Want a fast, maneuverable sport-fishing convertible that's large enough and has enough range to take you far afield? The Viking 76 Convertible accommodates all those requirements while cradling you and your guests in sybaritic comfort.
Seas outside Lake Worth Inlet on Florida's Atlantic coast proved larger than they seemed from the Viking 76 flybridge. To go slow enough with twin 2,400 hp MTU diesels, the 76 must either be in trolling-valve mode or idle along on one engine.
I advanced the throttles, noting a barely discernable low rumble rather than a loud exhaust noise. It rose gently onto plane with virtually no bow rise; owners can thank the somewhat flatter deadrise, which produces greater lift and also accounts for the boat's rock-solid drifting attributes.
With three trim tabs across the transom, you can run the boat flat into a head sea, but the bow can become extremely proud when running down-sea. And those tabs automatically retract the moment you shift into reverse, helping prevent you from tearing them off when backing hard.
Viking's VIPER steering system controls the rudders independently and sets limits according to speed. We reversed course in less than three boat lengths while running at 32 knots.
A 7-knot trolling speed exhibited such a clean wake that you might as well not be moving. Running at 35 knots into a four-foot, wind-blown sea proved a nonevent. Backing down at 7 knots, I couldn't get water into the cockpit and still maintained complete control.
It seems that every subsequent Viking I see comes with more curves - every line boasts a beautiful radius flow.
Forward of the well-equipped galley, you'll find a pantry so big that it could easily double as an office or even another stateroom. Opposite to starboard, a slightly smaller pantry outboard holds all of the audio/visual equipment.
Viking instituted a new island design in the galley that allows passage on both sides. A dishwasher, trash compactor, numerous Sub-Zero under-counter refrigerator/freezer drawers, stove and oven round out the impressive galley.
And this boat offers up plenty of space for you and all your friends - the 76 features a five-stateroom layout with a full-beam master stateroom.
The remarkably large starboard crew's quarters comes with a head that would make many owners jealous. There's another cabin with an island double berth on centerline in the forepeak that boasts an extraordinary eight feet of headroom.
A new Release contour fighting chair commands attention in the center of the cockpit. The owner normally dictates the layout of boxes and equipment in the cockpit area, but this factory boat sported remarkably high mezzanine seats housing loads of storage, plus several deep freezes.
Viking added a very effective air-conditioning system with an independent compressor that dumps cool air out of a soffit over the mezzanine seating.
Interestingly, all the fish boxes lift out of the deck, affording incredible under-deck access and easy cleaning. Additionally, the glossy, centerline lazarette offers more space than usual thanks to the lack of tie bars on Viking's proprietary steering system.
Step into the engine compartment and enjoy an amazing seven feet of headroom (tall guys like myself are especially appreciative) and the completely silent Delta-T air-handling systems. Viking puts all of the noisemaking machinery outboard or against the aft bulkhead. Nothing but quiet machinery abuts the forward bulkhead.
Loyal readers know how I dwell on safety systems offshore. Viking vastly improved upon its crash-valve bilge-pump setup by going to a high-speed, hydraulic pump system with controls set at the base of the engine-room ladder. There are water pickups in every section of the boat - rather than just in the engine compartment - allowing you to quickly and easily select one or more sections for these high-speed hydraulic crash pumps to drain.
The triple helm seats on the bridge allow more than acceptable passage space behind, between and alongside. However, I would most definitely install the optional footrests on the companion seats, both for a place to rest your feet while seated as well as to facilitate climbing up into them.
A truly mammoth deep freeze on the forward side of the console holds food for a month of cruising. I also like that you needn't keep the big dashboard covers open to access the electronics suite. One of the main proponents of the Maretron OctoPlex power distribution system, Viking uses this digital system to manage anything and everything electrical aboard the entire boat - from virtually anywhere on board. It even allows you to move fuel forward if you need to dock in a shallow zone, creating an extra four or five inches of draft. It also shaves off about a thousand pounds of wire from the boat's displacement.
I am not the biggest fan of tuna towers, but I admit that this one made by Palm Beach Towers represents one of the most secure-feeling towers I've ever encountered. You can climb up without first vaulting over the rail of the flybridge, and you don't have to crawl on your hands and knees to enter the tower control station.
Viking continues in its lighter yet stronger quest by sandwiching balsa coring between layers of multidirectional fiberglass and then vacuum-bagging the whole shebang for optimum glass-to-resin ratios and zero voids. All painted surfaces get coated with Awlgrip, except for the black metallic mask across the front of the brow, which is coated with Alexseal.
This boat introduces so many innovations that you need to go aboard and see it for yourself to do it justice - I am certain you'll be impressed.