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Reviewed: Viking Yacht 38 Open

The Viking Yachts 38 Open Billfish is a 36-knot fish-raiser.

December 29, 2020
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Viking 38 Open Billfish
The 38 Open Billfish is the entry point into Viking’s express models, which also include a 44-, 48- and 52-footer. Courtesy Viking Yachts

The Viking Yachts 38 Open Billfish evolved from the 38 Billfish flybridge. It’s an express boat built for die-hard anglers.

The 38′s centerline helm station allows for 360-degree visibility, thanks to a step-up platform, center windshield, curved corner glass and open aft space; Bimini curtains help to keep air conditioning in and heat out. The console has room for twin 17-inch Garmin multifunction displays, an engine monitor and speed/depth logs. A joystick controller should come in handy for close-quarters maneuvering with the twin 550 hp Cummins QSB6.7 diesels.

A radio box to port of the Palm Beach-style helm pod (with bow-thruster buttons in the single-lever controls) houses the VHF radios and touch-button controls for the Seakeeper SK6 stabilizer. Behind a drop-down ceiling panel are recessed electric teaser reels. Release Marine bolster-style helm and companion chairs should offer comfort during long runs and in rough seas.

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The 38 Open Billfish may be the smallest yacht that Viking offers, but it has the same fit and finish as its larger siblings. From the blister-resistant vinylester coating on the fiberglass and foam-cored hull to the white Awlgrip engine room and bilge to the serial-numbered interior cabinet doors (if one is damaged, the builder can create an exact match), this boat is as detailed as the builder’s 92-footer.

Viking 38 Open Billfish
In addition to the helm chairs, there are port and starboard L-shaped settees on the bridge deck, keeping the captain and crew within earshot when underway. Push a button, and access to the engines is under these settees. Two mezzanine seats let the crew watch the baits trolling in clean lanes. Below these seats are a freezer and tackle locker. Courtesy Viking Yachts

Belowdecks, the galley has a sandalwood Corian countertop, two-burner Kenyon recessed stove with a Corian cover, cabinet-mounted Samsung microwave, and two Isotherm fridge-freezer drawers with an ice maker.

Across from the galley is an 81-inch-long sofa, in perfect view of the wall-mounted 21-inch flat-screen TV. Aft in the salon is a head with a Corian countertop, freshwater electric toilet and enclosed fiberglass shower stall.

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Twin bunks are forward, with a single upper bunk and double lower—enough space for a tournament crew to catch some sleep. Throughout the yacht, the cabinets are finished in juno teak. There also are an Amtico vinyl teak-and-holly sole, maple-lined hanging lockers and cabinets, and brushed-nickel faucets.

The high-end accoutrements are welcome, but the Viking 38 Open Billfish is all about chasing story-worthy fish. With a bait freezer, port and starboard in-deck fish boxes, a fighting-chair mounting plate, a livewell, rod holders, a transom door, a fridge, and insulated stowage, the yacht is equipped to let owners fish from the coast to the canyons. The vessel’s 14-foot beam helps create a 109-square-foot cockpit for doing battle.

Opt for the Palm Beach Towers tuna tower, and the 38 Open Billfish will be ready to hit the tournament trail. (Winning fish not included.)

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Take the next step: vikingyachts.com

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