Have you seen the baby Viking?” somebody asked, as I hoofed it around Yachts Miami Beach earlier this year. The guy seemed pretty excited (heck, he was more or less jumping up and down), so I immediately beat feet over to the Viking Yachts display and jumped aboard the company’s brand-new Viking 37 Billfish. I must say, I experienced some excitement myself.
I mean, how could anybody not get a little worked up over such a little jewel? For starters, her profile from dockside was both classic and gorgeous. After little more than a glance, I was able to spot two rock-solid, heartstring-twangin’ design influences, one arising from the old Merritt and Rybovich dayboat classics of the ’50s and ’60s, and the other from another 37-foot convertible bearing the Billfish designation and very successfully marketed by Ocean Yachts, which sold its entire operation to Viking Yachts a couple of years ago—lock, stock, and tooling.
Ducking inside did nothing to diminish my mood. The 37’s simple layout resembled the old Oceans a good bit, though it had been seriously Viking-ized. Indeed, everything I looked at on board—from the sweetly varnished teak joinery belowdecks to the substantial Palm-Beach-style steering pod on the flybridge—brought to mind the dictum “don’t spare the horses.”
Which, of course, is not to say that simplicity and practicality were not on hand as well. For example, I saw just one, sensible-for-a-37-footer sleeping cabin—ample, up forward, and available as a queen or with a couple of bunks. Moreover, the L-shaped galley was small, but offered all the appliances most cruising families will need on overnighters and vacations, including two large Isotherm refrigerator/freezer drawers and a giant, pull-out pantry. And the reasonably sized head sported a separate shower stall, the express-style bridge-deck was outfitted with a convertible dinette to port (with great sit-down sightlines), and the 86-square-foot cockpit was chock-a-block with fish-fighting essentials.
But I counted three considerably more fundamental features that really set my boat afloat. First of all, the 37’s powerplant was a robust, simple, easy-to-maintain, straight-shot inboard setup. With two standard-issue, 550-horsepower Cummins diesels, a fairly deep gear ratio of 2:1, and a couple of big wheels, you gotta figure that combination will give this little beauty the handling and performance of a freakin’ sports car. And then, there was a lower station as well as an upper, a rather unusual feature for a boat in this size range. As most of us know, fully enclosed and air-conditioned lower stations extend the boating season for northerners and southerners alike. And finally, I saw nothing outside or inside Viking’s new 37 Billfish to indicate that the boat—although she’s got undeniable entry-level appeal—has been cheapened in any way. Is she smaller than all of her sisterships? Sure, but hey, she’s a full-fledged member of the Viking family. No question about it!
- Builder: Viking
- Model: Viking 37 Billfish
- Year: 2017
- Base Price: $730,000
- LOA: 37'8"
- Draft: 2'8"
- Beam: 13'10"
- Displacement: 29,329 lb.
- Fuel Capacity: 440 gal.
- Water Capacity: 66 gal.
- Standard Power: 2/550-hp Cummins QSB6.7 diesels
- Cruise Speed: 30 knots
- Top Speed: 35 knots
- Generator: 9-kW Cummins
This article originally appeared in the June 2017 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.