Since I grew up on the coast of New Jersey across the bay from Viking Yachts, I followed the company’s product evolution and fished on many of their boats for 35 years. A family-run business built on customer relationships and quality products, Viking Yachts is a model for the industry. The Healey family and their team have an aggressive business model, with frequent introductions of good-looking, purpose-built boats made to hold up under the rigors of offshore fishing.
The new Viking 42 Open is no exception. With its graceful sheer, raked stem and flowing lines, the 42 Open has the same stylish features as the larger Viking convertible models so widely accepted in today’s sport-fishing circles. But this boat’s practical, efficient layout and nimble maneuverability, with a pair of Cummins MerCruiser Zeus drives, make it something special.
I got to test the 42 Open on a beautiful summer day out of the Viking Yachts Service Center, in Riviera Beach, Florida. My friend and Viking captain Ryan Higgins and I took the 42 out of Lake Worth Inlet for a shakedown to see what it could do. I immediately noticed two things: First, it offered great visibility from the center console and the large wraparound windshield with fiberglass frame and huge open spans, and second, it is incredibly quiet for an open express boat at cruise. Higgins and I talked with ease.
Our test boat came powered by twin 600 hp diesel QSC 600 Cummins MerCruiser Zeus drives, and its maneuverability in the right hands is nothing short of spectacular when you’re working hooked fish like marlin, tuna and sailfish. Once you get acquainted with the drives, you can make any boat this size perform some incredible stunts. The 42 Open is super quick, spins on its own axis with blistering speed and comes out of the spin backing down in pursuit.
As I have said before, pod drives will make an average driver better, especially around a dock, but when you’re on a hot fish on light line with a good skipper who’s acclimated to the drives and understands the nuances of how good boat handling can decrease the length of engagement with a fish, the 42 becomes a light-tackle weapon.
The boat trolls quietly, with a controlled bubble trail that folds to the center even at lure speed, and it accelerates and comes on plane with little bow lift, maintaining visibility ahead the entire time. At a 2,400 rpm cruise speed, the 42 makes around 26 knots while burning a mere 35 gallons per hour, giving it over 350 nautical miles of range and the ability to fish two long days in a canyon without fueling.
The 120-square-foot cockpit has everything you need to pursue your quarry, including a molded-in livewell in the transom and two large in-deck insulated fish boxes that drain to a sump with a macerator pump. There are access hatches to the top of the drive units and a large lazarette entrance on the centerline aft, offering access to bilge pumps and high-water alarms. The step up to the mezzanine seating is arced forward on the centerline to accommodate the swivel of a fighting chair. Two mezzanine benches on either side of the center steps to the helm deck provide passenger seating, and a freezer to starboard and an insulated box to port sit beneath the seats.
A day-access hatch with a ladder to the engine room sits behind the helm chair, and rams totalling 1,768 pounds of lift raise the mezzanine to provide access to the engine room compartment and all compressors, pumps and vital engine service components. This makes oil changes, filter access and overall engine room maintenance and cleaning easy. The immaculate engine room comes well laid out, with painless access to most major components and the generator.
The helm deck features a center console with an easy-access electronics dash, plus a helm pod with equipment boxes on each side for ship systems controls. On either side of the helm chair, companion helm chairs offer excellent visibility, and cushioned bench seats with storage underneath reside along the outboard sides of the helm deck.
The entrance below is offset slightly to port and opens to a spacious galley along the starboard side, with an L-shaped settee with dinette to port. The galley has a two-burner cooktop with an undercounter fridge and freezer on the aft bulkhead. A sink and microwave are along the outboard hull side. Ample storage throughout the galley, both under the counter and over, allows you to stock quite a supply of food and beverage. A large settee to port has seating for six and heaps of storage below.
Under the helm deck, there’s an aft stateroom with two berths, and a night table with storage between the bunks. The head sits just forward of the galley to starboard, with a large shower and storage cabinets above and below the sink and head. The master stateroom lies fully forward and includes a large center-island berth with drawers and lift-up berth storage under. A large hanging locker to port holds lots of clothes, and loads of storage and shelving on both sides of the bunk along the outboard hull sides provide additional stowage.
The high-gloss teak interior, Corian countertops, plush soft goods, controllable lighting and upscale fixtures give the 42 Open yacht-like comforts, while the functional layout of the helm deck and cockpit make the boat a potential full-fledged tournament competitor.
This boat has the ability to fish without compromise. Take a look at the 42 Open if you’re in the market for a fishable, economical, good-looking, good-running, super-maneuverable sport-fisherman between 40 and 45 feet. You’ll appreciate what the folks at Viking have accomplished.
Viking 42 Open
Gross weight: 32,699 lbs.
Fuel: 525 gals.
Water: 120 gals.
Cockpit area: 120 sq. ft.
Base price: $927,000
Viking Yachts: 609-296-6000 • www.vikingyacht