It all started 15 years ago when Australian-born yacht-design wizard Jon Bannenberg challenged Gunnar Vikingur to build a special tender, a veritable waterborne limousine for Coral Island. Although Vikingur's small operation in Perth, Australia, was partnering with Oceanfast at the time, he made room for the project, and what resulted was the first Vikal Limo—a seven-star tender designed for folks who frequent five-star hotels. Since that time Vikal has assembled a highly skilled workforce of some 50 souls (including nine apprentices) in Perth, boosted production to three to four vessels per year, and is today one of the primary suppliers of exquisitely finished, truly custom tenders to the megayacht market.
Vikals typically range from 7.5 to 19 meters (about 24 to 61 feet) in length and feature complex curves in their glasswork, strikingly black stylistic elements, and lots of decorative stainless steel. They're also often capable of comparatively high speeds—an eight-meter (25-foot) model delivered to Holland a couple of years ago squeezed 38 knots out of a single modest Volvo Penta diesel—and typically offer highly engineered, one-of-a-kind features like three-way-fold-down bows for beaching, linear-actuated titanium lifting hooks, and integral hydraulic chocks that eliminate the need for cradles on the mothership. And how much will a Vikal set you back? "We'd rather not get into that," says Vikingur. "Let’s just say that these are very custom, very special, very expensive boats."
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This article originally appeared in the August 2007 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.