Viking 74 Convertible — By Capt. Ken Kreisler —
When Bigger Is Better
Viking’s largest convertible to date may also be its most successful.
Whoever coined the phrase, “Good things come in small packages,” would probably have changed his or her mind had they been strolling the docks of Atlantic City’s Trump Marina one day last summer. For there, among a myriad assortment of battlewagons and other craft, sat the largest convertible Viking Yachts has ever built, the 74. A formidable, eye-catching machine, she’d grown several feet from her original specs over the 18 months it had taken her to go from design to launch.
Designed by the father-and-son team of Bruce and David Wilson (see “Father & Son,” this story), the 74 actually started as a 68/70. But Viking president Pat Healey intervened. “I wasn’t satisfied with the layout, accommodations, cockpit, and everything else we wanted,” he explained to me as we stood aboard at the dock that day. He went on to explain that the “everything else” was proportion and balance. “The profile had to be perfect. And for that, we needed a 74,” he added.
Sure enough, I was immediately taken with her profile. Her foredeck rises gently to meet the house, which in turn gracefully slopes up to meet the flying bridge. Slightly swept back, our bridge was topped by the standard hardtop, wrapped in full canvas, and bristled with a pair of triple-box ‘riggers, a center ‘rigger, and a control station at the dizzying apex of a full tower. In addition, the bridge had enough of an overhang to provide shade to those sitting on what Viking calls the observation mezzanine located on the forward, starboard side of the 218-square-foot cockpit, which was dominated by the requisite (and optional) chrome-and-teak fighting chair.
As I stepped aboard, a gentle spray from the optional mister located in the bridge’s overhang filled the area. “That’s the reward for a successful release of a good fish on a hot day,” Healey said with more than a hint of pride as he glanced around the 74’s cockpit. With all that space, I could see plenty of room for multiple anglers and the necessary crew members to get the job done. I liked the hefty two-piece transom door, too. When muscling big fish into the cockpit, there’s always the chance of someone pitching through the space left by the open door; with the lid down, that problem is considerably reduced. Other notable features here include an insole fishbox in the center of the cockpit flanked by a stowage box to either side, one of which can be ordered as a livewell. The aforementioned seating area, with aft-facing lounges located to either side, contains the tackle cabinets, a bait freezer, and stowage, and there’s a refrigerated chill box in the steps to the mezzanine.
I thought it best to visit the engine room before slipping our lines, so I stepped down into it through the cockpit door, accompanied by Peter Frederiksen, Viking’s communication director. Despite the presence of the two 2,030-hp MTU Series 2000 V-16s and a pair of 27.5-kW Onan e-QD gensets, Delta-T ventilation system, and a variety of other engine room equipment, I found good access to maintenance points. There are also plenty of stowage areas here as well as stand-up headroom—I’m 5'9" and had space above me. To port, a watertight door leads to the crew quarters forward, which Frederiksen and I next entered.
The 74 comes standard with four staterooms, including the crew quarters. (An optional fifth stateroom is located forward and to starboard.) I found the crew stateroom more than adequate, containing bunk berths, a washer/dryer, and plenty of stowage space and headroom. And with that passage through the engine room to the cockpit, the crew can come and go without disturbing the owners and guests. “Also, if we would have put the owner’s suite fully aft instead of locating it amidships and forward of the crew quarters, just think about the crew traipsing around in the galley overhead getting things ready at four or five in the morning,” explained Frederiksen.
Next page > Part 2: This boat isn’t just big and impressive, she’s well conceived, well executed, and well on its way to being one of the most successful Viking convertibles ever. > Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
This article originally appeared in the November 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.