V IK ING 68

Ideal fisha­bil­ity in a smart, sleek and stylish con­vert­ible de­sign

Marlin - - RUN&GUN - BY CAPT. JEN COPEL AND

With a cov­eted in­vi­ta­tion to Vik­ing Yacht Com­pany’s an­nual VIP pre­view event in hand, I set out to see what the com­pany had in store for 2018 and be­yond. The New Gretna, New Jer­sey, builder’s new 68 Con­vert­ible un­de­ni­ably proves that Vik­ing is liv­ing up to its com­pany motto of build­ing a bet­ter boat ev­ery day. Af­ter my sea trial, I caught up with Vik­ing vice pres­i­dent of sales Joe Sch­wab and se­nior project en­gi­neer Bill Gib­bons, who of­fered in­sight on the com­pany’s new­est ad­di­tion to its fleet of sport-fish­ing thor­ough­breds.

At first glance, there is no mis­tak­ing the sleek styling and clean lines of a Vik­ing Yacht; the new 68-footer is no ex­cep­tion. In fact, the boat’s pro­file is quite strik­ing.

“Our evo­lu­tion from one model to another in­cor­po­rates what we learn from the last build to the next, im­prov­ing as we get feed­back from our demo team and our cus­tomers,” says Sch­wab. “We put our best foot for­ward with ev­ery boat we build,” says Gib­bons. As­sist­ing the Vik­ing De­sign and En­gi­neer­ing Depart­ment from in­cep­tion to post-de­liv­ery, and with more than 3,000 Vik­ing builds in his 42-year ten­ure with the com­pany, Gib­bons ex­pects ex­cel­lence with ev­ery new model. “We have great tech­nol­ogy to help en­sure our ideas come to fruition, but it’s still ex­cit­ing ev­ery time I hit the throt­tles for the first time. We nailed it again with the 68.”

COCK­PIT AND FLY­BRIDGE

Vik­ing prides it­self on the out­stand­ing fisha­bil­ity of its boats. Its de­mon­stra­tor teams fish hard on tour­na­ment cir­cuits on the East and Gulf coasts and in the Pacific. Hav­ing built two Vik­ings my­self, I can at­test to the fact that the boats are well laid out in ev­ery re­spect. The cock­pit of the 68 proves that form fol­lows func­tion, with plenty of room for mates and an­glers to work dur­ing a busy day off­shore. With 176 square feet set in golden teak, the mez­za­nine-equipped 68’s cock­pit boasts a tremen­dous amount of us­able space while keep­ing all nec­es­sary con­nec­tions, cab­i­nets, stor­age lock­ers and re­frig­er­a­tion out of sight but eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble. Tackle stor­age is abun­dant, and all the ne­ces­si­ties are within easy reach. The boat can eas­ily switch gears from South Florida sail­fish­ing to big blue mar­lin in Ber­muda and never miss a beat.

The cen­ter con­sole de­sign of the fly­bridge al­lows for three helm chairs in a com­plete walka­round style, with un­der-stor­age bench seats port and star­board and a twop­er­son jump seat for­ward of the helm. The mas­sive, tem­per­a­ture-con­trolled re­frig­er­a­tion box in the brow has plenty of room for bait or food when trav­el­ing for ex­tended pe­ri­ods. A chiller box is eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble by the helms­man aft of the bench seat, and the fresh­wa­ter out­let on the bridge makes those end-of-the-day wash­downs quick and easy. Dur­ing our sea trial, I noted that vi­sion is ex­cel­lent from the helm, with no blind spots fore or aft. Work­ing a triple­header of sails on light tackle or back­ing on a blue mar­lin would be no prob­lem.

IN­TE­RIOR

The 68 fol­lows on the heels of the com­pany’s highly suc­cess­ful 72 Con­vert­ible. Vik­ing was able to in­cor­po­rate a num­ber of the pop­u­lar fea­tures of the larger boat into the 68 — in­clud­ing the walka­round cen­ter con­sole fly­bridge helm and the tour­na­menttested cock­pit — with­out com­pro­mis­ing the in­te­rior lay­out, which also in­cludes a con­ve­nient day head.

The four-state­room/four­head lay­out has a full-size mid­ship mas­ter state­room, a VIP state­room for­ward, a guest state­room to port and crew quar­ters for two with dis­creet ac­cess. En­ter­ing the sa­lon, the day head is im­me­di­ately on the star­board side, with an L-shaped lounge to port. The well-ap­pointed gal­ley, with its walka­round

FOR AN EX­TENDED PHOTO GALLERY OF THE VIK­ING 68C, VISIT MAR­LIN­MAG.COM/ V I K I N G - 6 8 C - B OAT- R E V I E W .

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