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Review: Viking 68 Convertible

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  1. Viking 68 Convertible

    by Capt. Chuck Gnaegy​

    Viking brings out their best with the new 68' Convertible Sportfish. Every sportfisherman who sees this sleek and savvy yacht will immediately hanker for not only a taste, but a full serving of this front-running fish seeker.

    One of the most hallowed names in the boating business, Viking gained its momentum just after WWII, and has been one of the brightest stars in the yachting firmament ever since. Co-founders Bill and Bob Healy – now joined by Bill’s son, Pat – have made their firm into a world-wide leader in sportfishing. Yet, Viking also delivers the comfort and livability that big time tournament buffs and cruising yachtsmen/women treasure. This latest model, the 68 Convertible, combines the best of its earlier 65 and 74 convertible successes, in a yacht that sparkles with ingenuity, innovation, and amenities.
  2. V-68 cuts a swath of innovations to be noticed, all of which make Viking’s new approach very special indeed. Construction was done with its new, $1 million five-axis profiler, a computer-programmed router that helps deliver errorless molds. Viking’s engineering and design team created new concept molds for the flying bridge, helm console, and main fuel tank. They retained Viking’s noted "Fairbody" hull shape, with its excellent fish-raising, 15-degree transom deadrise and propeller pockets. They preserved its 5.5-ft. draft, plus the forward-seeking lancer profile that marks every Viking’s glossy silhouette.
  3. Then to guarantee the performance expected of a Viking, they opted to offer various power choices. Caterpillar and MTU diesels will cruise the new yacht from 28 to 34 knots, to top out at 39 knots; yet slide easily into trolling mode when called upon. Steel engine beds, on transverse frames, augment these already muscular forms. Fuel tanks, with a capacity of 2,375 gallons, are designed so the fiberglass tank shape melds into the hull shape; again adding strength. Propeller tunnels fashioned into the hull mold allow a shallower draft – a great advantage in shallow seas around the islands.
  4. Another innovation is a special electrical storage system on the Viking 68. Created by Charles Industries, the PM3 AC Power Management System converts two 240 volt, 50 amp input sources into one single combination. Designed for vessels 50’ and over, PM3 provides solutions for managing onboard loads – up to a maximum of 100 Amps – while connecting to two 240 volt 50 amp shore power pedestals. It solves problems, so yacht owners can operate maximum rated AC electrical equipment without exceeding the load capacity.
  5. Up on the flybridge – available in both open and closed versions – the fully equipped helm features space planning for every electronic option on its center-console. A pair of sturdy, fully adjustable helm chairs supervise the action. To port and starboard are roomy bench seats for the crowd; with fishing rods stowed safely underneath. The helm’s center console instrument layout is superb. Three separate display screens provide enlarged nav information, in full color, while gauges and electronics system alerts are protected by weatherproof acrylic panels. The view from the helm is stupendous – 360 degrees. Bench seating and an additional freezer are just forward. Twin ladders – anodized aluminum -- climb high up to the spotter’s perch.
  6. Stepping down, one of the yacht’s greatest highlights is its 186 sq.ft. cockpit. A couple of steps up is a special feature Viking calls the “Observation Mezzanine.” Actually, it’s a short deck elevation which takes the observer up out of the traffic pattern in a sometimes hectic fishing drama. It’s very practical in tournament situations while the angler waits for the next strike in a comfortable lounge chair – or, for the cheering section, a shaded post next to the action. Overhead, the flying bridge extension offers a welcome haven from the sun. There’s also well-placed stowage for extra gear up there, plus a 9.9 cu.ft. freezer which is ideal for bait, or caught fish, or those marbled steaks you’ve brought along to add to the feast. The cockpit itself offers generous couch seating to starboard. With total area larger than Viking’s 65, it’s slightly less than the 74. An anodized aluminum ladder, aport, leads straight to the flying bridge. The cockpit’s transom door sports a lift gate, plus a reinforced aluminum plate to mount your fighting chair.
