It’s the mantra of the company, one that permeates every aspect of Viking Yachts: “Build a better boat every day.” From the executive staff to its visionary R&D department and right through to its craftspeople on the line, the company is relentless in its quest to fulfill the needs of its owners and their families.
“When we looked at how we could improve on our popular 46C, we discovered enough to bring out the one we’re on right now,” says Capt. Ryan Higgins, Viking’s Southeast sales manager, at the company’s service center in Riviera Beach, Florida, where the brand-new 48C sat amid her big-sister 80, 82, and 92C models.
She is one of four new models in this size range: the flybridge convertible; the Sport Coupe with a three-sided hard enclosure; the Sport Tower, a coupe with added tower; and the full express model.
Check out the performance of the Viking 48C HERE.
With a 46C right next to us, it was obvious how much was gained with the extra 2 feet. Foremost, the cockpit length was bumped up to 124 square feet, as was the dedicated space in the sole for a Seakeeper 9 gyrostabilizer, which is almost a standard option now.
“We decided on this location because, eventually, this equipment will need to come out for maintenance,” says Higgins. “Getting it done from here, with the wide open spaces, is a lot easier than trying to remove it from the engine room.”
The fish boxes are laid out fore and aft, with an in-deck livewell already plumbed as an option. The transom livewell has a cutting board in the lid, making it easy for the crew to cut bait or even use as a rigging station. There is a freezer in the mezzanine bench seat, a refrigerator in the lower mezzanine step, a drink box in the salon step and another insulated box to port with a four-drawer tackle center. “This is where it all happens on a fishing boat like this,” says Higgins. “We made sure it happens in the right way once the boat is in the bite.”
Access to the engine room is through the lift-up hatch on the mezzanine bench, and the space presents itself well given the obvious height restriction in a 48-footer. There is plenty of overhead space to do required maintenance, and all critical areas are within easy reach.
Expertly finished and faired off in bright, refrigerator-white Awlgrip, mechanically, there is little difference between the space and equipment aboard the 48C and her immediately larger sisterships. Along with the pair of optional 1,200 hp MAN V8 1200CRM mains, she is equipped with Viking’s centralized seawater system.
This system on the 48C is designed with a second in-line pump as a backup, which allows for air-conditioning and other systems to be left operating during servicing. Simply shut off the pump that you want to service, turn on the other pump and turn off the valve to the pump you are working with. Higgins comments: “With our centralized system, there’s a lot less maintenance. The smoother running bottom, with only two pickups and a pair of strainers, is also a plus. And it’s easy to add on something after the boat is delivered.”
Also present were an Eskimo ice machine, a 700-gallon-per-day Sea Recovery watermaker, Cummins Onan 21.5 kW genset and Dometic air conditioning, making the 48C’s engine room a place with a lot of nicely situated equipment.
This Viking convertible, like all her predecessors, will be tourney-ready. The bridge offers seating forward and to each side with plenty of storage space, as well as an easy-to-navigate centerline helm. A pair of electric teaser reels is readily available in the overhead, and her navigation package includes three Garmin GPSMap 8212 multifunction displays, all in glass-enclosed cabinets.
There is excellent visibility all around and especially aft, with clear sight lines into the cockpit. An optional tower is available from Palm Beach Towers.
Like the bigger boats, the 48C boasts a beautiful walnut interior with all the grains matching, displaying obvious attention to detail. “Working with William Bales, our in-house designer, each interior will be unique, using different wood-grain patterns, for example,” notes Higgins. Also borrowing a design feature from both the 80- and 92-footers is the raised bar top at the end of the island galley. Viking incorporated many features from its bigger boats for this one, including the fluted valances for the main salon’s air conditioning, walnut accents in the headliner, advanced latching systems on the cabinets and the dedicated washer/dryer closet to port in the accommodations hallway below.
Taking full advantage of all the available space, the 48C offers its owners and their guests a three-stateroom, two-head layout, which includes a queen master suite to starboard, forepeak over under and guest quarters opposite the master. I found plenty of available storage space throughout the salon and accommodations below.
The 48C is built on the same aforementioned principle the company has stood for since its beginnings. To that end, and with its new generation of boats, Viking is constantly improving on its already well-known, sea-tested and proven boatbuilding techniques.
“Newer laminates, cores and materials are constantly being considered, reviewed, tested and then implemented here in-house,” says Dave Wilson, Viking’s engineer and designer who worked on the 48C. “This boat’s running bottom is no different, other than length, than that carrying through on the 52-, 80-, and 92-foot models,” adds Higgins.
“Of course, along with the hull, many of our fiberglass-reinforced parts are now being infused as well,” Wilson says. “Given the speeds of our boats now, we are paying closer attention to the hull structure and always looking to attain that ‘stern-to-bow’ structural grid with as little deviation as possible. This gives her a real backbone.”
Lucky for me, the wind was blowing hard, the skies were getting low and gray, and the sea was up. Once we cleared the inlet, we were greeted with almost constant 4- to 6-footers on the nose, with a series of occasional bigger ones thrown in to make things really interesting — just the right kind of conditions for the 48C to show off her stuff.
The first thing I noticed was how soft she landed while coming off the approaching seas, how quickly and easily she dealt with the next one — and the next, and the next. In fact, with the Seakeeper 9 spinning away, we could simulate several fishing situations, like backing down, spinning 360s and setting up to do some kite-fishing. And she was equally impressive whether running down or abeam sea. For those of us used to this kind of sea, the Viking 48C made things downright comfortable while offshore.
As far as the bottom shape is concerned, the 48C has 10 equally spaced stations along the chine length, going from 11.8 degrees at the transom to a sharp 36 degrees forward. Together with a properly placed center of gravity, the result is performance and efficiency.
On Viking’s larger boats, the focus is to make them feel as nimble and manageable as something smaller. With the smaller boats, the single-minded endgame is to provide the owner with everything the big boats have. Has that been achieved on the 48C? She’s all that and more.