Subscribe to our newsletter

BOATS

BOAT TESTS

Viking Sport Cruisers 50 Flybridge

I find it ironic that Viking Sport Cruisers owners typically take delivery of their yachts in Atlantic City rather than at Viking’s headquarters located a few miles north in New Gretna, New Jersey. The reason, of course, is convenience. The irony lies in the fact that amidst the gambling mecca of the East Coast, the only sure bet is that yacht owners will like the new Viking Sport Cruisers 50 Flybridge.

Throughout its entire product line, the builder continues to distinguish itself with a commitment to an exceptional level of quality fit and finish, and the 50 is equally true to form. I knew that for sure the moment I stepped aboard and glanced about at the flawlessly varnished cherry joinery that adorns her interior, not to mention the buttery-soft Ultraleather upholstery that makes the saloon’s opposing settees feel as inviting as they look.

The interior layout of the main deck includes the traditional galley, dinette, and seating area, but designed in a way for people to interact. A large U-shape settee to starboard surrounds a handsome dinette, offering seating for four or more to dine, have cocktails, or just relax and enjoy the entertainment center, concealed in beautiful cabinetry built into the opposite bulkhead. To port, there’s a smaller settee, perfect for more intimate conversations, with a cabinet for cordials, aperitifs, and glassware located conveniently alongside.

Forward of the port settee is another interacting area, the fully equipped galley that boasts a three-burner cooktop, undercounter refrigerator/freezer, and 18”x14” stainless steel sink. As on most yachts, the sink is concealed beneath a removable panel of Avonite countertop. But I was surprised to find a nifty built-in cutting board on the underside of the panel, so instead of becoming just another thing to stow, it performs double duty. Not that there’s any shortage of stowage space, with deep cabinets under the sink and a stove for stashing pots, pans, bowls, and the like. What’s more, there are purpose-built cabinets to keep plates, mugs, and glassware close at hand. For smaller, frequently used items, there’s a tall, narrow, vertical pull-out drawer alongside the microwave. Beneath a panel in the teak sole, I found a 12”x24”x18” stowage bin, just the ticket for those extra provisions you need on a long-weekend jaunt. I was pleased to note that the galley sole is on the same level as the rest of the saloon, so there are no steps to negotiate along the way to the dinette.

There are a couple of steps up to the main helm station. But those steps are good, because the raised helm position offers an excellent field of vision even when the skipper is seated in the fully adjustable helm seat or guests are in the companion seat. Wide windows, narrow mullions, a sloping foredeck, and big glass doors aft all conspire to offer unobstructed visibility from the helm.The seats themselves are not only comfortable, but with an open barrel-back design and matching Ultraleather upholstery, they’re about the prettiest I can recall.

Below decks, I saw yet another advantage that the raised helm offered. Beneath it is a roomy guest stateroom with nearly seven-foot headroom at its forward end and more-than-ample 5’2” headroom in way of the twin berths (beneath the raised helm). Some owners may prefer an optional double berth in lieu of the twins on our test boat, but either way they’re sure to appreciate the full-height closet, 27 inches wide but split down the middle into a hanging locker on one side and shelving on the other.

Stowage in the master stateroom is even more impressive, with a full-height locker to port, 21 inches wide, that offers six shelves varying from 18 to 21 inches in depth, plus a hanging locker of the same proportions on the starboard side. There’s also a pair of 20”x20”x8” deep drawers beneath the centerline berth as well as smaller nooks and crannies to either side.

In addition to the copious stowage spaces, I was pleased but not surprised to note the quality of the joinery. The solid-cherry door frames have nicely rounded tops, and the counters to either side of the berth have built-in, shallow bins with hinged covers that open like a dressing table.

Just when I thought I’d seen it all, on my way back up to the main deck I yanked open a cabinet by the companionway steps and found a combination washer/dryer, with three shelves above it at eye level. Each shelf measured 24”x30” deep, more than enough space in which to stash laundry products.

The interaction theme was also apparent on the flying bridge. For the owner and a companion, there’s a dual helm seat to port, while guests can relax in the big U-shape settee with dinette to starboard. For sun worshipers, there’s a large sunpad aft. Those preferring less exposure will appreciate the ample settee on the aft deck, sheltered by the flying bridge overhang.

One of the few areas of the yacht that is definitely not a gathering area is her engine room, accessed via a centerline hatch from the aft deck. Twin 675-hp Volvo Penta D12 diesels nearly fill the space. Oil fills and dipsticks are inboard on both powerplants, but engine-mounted filters are outboard on the starboard unit, making them accessible only by crawling across the top of the engine. Good thing we hadn’t fired them up yet. On the plus side, the genset and other mechanical systems are located in a huge lazarette aft, with easy access and plenty of room left for gear.

At last we started up the engines and headed out to test the yacht’s performance. Outside the inlet we were met with four- to six-foot swells out of the northeast. We spun up the diesels and headed south, with the V-bottom hull riding comfortably and tracking true even with the seas on our aft quarter. Okay, I thought, but how will she do on the way back, taking those swells on the bow? Spinning the wheel over, we carved a hard turn to port, with barely a drop in rpm. Mindful of the hull’s deep forefoot and fine entry, I was not surprised to find her equally well mannered in bow seas, and indeed at all headings.

As enjoyable as it was putting the 50 Flybridge through her paces offshore, we opted for an area of sheltered water a few miles up the Intracoastal for our performance tests. Along the way, I got to appreciate how well the 50 maneuvers at speed. Threading our way through the narrow, serpentine channel, she was as agile as a jack rabbit, taking hairpin turns easily at 30 knots or better. Throughout her full range of speeds, bow rise was negligible and sightlines were never compromised.

In calm seas or heavy swells, the Viking Sport Cruisers 50 Flybridge proved herself to be sure-footed. She just may be the one sure thing in Atlantic City, and it’s a cinch that she would be a good bet anywhere.

Viking Sport Cruisers
(609) 296-6000

As enjoyable as it was putting the 50 Flybridge through her paces offshore, we opted for an area of sheltered water a few miles up the Intracoastal for our performance tests. Along the way, I got to appreciate how well the 50 maneuvers at speed. Threading our way through the narrow, serpentine channel, she was as agile as a jack rabbit, taking hairpin turns easily at 30 knots or better. Throughout her full range of speeds, bow rise was negligible and sightlines were never compromised.

In calm seas or heavy swells, the Viking Sport Cruisers 50 Flybridge proved herself to be sure-footed. She just may be the one sure thing in Atlantic City, and it’s a cinch that she would be a good bet anywhere.

Viking Sport Cruisers
(609) 296-6000

This article originally appeared in the August 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.