Sporty fish builder Viking opened the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show with upbeat news.
“Today we have the largest backlog we have had in our 57-year history,” said Managing Director Pat Healey. “People are back in boating. “
Two years ago, Healey was less optimistic. He was concerned about the consequences of impending regulations to reduce emissions. All boats with a load line length of 24 meters and more had to find ways to reduce emissions by January 2021 – the problem was that the technology was not ready.
The solution used on larger boats – an SCR system that injects urea into the exhaust gases – takes up engine room space, adds weight, and only works at certain temperatures. Additionally, Healey says urea is not readily available in marinas. Healey said the company should stop building larger motor yachts unless an extension is granted.
Viking lobbied regulators to negotiate an extension that would allow the technology to catch up, but at the same time folded inward to find a solution while engine makers continue to work on R&D.
This solution for Viking was a redesign and smart engineering. The result of this introspection is the new Viking 90 unveiled at FLIBS. With a load line length of 23.2 meters (27.4 meters overall), it is below the regulatory threshold.
But it’s also much lighter and faster (with a projected top speed of 38 knots for the convertible version) than the previously built Viking 92, losing just a few inches in length and width. “We designed the 90 to be as stylish as possible, with an emphasis on a low profile and clean lines,” said David Wilson, design director at Viking. “We’ve also made several refinements to the exterior that enhance this slim and sexy look.”
Healey says this was the right solution for Viking and its customers, as the industry as a whole continues to seek better solutions to meet regulations without hampering performance.
Viking will build three versions of the 90 (Open Bridge, Enclosed Bridge and Sky Bridge) all of which will have space for five cabins and a full-width owner’s cabin.
The 90 goes into production on May 1 and will be at the Miami International Boat Show in 2023 but Viking has already sold 10.
“Realizing that the right engine and SCR technology for the (sport fishing) market was not available, the US Coast Guard announced in March a three-year suspension of regulation in North America. But development of the 90, which does not require an SCR, was already well advanced and in 15 months we will proudly present the next flagship of the Viking sport fishing fleet, ”said Healey.