing flybridge. The circular seating area forward of the helm makes for one of the most sociable bridge layouts I've seen. Viking supplies plenty of room to move around the helmsman to access companion seats, and the small step at the wheel provides an unfettered view both fore and aft. As you'd expect, the Viking 82 comes with hydraulic riggers, since no one wants to manhandle pipes that long.

Palm Beach Towers (sister company to Viking) designed and installed the handsome tower. I have but one suggestion there: With so much room, I'd love to see a more secure means to climbing the tower than climbing outboard of the flybridge rail and then standing on the handrail to reach the rungs. Perhaps a centerline ladder inboard of the flybridge rail?

Construction
With its 10-degree deadrise at the transom, underwater exhausts and aggressive prop pockets, the Viking 82 spent a good deal of time at the Stevens Institute in tank testing to fine-tune this unique running surface. Some people feel that underwater exhausts help push a boat up on plane faster. Viking's engineers aren't convinced of that, but they know for a fact that they keep the noise down.

Viking is all about clean lines, and to that end, more changes have been made to "the way we've always done it." You'll see lots more shape in the transom - for both aesthetic reasons and to get more water sliding off to the sides when backing down on fish. Additionally, Viking has always incorporated raised trunk cabins, but lo - another design first for Viking - you'll find a flush foredeck on the 82. Those of us who've tripped on that raised step heading out to handle the bow lines will truly appreciate the change - although it vastly improves the aesthetics as well.

If you thought you could tell a Viking from a distance, you may have some more studying to do. The 82 sports a much more dramatic sheer than previous models. Shaping everywhere has obviously been a major design-change target for Viking. Everywhere you look you see more roundness and sleekness - the front of the house, the crown in the deck, even throughout the interior.

Other than a few major components, such as engines and appliances, Viking designs and manufactures virtually everything aboard. It's a comforting thought that only a single phone call is needed to cope with any potential headache, especially when there will be so few coming with the purchase of a Viking.

LOA......83'5"
**BEAM......
22'4"
DRAFT......5'6"
Deadrise......10 degrees
Weight......162,250 pounds
Fuel......3,000 gallons**
Water......450 gallons
**Std Power......
T1,825 hp Cat C32 Acert diesels
Price......$5,279,285**

Viking Yachts / New Gretna, New Jersey / 609-296-6000 / www.vikingyachts.com