45 Open — By Capt. Patrick Sciacca —
She’s All That
|Here’s a 45 express that can handle the tournament circuit and a cruising family of five.|
My friend Tom is dealing with a wonderful dilemma. He’s an avid offshore angler and express-boat aficionado looking to move up to his next vessel, but he also likes to cruise with his wife and three kids. So what’s the problem? Finding a boat that can satisfy his desire for a big bridge deck and cockpit with below-deck accommodations for five. Tom, my friend, I think I may have found the answer. It comes in the form of the optional two-stateroom 45 Open from New Gretna, New Jersey’s Viking Yachts.
I recently stopped by Outrigger Harbour Marina in Jensen Beach, Florida, where HMY Yacht Sales let me take the 45 for a day. Stepping behind HMY’s office, I was immediately struck by the 45’s profile; she looked sleek, sinewy, and speedy. I thought that if her performance and build could come close to her appearance, it would be a good day for me, and Tom might need to call his local dealer.
Stepping into the 119-square-foot cockpit, I could see the 45 is certainly armed for bluewater battle, with a standard tackle cabinet, freezer, and recessed fishbox that, at 50 1/2"Lx17"Wx20"D, can hold a dozen dressed tuna and dolphin. If the catch is too big to swing over the 34-inch-high gunwale, you can drag your quarry through the standard transom door with optional gate. Also noteworthy is that all cockpit hatches are gasketed and built using Resin Transfer Molding (RTM), a process that provides a clean and smooth surface on both sides. In addition, my test boat was armed with the optional ($1,850) 29-gallon in-sole livewell, custom Palm Beach Towers tuna tower, 36-foot Rupp triple-spreader outriggers, recessed electric teaser reels that cleanly exit through hardtop (one word: cool), and six rocket launchers.
While the cockpit layout is noteworthy, I was impressed by how the tower and hardtop work in concert. The hardtop has premolded notches in the aft corners, resulting in a tower that doesn’t mount onto the side decks and invade walking space. From an aesthetic point of view, the setup makes the tower look like it was designed as part of the boat, not added on. Of course, that could also be because Palm Beach Towers is Viking (see “One-Stop Shop,” this story).
The 45’s bridge deck is as wide open as her cockpit. The centerline helm pod and cushy teak Bluewater chair (there are also twin companion chairs to port and starboard) put you more than just in the middle of the boat, you’re in the middle of the action. The companion seats aren’t the only things flanking you. Just aft of the helm and wrapping around to port is an L-shape lounge for guests; no lonely days on the bridge for the captain of this boat. You can also stow rods, PFDs, and other assorted gear under the lounge seating.
I found sightlines from the helm to be good at most speeds. But while the 45’s trim angle never rose above five degrees, I, at 5'7", had trouble looking over her bow between 1250 rpm and 1500 rpm. Noting the second helm station on the tower, I decided to take my wheel time from up top.
This article originally appeared in the February 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.