Straight up, the Viking 5.5 is a very impressive boat, with striking lines and solid build. She felt very safe while crossing the bar and heading outside to put her through her paces. With a 2.3m beam and a 19º hull deadrise, she handled the conditions well and felt very reliable and responsive while carving through a slight chop and a good rolling swell.
Right away you could tell this was a well-built boat, designed for fishing and enjoying the open ocean.
Seafarers have been manufactured on the Gold Coast since 1957 and have been reputable, not to mention popular, over the years.
In November 2007, The Haines Group took over the business and moved operations for the Seafarer range to Brisbane. Knowing they had purchased a sound product with good heritage they have made few changes to the make up of the Viking 5.5, recognising they had a hull design with excellent ride quality and the ability to handle most situations.
This new Viking model has subtle differences that will improve its longevity and make it a more appealing purchase to the offshore fisherman.
Looking at the boat she looks very similar to the older models, with some subtle difference and one major hidden one. Basically the Haines Group has applied their touch in the small finishes and slight changes to the construction method to improve the overall quality of the boat.
The internal structure of the boat is the biggest difference with internal timber work all being computer cut, ensuring a tighter fit and sturdier construction. The normal timber has been replaced by a multi layered ply called ‘Rubly’, each layer of the ply has been treated before bonding resulting in a very tough and durable product that is warranted against impregnation from pests or rot.
To round off the Haines Group’s build improvements they use a woven fibreglass mat. This adds to the strength of the lightweight hull, which apparently helps reduce fuel consumption and increases hull performance.
Other quality add-ons in the stainless steel fitting and instrumentation have brought this tried and tested boat to modern and future standards.
The Viking 5.5 was very stable at rest both at sea and in the river, making her a great fishing boat. The gunwales weren’t too low on your legs and reaching the water to wash your hands wasn’t impossible. So when landing a big fish you’ll be confident in staying on board and bringing in the catch.
With plenty of storage a day on the water is easily enjoyable, large side pockets on both and shelves in the cabin provide plenty of space for those items that need quick and easy access, like life jackets, the offshore safety kit, sunscreen and other essential odds and ends. There is also plenty of storage bins under seats in the cabin; enough space to store all the stuff you need to spend a week at sea if you wanted to.
With a wide clear deck she has plenty of space for a couple of large coolers for the food and drink supplies as well as the all-important catch. The stern of the boat has two large bait tanks on either side and will hold plenty of bait. The test boat was still to be fitted with a bench seat and back rest at the stern to add extra comfort for passengers.
Underway, she feels very comfortable and safe to drive, visibility is good as you look forward and aft and the skipper’s seat is comfortable and well positioned with good foot rails for both the skipper and passenger. Handrails are easy to access and add extra support when conditions are a little rough.
The controls are well positioned and all the instrument dials are easy to read. The radio was easy to access and when fitted the Humminbird 778CX fishfinder, the skipper’s position will be well appointed. Easy access to the anchor well through the cabin makes anchoring easy and safe, the stainless steel bow rails add extra safety and add to the striking appearance of the boat.
Powered by the Suzuki DF140, the Viking hand plenty of power and didn’t feel under gunned at all. When tested, she was running a 19” prop but a 21” prop was soon to be fitted. A 21” prop should drop the top ends revs and give her a tad more speed. With the 19” prop, though, she pulled out of the water beautifully at around 3200rpm and would cruise easily at this speed, which by the gauges was around 25-28 knots.
When given a little throttle and trimmed right out she hit the rev limiter at just over 6000rpm, but when scaled back a little she belted along at around 43-45 knots. In between the two extremes it was comfortable to cruise at around 4200rpm, which was about 35 knots and good speed in the river.
It was very reassuring to know she had a good deal of grunt for any tricky or hair-raising bar crossing. With a 130L fuel tank you’ll have enough fuel to get you to and from some of those far off fishing hot spots.
When travelling the hull design and construction proved to be everything Seafarer claim it to be; comfortable, smooth and quiet. When put through its paces in some swell and chop, she handled admirably, holding her course and staying true. The hydraulic steering makes a huge difference and adds to reassurance of a sound boat for offshore action.
Overall the boat, motor and trailer come in a towing weight of around 1350kg, so you’ll need a medium to large 4WD to tow this rig. The length of the rig including the motor is 6.85m with a height of 2.2m and a width of 2.3m. Making the Seafarer Viking 5.5 a great fibreglass boat for the trailerboat fisher who likes comfort, safety and reliability.
For more information on this rig drop in to see Wyld About Boats at 27 Gateway Dve, Biggera Waters or call (07) 5563 8833.
|Max Engine Weight:||195kg|
|Load Capacity:||Six Adults|
|Length Overall on Trailer Including Engine:||6.85m|
Overall Height on Trailer: 2.2m
Width On Trailer:2.3m
Test Boat Package
Seafarer Viking 5.5m
Suzuki DF 140 – Fitted with a 19” Prop
Stainless Steel Rocket Launchers/Targa with Bimini
Side Clears and Curtains
Stainless Steel bow rails
Rear Lounge and Backrest (to be fitted)
Clip in Carpet
Navman VHF Radio and Ariel
Dual Battery System
Humminbird 778CX Fishfinder (to be fitted)
Two tone Hull