By Capt. Ken Kreisler
Where do you start when you start out to design and build a 92-foot sportfishing boat? If you’re Patrick Healey, President and CEO of Viking Yachts, it goes something like this:
“Back about four+ years ago, we were in Ocean City, Maryland, aboard a customer’s 115-foot motoryacht,” said Healey. “He owned one of our sportfishing boats as well and I really enjoyed the spaciousness of being on the kind of yacht that allowed a large group to hang in the country kitchen, entertain others in the main salon, and allow the owners to sit outside with more guests on the aft deck area.”
The concept impressed Healey so much so that he and Viking’s Design Manager Dave Wilson and Capt. Ryan Higgins, the company’s South East Sales Manager and demo skipper, also along on the visit, had a shared moment. “We’ve got to figure out a way to make this kind of set up happen on a big sportfish boat,” Healey said.
Taking cues from the highly successful Viking 82C, design and engineering set out to make the next big thing a reality. With a $7+ million a year investment in R&D, countless meetings and analyzing input from customers as well as internal departments and an extensive tank-testing regimen, the two and a half-year project culminated in a nine month build schedule that was the dockside crown jewel in Viking’s recent 50th Anniversary celebration and dealer meeting held in Atlantic City this past September.
The first thing I noticed as I watched the 92EB come to a stop outside the long row of slips at the far end of the Farley Marina before spinning around and backing down along the face dock, and while still quite a distance away, was how well proportioned she looked. “It was one of the primary directives; to make her look as good and well-balanced whether dockside or out at sea,” said Wilson.
Fantastic is a more apt description. As she approached, it became apparent that Healey’s team had achieved something really special. Under the expert hand of Capt. Higgins, she came to a gentle portside-to rest, her deep-throated pair of 2,600-hp M96 MTU diesel power plants shut down as the first group of 23 people standing there, eager to board, waited.
“With the 92EB, we can attract some folks from the larger yachts, who also owned a smaller sportfishing boat, and want to scale down to one,” said Higgins. “Therefore,” he noted, with a smile and a nod in the boat’s direction, “As you can readily seen, she’ll be more than able to take such an owner to the next level.
Incorporating both the large yacht features while keeping the successful fish amenities found on all Viking open convertibles and enclosed bridge models intact, the 92 offers an impressive full service galley, a free-standing dining table space, a full beam master with his and her heads, walk in closets, separate crew quarters aft with lounge and galley, a bridge deck that is a good as it gets, the kind of storage spaces throughout that can accommodate long trips away from home, and a six stateroom layout.
As far as the accommodations are concerned, an owner has some leeway, for
example, converting the pantry on the main deck’s starboard side into another stateroom should that be necessary. Indeed, on Hull #2, the owner is eliminating the free-standing dining table and reworking the salon layout along with the his and her heads by making one side a walk in closet with the other a special locker design. And with Hull #3, that owner asked for some changes including a dinette area inside.
To say the least, the interior fit and finish, along with the décor package, is as tastefully and well done as I’ve seen on any vessel of her class and then some.
The team paid special attention to the aft deck, wanting to keep that as an outdoor dining area. The variation on the theme incorporated the mezzanine area and created two levels—a yacht aft deck and a separate fishing mezzanine with seating, livewell, and refrigeration for the massive business end of the 92EB, the lower cockpit. Any fishing crew will be more than able to be highly competitive in this space and to seriously compete in any tournament event.
Aiding that ability is her amazing performance capabilities. On my particular test day, Capt. Higgins had her up and running along at a cruise speed of 30 knots with a fast cruise of 32. Her WOT hit an impressive 37.2 knots at 2450 rpm all in troubling four-to-six foot seas and into the wind and current. During backing down maneuvers she pirouetted like a prima ballerina and while running up and down sea, I had to look out at the conditions to remind me we were in this kind of water. Of course the Seakeeper M35 Gyro was of great help in keeping us rock steady.
“We’re 200,000+ pounds with full fuel and water,” explained Higgins in the noticeable quiet of the enclosed bridge. “But that all goes to our design and engineering teams with our resin infused hull and deck house reinforced with carbon fiber, Nomex honeycomb in many of the interior panels for weight saving, and along with the hull bottom featuring flush and recessed engine pickups, and to help further eliminate drag reduction, we eliminated the keel resulting in a straight V.”
The engine room space allows total access to every piece of equipment, pump,
valve, connection, switch, filter, and any other critical area that needs attention and maintenance. A lot of the components normally found in an engine room and which sometimes makes for a rather tight space, have been allocated to a dedicated space. Aboard the 92EB, it’s known as the mechanical room. Here one finds, again with complete access and serviceability, the ice chipper, ac power converter system, refrigeration units, compressors, cable masters, centralized water system, and generators. And of course, getting to the mains is everything one could want in being able to perform total critical engine maintenance with complete ease and accessibility. Another big yacht feature is that aforementioned ac power converter system. It gives the 92EB complete and worldwide dockside abilities with single-phase, three-phase, 50hz, 60 hz plug-in abilities.
“We’re a big team and along with our design and engineering folks, we left nothing to chance with this boat,” commented Higgins when we got back, tied up, and waited for the next group to board. “I get to see a lot of reactions when we introduce a new model and the response to this one has been nothing but spectacular. Once you take the wheel and realize how maneuverable she is, I notice a feeling of complete confidence quickly settles in over whoever is at the helm whether around the dock or heading out to sea.”
With all the advances Viking has incorporated in its past designs, and all the developments integrated into the 92EB, she will be sure to influence the next yacht, assuredly already on the drawing board, at the New Gretna, NJ facility.
“It’s been that way for 50 years,” said Healey. “And there is no reason to change that at all. It’s something my father and my uncle, the founders of the company, always held true: We’ll build a better boat every day.”
LOA: 93′ 3″
Beam: 24′ 1″
Draft: 5′ 1″
Weight: 205,000 lbs. (standard fuel load)
Fuel/Water: 3,410/485 U.S. gals.
Power: 2x 2,600-hp MTU 16V-2000-M96 diesels
Cruise/Top Speed: 30/36 knots
Range: 612nm @ cruise w/opt. power
Contact: Viking Yachts, Route 9 “On the Bass River” P.O. Box 308 New Gretna, N J 08224 Phone: (609) 296-6000 Fax: (609) 296- 3956. vikingyachts.com