About three years ago, Viking Yacht Co. took a detour from building bigger convertibles and introduced the 37 Billfish. It’s the smallest boat the company has offered since the 1990s, a tribute to the classic fishboats made famous by storied Florida builders more than 50 years ago.
The response was beyond expectations, with 24 sold in the first two years of production. At the Miami International Boat Show earlier this year, Viking rolled out a revamped version dubbed the 38 Billfish, and in September it introduced the 46 Billfish.
Just looking at the 46 tells the story. The lines blend Viking’s unmistakable sheer with the classic proportions of those boats of yesteryear. The cockpit is longer, the house is smaller, and the flybridge is compact and businesslike. Sleek and graceful, this Billfish assures you that job No. 1 is fishing.
The 140-square-foot cockpit has a bait freezer, two in-deck insulated fishboxes, a walkthrough transom door, a transom fishbox/live well, rod holders, tackle stowage, and fresh- and raw-water washdowns. Mezzanine seating for four flanks the centerline walkthrough to the house, which can be enclosed and climate controlled.
The saloon area has a U-shaped lounge, a hi-lo table and a lounge that extends along the starboard side. Beneath the seats are stowage compartments for rods; best of all, anglers are just steps away from the cockpit when a screaming drag calls them to attention.
Viking 46 Billfish
Below deck, the galley-down is to starboard and the head compartment to port. Also on the port side are twin bunks for catnaps on canyon overnighters, and the master stateroom is through French doors forward. It features a queen berth, a flat-screen TV and plenty of stowage. The cabinetry is high-gloss teak.
I grabbed a ride on the 46 Billfish with John Leek IV, who heads up the Billfish project at Viking’s 88,000-square-foot production facility in New Jersey. The boat was powered by the optional 800-hp MAN diesels that push the boat to 40 knots wide open and a cruise speed of 34 knots. Leek mentioned that at 15 feet, 4 inches, the beam is a foot narrower than the 44 Convertible; weighing in at 42,865 pounds, the 46 also is 8,000 pounds lighter. That adds up to more speed, greater agility and the ability to slice through a sea.
The ride is impressive and dry, and the brisk handling will make short work of chasing down even the fastest sailfish. It has plenty of tech for the techies, from electronics packages by AME to an optional Seakeeper gyro stabilizer, and every fishing feature you could ever need to do battle.
The 46 Billfish is a handsome fishboat that will surely appeal to bluewater anglers, boat owners and captains alike.