Viking Yachts 38 Billfish Reviewed

The 38 Billfish is a midsize fishing machine with a battlewagon layout and 35-knot-plus speed.
Viking 38 Billfish
Powered by twin 550 hp Cummins diesels, Viking’s 38 Billfish has a 31-knot cruise and a top end of 35 knots. Courtesy Viking Yachts

As sport-fishing boats seem to grow larger with each passing year—and outboard-powered center consoles leading this charge—it’s refreshing to see a builder return to producing a high-quality inboard sportfisherman under 40 feet. That builder is Viking Yacht Company, based in New Gretna, New Jersey. 

The company’s model lineup stretches to 90 feet length overall, but the 38 Billfish offers a special place in the hearts of owner-operator, sport-fishing enthusiasts with its combination of versatility, comfort and performance. 

Viking 38 Billfish
The command deck has a salon-like entertainment area that includes a fiberglass hi-low table. Courtesy Viking Yachts

The diesel-powered 38 Billfish offers simplicity and ease of maintenance, serving as a ready-to-go fishing machine, which is equally adept at inshore and offshore excursions as well as for extended cruising with family and friends. The boat’s 109-square-foot is equipped with a laminated in-deck mounting plate to support options for a fighting chair, rocket launcher or marine table. Other big-boat features include in-deck insulated fish boxes, a walk-through transom door and lift gate, bait freezer with upper tray, a transom fish box and live well, rod holders, tackle stowage and fresh- and raw-water wash downs. Two-person mezzanine-style seating flanks the centerline walkthrough, and there’s refrigerated drink storage, as well as an array of gear stowage throughout the boat.

The 38 Billfish’s command deck has a salon-like living area that includes a portside U-shaped dinette and a fiberglass hi-low table. A lounge to starboard also serves as additional rod stowage. For those who prefer a lower helm station, it’s an option here on the starboard side, with immediate access to the cockpit. 

Viking 38 Billfish
The U-shaped dinette is to port. Both sides of the command deck lift on electrically activated hatches for easy access to the engines. Courtesy Viking Yachts

Belowdecks, Viking’s made full use of the boat’s 14-foot beam to maximize comfort and utility. There’s a single stateroom forward that can have either an island queen or a crossover-berth setup. Hand-finished teak joinery, an Amtico sole and climate-control create a cozy retreat after a long day on the salt. A full galley and an enclosed head round out the available real estate.

Viking uses a modified vinylester resin for constructing the 38 Billfish’s entire hull skin. End-grain balsa and closed-cell foam are used as coring materials in selected areas to optimize strength and stiffness while minimizing weight. The single, integral fiberglass fuel tank—sealed to the hull with resin foam—is resin-infused with balsa coring on all sides for stiffness, and the hull-to-deck joint is mechanically fastened every three inches and fiberglassed inside. This ensures the boat is built to take what the ocean dishes out.

Viking 38 Billfish
The private stateroom fully forward can be outfitted with either a queen island or crossover berths for versatility. Courtesy Viking Yachts

For ease of maintenance, engines and other critical machinery is located beneath electrically actuated hatches in the command deck area; the Billfish is designed and built with many of the same mechanical systems, components and technologies found on larger Vikings, such as the Delta-T engine-room ventilation system and a fire-suppression system that’s automatically or manually operated. The engine room, lazarette and forward bilges are painted with Snow White Awlgrip for increased visibility and ease of maintenance. A large centerline hatch provides quick access to the diesels, an optional Seakeeper gyrostabilizer and watermaker, and fuel tank fittings. Powered with twin 550 hp Cummins QSB6.7 diesels, the 38 Billfish’s reported top speed is 35-knots-plus with a 31-knot cruise speed.

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