Sportfish builder Viking opened the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show with upbeat news.
“Today we have the biggest backlog we’ve had in our 57-year history,” chief executive Pat Healey said. “People are back into boating.”
Two years ago Healey was less optimistic. He worried about the consequences of impending regulations seeking to curb emissions. All boats with a load line length of 24 meters and over had to come up with ways to reduce emissions by January 2021 – the problem was the technology was not ready.
The solution used on larger boats – a SCR system that injects urea into exhaust -- takes space in engine rooms, add weight and only work at certain temperatures, plus Healey says urea is not readily available in marinas. Healey said the company would have to stop building larger motor yachts unless an extension was granted.
Viking lobbied regulators to negotiate for an extension that would allow the technology to catch but at the same time turned inward to find a solution while engine manufacturers continue to work on R&D.
That solution for Viking was redesign and smart engineering. The result of this introspection is the new Viking 90 unveiled at FLIBS. With a length of load line length of 23.2 meters (27.4 meters overall), it falls below the regulatory threshold.
But it is also much lighter and faster (with a projected top speed of 38 knots for the convertible version) than the Viking 92 previously built while only losing inches in length and beam. “We designed the 90 to be as sleek as possible, stressing a low profile and clean lines,” says Viking Design Manager David Wilson. “We also brought several refinements to the exterior that enhance that lean, sexy look.”
Healey says this was the right solution for Viking and its clientele while the industry as a whole continues to seek better solutions to meet regulations without hindering performance.
Viking will build three versions of the 90 (Open Bridge, Enclosed Bridge and Sky Bridge) that will all have space for five cabins and a full-beam 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.
“Understanding that suitable engine and SCR technology for (the sportfishing) market was unavailable, the US Coast Guard announced in March a three-year suspension of the regulations in North America. But the development of the 90, which does not require SCR, was already well underway and in 15 months we’ll proudly present the next flagship of the Viking sportfishing fleet,” Healey said.