Vik­ing 37 Bill­fish

Power & Motor Yacht - - NEW BOATS - Capt. Bill Pike Vik­ing Yachts, 609-2966000; vikingy­

Have you seen the baby Vik­ing?” some­body asked, as I hoofed it around Yachts Mi­ami Beach ear­lier this year. The guy seemed pretty ex­cited (heck, he was more or less jump­ing up and down), so I im­me­di­ately beat feet over to the Vik­ing Yachts dis­play and jumped aboard the com­pany’s brand-new Vik­ing 37 Bill­fish. I must say, I ex­pe­ri­enced some ex­cite­ment my­self.

I mean, how could any­body not get a lit­tle worked up over such a lit­tle jewel? For starters, her pro­file from dock­side was both clas­sic and gor­geous. Af­ter lit­tle more than a glance, I was able to spot two rock-solid, heart­stringt­wan­gin’ de­sign in­flu­ences, one aris­ing from the old Mer­ritt and Ry­bovich day­boat clas­sics of the ’50s and ’60s, and the other from an­other 37-foot con­vert­ible bear­ing the Bill­fish des­ig­na­tion and very suc­cess­fully mar­keted by Ocean Yachts, which sold its en­tire op­er­a­tion to Vik­ing Yachts a cou­ple of years ago— lock, stock, and tool­ing.

Duck­ing in­side did noth­ing to di­min­ish my mood. The 37’s sim­ple lay­out re­sem­bled the old Oceans a good bit, though it had been se­ri­ously Vikingized. In­deed, ev­ery­thing I looked at on board—from the sweetly var­nished teak join­ery be­lowdecks to the sub­stan­tial Palm-Beach-style steer­ing pod on the fly­bridge—brought to mind the dic­tum “don’t spare the horses.”

Which, of course, is not to say that sim­plic­ity and prac­ti­cal­ity were not on hand as well. For ex­am­ple, I saw just one, sen­si­ble­for-a-37-footer sleep­ing cabin— am­ple, up for­ward, and avail­able as a queen or with a cou­ple of bunks. More­over, the L-shaped gal­ley was small, but of­fered all the ap­pli­ances most cruis­ing fam­i­lies will need on overnighters and va­ca­tions, in­clud­ing two large Isotherm re­frig­er­a­tor/ freezer draw­ers and a gi­ant, pull­out pantry. And the rea­son­ably sized head sported a sep­a­rate shower stall, the ex­press-style bridge-deck was out­fit­ted with a con­vert­ible dinette to port (with great sit-down sightlines), and the 86-square-foot cock­pit was chock-a-block with fish­fight­ing es­sen­tials.

But I counted three con­sid­er­ably more fun­da­men­tal fea­tures that re­ally set my boat afloat. First of all, the 37’s pow­er­plant was a ro­bust, sim­ple, easy-to-main­tain, straight-shot in­board setup. With two stan­dard-is­sue, 550-horse­power Cum­mins diesels, a fairly deep gear ra­tio of 2:1, and a cou­ple of big wheels, you gotta fig­ure that com­bi­na­tion will give this lit­tle beauty the han­dling and per­for­mance of a freakin’ sports car. And then, there was a lower sta­tion as well as an up­per, a rather un­usual fea­ture for a boat in this size range. As most of us know, fully en­closed and air-con­di­tioned lower sta­tions ex­tend the boat­ing sea­son for north­ern­ers and south­ern­ers alike. And fi­nally, I saw noth­ing out­side or in­side Vik­ing’s new 37 Bill­fish to in­di­cate that the boat—although she’s got un­de­ni­able en­try-level ap­peal—has been cheap­ened in any way. Is she smaller than all of her sis­ter­ships? Sure, but hey, she’s a full-fledged mem­ber of the Vik­ing fam­ily. No ques­tion about it!

— LOA: 37'8" BEAM: 13'10" DRAFT: 2'8" DISPL.: 29,329 lb. FUEL: 440 gal. WA­TER: 66 gal. STAN­DARD POWER: 2/550-hp Cum­mins QSB6.7 diesels CRUISE SPEED: 30 knots TOP SPEED: 35 knots GEN­ER­A­TOR: 9-kW Cum­mins PRICE: $730,000

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