Born to Run
As of late, Viking has been churning out new models with remarkable efficiency—and exciting results. One of their latest launches, the 52 Convertible, is typical of the Viking breed in that she’s fast, fishable, and has some nice onboard amenities to keep you happy during those long overnighters in the canyons.
Viking managed to pack a laudable amount of interior space into a 52-foot 2-inch boat. That’s the size of vessel that some serious anglers will balk at when fishing in big-time tourneys. Though size shouldn’t be a problem for this boat. Scissoring bunks in the forepeak VIP (shown at right) are great for two very important mates, while the starboard master is befitting of the quality we’ve come to expect from Viking. The shower is quite large and features a bench seat, and the air conditioning shoots out not from one single point, but from vents lining the entire room, so no one area becomes frigid—that’s great for sleeping, if you can imagine. A third stateroom to port had bunk beds. This room would be useful for a tournament, though may end up being used more as stowage unless there are kids staying onboard.
To be sure, she’s got lots of room to rest, and that’s good, because with the way she runs and fishes, you’re near guaranteed to tire yourself out.
Viking has ensured light, strong, and bubble-free hulls by infusing vinylester resins into all of its builds since 2010. (Parts of the bridge, fuel tanks, and other pieces remain infused with polyester resins.) Kevlar and hybrid laminates provide further ruggedness to a slippery running surface highlighted by a fine entry and a transom section that has been widened by eight inches, and flattened from 15 degrees to 12 degrees of deadrise over the 52 model that debuted in the early 2000s. The result of those latter developments is better lift, and more speed, while the steep entry and loads of freeboard take care of Mother Nature. My test boat had a beefy tuna tower from Viking subsidiary Palm Beach Towers that looked to be an ideal spot for spying game fish. A cavernous engine room was painted white for easy oil-leak spotting, had plenty of room to starboard to access the batteries, and had an easily reachable Airmar transducer that was built into the center of the hull.
I tested the Viking on a blustery August day off the coast of New Jersey. Winds were near 30 knots, and the seas were a mishmash of 4- to 6-foot peaks. No matter. The Viking handled very well in the slop, slicing over the tops of waves and landing softly in the troughs, even at our chosen cruise speed of 27 knots or so. At slower, fish-on speeds, she was also quite admirable, spinning readily and nimbly and backing down even in the not-so-perfect conditions without spilling a drop into her cockpit. Woe unto the billfish that attacks a bait trailing behind this boat. She’s already won the Beach Haven White Marlin Invitational, and looks to have plenty more victories coming her way.
Once out of the churning Atlantic and into a sheltered straightaway, we dropped the hammer, and the boat’s twin 1,400-horsepower MANs conspired to rocket her over the flats at 43.5 knots, (with some aid from the current). Fast enough for ya?
Viking Yachts: 609-296-6000; www.vikingyachts.com
: 70,280 lb.
: 1,467 gal.
: 186 gal.
: 2/1,400-mhp MAN V12 diesels
: 2/1,200-mhp MAN V8 diesels
: ZF, 2.75:1 gear ratio
Viking Lady yellow gel-coat ($14,850); DC bow thruster ($14,855); cockpit ice machine with discharge ($14,845); saloon door with electric door opener ($5,500); bridge refrigerator ($3,170).
Air temperature: 80ºF; humidity 80%; seas 4-6'; load: 700 gal. fuel, 186 gal. water, 3 persons, 500 lb. gear. Speeds are two-way averages measured w/ GPS display. GPH estimates taken via MAN display. Range is 90% of advertised fuel capacity. Sound levels measured at the helm. 65 dB(A) is the level of normal conversation.