Viking 74 Convertible — By Capt. Ken Kreisler —
When Bigger Is Better
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.
Speaking of the owner’s suite, Viking wanted it to take full advantage of the boat’s 19'9" beam. But the yard also wanted to provide easy access to it and the other staterooms. To do so, it created a starboard corridor instead of the conventional centerline companionway, which would be the convertible setup. “It’s a bit different than what you’d expect on a convertible, but we wanted the athwartships space for the master,” Frederikson said. Later, Healey explained the rationale behind that thinking: “We found more room by eliminating the centerline stairs and putting the master and port guest, just forward of the master, on one side of the hallway.” Yet another benefit is a day head just forward of the galley, and behind that, a large stowage area accessed through a door. You can never have enough stowage space, especially aboard a big, traveling boat like the 74.
As with the port-side guest stateroom and the forepeak VIP stateroom, the master offers an en suite head and plenty of stowage in drawers and cabinets. In addition, both the VIP’s queen-size berth and master’s king have large stowage compartments beneath the mattresses, accessed via hatches that lift easily on gas-assisted rams. All these quarters are more than just comfortable; they’re downright cushy and well-appointed.
Anglers and cruisers alike will appreciate the main-deck galley, featuring two standard undercounter Sub-Zero refrigerator and freezer units, expansive granite-topped food-prep spaces, and many drawers and cabinets, as well as the saloon’s 50-inch Sony plasma TV, seating areas, and furnishings. But touring those spaces would have to wait, as I heard the diesels come to life. We were about to leave, and better yet, I was going to be at the wheel.
By the time I made it out to the cockpit, the crew was already removing our lines and winding in the shore-power cords on one of two Glendinning Cablemasters. Our captain quickly negotiated two jogs to starboard, and we were clear of the marina.
Honestly, I can’t imagine too many things more exciting for a boater than taking the wheel of a 135,000-pound (with 1,500 gallons of fuel and full water), 74-foot convertible and running her up to a top speed of more than 44 mph. Heck, her fast cruise (at 2250 rpm) was better than 42 mph, and with the seas off Atlantic City dead calm, she tracked straight and true, carved S-turns, and shrugged off hard-over 360s. With an optional 600 gallons of fuel added to the 74’s standard 2,400-gallon capacity, our 74 had a calculated range of 544 NM, and dropping back to 2000 rpm (just over 37 mph) added 100 miles to that number. And her bridge is just as well executed, with a centerline helm, expansive console with room for plenty of electronics, and ample seating and stowage, including a top-loading freezer at the forward end of the console, which can hold food and/or bait. Sightlines were great all around.
As we go to press, Viking says it already has orders for 13 74s, some with the optional enclosed bridge. Little wonder. 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. Perhaps, if the author of that small-is-better expression had seen the Viking 74, he might have rephrased it into something like, “Great things can come in big packages.”
Viking Yachts Phone: (609) 296-6000. www.vikingyachts.com.
This article originally appeared in the November 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.