The Viking Yachts Story
Bean counters be darned! How a little company from the hinterlands of New Jersey became one of the most successful high-end boatbuilders on the planet.
“I know—I know, it’s wild,” says Pat Healey, acknowledging the seeming preposterousness of the statement, “but yeah, we’ve sold a total of 28 boats since the first of February. And yeah, here we are—it’s only the middle of March!”
Of course, if you know anything about Viking Yachts of New Gretna, New Jersey, you also know Healey’s talkin’ nose-bleedingly high-end, semi-custom sportfishing vessels here, every one of them selling for somewhere between $1 million and $7.5 million. At a time when the United States continues to wallow in the worst financial mess since the Great Depression. With nationwide unemployment still high. The world economy low. And a plethora of other builders of sportfishing yachts either bankrupt or in the hands of foreign investors.
“We’re debt-free, too,” Healey continues cheerily. “And hiring—we’ve got 88 new slots open and so far we’ve filled about 62. Plus, we’ve got three production lines going full steam. We could open a fourth but we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves.”
For the most part, profound success is an attractive attribute, particularly when it’s accompanied by the equally attractive attribute of humility. And while Healey, the executive vice president of Viking Yachts, projects excitement and enthusiasm when talking about the phenomenal level of success his family’s company is enjoying these days, his voice carries not a hint of arrogance or braggadocio. Like most other longtime boatbuilders, one supposes, he’s endured his fair share of hard knocks over the years, a process that typically chastens, at least in most cases.
This article originally appeared in the May 2013 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.