In recent years, Viking Yachts has enjoyed nothing short of a coup in the semicustom sport-fisherman market. The New Jersey builder seems to know what its angling-focused customers desire even before the customers do. In fact, Viking says that it accounts for about 70 percent of the 110 or so large sport-fishermen built and sold each year. The builder is less known for its Motor Yacht line, which, until now, had two models: a 75 and an 82. That line’s new flagship, the 93 Motor Yacht, is the largest that Viking has offered since 2010, when its partnership with Princess Yachts in the U.K. produced the Viking Sport Cruisers 84. Though the 93 Motor Yacht is based on the 75’s design, the Westport 112 also helped it come to fruition. One Viking owner also has a Westport, and Viking’s designers and top brass spent a good amount of time on board that yacht learning how to nail down the needs of owners in that size range. What Viking developed from that experience is a boat built for socializing, one that lets hands-on owners feel at home while enjoying mega-yacht features.
The 93 can host a party of 50 without feeling crowded, yet it can also be driven by an owner, along with a crew as small as two people (though four or five might be the more common choice). And the yacht is designed to feel as open as possible, despite being enclosed. Features such as a flip-down, hydraulic terrace to starboard in the salon as well as low-slung seating that doesn’t obstruct views help create that sense of openness. A 4-by-8-foot teak table in the cockpit has a removable leaf in the middle that makes moving around the space easier, and the cockpit also has a bar with three stools, a sink, an Isotherm refrigerator and an ice-maker. A 40-inch TV (one of 11 on board) flips down from the overhead, transforming the space into an optimal place to watch the big game.
The salon has a markedly masculine feel, perhaps not surprising from a company with roots in sport fishing. Rich satin walnut with high-gloss walnut accents exudes a stately elegance and inviting warmth. Forward, a high-gloss walnut formal dining table for eight has a partition separating it from the country-kitchen-style galley, a sociable space with a Sub-Zero refrigerator and an island counter with stools. The 93’s formidable-looking lower visor hangs over a forward casual-dining table for six, and provides good lighting for the entire area. USB ports (a thoughtful detail) dot the galley, and a stainless-steel door to the port side deck is by Opacmare, the Italian components supplier to mega-yacht builders worldwide.
Another thoughtful design detail is on the side decks, where a toe kick allows for a foot of width below ankle level without reducing interior space in the salon.
The side decks lead to the foredeck, which has four stowage compartments and a recessed Lewmar windlass that’s accessible through a hatch, keeping the forward-most part of the bow open for entertaining. Though perhaps the key entertainment space on board is the semi-enclosed bridge deck, with a homey, man-cave-like forward portion dominated by a large, L-shaped couch to port.
Outside is a four-seat bar with a Kenyon grill and an Isotherm fridge. Lounge-style chairs can be set up on the after end of the deck for sunbathing.
My test boat was powered by twin 1,945 hp MTU diesels in a gleaming, cross-ventilated engine room with 7 feet of headroom, a Craftsman toolbox and twin 55 kW gensets. A centralized seawater system runs raw water throughout the boat, and access is excellent to the Side-Power hydraulic system for the bow and stern thrusters. The overall feel is one of efficiency, orderliness and, of course, power. Those big MTUs certainly aren’t fooling around.
Test day saw gray skies and confused 4-foot seas off the coast of South Jersey, thanks to the distant Hurricane José. They weren’t the best conditions for a leisurely cruise, but for a sea trial? Oh yes, very good indeed. The 93’s resin-infused, balsa-cored hull with a fine entry and 15.2 degrees of deadrise at the transom sliced right through the chopped-up whitecaps. I cruised her at 23 knots, and as I’ve come to expect from Vikings, she was as solid as she was quiet, landing all 214,685 pounds of her displacement in the troughs as softly as a mallard.
When I pushed the throttles all the way down, she got up to 26 knots, and I have to say, she may have run slightly better at full speed. It felt as if she got out over the tops of the waves even more — a pleasing, if not economically sound, endeavor. Her Viper fly-by-wire steering system with independently moving rudders lent a good deal of nimbleness too, as I slalomed through the Atlantic. I even took her hard over to port in a single boat length. As she completed her loop, I couldn’t help but think that for a yacht her size, she was ballerina-agile.
The Viking 93 Motor Yacht is lively and responsive, sleek on the outside while inviting on the inside. No surprise there: The combination is exactly how Viking climbed to the top of the sport-fish market, and it suits the brand in the motoryacht class too.
Take the next step: vikingyachts.com