Viking 60: The next big thing.

It takes a lot for a Viking to surprise me. I've been testing, skippering and berthing alongside them for years. They're impressive boats, and always evolving in design, construction and performance. But this time they've pushed the envelope to the wall and right through the door. The 60 Cockpit Sports Yacht is more than a 54 Sports Yacht with a cockpit. This boat just might change the way the world looks at motoryachts. And it will certainly shake up sportfishermen aboard their convertibles every time this rig passes them by.

Top speed with a pair of 12-cylinder MAN 2842 LE 402s was 40.8 mph. That's with full fuel and water, full enclosure, packed with cruising gear and 75 hours old. Propped with a set of custom-made 31" by 46" four-blades, the MANS were 75 turns over the full load rated 2300 rpm. Adding a tender or a waterbike on the bow shouldn't bother the 60 a bit, nor would a party of 20 adults for that matter.

This is almost 3 mph faster than the 54 Sports Yacht with 10-cylinder 2840 MANs. That boat hit 38.0 mph (February 1993).

But the 60 has more going for it than extra speed and 6' added onto the stern. Order the optional power assist for the Hynautic hydraulic steering and the electric bow thruster and you can maneuver so easily that a Saab 900SE convertible will feel like a pair of rusty Vise-Grips.

With the thruster giving you quick, fat bursts of water that kick the bow around in tight quarters, you can come into a crowded marina and have the boat stay put while you sort out wind and current effects. When leaving a slip or T-pier, the thruster pushes the boat from the dock with minimal power and makes it possible for a couple to safely operate the 60 without a paid crew. But even a professional skipper will appreciate the convenience of the bow thruster. They make you look so in command.

Visibility is good, too, although you have to leave the helm to eyeball the port side of the transom when backing into a slip. The starboard side you can see from the wheel by glancing down through the opening for the bridgedeck.

Viking 60 Cockpit Sports YachtLooking out over the bow rail, it doesn't feel like the boat is riding with a high attitude, even though the degrees continue to rise as power is applied. If anything, the sensation is that you're lower to the water because the helm is all the way forward on the bridge, not halfway back like on a convertible. This also allows maximum room to install major-league electronics.

The steering is as effortless as any car. One finger can move this 34-ton boat around quick and easy, but until you get used to the system it's possible to oversteer, which causes the boat to bank into the turning side. Ripping through tight maneuvers on the winding Bass River was never like this. The only thing that takes less effort is turning on the autopilot.

SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW

The props, struts and rudders exit the hull where they do on the 54, although to accommodate the 12-cylinder MANs, both the shafts and props are slightly larger. Other differences are more noticeable. For instance, the 60 has 48" trim tabs compared to 36" on the 54. And instead of a clear canvas enclosure on the aft deck, it's solid safety glass so it's quieter and there's less maintenance. The 2'8"-deep cockpit has the usual amenities including a transom door with gate, swim platform, freshwater washdown, ample stowage, room to mount a fighting chair and good access to the lazarette. But if you want to seriously fish, I'd install an intercom or add cockpit controls.

The hull has a familiar 15 1/2-degree transom deadrise and convertible-style running surface. This is where the speed comes from. But viewed out of the water, it's easy to see where the 60 gains extra lift since the bottom of the cockpit extension tapers upward, creating a hydrodynamic wedge.

The exhaust system rides outside the hull in fiberglass tunnels. These side exhaust tubes also add lift to create buoyancy aft, and since several port reliefs run the length of the tunnel, the exhaust remains wet and quiet, even at displacement speeds. There's no bull-frogging as is common with some side exhaust systems.

Our test boat had the optional fiberglass hardtop and hard front enclosure with side and aft curtains. At WOT, decibel levels reached only 80 dB-A. At cruising speeds, the sound levels were so low that I had to look back to realize how fast we were moving.

And the ride was rock-solid at all speeds. Many boats this size have stabilizers, and you could add them if you wanted, but the 60's low profile and side exhaust tubes add beam for lateral stability when sliding through a rolling seaway.

It's expensive to produce these tunnels because of all the fitting and fiberglass fairing necessary to blend them into the hullsides. But Viking has always been willing to do something the hard way if it's the right way. The hull provides another example.

Above the waterline, Viking cores with end-grain balsa. In the hull this coring is 1" thick. Joining the deck to the hull is a slow-moving process because the hull is rigid and stiff. This means more man hours, which translates into more money to build.

AFTER HOURS

Our test boat had the pickled ash interior, which is a departure from the lush teak joinerwork typically found aboard Vikings. But whether you choose teak or opt for the ash, the finish and detailing throughout the three stateroom/ three head layout is sumptuous. Even the engine room - with its dedicated steel beam beds for the MANs - will be on your guests' tour program, especially if you order the Awlgrip option.

While you can entertain on the enclosed after deck or take an evening stroll through the clear plex wing doors to a foredeck that's as broad as Alaska, there's no forgetting that the 60's motoryacht-style ambience has been combined with the performance of a firebreathing convertible.

In all, the Viking 60 Cockpit Sports Yacht is an impressive boat. And those who believe that the price of motor yacht-caliber comfort is a slow and hard-tohandle boat will come to think otherwise especially after a 60 roars by and they're left wallowing in its wake.

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

This review/article originally appeared in Boating Magazine, January 1995 and was written by Peter Frederiksen. For more great yacht reviews, visit their website and subscribe at: http://subscriptions.boatingmag.com/

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