The Viking 37 Billfish raises an age-old question (as well as raising billfish): which is the better offshore fishing machine: a convertible, or an express? A convertible gets you more cabin space, and an elevated position to spot fish from. But it also separates the captain from the action, and makes getting from the controls to the cockpit a chore. Expresses, on the other hand, may have less cabin space and less elevation but they allow the captain to dart back and forth between the wheel and the cockpit. Wouldn’t it be nice to find an offshore fishing machine that offered the best of both? Enter, the Viking 37 Billfish.
The 37 Billfish has a flybridge, but it also has on open bridgedeck with a steering station below. Run it from up top or run it from deck-level, as the conditions dictate.
Wait a sec—if the design works, why doesn’t everyone use it? The down-side is the loss of a salon. Sure, there’s a dinette and settee on the helm-deck, but it’s still not as comfortable as an enclosed cabin. That said, are you in this game to slay fish, or to relax on the couch?
Another surprising attribute of the 37 is its fully-enclosed forward stateroom. Most lower cabins on boats of this size are open, as opposed to being private. But the 37’s forward queen berth can be closed off, so you don’t have to listen to your fishing buddies snore during the next overnighter at the canyons. As one would expect, the cabin also has a galley, a stand-up head, and extra stowage.
The cockpit is a miniaturized version of larger Vikings, with aft-facing seating to either side (though the port-side seat is a bit tougher to access due to the bridgedeck ladder). Modules have a bait freezer and tackle stowage, there’s a livewell in the transom, and there are insulated fishboxes in the deck. All in all the cockpit is 86 square feet, which is on par with other serious inboard fishboats in the mid-30-foot range.
Performance is sweet according to Viking, which says the 37 has a 30-knot cruise and a top-end nearing 35 knots, courtesy of a pair of Cummins QSB 6.7 diesels. We weren’t able to take it off the dock when we inspected the boat (it was jammed in at the boat show) but in the past, we’ve found Viking’s performance claims to be 100-percent reliable. One other reliable thing we’ve found in the past: their boats run exceedingly well in the rough stuff. So while we’re certainly not going to try making any judgment on seakeeping abilities at this point in time, if a 37 foot Convertaspress is a boat of interest to you we’d suggest heading for the nearest dealer asap for a sea trial.
LOA – 37’8”
Beam – 13’10”
Displacement –29,329 lbs.
Draft (hull) – 2’8”
Transom Deadrise – NA
Fuel Capacity – 440 gal
Max HP – 1100
Area Dealers – Bluewater Yacht Sales, Gloucester Point VA (804) 642-2150, Ocean City MD (410) 390-3043, Baltimore MD, Grasonsville MD (410) 827-0873, and Hampton, VA, (757) 723-0793 686-1500.