Yachting

fish finder

The ONE safe bet YOU can make in Atlantic City, New Jersey, is that there are few safe bets to make. However, on a recent trip to the coastal gambling mecca, I did find one way to increase my angling odds. She was docked in the marina adjacent to the Golden Nugget casino, and she appeared to be as close to a sure thing as they come. ¶ The 68 Convertible is a quintessential Viking. She’s sweetly sized for the tournament scene or overnighters in the canyons, but not so ostentatiously imposing that she becomes cumbersome. This is a vessel thatAydin screens, while another Viking subsidiary, Palm Beach Towers, had provided the tuna tower, which stood out with smooth welding. ¶ The Viking’s 176-square-foot cockpit had all the amenities I expected to find aboard a fishing machine of this caliber. There were two in-sole fish boxes as well as a livewell in the transom. A beefy fighting chair made by Release had been installed for battling the big ones. A starboard-side tuna door was designed to let fishermen get their catches on board more easily. Mezzanine seating was a pleasant touch, creating a good perch for keeping an eye on baits, or for using as a place to hang while the 68C headed out to the fishing grounds. ¶ The boat’s salon comes in satin-finish or high-gloss walnut, and the joinery was tight on my test boat. A day-head to starboard meant nobody had to tromp all the way down to the accommodations level for a break. An L-shaped settee to port had a good view of the forward-situated TV. ¶ The galley was forward with an island counter and three bar stools, making it an excellent place to pop a cold one after a long day of fishing. The island counter was a useful design choice for a fishing boat. As opposed to a traditional U-shaped counter, which hems people in, the island makes it much easier to drop the turkey sandwich and get out to the cockpit fast should the bite start. ¶ Viking built a stowage room forward in the salon, good for extra rods, bedding or other bulky items. Down below is a standard Bosch washer and dryer amidships; it should prove useful on longer sojourns. ¶ Accommodations are laid out for comfort on weekend or longer fishing and cruising itineraries. The en suite master is also amidships, though it’s not full-beam. Instead, it’s to port with an athwartships island king berth; a 6-foot-8-inch-tall, maple-lined hanging locker; and a standard 32-inch TV at the foot of the bed. The yacht comes with a standard three-stateroom layout, including a guest stateroom across the companionway from the master, and a forepeak VIP. The VIP on my test boat had a walk-around queen-size berth, though the space is available with dual scissoring berths for owners who need more room for a tournament team. Crew quarters are aft with a head and access to the engine room. ¶ There are four options for the 68’s power plants: twin 1,945 hp MTU V-12s, 1,925 hp Caterpillar C32s, 1,900 hp MAN diesels, or the base engines, twin 1,550 hp MAN V-12s. Regardless of engine choice, they’re bolted to the center stringers for strength, and are well-ventilated. There’s walk-around access for maintenance checks, and the twin 29 kW Cummins Onan gensets are easy to reach. ¶ Viking has plans for an enclosed-bridge version of this model, which should appeal to more cruise-centric boaters and denizens of colder climes. Yet regardless of the 68 Convertible’s configuration, when it comes to having a sweet ride, a well-appointed interior and fishing-ready features, Viking Yachts has hit the jackpot.

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