  7. Entering the salon through electrically pulsed sliding doors, the 68-C is richly furnished; a model of fine design, featuring highly finished traditional teak and tasteful, luxurious fabrics. An Ultra-leather, L-shaped settee with a teak and cherry table, to starboard, provides the ultimate relaxation area after a great day’s fishing or running.
  8. Just aft in the salon is a bank of lush teak cabinetry, housing not only the ship’s system electrical panels, but also a 42” flat screen TV. With surround-sound, plus stereo, CD, DVD accompaniment, it is remote-controlled to rise into viewing height. The elegant granite countertop pictured here also serves as a bar/base for libations of choice; with twin upholstered stools.
  9. Adjoining is the galley, fully furnished to be the chef’s pride. Teak flooring accents the storage cabinets, while sub-zero, under-counter refrigerator/freezer units provide ease of operation. There is a 4-burner built-in countertop range, plus micro/convection oven, and coffee-maker. Storage is via aircraft-type sliding drawers.
  10. Across from the bar, to starboard, is a 4-person, booth-style dinette. Fully upholstered, it is lighted by large windows in daytime, and ultra lighting as well at night. The granite theme is followed here too, in the rounded triangle, contoured table top. Three steps down and forward, the nighttime charms of this aesthetically pleasing yacht begin. While its predecessor, the V-65, boasted three spacious staterooms, the 68 – thru ingenious design manipulation – presents four, even while retaining the master stateroom’s breadth and volume.
  11. The master suite is to port, featuring a king-size walk-around berth. Placed athwartships, to port, with its private head/shower, it also has an artfully decorative, etched-glass headboard, as well as bed tables and lamps. There are double walk-in closets in addition to a mirrored vanity/bureau and ensuite head. Facing the berth is a 20” flat screen TV, with Bose sound in the entertainment center. Overhead, in addition to star spotlights, a shaded, screened hatch opens for ventilation and daylight.
  12. Decorated with meticulous care, the master head’s three-dimensional patterned wall covering echoes the rounded gold-streaked granite wash basin counter and full width mirror. A sit-down / stand-up shower completes the amenities.
  13. Forward, the VIP stateroom is just slightly less imposing. Its island queen-size berth flaunts grand storage below. Laid out along the bulkheads of the hull, shelving extends on both bedsides, with lamp illumination and overhead ventilation.
  14. Near the equal of the master bath, the guest head is also decorated with ultimate taste, with a vanity, large mirror and marble top basin that jettisons out for ease of reach. There is a full double-door walk in shower as well.
  15. With full size bunks, upper and lower, the guest stateroom/crew quarters offer grand storage space with hanging lockers and armoire. It is a well planned cabin that makes excellent use of space.
  16. The fourth stateroom (for crew or kids) is less grandiose, but still boasts wide, comfortable bunks, upper and lower, as well as adequate storage areas. Each stateroom sports its own ensuite head/shower.
  17. No question, for the yachtsman/sportfisherman/cruiser, Viking has launched another comfortable, well-designed luxury yacht in its 68 Convertible. It is sure to be a success, certain to draw fish and quite possibly... the sexiest sportfish afloat.

    <end>

    Story by Chuck Gnaegy.

    Specifications:

    LOA: 68’8” (72’11” w/pulpit)
    Beam: 19’4”
    Draft: 5’5”
    Fuel: 2,000 gals.
    Water: 400 gals.
    Disp.: 114,000 lbs.
    Power: 2x MTU 12V 2000, 1,520 hp each

    Optional Power...
    2x MTU 16V 2000, 2,030 hp each
    Caterpillar C-32, 1,675 hp each
    Caterpillar C-32A, 1,825 hp each

    For more information, contact:

    Viking Yachts
    On the Bass River, Route 9
    New Gretna, NJ 08224
    www.vikingsportcruisers.com
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