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