Viking Yachts built 21 of its 92-foot convertibles in less than seven years, so the New Gretna, New Jersey, boatbuilder knew there was strong demand for supersize sport-fishermen. But a pending change in emissions regulations involving selective catalytic reduction would have forced the addition of costly, heavy equipment to the engine rooms, decreasing performance and efficiencies. As a result, Viking ceased production on its 92-footer (and its 93 Motoryacht) and developed a 90-foot convertible that would fall just under the required size for the rule.
Now, that Viking Yachts 90 has arrived. Hull No. 1 is a Sky Bridge model in what the builder calls Kingston Grey. Convertible and Enclosed Bridge versions are also available, with at least seven more hulls in production or ready for the molds as of this writing.
When I stepped up to the 24-foot-high perch on the Sky Bridge, I felt like I could almost see the Earth’s curve. Triple multifunction displays and twin covered consoles for radios and switches flanked the Palm Beach faux-wood helm. The Sky Bridge also offers a great vantage point for eyeing baits behind the boat.
Below, at the enclosed bridge’s helm, five multifunction screens wrap toward the captain’s position, creating a true glass-helm setup. Every navigation, fishing and operational function can be monitored here. There’s room under the screens for additional engine monitors and radios, as well as space on the console for more electronics. To aid the skipper’s visibility, the forward windshield is one piece until it reaches the corners. There are three beefy wipers, and no mullions to block the view. Flanking the captain’s chair are two double bench seats so guests can also enjoy the commanding views.
Running to and from the fishing grounds can take time—well, not too long at a 33-knot cruise speed—but for those longer runs, this yacht’s all-weather enclosed bridge provides the comforts of home. This space has the same high-gloss walnut woodwork, fabrics and features found throughout the yacht. Dual fridge drawers are in an end table, reducing trips to the galley. An L-shaped settee with a wood coffee table is to port, and an interior curved staircase is nestled into the after corner, leading to the main deck.
One might think that getting a 90-foot yacht up to speed would take a minute. Not so. Hull No. 1 is powered with optional twin 2,635 hp MTU 16V 2000 M96L diesels, which provide a 38.2-knot top hop and the aforementioned 33-knot cruising speed, with a range of approximately 600 nautical miles. Standard powerplants are twin 1,925 hp Caterpillar C32A diesels.
In addition to having solid speed, this hefty 90-footer (with its 193,000-pound displacement) is nimble and responsive to wheel input in real time. Backing down, the 90 runs true and is agile, with the ability to spin in any direction on a dime. I noted limited splash and overflow into the cockpit as we ran several backing-down scenarios.
As I stepped into the main salon off the dual-level mezzanine, my eye was drawn to the wraparound galley to starboard. It has a backlit stone countertop and every appliance needed for formal meals or pre-fishing snacks: a four-burner electric cooktop, Sub-Zero fridges and freezers, and a dishwasher. Five fixed stools ring the L-shaped counter for casual dining with family and crew.
The 42-by-78-inch dining table to port is on a raised platform with an artfully crafted walnut-veneer centerpiece. An opposing walnut band separated by polished chrome inlays is ringed by high-gloss black paint.
Guests can relax after dinner in the U-shaped settee aft and to port, across from the 65-inch HDTV. Walnut and teak woods add a warm feeling to the interior spaces. Ultraleathers and fine fabrics are used on furnishings to create seating that’s soft, supple and tough to leave.
Outside is a serious setup for angling aficionados. The 224-square-foot cockpit (same size as on the Viking 92) is ready for battle with mammoth-size marlin, thanks to a fighting chair, a rocket launcher, a table or some other combination of an owner’s choosing. Twin 103-gallon in-deck refrigerated fish boxes can keep the bigeye cold, and a 203-gallon transom livewell is ready for the baits to stay frisky.
Many times, sport fishing is a spectator sport, and the Viking 90 accounts for that. The two-tiered mezzanine has three areas that allow the crew to keep an eye on the spread and for guests to watch the action. The lower section has a sofa on centerline. The upper area has an L-shaped settee to port with a teak table, and there is a cushioned bench to starboard. The latter two spaces are under the flybridge overhang, protected from the elements. Under each seat is stowage, either for fishing gear or cold drinks. Backrest air conditioning is available in the seating.
There is also a dedicated watertight hatch in the deck for a Seakeeper 35, allowing for easy maintenance or equipment swap-outs.
The Viking Yachts 90 Sky Bridge is an impressive vessel. All at once, it’s a bluewater-ready sport-fisher that can chase pelagics around the planet, a tournament contender that can accommodate a sizable crew, and a true yacht that offers a high level of luxury and relaxation when the day’s fishing is done.
The Comfort Equation
According to Viking, each of the 90’s five guest staterooms and the crew quarters were analyzed inch by inch to maximize functionality. An elegantly appointed full-beam master stateroom is amidships with a king berth, a Jack-and-Jill head with a central shower stall, a vanity, a sofa, a maple-lined walk-in closet and a 65-inch TV. The forepeak VIP is en suite, with three more en suite guest staterooms between the VIP and the master. Crew quarters are aft.
The Hull Story
Enhanced lifting strakes, redesigned prop pockets and refined driveline components (custom struts and rudders) all add to the performance I experienced on board the Viking 90 Sky Bridge. Viking’s engineers got here via computational fluid dynamics that let them visualize the flow of water under the hull to optimize its form. This technology lets the builder’s team test multiple permutations much faster than traditional tank testing.
The Viking 90 Sky Bridge’s power management and electrical controls are handled via an OctoPlex digital-switching system, which reduces wiring and allows for multiple displays throughout the yacht.
Take the next step: vikingyachts.com