A dozen revisions to a profile and arrangement are not uncommon before Wilson’s team focuses on finalizing the hull form and completing a weight study. Since tank-testing had been done on both the 74 and the 82, Wilson was confident in the 76’s form. “We haven’t made any radical changes to our hull form since the 50 Convertible in 2008,” said Wilson. “At that time, we reduced deadrise at the transom a bit to improve efficiency.” The 76 for example, has fine, slightly convex sections forward to deal with the seas, and a transom deadrise of 11.7 degrees. This makes sense for a boat of her size and speed, since when she is operated responsibly her transom should not clear the water.
A two-foot increase in length, a bit more beam, and the addition of an enclosed bridge could have had an exponential effect in terms of weight. However, the design team kept the 76’s weight in check. “Our goal with the 76 was to match or exceed the 74’s performance with the same power package,” said Wilson. To achieve this, nonstructural interior fat was trimmed and resin-infusion technology was employed on smaller components such as the fuel tanks. As was the case with the 74, the 76’s bottom, topsides, decks, and superstructure are cored with balsa. Forms for the stringers are cut in closed-cell foam and laminated in place. Cored bulkheads and web frames are built on a vacuumbagging table. “We estimate that our cored hulls are 15 to 20 percent lighter than solid-glass hulls,” said Wilson.
After spending time running the 76, it was clear that Viking’s design methodology works. Our test boat’s optional 2,400-horsepower MTUs seem a worthwhile upgrade since the 76 can use the muscle to work around a dock or a fish. She is also fitted with a bow thruster. At 1800 rpm I noted a speed of 26.5 knots. At 2100 rpm I measured 32.5 knots and the MTU electronics indicated a fuel burn of 170 gallons per hour. This should allow a range of more than 500 nautical miles with the optional fuel capacity. Cranked up, the 76 delivered 39.6 knots—impressive. Viking’s VIPER (Viking Independent Programmable Electrohydraulic Rudder) steering system controls each rudder independently, which allows engineers to dial in the ideal trailing position and toe-in. At speed, the 76 handles like a sports car.
The enclosed-bridge layout will best suit cruisers who may occasionally fish, rather than hardcore tournament types that want full contact. Its climate-controlled, all-weather comfort is ideal for the long haul in challenging weather.
While some convertible builders have let their focus wander, Viking has avoided distraction and sought its inspiration on the tournament circuit. The percentage of folks who are actually tournament junkies is small, but the fact is that convertible designs have always been cross-platform performers. Viking seems to have recognized that if it built a great convertible, owners would figure out what they wanted to do with it. The 76 is a great convertible— whatever your passion.
Displ.: 136,200 lb. (w/fuel)
Fuel: 2,547 gal. (3,174 gal. optional)
Water: 425 gal.
Power Option: 2 x 1,825-hp Caterpillar C32 diesels
Test Power: 2 x 2,400-hp MTU diesels
Base Price: $5,363,000 (with 2 x 2,400-hp MTU diesels)
Viking Yachts, (609) 296-6000; www.vikingyachts.com