Viking 46 Convertible - Boat Review

The Viking 46 is built to satisfy the most demanding angler.

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Viking executives can't relish taking prospective customers on sea trials out of the factory marina in New Gretna, New Jersey. The serpentine route through the shallow and shoaling marshlands you must negotiate to reach open water can be a bit scary when running at cruising speed. I freely admit to being instantly impressed by the tracking and performance of Viking's new 46-footer as we wound our way out to the bay.

As you push the throttles forward, you can really feel the thrust of the turboboost forcing you back into your seat. The MAN engines, combined with Viking's favorite Veem Interceptor propellers, give this boat both respectable speed and fuel economy. And the propeller pockets not only shorten the draft, allowing you to enter shallow harbors, they also substantially decrease the shaft angle, vectoring the props' thrust more parallel to the water's surface for improved fuel economy. At 1,800 rpm, the MANs moved the 46 along at a very comfortable 28.4 knots while burning a relatively conservative 64 gph. Top speed nearly touched 39 knots at 2,335 rpm, burning 118 gph.

With the 46's Teleflex power-assist steering, it's no wonder it could fly through the circuitous channels of the Jersey low country. Lenco electric trim tabs responded instantly, adjusting an inherent, slightly bow-high running attitude as needed. Once we were out in the bay, the gusty winds that went unnoticed in the marshes churned up a healthy chop, displaying the 46's moderate roll moment and gentle transitions. I found this particularly surprising because, usually, the smaller the boat, the faster and more dramatic the roll. I believe the prop pockets helped dampen the roll moment. As we simulated spinning on a fish, the boat exhibited quarter-horse rather than Clydesdale response.

Up on the flybridge, you'll find a classic layout with straight settees for guest seating forward and to starboard of the helm console. But Viking adds some special touches that I particularly like, such as the reversible seat back, which also fits into standard rod holders, on the aft end of the starboard settee. Between the helm and companion seats and the flybridge rail, you'll find more than enough room to access the companion seating without disturbing the helmsman. Finally, despite the copious room between rail and rears, with the captain's seat back removed, you enjoy an unobstructed view of the entire aft half of the cockpit.

Inside, this boat offers a traditional layout with a starboard-side galley complete with Corian counters and a smaller than average, triangular island with two stools. The portside dinette seats two, with a third stool at the island. Everything else is what you'd expect: undercounter refrigerator/freezer drawers, a three-burner cooktop, slide-out trays in all cabinets, a teak-and-holly sole in the galley and tons of storage in the bow to port and starboard of the centerline gangway.

Just at the foot of that stairway leading below resides a guest/day head with shower that I found a little short in the headroom department. Forward of that, Viking provides a port-side guest cabin with over/under single berths and a starboard-side master with a queen-size island berth hiding copious storage beneath. I loved the master head, with its truly enormous shower, up in the forepeak.

All Vikings are pretty much semicustom now, meaning that if you stick within the confines of the hull design, you can stipulate virtually any feature.

I frequently find engine-room access hatches a tight fit for somebody my size. And while this 46 certainly doesn't offer standing headroom inside the compartment, you'll find all routine maintenance points close at hand. Surprisingly, the forward end of the engine space offers tons of room to move outboard of the engines if necessary. Viking wisely mounts the 17.5 kW Onan EQD (electronic quiet diesel) generator against the aft bulkhead, while quieter machinery mounts forward. Being true offshore anglers, Viking's decision makers also locate the crash valve right at the base of the cockpit ladder, where it belongs.

Delta T air systems maintain temperature, airflow and pressure while preventing salt spray and mist from inhibiting engine performance. Viking coats every glossy surface in Awlgrip and covers the engine-room floor in rubber diamond plate or mesh matting.

Viking executive vice president Pat Healey would honestly rather fish than work. So he builds every Viking cockpit to satisfy the most demanding angler. The 46's mezzanine holds coil-bound freezers under the seats, along with lots of other assorted storage, again configured to your wishes. A lighted fish box/livewell in the transom sports an aquarium window for a lovely effect at night, and an additional livewell hides under the cockpit sole. From a safety standpoint, I like that the standard equipment list includes transom steps to facilitate getting out of the water (although I'd add a handhold as well, if it were my boat). Oh, and I thank Viking for stretching the nonskid across the entire foredeck.

This 46 exhibits more radius curves and rounded edges than any Viking before it. Available in either flybridge or express configurations, it employs advanced-composite and vacuum-bagging technologies for the optimum in strength-to-weight ratios and long-term durability.

Viking pioneered the use of the Moritz Octoplex digital, electrical distribution system that saves tons of weight in wiring. It allows the captain (or owner) to monitor most electrical systems aboard at any of several touch screens.

Viking Yachts is a family-owned business, and watching Viking president Bill Healey stand by the door of the factory every day and say goodbye to all the employees shows that the Viking family includes everyone who works there. Luckily for you, you can buy into this incredible brand loyalty with the purchase of any of Viking's superior offerings - the 46 included.

LOA......50'9"
**BEAM......
16'6"
DRAFT......4'5"
DEADRISE......12.5 degrees**
WEIGHT......54,120 pounds
FUEL......1,524 gallons
WATER......150 gallons
POWER......T 1,100 hp MAN diesels
PRICE......$1,214,000 (base)

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