Viking's 60 Cockpit Sports Yacht takes a page from its convertible cousins and writes a whole new book on cruising.

The Scandinavian settlers of Northern Michigan must have felt right at home with the moiling wind, the boiling snow and the raucous inland seas that blew up like Odin's wrath when the gales of November came howling down. It was Viking country, all right. It still is.

This past summer, in the midst of a heat wave, nature flicked her fingernail at the peninsula-just to let everybody know that these bell jar days of sunshine and heat were transient. Lurking up there somewhere was an Arctic blast waiting to happen. It almost did on the first day of the Viking Yachts rendezvous in Petoskey. A chill wind slid in under the high pressure and rain soaked the cherry orchards. But, if anybody's boat stayed in the harbor, it wasn't a Viking's. Or a Viking. They came from all over the Great Lakes to conjoin at Bay Harbor Lake Marina to meet in jocular union and to proclaim their loyalty co their One Truth Faith.

By the next day, the front had blown through and left a cool, sunny aftermath, but weather conditions were of little concern to the more than fourscore owners who brought a fascinating aggregation of Vikes co the party. Some of the convertibles sported outriggers and/or downriggers, but cockpit adornment more often than not was a patio table and chairs.

Why buy a famous offshore fishing hull just ro cruise in? The unpredictable weather conditions on the lakes make them prime territory for a cough, seaworthy hull. They love Vikings up here. Both kinds.

Conspicuous among chem was the Viking 60 Cockpit Sports Yacht, introduced three years ago to much acclaim. Neil Spidizen, owner of Myra, drew himself up an inch or two and grinned. "Came up yesterday from Leelanau," he said. "Big waves out there. What a great boat!"

Viking 60 Cockpit Sport Yacht Review SpecificationsKathy MacCausland, Viking's director of marketing, grins when she talks about this boat. "lt sometimes beats the convertibles in on bad days," she says. Kathy also happens to be the daughter of Viking President Bill Healey. "The interesting thing is," she goes on, "we designed and built them to be an owner- operated boat. Two people. That's all you need."

The 60CSY's pedigree is, of course, the ocean-bashing convertible. But, it is the layout that attracts cruising couples. Case in point: Bob and Linda Safford, owners of the 60CSY BoLinda. The Saffords began their boating careers on small, sporty boars. They moved up in size gradually, coming to their present boat in 1996.

The Saffords know exactly what they want and made extensive alterations-many of which, Kathy readily admits, made so much sense that Viking incorporated them into later hulls.

Says Linda: "The people at Viking are great. They will listen."

It's hard to say what the glory of this boat is. But, start with the salon:

In the standard version, the woodwork, furniture, et al, are teak. In the Saffords' boat, the decor is white. "When Bill Healey came aboard," Linda laughs, "he said: 'Who ordered this boat to be wider?' It was just the lighter color that made it seem more expansive."

Whatever the color, you step down from the after deck into a sunny space with a large L-shaped settee to port and wet bar, easy chair, and dinette to starboard. Cabinets just above the dinette house a television. At the forward end is the galley, nicely shaped in a U for work in a seaway, but with more than ample space for serious culinary arts.

Standard equipment for the galley includes side-by-side refrigerator/freezer, microwave/convection oven, dishwasher, recessed two-burner cooktop, trash compactor, instant hot water, and lots of stowage in drawers and lockers. In the Saffords' boat, the stove has four burners and the counter tops are Corian.

The guest suite is the forward stateroom, consisting of a large, island berth, television and entertainment center, a cedar closet, and a private head.

Another, smaller stateroom is in the companionway, and offers over/under berths with easy access to a day head. The Saffords use this as crew quarters. There is, of course, a washer/dryer in the companionway, as well.

The owner's stateroom is aft, under the lounge deck , and is aptly described as "palatial." There is an island berth, surrounded by stowage, which is abetted by two cedar closets and a private head so large it boasts a four-foot vanity.

The bridge is spacious: It can seat up to 10 guests. More importantly, it is a captain's dream with an amidships wraparound helm station. Visibility is excellent all around . The helm seat is flanked by two companion seats and there is a capacious bench.

But, it is the airy, after deck that will find the most usage, with room for a large U-settee, table and chairs, an entertainment center (with TV and a rolltop enclosure), and a wet bar. This may be enclosed by plastic curtains or sliding glass windows.

The cockpit is small, by cockpit standards, if you're accustomed to the ballroom- size offered on the convertibles. But it is serviceable, whether for standup fishing or simply as access to the swim platform or for line handling.

One of the intriguing aspects of this yacht is the traffic flow pattern, which allows easy access from bridge to after deck to salon, and on into the staterooms.

Underneath all of this salubrious accommodation is the real story. The hull is fused together with an interlocking web of stringers and bulkheads (you haven 't lived-or really appreciated boat building-until Bill Healey drags you through a half-finished hull and points with understandable pride at the engineering and construction). Composites are used, naturally, where called for, adding to the strength and integrity. The hull and deck are, in essence, a single unit, because they are the only two major structural fiberglass components and are bonded for inherent strength.

You may appreciate the 60CSY most when she's under way. The moderate deadrise, flattened garboard fairbody after sections, and reverse chines ... added to fine entry ... add up to a classic Viking hull.

Performance, as you have guessed, is excellent. Powered by a pair of 820- hp 10-cylinder MAN D2840 LX diesels (standard; there are other, bigger options), the 60CSY pops up on plane like a sportboat.

Through the decades since Bill Healey and his brother, Bob (the chairman of the board and the money man), bought a small New Jersey boat builder and expanded it into a global success, there been many admirable hulls to come out of the litle marshgirt town of New Gretna. None so fine as the 60CSY.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ALL VIKING YACHTS CURRENTLY FOR SALE IN CALIFORNIA

This review/article originally appeared in Motorboating & Yachting Magazine, October 1997 and was written by Roy Attaway. For more great yacht reviews, visit their website and subscribe at: https://www.mby.com/subscriptions/motorboat-yachting-subscriptions

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