Did you ever wake up not knowing if you want a tournament-ready sportfisherman for chasing trophy billfish, or a long-legged motoryacht able to sleep half the neighborhood? With the Viking 82 convertible you don't have to choose because it is both. Constructed by one of America's most respected boat builder, the 83'5'' Viking is fast enough for canyon fishing, especially with the optional MTU diesels; and thanks to a beam of 22'4'', the cabin is spacious enough for four double staterooms and crew's quarters. Viking is amenable to lots of customization, too: Of more than a dozen 82Cs built (hull no. 12 will be at this year's Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show), no two have been alike in layout. But all have been steered by VIPER.
|Length Overall||83' 5'' / 25.43 m|
Currently no test numbers
CAT / C32A 1825 MHP
CAT / C32A 1925 MHP
MTU / Series 2000-V16 M93 2400 MHP
MTU / Series 2000-V16 M94 2600 MHP
Big-Boat Room, Small-Boat Handling
Glance at the specs and you'll see the 82C is a very big boat: LOA is 83'5", beam 22'4", draft 5'6" and gross weight, a whopping 162,250 lbs. with full fuel. However, according to our man at Viking, most buyers load the boat up with extra stuff, making her even heavier and potentially harder to handle. Big boats aren't known for nimble handling at best.
But this is Viking, a company that often has cool solutions to common problems. In this case, the 82C's handling is improved by the company's Viking Independent Programmable Electro-hydraulic Rudders, or VIPER. (We wonder how long it took them to come up with a reasonable name that also provided a catchy acronym?) Created for this boat, but now used on Viking's 76C and 70C as well, VIPER does away with the tie bar that connects the rudders on most twin-screw boats, allowing each rudder to rotate independent of the other.
When managed by a captain-programmable computer (programming isn't necessary, but experienced skippers can fine-tune handling by doing so), each rudder operates with maximum effect and creates minimum drag. According to Viking, VIPER makes the massive 82C handle like a vessel half her size, a big advantage when chasing a trophy billfish, or just maneuvering at a crowded tournament start. VIPER also improves autopilot performance, they say.
Not Only a Sporfisherman
Traditionally, convertibles have been all about fishing, with large cockpits, small deckhouse saloons and lower decks crammed with shoulder-hugging cabins. But when you get into the 80-plus-foot size range, with beam to match, there's room for a vast cockpit (a Viking rep told me that a mate working the port side has to communicate with one working to starboard by email), a saloon as spacious as you'll find on any motoryacht and cavernous, comfortable accommodations able to sleep more people than you probably want to bring aboard.
Standard power for the 82C is twin 1,825-hp Caterpillar C32A diesels, but a Viking spokesman said most boats go out with optional MTUs, about a 50/50 split between twin 2,400-hp Series 2000-V16 M93s or 2,600-hp M94s. Top speed with the M93s is about 37 knots according to Viking, with a comfortable mid-range cruise around 32. (These are Viking's numbers, not BoatTEST.com's; we haven't tested this boat.) Whatever the main power, the 82C carries twin 32-kW Onan gensets.
The engines and generators live in the main engine room, as you'd expect, but ancillary systems – pumps, A/C and so forth – inhabit a second machinery space. This keeps the engine room clean and uncluttered, making maintenance and repair of both engines and systems easier. All systems are managed from touch-screen Octoplex Power Controls located in the saloon and on the flying bridge – no one has to climb down to turn on the electric head, for example, or adjust the A/C.
Fishermen at this level like to roam far and wide, and throttling-back the 82C provides enough cruising range to go nearly anywhere not trans-oceanic; Viking estimates about 1,200 n.m. at 10 knots (that's almost idle). While running big diesels at low load for long periods isn't ideal for their happiness, for that once-a-year trip from the U.S. East Coast to Bermuda or south to Venezuela it's OK. Its ability to run fast for fishing trips, slow for longer voyages – and with plenty of crew comfort in both cases – makes the 82C a very versatile convertible.
The Bottom Line
Prices for the 82 Convertible start at around $5,700,000, but go up fast. Upgrading to the smaller MANs alone adds around $600,000, and most buyers want some level of customization – so far, of 12 82Cs delivered, no two have been the same. Viking will be showing a fully equipped boat at the Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show later this month; rigged to fish, including a tuna tower and electronics, her price is about $6.5 million.
When you start shopping for any boat in this size range, you'd better have deep pockets, and maybe more so for a convertible – speed doesn't come for free. And you'll need a captain and a couple of crew to maintain the boat the way it should be kept. And fish don't know what size boat is on the other end of the bait when they bite it, so spending the big bucks won't guarantee more trophies on your wall. But it will guarantee that you can go nearly anywhere to find them, as well as fish in comfort when anglers in smaller boats are turning green.
If you have the beans and the time to enjoy a boat like this and are willing to make the commitment, we say, Go for it! Viking is one of the Big Three American convertible builders; Hatteras and Bertram are the other two, and the three companies together build the world's best production convertibles. You won't go wrong buying a boat from any of them. Whether you choose the Viking 82C or a similar boat from another builder depends on personal preference, but we think you should take a close look at the 82C before writing a check.