V IK ING 68
Ideal fishability in a smart, sleek and stylish convertible design
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.
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
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