The new Viking 52C fulfills all the requirements for a tournament-ready battlewagon…and then some.
By Capt. Ken Kreisler
Coming around from the following sea I had been running in, I put the bow of the new Viking 52C into the long, deep and slow ocean swell. The early morning sun, now red and leaning towards orange, cast a shimmering path out to the horizon.
The gaudy and colorful skyline of Atlantic City, New Jersey, now behind me and back-dropped by fair weather clouds in a blue sky, began to shrink as I headed offshore. I took a glance at the well-positioned, and quite beautiful, Release teak center console helm station, taking particular note, as is my habit when running any boat, of the engine and systems parameters including rpm, rate of speed, and gph. All was in order and the instruments told the rest of the story: 1750 rpm. 31.5 knots. 76 gph.
It was also, as I remarked to my four companions up on the flying bridge, quite comfortable in those relentless, mostly four-foot rollers. And while there would be many more outstanding observations to make by the time I got the new Viking 52C back to the dock, the real story about the latest convertible from the venerated New Jersey builder begins back at the 810,000 square-foot Bass River plant, way before the fully infused 52 hulls and all their myriad parts move down the production line and ultimately to the water and their new owners.
Design and Engineering
“When we sit down at what I like to refer to as the group lunch meetings,” said Viking designer Dave Wilson as he emphasized the importance of the collegial experience at Viking, “It includes sales, marketing, our executives and even our demo captains and mates as well. And while we’ll discuss everything about a new design, whether it be on a 42- or 92-footer, and anything from the running bottom, to the interior, to the flying bridge, in the end, we’re not going to do something unless it’s a positive improvement.”
Obviously, some remarkable products have come out of those meetings and that last statement that Wilson mentioned is as important to Viking as any other concept in the company’s long and storied history, one dating back to 1964.
Joe Snodgrass, the company’s naval architect, gave some insight as well. “Among the many other factors that we paid attention to, there were two main focus points in the 52C’s design and engineering of particular importance. One was the actual shape of the hull, where it is wide or narrow, its chine distribution, and the ability to efficiently move it through the water along with everything that goes inside. The second was keeping things properly balanced so that the performance is right where it is supposed to be. That was the ultimate goal.”
To accomplish that purpose, the Viking design and production team took all they had learned from past builds, especially aboard the 62EB and 54C, boats I had already been on and reported about, and incorporated them on this one.
Both Wilson and Snodgrass agreed that the 52C is an almost identical sibling to the 62EB. “Everything we learned from the bigger boat, all the significant positive changes that made her such a successful build, we put into this boat,” said Wilson. Those changes included the 62 being the first Viking without a keel, no fair body flat on the bottom, the increase in warping deadrise, and the elimination of the offset knuckle fully aft thus adding more flat bottom at the transom.
The question of balance also came up as the conversation shifted to the deep pockets used on the 52C. “While pocket use results in taking away buoyancy, it nets out with the decrease in draft,” said Snodgrass. Indeed, even with the added weight of the bigger engines and optional fuel tanks, this boat lost some three inches over the previous 52C, one designed without pockets. “Pockets also tolerate less tip clearance for the props, here about 7.5% as compared to about 10 to 15% on a traditional hull, thus cutting down on impulse and vibration and permitting the use of a flatter shaft angle, larger diameter props, and deeper gear ratios.” Translation: Better and more efficient performance.
Viking’s commitment to positive improvements has also found its way into its construction techniques as well.
The hull of the 52C is now fully infused, as are many of the boat’s parts including the fuel tanks and air boxes among others. Those fuel tanks, along with both the freshwater and holding tanks, all have fiberglass baffles inside, balsa cored sides for added stiffness, and are sealed to the hull with resin foam.
For added strength, her hull also has the Kevlar/Carbon hybrid laminate in it as well; this to shed off weight while not sacrificing any muscle and the quality build Viking is known for. “We will be the last to show up at the dance and not follow in anyone else’s footsteps,” Wilson said with a great deal of pride. “We will never give up strength for weight.
The stringers are encapsulated and foam cored and the composite bulkheads, main and intermediate engine room, and forward, are vacuum bagged. The salon sole, that is the engine room overhead, is all AIREX cored for both sound and thermal insulation. In addition, and as used in the 42C, the entire forepeak area is a one-piece liner.
