61 Convertible — By Capt. Ken Kreisler — December 2000
|Part 2: Viking 61 Convertible continued|
Like all Vikings, the 61 is built tough and strong, as she will need to negotiate with the capricious offshore waters of the world's premier fishing venues. She's Baltek end-grain balsa-cored fiberglass from the keel to the gunwales, except for the solid glass areas around through hulls and seachests. Further minimizing weight, Viking uses end-grain balsa coring in the decks and superstructure.
Although the 61 was built to fulfill her primary business, that being fishing, Viking did not forget that even the most rugged offshore traveler occasionally looks forward to a comfortable break after the battles are done. A three-stateroom plan (as on our test boat) is standard, with a four-stateroom plan optional. Both have three heads. I found lots of stowage space in the forepeak VIP as well as in the twin-bunk starboard guest quarters. But I was surprised when I entered the amidships master to port. Along with an athwartships king-size island berth and lots of cabinets, I found a large stowage space in the form of a cedar-lined hanging locker. Whether an angler is on an extended cruise or traveling the tournament circuit, the ability to stow so much clothing and gear is a valuable asset.
Her galley, dinette, and saloon are all business. For food preparation, a pair of wide counters supply lots of space, while cabinets above and below, as well as two under-counter refrigerators and a freezer, provide all the space you'll need for your ship's stores. The dinette, to starboard of the galley, can easily seat six in comfort, and the C-shape couch aft of the galley, with stowage below, not only affords cushy seating, but also, as I found out, is a convenient place to catch a nap on the way to or from the fishing grounds.
But despite her good looks--unmistakably Viking from any angle--and comfortable accommodations, it's her cockpit that gives this convertible the edge in the business she was designed for. With 170 square feet of space, this is the 61's boardroom; it's the difference between a trophy fish and an almost-catch. The forward bulkhead houses five tackle drawers plus a console that contains a bait freezer, sink, and rigging station. Optional gear on my test boat included a livewell in the sole and a pair of 39-foot, bridge-mounted Rupp outriggers with triple spreaders. Also in the sole were a pair of standard stowage wells--easily transformed into a pair of optional livewells--and a fishwell. There were fresh- and saltwater washdowns and a Glendinning Cablemaster to either side. The final bit of business was supplied by an optional beautiful Murray Brothers chair.
Viking also equipped the 61 with a spacious and workable engine room. Accessed from the cockpit via a door in the bait center, this space has a dedicated pump room forward of the starboard engine.
The 61 also takes care of business topsides with a bridge that is spacious and packed with more stowage, including below the side and forward lounges. On test day there were 13 people onboard, and for a time eight of us were up there with plenty of room to spare. The helm--my test boat had the optional custom pod with single-lever electronic controls--is well laid out, with all engine functions clearly visible on the DDEC displays. Sightlines are great all around, and an air-conditioned enclosed bridge is an option. With these kinds of features, this is a boat that is as capable as a cruiser as she is for running after big fish.
As this was a working trip for the Viking 61, I took advantage of the opportunity to fish with her crew during the first day of the Viking-Ocean showdown. The calm offshore conditions were perfect, and we set out eight lines manned by a mate to either side. A few small fish bothered our lines, but we didn't see anything for the rest of the day that would get us in the money.
But that's fishing. It's a business venture of sorts. You examine the competition, check out your options, and make your investment, hoping for the big payoff. And while fishing has no guarantees, there are some things about the Viking 61 that you can take to the bank: quality construction, a proven hull design that can take the rigors of offshore tournament running, and comfort and style. That's what doing business aboard a Viking 61 is all about.
Viking Yachts Phone: (609) 296-6000. Fax: (609) 296-3956. www.vikingyachts.com.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.