All hands on deck
The Healey’s passion towards boatbuilding has attracted like-minded partners. Since the 1970s, Viking has worked with Johnson & Towers, the largest MTU pleasure craft distributor in North America. Back then, the distributor pioneered the industry by customizing 2-Cycle Detroit Diesel engines for marine use. This was the only way to produce enough horsepower to reach the Healey’s performance objectives. While the nature of the business and technology has changed dramatically since then, the partnership continues to this day.
“It’s a great team. And we couldn’t do it on our own. We get the support we need from MTU factory personnel too. The distributor, the factory and Viking—the three of us work together to provide a quality product and superb service,” says Robert Shomo, senior vice president of engine sales at Johnson & Towers.
Craftsmanship by design
As the Viking Yacht Company continues to grow all over the world, it stays grounded in the values that made it so successful. For nearly five decades, Viking’s philosophy has been to build a better boat every day. The commitment towards superior craftsmanship, design and performance permeates the entire company.
From multiple CNC routers for cutting wood parts to a pair of five axis profiles valued at $1.5 million to create foam plugs to build complex molds, Viking defines cutting edge. Other than a few major components, such as engines, propellers and appliances, 90 percent of every Viking boat is designed and manufactured on the premises. Whether it’s a fiberglass fuel tank, custom engine beds or a wiring harness labeled every eight inches with its function, virtually every part is built at its state-of-the-art manufacturing facility. This maintains quality control and ensures that everything works together seamlessly.
The ultimate fishing machine
A Viking’s interior resembles a floating luxury condominium, featuring designer touches such as curved doorways, exquisite woodworking and TVs that rise from teak cabinetry at the touch of a button. Below deck, you’ll find the heart and soul of the boat—the engine room. Here, the vessel reaches another level of extreme— centered on speed and performance.
Powered by twin MTU 16V 2000 M94 engines, the 70-foot Viking Convertible moves at 40 knots (46 MPH) at full throttle. Also known as “battlewagons,” the yachts excel at tournament fishing, where the fastest boat gets to the best fishing grounds first. Speed is also important when fish aren’t biting. If you find out that prime fishing grounds are 20 or 30 miles away, the ability to pick up your lines and run to that area is crucial. Moving quickly could make the difference between holding up a trophy at tournament’s end, or shaking hands with the winner.
Many first-time Viking owners have bought a Viking after getting passed by one on the water. “People want that speed, that reliability, and those engines do a great job, and we’re very happy with them. The 70-footer is very fast for a boat that weighs 130,000 pounds. It really gives the owner a charge to be able to pass people,” says Peter Frederiksen, director of communications, Viking Yacht Company.
As an engineering-driven company, Viking takes great pride in its engine rooms. “When most people walk into a Viking engine room, they’re speechless,” says Frederiksen. “The room and the engines are white. It’s a very clean, antiseptic space. It’s easy to spot leaks or anything out of the ordinary. It’s designed for easy access for maintenance. If you make it easy for a person to perform daily oil and fluid checks, chances are it’s going to get done. MTU, Johnson & Towers and Viking have made that engine room a very hospitable place and you don’t mind spending time down there.”
Going above and beyond
And if there are service issues, experienced personnel are always standing by. In addition to its New Jersey facility, the Viking Yacht Company is the only manufacturer to provide its owners with a satellite service facility in Florida. MTU distributors are located all over the world, ready to lend a hand as well. Johnson & Towers is on call 24/7 to provide service and support. Recently, a boater was stranded 50 miles offshore in Florida, unable to restart the engine. Over the phone, the owner reached out to Robert Shomo at Johnson & Towers for help. Robert walked the owner through what was needed to get his engine started. The engine came to life, and the owner returned to shore safely.
“All MTU distributors are expected to maintain that quality of service,” says Shomo. “You’re buying the best marine pleasure craft engine in the industry. It’s quiet, fuel efficient, reliable, aesthetically beautiful, and it’s the right power for that particular boat and that particular market.”
The Viking Yacht Company continues to look toward the horizon. The design group is putting the finishing touches on the plans and drawings for its biggest vessel yet—the new 92-foot Convertible, equipped with twin MTU 16V 2000 M96 engines. And as always, while Viking adds new models to its production cycle, it will continue to refine all of its current boats in its product line for gains in performance. As kindred spirits with Viking, MTU shares this same passion for constant innovation and superior engineering.
“Our relationship with MTU and Johnson & Towers has been long and strong,” says Frederiksen. “That’s very reassuring for our customers. We put our boats through a lot of work to perform. It’s a very concerted effort, by a lot of people with the same goal—building a better boat every day.”