Striking just the right balance between construction and performance is what Viking strives to give to its owners and being out on the water, in other than flat calm conditions, showed me that the realization of that objective was achieved aboard the 52C.
With her sharp, fine entry coming in somewhere between 45 and 47 degrees and designed to take on varying sea conditions, and with the running bottom ‘warping’ back to the almost 12-degree deadrise at the transom for superior planning characteristics, I was able to get my 52C test boat, equipped with the optional MAN V12 1400 CRM diesel inboards, cruising at 36 knots at 2000 rpm with a 100 gph fuel burn. We had 800 gallons of fuel aboard—optional 1,467-gallon tankage on this boat—and topped-off water at 186 gallons. She answered the helm with authority on turns, pushed through those rollers with all the sureness of her pedigree, and landed softly after being presented by the occasional errant big one. Those MANs, by the way, were virtually smokeless upon start up, performing precise backing down maneuvers, which she accomplished akin to doing pirouettes, or during acceleration runs.
Bridge, Cockpit, and Engine Room
At her heart, she is a fishing machine and to that end, Viking equipped this boat, as they have all their other convertibles, to be a formidable top-of-the-food-chain predator; a high performing competitor on the tournament circuit should that be her owner’s vision.
As I performed several backing down maneuvers, I noted how easily I was able to glance back and forth from the helm into the seaway and then down at the 142 square foot cockpit, imagining the exciting action taking place on the deck and out on the water.
A vast array of Atlantic Marine Electronics is available as are a number of options including a 4-sided enclosure, air conditioning, hardtop, rocket launchers, and of course a custom Palm Beach Tower, Rupp ‘Riggers, and electric reels in the overhead. There is bench seating to either side, tons of storage areas, an optional refrigeration cabinet, and, in a very nice design touch, a pair of individual bucket seats forward of the helm.
The cockpit offers every kind of fishing cabinet and storage area one would need; an extended bridge overhang, in-deck fish boxes, optional Eskimo shaved ice maker and live well, rod holders galore, molded-in transom fish box, optional Release chair, and a mezzanine seating area with a freezer compartment, full tackle cabinet, insulated storage box, and access to the engine room. And the lazarette hatch here has exceptional access to steering, trim tabs, and drain pumps.
The Awlgripped engine room is a hands-on skipper or owner’s dream. Even with the optional big MANs down here and the 21.5-kW E-QD Onan genset, I found it easy to get two hands on any piece of equipment one would have to work on without worrying about how, or where, to swing a wrench. All fluid checks are readily available as is the cabinet for Viking’s centralized sea water system.
Her salon offers wide-open spaces and takes full advantage of the boat’s 17’6’ beam with the galley over to starboard offering under counter refrigerator and freezer compartments along with ample closets and storage cabinets. There is a dining area directly to port and the sizable couch is also located to starboard, just as one enters from the cockpit door.
Offering a choice of configurations in the bow—crossover berths or custom queen—the three stateroom, two head layout will supply you and your guests, whether fishing or not, with the kind of roominess and use of space associated with Viking’s careful attention to creature comforts.
The new Viking 52C will be sure to live up to all expectations and most likely exceeds some. Taking into consideration her excellent sea keeping abilities, careful balance of design and performance, and her strong genes passed down the production line by all her predecessors, this purpose-built boat will surely make a strong impression wherever she calls home. VIKING YACHTS. (609) 296-6000. http://www.vikingyachts.com
RPM SPEED (KN) GPH
1000 12 22
1250 16.3 40
1500 23.4 60
1750 31.2 76
2000 36.0 100
2300 42.2 148
DRAFT: 5’0” (w/ MAN V12); 4’11” (w/MAN V8)
DISPL: 70,260 lbs. (w/ MAN V12); 67,680 lbs. (w/MAN V8)
FUEL: 1,202 gal. (opt. 1,467)
WATER 186 gal.
ENGINES: 2×1400 CRM V12 MAN
GENERATOR 21.5-kW E-QD Onan
*Fuel consumption is based on (2) engines at any given RPM. Speed and ranges, if any, are estimates based on engineering calculations. Range is based on 90% fuel capacity. Actual performance will vary and be affected by water and weather conditions, load and conditions of boat, engines, and propellers. Speed will increase as fuel is consumed. All data is illustrative and not warranted.