Sport-fish boats get bigger every year, but not all anglers want a sun-blocking battlewagon. There is still a great deal of love for the midsize, owner-operated fin-chaser.
Enter the Viking Yachts 38 Billfish.
To fight story-worthy marlin, you need room to move quickly around the cockpit in stand-up gear, and to spin an angler rapidly in a fighting chair, which is why the 38 Billfish has 109 square feet of dance floor, 23 square feet more than Viking’s earlier 37 Billfish. It also has a mounting plate for a chair or a rocket launcher, along with two in-sole fish boxes for sizable game fish such as yellowfin tuna, a transom fish box and livewell, and a bait freezer. Mirrored mezzanine seats to port and starboard let the crew keep an eye on the spread.
The salon is accessed via a passageway between those seats and, as you see above, can be opened to keep everyone in the conversation.
There is a high-low dinette table to port for meals between bites, and a second seat to starboard (a longer settee is available). The galley is belowdecks, three steps off the salon, with a two-burner cooktop and microwave. Also below are a head with a toilet and stall shower, and a queen-size berth.
To bag the big ones, anglers also require a fast and nimble vessel. This sport-fisherman is powered with twin 550 hp Cummins QSB6.7 diesels spinning propellers the builder says are tuned to S-class tolerances, which are the most accurate pitch tolerances available. What this means for the helmsman at the standard Release Marine teak helm seat is that the 38 Billfish should be real-time responsive to input from the single-lever controls, or from the wheel with hydraulic power-assist steering.
The 38 Billfish comes standard with a flybridge helm that’s protected from the elements with a three-sided Costa Clear enclosure. A lower helm station is an option, and owners can add a tuna tower from Viking subsidiary Palm Beach Towers, as well as another steering station under a buggy top. The standard flybridge helm, flanked by settees to port and starboard, is on centerline with walk-around room on both sides. (A 38 Open is on its way too.)
Supporting this fishing-friendly layout is a fiberglass hull built with modified vinylester resin. End-grain balsa and closed-cell foam core are added for strength without added weight. The hull-to-deck joint is mechanically fastened every 3 inches and fiberglassed from the inside.
For anyone who likes to run with a small crew to where the big fish live, the Viking 38 Billfish is worth a look.