Fifty-one years ago today, April 1, 1964, Bill and Bob Healey opened the doors to the Viking Yacht Company. Starting out with little more than a building in the swamps with no heat and dirt floors, some planks of mahogany, and a rough and tumble work force, Bob the lawyer and Bill the ironworker began an amazing legacy.
The early years were the training grounds for what would come, but the brothers never stopped living and learning their mantra to build a better boat every day.
Always a stickler for details and willing to explain what makes Vikings special, Bill was the tour de force. Here he points out to Hank Bowman, the editor of the old Boating magazine, the rudder installation aboard a Viking.
Launched in the fall of 1972, the first Viking 40 Convertible established Viking as a blue water competitor and more than 600 were built over the following 16 years.
Building a better boat every day kept the Viking team busy and the boats continued to roll down the production line. There were bigger players on the water back then but only one Viking.
Though the luxury tax of 1991-1993 was devastating to Viking and the marine industry, the Healey brothers dug in and kept the company afloat. By the time the Viking 55 Convertible launched in 1997, a new generation of Viking yachts was born.
More than a half-century after its humble start, the Viking Yacht Company has grown from a single building to an 862,000 square foot manufacturing facility, with an adjacent yachting center and marina, plus a pair of modern service yards in Riviera Beach Florida. With Bill’s son Patrick serving as president and Bob’s son, Bob, Jr., directing the company’s real estate and other financial holdings, Viking REMAINS AT THE TOP of the mountain where its 1,000 strong work force continues in Bill and Bob’s tradition to build a better boat every day as its mighty flagship 92 Convertible rules the seas.