From 1991 to 2000, Viking Yacht Co. sold more than 110 of its now-famous 58-foot Convertibles. At the time, it was the company’s largest boat to date, and it put the New Gretna, New Jersey-based builder squarely on the sport-fishing map as a boatbuilding powerhouse. Eighteen years later, Viking has introduced an updated version of the 58, and it’s a winner right out of the gate.
To check out the new Gen II 58 C, I headed to the company’s annual dealer meeting in Atlantic City, New Jersey, only about 30 minutes from the Viking factory’s location on the Bass River. Foggy weather had rolled into the area, so we had plenty of time to take a look around before departing for a quick sea trial in the waterway — huge swells from Hurricane Florence some 500 miles south of us precluded spending any time in the ocean. On board for the morning were Viking president and CEO Pat Healey, communications director Chris Landry, noted boating writers Karl Anderson and Peter Frederiksen, and Capt. Scott Adams at the helm.
When I ask about the 58 Convertible’s intended spot in the Viking line, Healey talks simplicity. Rather than being overly complicated, this is a boat intended to have everything you need in a serious fishing boat, yet designed and engineered in a way that an experienced owner/operator can easily manage with a part-time crew. She’s an uncompromising, comfortable tournament competitor.
Cockpit and Flybridge
With a teak-decked, class-leading 165-square-foot cockpit, the 58 is clearly designed as a hardcore fish boat. Standard features include a large transom livewell, in-deck fish boxes, side lockers for gaffs, brush handles and chamois mops, a transom door with lift gate, and fresh- and saltwater washdowns. The corners are beautifully rounded, and everything is within easy reach for a crew of anglers and mates. Hull No. 1 was outfitted with a Release Marine rocket launcher mounted on a slightly offset stanchion, which adds several extra inches of space behind it and the step up to the mezzanine; it’s a perfect spot for two anglers to stand while watching the spread.
A Seakeeper 9 gyrostabilizer resides in the lazarette hatch, just forward of the transom. Viking was one of the first boatbuilders to engineer all its new models with the ability to incorporate such stabilizers, and this location offers easy access for routine maintenance.
The 58’s center-console helm on the flybridge mirrors other Viking designs, with dual recessed electronics boxes on either side of the helm station to house VHF radios and other equipment beneath hinged, split lids. A full suite of electronics is protected beneath a clear acrylic spray shield within easy view from the two Release Marine helm chairs, while a drop-down box in the hardtop accommodates additional displays. A second box just aft is home to a pair of Miya Epoch US9 HD electric teaser reels within easy reach of the captain. Bench lounges run along each side of the bridge, with an aft-facing jump seat fitted for the starboard side. The custom Palm Beach Towers tuna tower, along with a pair of 41-foot Rupp triple-spreader outriggers, complements the boat’s aggressive lines.
One key feature of all Vikings is the maximization of interior space, and nowhere else is that more true than in the 58. From the entrance to the forward companionway is a straight line through the salon, giving the appearance of a much larger area. An L-shaped couch is to port, with ample storage underneath for tackle and tools, while the flat-screen HD TV rises from the starboard home theater system. The dinette is opposite the Sub-Zero-equipped galley, countertop and bar to port. The high-gloss-finished walnut cabinets, combined with the gray and cream colors of the interior, give the boat an understated elegant look and feel. Amtico flooring offers low-maintenance durability as well.
The boat’s three-stateroom, two-head layout is artfully executed. The master stateroom is to port, with a queen bed and ample storage beneath and in his-and-hers hanging lockers. To starboard is a side-by-side twin stateroom, followed by a third stateroom forward, available with either crossover berths or a single walk-around queen bed.
Viking’s construction, engineering and mechanical systems are well-known in the industry. The hull is fabricated using resin-infused end-grain balsa core, sandwiched with fiberglass and hybrid carbon-fiberglass fabrics. The integrated fiberglass fuel, water and holding tanks are also resin-infused, with balsa coring on all sides for stiffness, while the main structural bulkheads are built in the same resin-infused process using composite coring material for additional strength. The result is a boat that’s incredibly strong yet light enough to offer outstanding performance.
Heading belowdecks, the first thing that struck me was the spaciousness of the engine room. With just a single generator — an Onan 21.5 kW E-QD located on the port side — and a pair of brand-new MTU V10 2000 M96L engines rated at 1,600 hp each, the engine room seemed even more expansive than usual for a boat this size. All spaces, including the lazarette and forward bilges, are swathed in Snow White Awlgrip urethane.
Performance is another Viking hallmark. Its boats are built to run long distances at high speeds in the open ocean. The 58 cruises at 36 knots and tops out at 41.8 knots with the optional MTU V10 2000 power package. Standard fuel capacity is 1,502 gallons, with an option to increase that to 1,741 gallons. According to the Viking factory specs, the boat’s range at 35.7 knots is 401 nautical miles, putting distant grounds within reach.
The Gen II Viking 58 Convertible made her world debut at the 2018 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, and judging by the interest generated among current and prospective Viking owners, she is already well on her way to legendary status.
|FUEL:||1,502 gal. (std.)*|
|POWER:||Twin 1,600 hp MTU V10 (opt.)|
*1,741 gal. (opt.)