One for Valhalla
I travelled down to New Gretna, New Jersey, to test drive my first Viking, a boat I’ve admired since I was a kid (Jersey native here). I would not be disappointed. Here’s how it all went down.
I noticed a lot of really impressive performance attributes as I ripped the Viking 55 around in looping figure eights and hair-on-fire straightaways in the middle of a New Jersey swamp. Her acceleration felt like a sports car and her twin 1,550-horsepower MANs ramped her up to a riveting 41.6 knots—doubly impressive when you consider that the boat weighs in at a not-exactly-featherweight 77,000 pounds dry.
She whirled through corkscrews at 35 knots in less than two boat lengths with hardly any heel whatsoever. And when the daunting wake of a speeding Viking 66 tried to smack us silly, the boat simply ate up the disturbance without even a shimmy. In this regard she felt more like a small ship than a yacht.
At slow speeds she spun around like Chuck Norris delivering a roundhouse kick in his prime, and backed down with a swiftness, thanks in no small part to a purposely bowed out transom that acts to make her more streamlined when backing down on a game fish. Marlin, tuna, and sailfish don’t stand a penguin’s chance in Hawaii against this boat. So like I said, all these attributes on their own would have been enough to write home about, but you know what I remember most about driving this boat? The way she stopped. The props—equipment that Viking prizes so highly they wouldn’t tell me much about—dug so hard into the tea-colored marsh water that when I laid off the throttle it literally felt like I had hit the brakes. Like there was so much spare kinetic energy that everybody on the boat had to shift their feet to keep from falling over. That’s something I have yet to feel on any other boat I’ve tested for this job, and it means one thing to me, the boys down in New Gretna have this puppy dialed all the way in.
Down below the amidships master is well appointed with a queen-size berth and an en suite head that features a large shower with a seat, you know, so you can rest while you clean yourself off from a long day of fishing. A thoughtful detail in the head is the cabinet over the sink, which swings out a full 8 inches higher than the vanity, so you don’t knock anything over when you open it.
There are two more guest cabins, one to port, and one in the forepeak, to accommodate the rest of your gang.
Vikings are built in a spotless factory in New Gretna. The 55’s hull is vacuum-bagged for optimal resin distribution and cored with balsa to save weight. A vinylester resin in her skin coat helps to prevent blistering and optimize the overall longevity of the boat. And that’s something you should appreciate, because with the way this boat performs, you’re going to want to keep her around for a long, long time.
: 77,000 lb.
: 1,414 gal.
: 255 gal.
: 2/1550-hp MANs
: 2/1,625-hp CAT C32As; 2/1,800-hp MANs
Palm Beach Tower, $142,165; Atlantic Marine Electronics Package, $187,826; Sea Recovery Aqua Matic 700-1 compact watermaker, $16,585
Air temp.: 85°F; humidity: 60%; seas: flat; load: 1,237 gal. fuel, 255 gal. water, 3 persons, 350 lb. gear. Speeds are two-way averages measured w/ Furuno GPS. GPH taken from MAN display. Range is calculated using 90% advertised fuel capacity. Sound levels measured at helm. 65 dB(A) is the level of normal conversation.