332 N A U T I C A L M I L E S

M A XIMUM CRUIS­ING RANGE AT 36 KNOTS

Yachting - - TESTED VIKING 48 OPEN - Take the next step: vikingy­achts.com

her at 30 knots and 1,800 rpm while burn­ing a pleas­ingly mod­est 75 gph. My test boat was as nim­ble as I’ve come to ex­pect of Vik­ings, par­tic­u­larly the smaller ones. I carved a whole bunch of hard S-turns through the white­capped slop, and the Vik­ing ’s hull, with its ra­zor-sharp en­try, clung to the wa­ter with a go­rilla grip.

From the ves­sel’s helm, I couldn’t help but no­tice that the yacht’s com­mand bridge is well-suited to so­cial­iz­ing, with two sep­a­rate dinettes with L-shaped set­tees, in­clud­ing the for­ward-fac­ing seat­ing that guests will crave in a se­away. (Mez­za­nine seat­ing is also avail­able in the cock­pit.)

Be­low, the 48 has an en suite fore­peak mas­ter with an is­land queen berth and maple-lined lock­ers. The star­board-side guest state­room has twin bunks. The ac­com­mo­da­tions are ev­ery­thing a fam­ily might need for a three-day weekend get­away, say, to Martha’s Vine­yard or per­haps the Aba­cos.

Vik­ing in­sid­ers de­scribe this boat as a con­vert­ible, but not in the way that we usu­ally mean in ref­er­ence to yachts. They mean it in the way we de­scribe a car with the top down. This boat is de­signed for fun. The open lay­out means that if you’re fish­ing with your kids, you don’t have to scurry down off the bridge when one of them hooks a mahi. You’re right there in the mid­dle of the ac­tion, show­ing them the ropes, from set­ting the hook to land­ing the thing.

The same rules ap­ply when you’re cruis­ing. Those din­ing set­tees are where your guests will be sit­ting, and you can eas­ily chat along with them while you man the helm. The open lay­out has proved pop­u­lar with young fam­i­lies as well. Think about it. Who wants to carry a baby up a lad­der in a se­away? No­body in their right mind, that’s who.

How­ever, this boat also has a tower made by Vik­ing sub­sidiary Palm Beach Tow­ers, so if you want to keep in line with the 48’s gen­tle­manly pedi­gree, you may po­litely ex­cuse your­self and man the boat from up top. That way, you can get a bet­ter eye on where the fish are — and with a full elec­tronic setup at the helm, that tower can be­come a de facto fly­bridge.

And also, well, hav­ing a tower lets you get away from any­body not bold enough to climb that lad­der. The builder is well aware of the sub­tle du­al­ity. Some­times a guy just needs some room to breathe.

An­other nice at­tribute of an open boat is that she’s easy to clean. Sans fly­bridge, the 48 is a dif­fer­ent beast than some of her sis­ter ships when it’s time to wash up. She’s sim­ply a lot less boat than a big ol’ con­vert­ible. Take her out, cruise her, fish her, do what­ever you want. Bring her in, rinse, chamois and that’s that.

Ease of op­er­a­tion and main­te­nance is a big rea­son why the Open line has been so suc­cess­ful for Vik­ing. The com­pany builds a 42, 46, 48 and 52, with a 44 set to de­but this fall in Fort Laud­erdale.

I may have tested the Vik­ing 48 Open in a town not usu­ally known for its gen­tle­men — though surely known for an­glers, and a whole lot of other guys just play­ing the an­gles. But in a very real sense, this fun and ver­sa­tile boat proved her­self lucky enough to truly be called a lady.

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