Over the last decade Viking Yachts has been introducing ever bigger boats. Now with the Great Recession and the vulnerability of a couple of competitors, Viking is introducing the smallest boat in its line of 26 models built on 15 different hulls. The Viking 42 Open and 42 Convertible are what we think are the most creative couple of designs we have seen in some time. We also think they are bound to become immensely popular. Now, died-in-the-wool anglers as well as more casual fishermen with families can buy a Viking yacht for under $1 million.
The Viking 42 is a sign of the times. Of the remaining great brand names in American convertible building still standing, Viking appears to be creating a boat for the man who wanted to buy a 60-footer but because of the Great Recession, must down-size his boat, but does not have to downsize his boating dreams.
Putting three cabins – we hesitate to call them staterooms -- in the 42 Convertible is an obvious play to the boater who would like to have his children or grandchildren on a long summer cruise, or enjoy a trip to Maine or the Bahamas with two other couples -- or, fish with four fishing buddies.Fitting a huge amidships stateroom in the 42 Open, is a bold stroke for Viking. It becomes only the second or third fishing boat builder to take advantage of the advent of pod drives in what is normally considered a fishing boat. By moving the engines aft from under the salon or bridge deck to under the cockpit, the pod system allowed builders to have some exciting options. This freed-up a huge amount of space for accommodations, equipment, or storage. In the case of the Viking 42 Open, it has allowed the builder to put in a cabin with two separate bunks and have 6’ standing headroom.
CMD/Zeu Pod Drives
If the pod drives and the three-cabin layouts are the first two notable aspects of the new Viking 42, perhaps the third important new element for Viking is the fact that neither one of these boats is designed to go over 40 knots. For years the holy grail of Viking and other convertible builders has been the 40-knot barrier. As ridiculous as it may sound, there are (or maybe were) a lot of sportfishermen who wanted to blast out to the fishing grounds and back at 40 knots in their large convertibles. This boat is not for those folks, and it is probably too small for them, anyway.
The two new Vikings will come standard with 440-hp CMD twin diesels, with 480-hp CMD twins being the “big-engine” option. We’re told by Viking that they think the 42 convertible will cruise at about 28 knots with the twin 440s, or about 30 knots with the 480s. By scaling back its speed expectations, Viking is in step with the times both because of fuel costs and the over-all cost of the boat as well. Pod drives are about 30% more fuel efficient than inboard powered boats at “best cruise” and are also faster than inboards with the same power. These two attributes, along with freeing up the center of boat, makes their selection a no-brainer. It also helps keep the boats under $1 million because larger engines were not needed.
Because Viking has built its reputation on constructing strong hulls that can be slammed into six-foot square ones for hours on end and not have its interiors turn to sawdust, we suspect that the scantlings of the new 42s will be proportionately the same as larger Vikings. That, combined with the accommodations, fuel efficient pods, and 525 gallon fuel capacity means that these boats can make long-distance hauls for both fishing and cruising most anyplace their owners want to take them. Boaters who would have normally considered other brands for their cruising or fishing, now have a new and very appealing option in the 42-range. But more important, because of its robust accommodations plans, Viking’s 42 Open will -- for perhaps the first time -- be seriously considered by the huge number of express cruiser owners moving up room boats manufactured by traditional express cruiser brands. That market is vastly larger, even in these skinny times, than the offshore fishing boat market.
The base price of the Open will be $892,000 and the Convertible will have a base price of $960,000, says Viking. At those prices both boats will be powered by a twin 440-hp CMD diesels driving through Zeus pods. Both boats will have joysticks.
Fishy Features-- Optional
Nobody makes a fishier boat than Viking and the boats have all the standard features anglers expect. Viking is leaving some of the more complicated accoutrements that keen anglers may want on the option list. It is doing this because they expect a lot of people will be buying the boats for cruising. For example, a livewell in the transom will be an option. There will be a refer or a freezer under the mezzanine seating in the cockpit. The freezer can be made into a refer, but not the other way around, and it’s the buyer’s option. Viking makes its own cockpit refers and freezers so they can pretty much build what you want. Likewise, Viking also makes its own half towers and tuna towers. The cockpit is 122 sq. ft., including the mez seating in the Convertible and 120 sq. ft. in the Open version. The beam is 15’6” (4.75 m), the draft is 3’5” (1.07 m), and displacement 35,500 lbs. (16,103 kgs.) with a half fuel load in the Open model, and 39,000 lbs. (17,690 kgs.) in the Convertible version.
