Viking almost never uses the bulkhead slip at its facility in Riviera Beach, Florida — the water against the seawall is too shallow to allow you to turn a boat bow outward to leave. With the new 42 Open, however, we could pull straight out and then slide the boat sideways until we were in deep enough water to turn the stern toward shore, and then head out of the marina. Once again, the use of pod propulsion opens up another opportunity.
Wind from the northwest at about 20 knots generated little in the way of seas near the beach, but offshore — out in the Gulf Stream — the seas grew quickly and dramatically. Even in these less than calm conditions, with 300 gallons of fuel and three people aboard, the twin 600-horsepower Cummins diesels lifted us to a 36-knot top speed. With the Zeus joystick, you can generate up to 1,800 rpm, which spins the boat unbelievably fast. Your angler will be hard-pressed to reel up the slack as fast as it spins. Another advantage of pod propulsion is that you can easily cut your billfish release times in half — a distinct advantage in tournaments. If you happen to get a fish that’s barely hooked, or bill wrapped, and you need to get a release fast, you don’t have to stop trolling, take the boat out of trolling mode and then start after the fish. You just shove the throttle forward and start your turn instantly. Turning radius is throttle-related; the faster you go, the broader the turn’s arc. Tighten the arc by slowing down.
Compared to other Vikings, the 42 sports a comparatively deep 17-degree deadrise at transom. Often with a deeper vee like this, you sacrifice roll stability. However, what it does do is make up for the shorter waterline — resulting in superb head-sea ability.
The roll moment is short and transitions are moderate.
You’ve never seen tracking control in reverse like this! It easily runs 7.4 knots in reverse with total directional control. It takes a mere six seconds to plane and 12 seconds to hit 30 mph. And to meet a variety of sea conditions, the Zeus’ integral tabs offer a huge range of trim. Those who like to bottomfish will also particularly appreciate the Skyhook function.
As usual, with Viking’s first hull of any particular model, the factory installs the maximum horsepower for optimum impressive performance. In this case, it’s a pair of Cummins 600-horsepower turbo diesels. Standard power drops down to 440 horses.
An unusual design element finds the companion seats somewhat aft of the helm seat, resulting in excellent visibility in all directions from the wheel. Even with 10 people seated on the bridge deck during the sea trial, we still had plenty of room. Because the entire helm is also set back from the dash, you can walk in front of the helm to sit or go belowdecks. This design always keeps the helmsman within a step or two of the fishing action going on in the cockpit.
Viking provides huge spaces under both bridge settees, with accommodations for heavy tackle storage.
Mezzanines are de rigueur on sport-fishing boats nowadays, and this 42 is no exception. Freezers hide under both mezzanine seats, large storage compartments outboard offer vast storage and dedicated tackle storage is housed just above the mezzanine seats.
As with every Viking, you can design your cockpit layout any way you wish when it comes to freezers, fish boxes and the livewell. Our test boat boasts a 60-gallon transom livewell that doubles as a fish box (in addition to two in-deck fish boxes).
Engines and pods all reside under the cockpit deck. The bridge deck lifts to expose the forward end of the engine compartment, while a day hatch affords quick access to check below as well. With the deck raised, you can work on both ends, as well as outboard and inboard of the engines, and have access to every one of the ship’s systems.
Belowdecks, Viking offers two- and three-stateroom layouts: With three cabins, the portside guest cabin sports over/under twin berths while the master features an elevated island double on centerline. The two-stateroom version replaces the guest cabin with a more open salon and a settee with dinette table. Both plans situate the main guest cabin with a pair of twin berths amidships under the bridge deck. As you’d expect of a boat made by Viking, a company known for its excellent carpentry, the joiner work is flawless and fits perfectly everywhere you inspect it. Beautiful, and more durable than wood, Amtico flooring covers the entire living space. I also particularly liked the look of the clear, nonskid finish on the wooden stairs coming below from the bridge deck.
Viking made several decisions in an effort to keep costs down on this boat. Standard, analog distribution panels were outfitted with breakers instead of the Octoplex digital monitoring and controls found on the company’s larger vessels. And the refrigerator and freezer under the galley counter are not drawer types.Oh, and by the way, this 42 comes in both express and convertible configurations.
You get tons of living space in this 42-footer — probably more than any other boat of this size — thanks mainly to the pod propulsion that relocates the engines farther aft, allowing the unused engine space to be repurposed for living quarters.
Design and Construction
The 42 provides a showcase for several Viking innovations. For the first time, the windshield is made from molded fiberglass, eliminating the braces needed for metal frames. Amazingly, the dramatically curved windows are distortion-free.
Viking’s in-house tower manufacturer twisted the aft tower legs to provide considerably more room to walk past on your way to the bow, and you’ll appreciate the truly secure handholds Viking mounts all the way around the house. Also, Viking makes tower access more secure because you don’t need to get on your hands and knees to enter the upper station.
Although it’s far from being Viking’s largest, most-expensive boat, you wouldn’t know it by looking at this 42. That’s simply because at Viking, building a smaller, less expensive boat with as many functional innovations as this one takes every bit as much time and effort as building a big one.
MAX POWER......Twin 850 hp Cummins
QSC-600 Zeus diesels
MSRP......$914,000 (base boat)
$1,165,424 (as tested)
Viking Yachts / New Gretna, New Jersey / 609-296-6000 / www.vikingyachts.com