FISH­ING FRENZY

Yachting - - CONTENTS -

The Vik­ing 68 Con­vert­ible is a 41-knot fish chaser with a 176-square-foot cock­pit for bat­tling that prize of a life­time.

make in At­lantic City, New Jer­sey, is that there are few safe bets to make. How­ever, on a re­cent trip to the coastal gam­bling mecca, I did find one way to in­crease my angling odds. She was docked in the ma­rina ad­ja­cent to the Golden Nugget casino, and she ap­peared to be as close to a sure thing as they come. ¶ The 68 Con­vert­ible is a quin­tes­sen­tial Vik­ing. She’s sweetly sized for the tour­na­ment scene or overnighters in the canyons, but not so os­ten­ta­tiously im­pos­ing that she be­comes cum­ber­some. This is a ves­sel that can cruise or fish, and that can do both in style and com­fort. ¶ Vik­ing Yachts, which is a be­he­moth in the fish-boat in­dus­try, had al­ready sold 18 of th­ese boats as of mid-Au­gust, just six months af­ter the 68C’s de­but at the Mi­ami In­ter­na­tional Boat Show. (That demo boat, even be­fore the show, had al­ready won the Buc­ca­neer Cup Sail­fish Re­lease Tour­na­ment in Palm Beach, Flor­ida.) A lot of peo­ple, it seems, agree that this boat is a good bet. ¶ As with most Vik­ings, the 68C’s story starts with her ride. As I pushed her throt­tles for­ward in choppy 2- to 4-foot­ers off the New Jer­sey coast­line, the yacht got up and out of the hole with ease, thanks in large part to a hull with a fine en­try that flat­tens to 12.1 de­grees of dead­rise at the tran­som (a de­sign that also helps with sta­bil­ity on the hook or when drift­ing). The 68C has a Viper steer­ing sys­tem, mean­ing her rud­ders are in­de­pen­dent of each other, a setup that gives the cap­tain a high level of con­trol. As I carved S-turns through the slop, there was no doubt as to the sys­tem’s ef­fi­cacy. She cruised eas­ily at 35 knots at 2,150 rpm, and when I dropped the ham­mer, she climbed briskly up to 41 knots — a speed that any fish­er­man try­ing to beat the clock back to the docks for a weighin will ap­pre­ci­ate. And even at that speed, she re­mained dry, with the spray com­ing off her hull just abaft amid­ships. ¶ I manned the 68C from her fly­bridge, where the helm had a slick-look­ing, highly var­nished teak pod that I’d per­son­ally con­sider to be a must-have op­tion. Three Stidd helm chairs pro­vided sturdy and com­fort­able seat­ing for the cap­tain and mates while a crisp-sound­ing JL Au­dio sys­tem helped to keep every­one in buoy­ant spir­its. Flor­ida-based Vik­ing sub­sidiary At­lantic Ma­rine Elec­tron­ics had in­stalled triple 17-inch

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