496nau­ti­calMILES

MAX­I­MUM CRUIS­ING RANGE AT 32.6 KNOTS

Yachting - - REVIEWED - Take the next step: vikingy­achts.com

Ay­din screens, while an­other Vik­ing sub­sidiary, Palm Beach Tow­ers, had pro­vided the tuna tower, which stood out with smooth weld­ing. ¶ The Vik­ing ’s 176-square-foot cock­pit had all the ameni­ties I ex­pected to find aboard a fish­ing ma­chine of this cal­iber. There were two in-sole fish boxes as well as a livewell in the tran­som. A beefy fight­ing chair made by Re­lease had been in­stalled for bat­tling the big ones. A star­board-side tuna door was de­signed to let fish­er­men get their catches on board more eas­ily. Mez­za­nine seat­ing was a pleas­ant touch, cre­at­ing a good perch for keep­ing an eye on baits, or for us­ing as a place to hang while the 68C headed out to the fish­ing grounds. ¶ The boat’s sa­lon comes in sat­in­fin­ish or high-gloss wal­nut, and the join­ery was tight on my test boat. A day-head to star­board meant no­body had to tromp all the way down to the ac­com­mo­da­tions level for a break. An L-shaped set­tee to port had a good view of the for­ward-sit­u­ated TV. ¶ The gal­ley was for­ward with an is­land counter and three bar stools, mak­ing it an ex­cel­lent place to pop a cold one af­ter a long day of fish­ing. The is­land counter was a use­ful de­sign choice for a fish­ing boat. As op­posed to a tra­di­tional U-shaped counter, which hems peo­ple in, the is­land makes it much eas­ier to drop the turkey sand­wich and get out to the cock­pit fast should the bite start. ¶ Vik­ing built a stowage room for­ward in the sa­lon, good for ex­tra rods, bed­ding or other bulky items. Down be­low is a stan­dard Bosch washer and dryer amid­ships; it should prove use­ful on longer so­journs. ¶ Ac­com­mo­da­tions are laid out for com­fort on week­end or longer fish­ing and cruis­ing itin­er­ar­ies. The en suite mas­ter is also amid­ships, though it’s not full-beam. In­stead, it’s to port with an athwartships is­land king berth; a 6-foot8-inch-tall, maple-lined hang­ing locker; and a stan­dard 32inch TV at the foot of the bed. The yacht comes with a stan­dard three-state­room lay­out, in­clud­ing a guest state­room across the com­pan­ion­way from the mas­ter, and a fore­peak VIP. The VIP on my test boat had a walk-around queen-size berth, though the space is avail­able with dual scis­sor­ing berths for own­ers who need more room for a tour­na­ment team. Crew quar­ters are aft with a head and ac­cess to the engine room. ¶ There are four op­tions for the 68’s power plants: twin 1,945 hp MTU V-12s, 1,925 hp Cater­pil­lar C32s, 1,900 hp MAN diesels, or the base en­gines, twin 1,550 hp MAN V-12s. Re­gard­less of engine choice, they’re bolted to the cen­ter stringers for strength, and are well-ven­ti­lated. There’s walk-around ac­cess for main­te­nance checks, and the twin 29 kW Cum­mins Onan gensets are easy to reach. ¶ Vik­ing has plans for an en­closed-bridge ver­sion of this model, which should ap­peal to more cruise-cen­tric boaters and denizens of colder climes. Yet re­gard­less of the 68 Con­vert­ible’s con­fig­u­ra­tion, when it comes to hav­ing a sweet ride, a well-ap­pointed in­te­rior and fish­ing-ready fea­tures, Vik­ing Yachts has hit the jack­pot.

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