John martino, annapolis school of seamanship and annapolis yacht         management
The following review was written by John Martino and prepared by the marketing department of Chesapeake Bay Magazine. Mr. Martino is the founder and president of Annapolis Yacht Management and Annapolis School of Seamanship. He develops and teaches hands-on training courses for recreational boaters and professional mariners, and offers yacht delivery and onboard training services for powerboaters as well as sailors.
Viking 50 Convertible
JANUARY 2000
 
Length 50'7"
Beam 16'4"
Draft 4'9"
Height above waterline 16'5"
Gross weight (aprrox) 58,814 lb
Fuel capacity 805 gals
Water capacity 200 gals
Cockpit size 144 sq. ft.
Standard power
MAN 2840LE4001: 820 bhp
Optional power
MAN 2840LE403: 1,050 bhp
MAN 2842LE406: 1,200 bhp

Flybridge helm station showing electronics, with all-fiberglass boxes recessed in the dash and a radio box recessed in the optional hardtop overhead.

The salon boasts Viking's beautifully finished cabinetry. There's a fully equipped entertainment center, wet bar with ice maker, dining table with L-shaped lounge, and a large lounge seat with optional hide-a-bed.

Back in the early 1960s, Bill Healey and his brother Bob used to sell 37-foot wooden fishing and cruising boats built by Petersen Viking Builders on the southern New Jersey coast. When they bought the company in 1964 and fished it out of bankruptcy, they couldn't have dreamed that 35 years later they'd be building and selling 100 modern fiberglass boats a year, ranging from 40 to 82 feet long and averaging $1 million each.

But that's what you get when you're a perfectionist.

"We've been perfectionists from the very beginning," says Bill Healey, president of Viking Yacht Company. "If it was recognized as being wrong, you tore it out. The people who agree with that philosophy stay with you. We have acquired over 35 years some wonderful people. If we do it wrong, we make it right. It's something that permeates our whole organization from our designer on up. That's what makes a reputation, what gives people the confidence to spend the kind of money they spend."

To make it right and make it better every day, that's the Viking philosophy, Bill says. "We started building the 50 convertible about 10 years ago. We had a hiatus during the 1991 to 1993 period, when the luxury tax hit the industry, but in those seven years of production, we've built about 100 or so 50s."

The design has evolved slightly over the years. New electronically controlled turbo diesels provide outstanding performance. According to Viking's sea trial data, with optional twin MAN 1050HP diesel engines, running at 1800 RPM will average 27.5 knots, burning 54 gallons of fuel per hour for an effective range of 401.3 nautical miles. At the top end, 2370 RPM yields an average speed of 38.5 knots, burning 125 gallons per hour for an effective range of 242.7 nautical miles.

Now that the engine stop/start switches and full instrumentation, including the shore-power breaker, are located at the entrance to the engine room, you can monitor and control the engines from the cockpit.

There's more room in the helm station up in the flybridge for electronics, with all-fiberglass boxes recessed in the dash and a radio box recessed in the optional hardtop overhead.

These refinements are the hallmark of perfectionists who can't resist trying to improve an already great design. The helm station is centered in the flybridge for optimal visibility; there's room for a lounge forward of the helm so guests can enjoy the spectacular view. Hardtop and full enclosure are available options.

The cockpit is a full 144 square feet, thoughtfully equipped with built-in top-loading freezer, rod holders, tackle cabinet with a bait-preparation station, walk-through transom door, freshwater and saltwater washdowns, marlin-sized removable fishbox with available refrigeration and circulating bait well.

Entering the salon, you're struck by Viking's beautifully finished cabinetry. There's a fully equipped entertainment center, wet bar with icemaker, dining table with L-shaped lounge, and a large lounge seat with optional hide-a-bed. The galley is nicely laid out, with the two-burner stovetop, sink and full-sized refrigerator/freezer set at convenient angles to the working chef. Microwave/convection oven and large TV hide behind slide-away pocket doors.

There are three staterooms forward, each featuring cedar closets, individual A/C controls, stereo speakers with volume controls, adjustable reading lights and overhead opening hatches. The master suite is not way up in the bow, but amidships on the starboard side. It boasts a queen-sized bed, large hanging closet and a dressing table with a mirror. The private head has loads of storage and a seat molded into the shower stall.

The two guest cabins feature over/under single bunks and share the second head and shower.