SC V58 Express Yacht — By Capt. Bill Pike —
|Solid design parameters and a slippery hull make this British-built yacht a true thoroughbred.|
It was one of those days. Beyond the bow of our test boat—a three-stateroom, two-head version of Viking Sport Cruisers’ V58 Express Yacht—the entire seascape was awash with big, hooligan whitecaps. Four- to six-footers pounded the ends of the jetties flanking Florida’s Lake Worth Inlet. Further out, eight- to ten-footers walloped the Gulf Stream, and further still, it was anybody’s guess what Mother Nature was up to.
I dialed in the eerie, computer-generated voice of NOAA on our standard-issue Icom IC-M602 VHF—the wind was northerly at present, the voice said, doing a steady 20 mph, with gusts of 25 mph or more. I shot a glance through the half-open electric sliding roof in the hardtop—it and the Cruisair cockpit air-conditioning system that was presently switched off were the only options on the boat. The cirrus-streaked, cerulean sky was mute but glorious testimony to the fact that yet another front was departing the area.
“Nice day for a spin,” I grinned at the guy sitting next to me, Tom Carroll Jr., sales manager for Viking’s Sport Cruisers division. He grinned back, guessing immediately that I wasn’t being absolutely facetious. Indeed, based on fond remembrances of the fun I’d had test-driving a 65-foot sistership to the V58 some years prior (see “Transit Authority,” May 2000), I was counting on a smooth, limo-like ride once we were in open water, no matter what the weather was doing. Carroll seemed just as upbeat.
I inched the Rexroth Mecman engine controls a little farther ahead, pouring on the coal with both expectation and enthusiasm, intent on carving a fast, feisty turn just short of the sea buoy. “Now this is boat testing,” I chortled, basking in the steady thrum of powerplants worthy of the name—a matched set of 1,050-hp MAN diesel inboards, whirling beefy Temet shafts, and big, five-bladed, S-class CJR props. For added grins, I popped a switch on the dash a couple of times, just to see how effective and fast the Bennett tabs were. “Groovy,” I noted in short order, just before leveling back out and spinning the wheel hard over to starboard.
The V58 banked like a sea-stomping offshore racer. Both hydraulics and engine-driven power-assist had to be at the bottom of the fingertip steering control I was currently experiencing, I suggested to Carroll. He nodded as I straightened the boat out and, with just a tad more throttle, began beelining south at 30-some miles per hour, with waves and weather over the stern.
We’re talkin’ a driver’s boat here, folks! Visibility from the comfy, bolster-type helm seat I was squeezed into was superb, to some extent due to the whopping size of the panels in the V58’s FRP windshield, but to an even larger extent to the optimum, four-degree running angle the vessel assumes upon achieving plane and steadily maintains all the way up to her WOT speed of 44.8 mph. Of course, numerous factors contribute to this polished, punch-packing behavior, not the least of them being a slippery, deep-V hull form drawn by famous powerboat designer Bernard Olesinski. There’s no beating an array of nicely blended design elements, like prop pockets for decreased shaft angle and draft; broad, slightly-reversed chine flats for increased lift and transverse stability; and a comparatively narrow, rocket-shape footprint for enhanced speed and turn-carving agility.
This article originally appeared in the May 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.