shouldn’t have been surprised. I’ve tested enough Viking Yachts models by now to know the builder’s hulls float like ducks. But still, I admit, I was surprised. I ran the Viking 44 Open off Atlantic City on the same day I tested the company’s flagship, the 93 Motoryacht, in testy 5-footers chopped up by strong currents stirred by a distant hurricane. The 93 barreled right through the considerable slop. I was curious how the 44, about half the bigger boat’s size and weight, would handle the seas. The 44 shrugged off the swells almost as easily as her big sister did. Her fine entry sliced right through the whitecaps, and the relatively flat after section of her balsa-cored, resin-infused fiberglass hull, with a 14.3-degree transom deadrise, helped her to get out of the hole easily. The hull design also allowed for good tracking in following and head seas. Two lifting strakes further aided handling, and she landed softly in the troughs, without a creak or groan. The first few times we launched off a peak, I braced myself. But the 44 performed so well that I became fully relaxed splashing through even the largest swells. And the boat was dry thanks to that fine entry, along with the 44’s spray rails and more than 6 feet of forward freeboard. All of the spray that day broke abaft the steering station, keeping sightlines unblemished.