Five thousand two hundred fire-breathing horses are unleashed as you push down the throttle. Thirty-two cylinders displace 26.8 liters as diesel fuel is compressed and then ignites, in a series of controlled explosions that propel all 70-plus tons of the Viking 80 Convertible forward. This sportfishing yacht doesn’t lurch out of the hole, it leaps. Despite its immense mass the boat picks up speed quickly, and before you can wipe the you-know-what-eating grin off of your face, you’ll be blasting past 40 knots. Top end: 41.6 knots. On an 80-footer. Join us, and see this stunning display of raw power first-hand.
We’re glad you came along for the ride, and got a look at the many facets of this sportfishing dream-machine. If you’re familiar with any of Viking’s smaller fishing boats, like the 66 Convertible or the 52 Convertible then you probably already knew that Viking regularly shoots to break the 40-knot-plus mark. But size matters, and when it comes to boats with this much heft, there are few afloat that make the grade. And this fact provides a good indication of how Viking approached every aspect of the 80. There would be no sacrifices made—not for size nor for cost. Remember, breaking the 7 million mark (rigged as our test boat was) the one potential drawback of buying the Viking 80 is the rather astronomical MSRP. If you have to ask about it, you’re probably looking at the wrong boat.
One of a Kind Convertible
Of course, the buyer for an 80 isn’t going to ask. At least not right away. Instead, he or she will be far more focused on things like quality, details, and customization. And one of the important aspects of the 80 that we weren’t able to cover in the video boat review is its custom nature. Sure, the boat we ran was a “stock” boat, which was already being offered for sale. But many of the people interested in a Viking 80 will play a significant role in determining just how the boat is built and fitted out, in the first place.
Start with the bridgedeck. It can be open, as ours was, or it can be completely enclosed. In which case the helm station moves forward, close to the bridge’s brow, and a settee with a cocktail table gets added on the port side. There’s a staircase up to the bridge from the saloon, and an open deck behind the enclosed section, so the captain can still control the boat from outside when battling fish or backing into a slip. This also changes the saloon layout a bit—they have to make room for a staircase—but the loss of space is quite minor-league.
And on this boat, there's quite a bit of space to play with. The five cabins include a full-beam master that will put plenty of penthouse apartments to shame. Walk out of it and towards the guest stateroom in the bow, and the most surprising thing isn't how good all the finish work is or how cleverly the washer/dryer is hidden in the companionway, but is simply how long a walk it is. Where the customization comes in here is naturally the decor, but also how you arrange the one cabin at the top of the stairs, just forward of the galley. This can be a crew's quarters, as it was on our test boat. Or it can also be turned into a customized tackle room. You like to carry dozens of different rods and reels? That wont' be a problem. Or, maybe you have a different thought: a hide-away play-room for the kids? A bulk stowage area with a bait freezer? Whatever.
In the galley and saloon, decor will again be the main differentiating factor. It should be noted, though, that what Viking did on our test boat is going to be hard to improve on. The two-level granite countertops are both beautiful and functional (though if this were my boat I'd want fiddle rails added), as is the Amtico flooring. Both are easy to clean up, and both will maintain their good looks for years to come.
Then, consider the tower and pipework surrounding that bridgedeck. Viking owns Palm Beach Towers and can essentially build to order for each 80. And, the metal work on the boat itself. Yes, Viking builds that, too, so customization is no problem. The interior woodwork? You bet—Viking crafts this in-house and can adjust it to your personal tastes. And we haven’t even talked about the décor yet. The bottom line? If you get a Viking 80, you can have pretty much whatever you want.
No Hesitation Underway
Like we said in the video: where this boat really shines is at sea. The Viking 80 has a whopping nine feet of freeboard at the bow, a sharp entry with an up-swept chine, and an aggressive 12.5 degree transom deadrise. Backed with that 145,461 pound mass, it will simply crush waves that would send your average fishing boat flying.
Big boats can beat down waves, sure, but what about the rocking and rolling? When it comes to trolling in a beam sea, sheer size doesn’t matter as much as smart design. And as we learned first-hand, the Viking has good stability designed right in. During our test we had to wait for quite a while, while the videographers prepped their drone for aerial shots. We had to remain on-station, sitting beam-to alongside the busy channel just north of Palm Beach inlet. And if there’s any one thing you can be sure of in this area, it’s that lots and lots of very large boats are going to go zooming by. Naturally, all of these large boats throw large wakes, and we were constantly peppered with set after set hitting us directly on the beam. And hit us was all those wakes did—to state that their impact was “minimal” would be giving them too much credit. Or, perhaps, giving the Viking too little.
Another interesting tidbit we picked up during that wait: even though the 80 didn’t have joystick controls, which are de rigueur on today’s yachts, controlling it in close quarters was as easy as controlling a joystick boat. Viking uses shifters with bow thruster buttons integrated into the handles, so you don’t have to reach or look away to give the bow a blast to port or starboard. And it can be one heck of a blast since Viking uses hydraulic thrusters, which don‘t pop breakers in short order like the less expensive electric variety.
Although we did our very best to tell you as much as possible about this boat in our allotted time on video, there were a few other bits and pieces which you’ll want to know about that didn’t make it into the final version. One that really stood out as we spent time in the blazing hot Florida sun was the quality of the climate-control system. Not only did the cabin stay cool (as did the cockpit, thanks to vents that send a breeze directly onto the mezzanine), it did so without us hearing so much as a woosh of air. To someone sitting in the saloon, the system is essentially silent. And since the chilled breeze flows in through vents in the valences, it’s also evenly distributed throughout, eliminating hot-spots and cold zones.
Another interesting detail: the lighting is all on zoned dimmer switches. There are four strips running fore and aft through the overhead of the saloon, for example, and when the camera guys started getting finicky about the cabin’s brightness, we could turn one strip off, dim another, adjust a third to full-blast, and so on.
Other than that heavy price tag, what are the down-sides to the Viking 80? That’s an extremely difficult question to answer. As we stated earlier, this is a no-holds-barred, no-expense-spared sportfishing yacht. Viking has taken just about every conceivable measure to make it as close to perfect as possible. I guess I could gripe about how it’s almost too nice to take fishing; I sure would hate to think of leaving bloody foot-prints on the carpet after gaffing a mahi, or of settling into the settee in chum-stained shorts. Or we could consider the fuel burn, which some might consider slightly excessive at a 183-gallon-per-hour cruise. Then again, you don’t hear people complain about stuff like this when discussing a Bentley Bentayga (14.9 city MPG, top-end 187 MPH), do you? And in the world of boats, that’s about where the Viking 80 sits. It’s bigger than usual, but still sporty. It plants you firmly into the lap of luxury. When one goes by people’s jaws drop and their gazes are affixed. And if you’re the guy running one, you’ll almost certainly have a you-know-what-eating grin on your face.
For more information visit HMY Yacht Sales, or Viking Yachts.
See Viking 80 Convertible listings. Interested in purchasing the very Viking 80 we filmed? As of this writing, it's available for sale, right here.
|Test conditions: light breeze, calm seas, 6 POB.|
|Power||Twin 2,600 HP MTU 16VM96 diesel inboards, swinging five-bladed VEEM propellers.|
|Fuel capacity||2,600 gal.|
|Water capacity||400 gal.|