The Viking 42 Open
One of the things that we like about both versions of the new Viking 42 is how creative the designers have been. For example, on the bridge deck there is a forward-facing bench seat in front of the helm. We have rarely seen this in a express fishboat, and perhaps that is another sign that Viking expects this Open to be used for both cruising and fishing. The helm is on the centerline, close to the steps into the cockpit so that a captain can quickly dash to the cockpit to help an angler, if need be. The companion seats are outboard of the helm, and the navigator has access to his seat around the starboard end of the mez seating so he does not have to disturb the skipper. This is a good layout, and one we don’t see enough. Another companion can sit to port facing forward.This is a remarkable bridge deck for a 42’ express boat. Most boats this size with mid cabins have a fore and aft bench seat along the port side of the bridge, or even a raised settee, to create standing headroom in the head or cabin below. While Viking does have a fore and aft bench seat on the port side of the bridge, that is to accommodate more seating not for headroom below. This means that six people can sit facing forward on the Viking 42 open.
Getting Good Headroom
How did Viking accomplish 6' headroom in its main cabin? First, the pod drives permitted the mid cabin to have fore and aft berths rather than athwartships as you see on most boats this size. This allows Viking to put the aisle between the two bunks on the centerline of the boat and drop it down into the deepest part of the bottom of the keel between the stringers. It is accessed by two steps down from the salon sole. It appears that Viking has also raised the bridge deck, because there are three steps up from the cockpit, rather than the normal two in this type configuration of express fishboat. We think that is a small price to pay for the incredible utility added. As you can see in the profile drawing, the boat has beautiful proportions and does not seem overly high or “pregnant.”
Viking offers two options for the accommodations plan below, both with galley down. In one plan there is large “U”-shaped settee to starboard and in the alternative plan there is a third cabin in that area with bunks and a second head with enclosed shower. This in itself is remarkable – two heads with separate shower – with three cabins, all in a 42’ boat! Who needs anything larger?
A Design With Possibilities
It will be interesting to see which layout becomes more popular, as clearly each has its own advantages. But with baby boomers nearing retirement age the third cabin becomes ideal for grandchildren. Clearly the cabin is tight for adults, but nevertheless with private access to a head and a fairly wide top bunk, the cabin serves its purpose.We can imagine that this boat might also prove popular in the Med. There, it will be interesting to see how owners modify the cockpit to accommodate their desire for al fresco dining. We can picture a bench seat along the transom and a table. Maybe even an entertainment console somewhere with grill, icemaker, sink and refer. Oh, the possibilities…but don’t breathe a world of this to the folks at Viking, as their cockpits are strictly for the fishy stuff. What are our concerns about the new Viking 42 Open? Very few, actually. Regular readers know that we prefer twin bunks in the forward cabin rather than an island berth. Because of the bow flare and the fact that Viking is getting so much into just 42’, that layout might not even be a possibility in this boat. Clearly the starboard cabin is going to be tight, and it is not clear how someone can access the separate shower in the aft head without stepping over the toilet. However, a round, sliding plexy shower door can solve that problem. Overall, we find the boat quite exciting and filled with possibilities as yet unexplored.
The Viking 42 Convertible
Let’s start on the flying bridge. The configuration is one that Viking has used successfully on its larger boats and it seems to be popular. By making the helm a center console, rather than tying it into the starboard bulwark of the bridge, the designer is able to get in a bench seat for another two people. That means a total of eight people could actually be on the flying bridge at once. That is a lot of people. We like the companion seating outboard of the skipper for navigating and lookout chores. That is an easy option.
The accommodation plan is what makes this boat remarkable. Namely, there are very few if any 42’ convertibles on the market with three cabins and two heads with separate showers. Clearly the port and starboard cabins are going to be tight. Boats always seem to look bigger in drawings than they do in reality, so starting at the Annapolis show everyone can see for himself. We think that a controlling factor is if someone can stand inside the cabin and still open the door. This seems like an obvious question, but we have actually been inside cabins like this where it was nearly impossible to open the door inward when inside.The salon/galley is fairly standard for this size boat, and there is only so much one can do in the space. The galley is tight. Overall the salon looks cozy and comfortable to us, and because Viking does exquisite finish work, inside the boat should be a jewel.
The cockpit with its mez seating becomes another venue for watching the fishing or just the seascape. It has proved popular and virtually every convertible now has it, giving up the bait prep center, because everyone uses frozen, pre-made-up bait or Kona lures, it seams. If you are an angler who likes to bring live bait, or catch your own and then rig it, you will have to talk to the folks at Viking about options they have. We are happy that Viking has discarded its 40-knot hurdle for their new 42. It makes the boat more affordable to buy and operate, and 30 knots is plenty fast, we think.
What are we concerned about in the new Viking 42 C? With the wealth of experience that the Viking folks have and with over 4,000 units in the water all over the world, there isn’t a problem that they haven’t heard about and fixed by this time. Viking is aware that its two guest cabins below are tight, on the other hand they will work with a prospective buyer. Viking is aiming at the cruising family that likes to put a line in the water now and then, along with the trophy hunters and meat fishermen. By the looks of things, the 42 can please all three groups. We look forward to seeing the new Viking 42 in the flesh at the Annapolis Boat Show, October 7-11.
Interested in the Viking 42 O? Learn more here...
Standard and Optional Features
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