Déjà vu was the feeling I got touring the new Viking Sport Cruisers 67 Motor Yacht. When I wrote about the first Sport Cruisers 10 years ago I suggested that the melding of a stylish European marque and a proven American nameplate was worthy of close attention. American yachtsmen not only listened, they voted with their checkbooks. Once again, the Sport Cruisers team has created a winner.
I caught up with the 67 at Viking's service center in Riviera Beach, Florida. Like other Sport Cruisers designs her beauty is more than skin deep. With the Viking nameplate comes the company's well-known commitment to supporting its products. "Our Sport Cruisers line appeals to American yachtsmen who like the look and performance of European yachts but are uncomfortable investing in an unfamiliar brand," said James Nobel, sales manager for Sport Cruisers. Viking's investment in Riviera Beach reflects this focus. "The majority of our owners either live in South Florida or visit the area aboard their yachts during the winter months," said Nobel.
Nobel recently moved to South Florida to open an on-site sales center dedicated to the Sport Cruisers line. He was putting the finishing touches on the cherry- and leather-clad offices when I arrived. All of these trimmings and the new 67 are a result of the now-proven relationship between Viking Yachts and Princess Yachts International of Plymouth, England. While Viking has built motoryachts in the U.S. in the past, its successful convertible line has consumed its efforts in recent years so partnering with the English builder made sense. "While we cater to different markets, Princess and Viking are a good match in terms of company structure and philosophy," said Nobel.
In terms of design, the 67 has little in common with Viking's homegrown fare. While I dislike the term "Euro-style," she follows popular trends commonly expressed in this genre. Her swept-back, low-profile look suggests speed and performance. Her rich cherry joinerwork and high quality soft goods and hardware suggest sophistication. She could easily be confused with an Italian build; however, after years of poking about European boats, to my eye her citizenship is unmistakable. Italians build cars and boats with their hearts while the English tend to be, well, more practical. Translation? It appears to me that the 67's design was thought out down to the last screw before her production began. The fitted tableware storage, user-friendly drawer stowage beneath the sofa and the washer/dryer positioned strategically next to the linen locker are no accident. It seems every detail of cruising life has been considered.