Power & Motoryacht

GROWING UP VIKING

It was the second day of the Stone Harbor Yacht Club White Marlin Invitational, and I was with Pat Healey aboard a Viking 72C, fresh out of the company’s facility on the Bass River in New Gretna, New Jersey. The morning began with a 120-mile run to Tom’s Canyon from Cape May Inlet, with Capt. Ryan Higgins at the helm while the rest of us slept in air-conditioned comfort. Most of the action took place midmorning, when the team hooked and released a white marlin followed by a wild blue that the older of Healey’s two sons subdued. A couple more whites, and the action died.

At lines out, we were 115 miles from the inlet. The cockpit was cleaned, the tackle stowed for what might have been a long ride back if we hadn’t been aboard a boat that cruises at 40 knots. Healey took the helm, giving Higgins some bunk time. As we drew closer to the inlet, a new 68-foot custom Carolina boat, reputed to be the fastest in Cape May, started moving up alongside. Healey pushed the throttles up a few rpm, and our speed increased to 42 knots, but the challenger crept back alongside, threatening to pass. Healey wound up the MTU diesels a few more notches, and we shot to 45 knots as a smile overshadowed his game face. The Carolina boat started falling back, then slowly regained ground. Healey gave the 72C its head—48 knots—as the competition fell behind for the last time.

Within hours, the Viking’s undeniable performance was the talk of the docks.

Healey, who is president and CEO of Viking Yachts, is a perfectionist: fiercely competitive and rightfully proud of the semicustom yachts his team turns out at a production pace. He is equally competitive when Viking’s fishing team, composed of employees, is on the billfish circuit as part of Viking’s

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