Viking took the hull of its popular 52 Convertible, first introduced in 2001, and five years later built the 52 Open and Sport Yacht (hard top) versions. Everyone knows that Viking Yachts has led the industry in trying to produce fast offshore convertibles, and so we can expect these two models to be just as quick. FYI, the 52 Open weighs 57,040 lbs. (25,927 kgs.), which is about 8% lighter that her convertible big sister.
Just look at how far back on the bottom the boat’s stagnation line is in the pictures above. The 52 Convertible has been clocked at 43 mph powered by 1300-hp MANs and our guess is that the Open or the hard top versions will do better.
Speed and Comfort
Over the years Viking has worked hard on making its boats more comfortable offshore. One of the things they have done is to design a very sharp entry forward. This high dead rise in the forefoot means the boat will slice through waves rather than slam into them. The down side of this design is that in the forward cabin deck and hull width are reduced which can make things a put tighter inside. Since many people who want to buy Viking’s boats want to rush out 100 miles or more to the Gulf Stream or a canyon to fish, obviously the ride takes precedence over a little extra room in the forward stateroom.
At the transom the hull warps into a 15-degree dead rise which is not unusual for this size boat and helps give the boat its speed. Because it does not have a deep-V shape at the transom the Viking 52 will also have a more comfortable rolling moment when at rest.
King of the Express Fishboats
When you get above 33 feet or so there are not many express fishboats on the market. A couple of builders make 41s and one makes a 45, but that is it until Viking’s 52 express. That means that if you really don’t want or need a flying bridge in your 50’+ fishing machine, then Viking 52 is the only game in town, unless you want to build custom. Alright, which way to go, Open or Hard Top?
Viking 52 Open Express
The cockpit size on both the open and the hard top are identical at 148 sq. ft., just a tad more than on the convertible. The amenities in the cockpit, such as the mez seating and refers under are also the same and since a lot of these kind of things are options, anyway, you can set-up the boat up the way you want it. The bridge deck is where the differences lay.The person selecting the 52 Open wants to enjoy the open salt air, and the sensuality of the temperature and humidity. Some might go for a completely open boat without a hard top, but we wouldn’t recommend that because we are big believers in having Safe Sun. Too many of our friends have had operations for skin cancer.
To our way of thinking the 52 Open with a fiberglass top and isinglass forward and as side curtains is the best of both worlds. If it is rainy or cool, you button-up your water buggy and stay snug and comfortable. If it is sunny and hot, you can open the isinglass and put the peddle to the metal. You can also button up and pipe in A/C. So you have options which don’t have with the hard top version.
If you are a regular reader of this publication then you know that Capt. Steve usually does not like isinglass stretching from the top of the windshield to the soft or hard top. The reason for this is that on most express cruisers, when standing, the helmsman is forced to look through a sliver of isinglass, if not right at the windshield frame. However, Viking has designed a high (and proper) windshield so there is no problem with forward visibility. The isinglass is high and can be zippered open for some breeze.
The bridge deck seats, upholstery and built-in amenities in the Open are designed to withstand the rigors of moisture and humidity. The deck is fiberglass with a snap-in carpet. The sliding companionway hatch is fiberglass. On the starboard side is a long fiberglass cabinet that holds the ice maker, sink and whatever else you want – all impervious to the weather. They all can be easily cleaned, or even hosed down. Spills of beverages and other messes (like bloody fish) can easily be cleaned up on the Open bridge deck.Viking has built the bridge deck to be out in all weather. The skipper and two companion seats on the Open are all by Murray Products, and these outdoor pedestal seats are classic. The instruments on the console are protected from the elements by acrylic panel and the VHF radio has its own compartment.
Viking 52 Hard Top
The bridge deck of the enclosed hard top is like the interior of a Viking convertible. The deck is carpeted, the console along the starboard side is hand-made teak joinery, the upholstery is durable but not all-weather. The skipper and one companion seat are both Stidd. The helm console forward has a fiberglass top but below it is all teak.The hardtop salon has a heavy triangular-shaped wooden coffee table on a pedestal in front of the “L”-shaped seating. This lounge is raised for better visibility. The TV is mounted by the door leading to the cockpit. There is a large window looking into the cockpit, so the occupants inside will have a clear view of what is going on outside. If you wish, Viking will be glad to build this hardtop for you without the aft bulkhead. In that way you are open to the sights, sounds and smells of the cockpit, if that’s your thing. Most boats taking this route also have isinglass aft to protect the interior from the elements.
Obviously this boat is more for cruising or more for anglers who will be fishing in unpleasant climates – either north or south! When fishing in the Bahamas in the summer time it is hot and humid and nothing feels quite as good as 20,000 BTUs of cold air in a boat’s salon. Oh, the line has just snapped out of the port rigger?...I’ll be out to set the hook in a flash!
Viking has two optional accommodations plans for the 52 Open and Sport Yacht. Both are galley-down arrangements. Plan A has a guest cabin with twin bunks. Plan B has a settee opposite the galley and has a small cabin forward with bunks that utilize some of the bow flair. Obviously both the master and the guest cabins are going to be smaller in Plan B, but the settee below is a nice thing to have and when you’re in a bunk you’re supposed to be dead to the world, anyway. Both plans also have two heads, each with a separate shower stall.
Viking has three engine brand options – MTU, MAN and Cat. Match the horsepower to your intended use. In our book this is a fine boat at 20 knots, and that will save you a lot of horsepower and fuel. But, of course, she is designed to go a lot faster.As far as the fit and finish and systems details go, Viking’s reputation is well-known. From a quality and customer service standpoint, we think that the most important thing you should know is that Viking is owned by the Healey family which has built the brand and company up from one wooden 37-footer in 1964 to the pinnacle of yacht building today. In the last 46 years Viking has built over 4000 yachts and has built more boats over 40’ (12.3 m) than any other builder in America. Things go wrong with Viking yachts, just as they do with other brands, but when that happens the difference is the Healy family. It is proud of their reputation and will do nearly anything to up-hold it. What does the Viking 52 express sell for? Obviously it depends on which engines you put in the boat and the options piled on, but we’d say you’d be in the right ballpark if you budgeted $1.5 million.
Standard and Optional Features
|Dripless Shaft Seals||Standard|
|Washdown: Fresh Water||Standard|
|Washdown: Raw Water||Standard|
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
Boats More Than 30 Feet
|Oil Change System||Standard|
1 year Limited