61 Convertible — By Capt. Ken Kreisler
— December 2000
|Viking's 61 Convertible is as at home cruising to a favorite destination as she is fishing the canyons.|
"I have laid aside business, and gone a-fishing." I think the English author Izaak Walton (1593-1683) would have repeated this, probably in whispered tones of awe, had he been strolling the docks with me at the Cape May, New Jersey, fishing mecca known as the Canyon Club this past summer. For there he would have seen the row upon row of sportfishing boats, their towers and `riggers reaching skyward, their cockpits bristling with fishing gear, and their proud bows pointed away from their slips, ready for sea as the 10th-annual Viking-Ocean showdown was about to get underway.
While Sir Izaak wrote these words 348 years ago in his classic The Compleat Angler, they still reflect the kind of emotion that transcends time and is as good an explanation as any for what the new Viking 61 Convertible conjures for anglers. Whether you head for blue water in search of big fish, wish to cruise in comfort and style, or prefer some combination of the two, this is a boat to do it on.
"We approached this project as a completely new concept," says Dave Wilson, son of longtime Viking designer Bruce Wilson and who, along with his father and the Viking Design Team, is responsible for the 61. "This boat is the result of a progression from the highly successful 55 hull through to the 65," he adds.
Wilson goes on to explain how the 61 has a new, sharp entry that was achieved by pulling the lower end of the stem aft. "The result is less forefoot in the water," he explains. "Add some subtle chine changes, and what you get is a drier, softer ride, even in head seas. And we designed her to be flatter in the midsection for better stability."
The dry ride Wilson mentioned was noticeable as I sat on the port side of the transom and watched the big boat's bow wave being thrown so far to either side that there was never a chance of catching spray in the cockpit. Of course it might have been a bit different if the conditions were in contrast to the relatively flat water and the 10-knot wind we had on test day. But given Viking's reputation I had little doubt the 61 could perform as well as any vessel of her pedigree, and from my position, the frothing water seemed far from our fast-moving boat.
How fast? Earlier I had clocked our test boat, powered by a pair of optional 1,480-hp DDC-MTU Series 2000 V12s, at an average top speed of 38.7 mph and a fast cruise of 36 mph. With that iron, she displaces 92,000 pounds. (With standard 1,300-hp MAN 2842LE404s, she tips the scales at 87,000 pounds.) In my opinion, those are pretty impressive numbers for a boat that displaces that kind of weight.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.