FORT LAUDERDALE, FL—The Viking Yachts 54 Convertible was named the Best of Show during the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. The award is presented to the most innovative new boat model on display based on multiple criteria, including performance, design, technology and architecture.
The 54 Convertible features a gently sloping unbroken S-shaped sheer, aggressively raked stem, double chines, hull-side vents and deftly placed exterior feature lines. The three-stateroom, two-head open bridge yacht pushes the owner/operator convertible to the highest levels of engineering, performance, accommodations and sportfishing capabilities.
Using Computational Fluid Dynamics software, the Viking Design and Engineering Department has optimized the 54’s running surface for maximum performance. Now an integral part of the design process, the in-house CFD allows us to run numerous virtual sea trials to fine-tune the shape of the hull bottom for increased efficiency. The hull is built with an engineered composite of fiberglass fabrics and coring that’s vacuum-infused with vinylester resin.
The 154-square-foot unobstructed cockpit has molded non-skid on the sole for grippy footing (even when wet) and large scuppers to drain water quickly. The 54 has a walk-through transom door with a lift gate and a three-foot reach to the waterline to enable quickly turning a billfish loose. Anglers will appreciate Viking’s signature rounded cockpit coamings and toekick for those lengthy stand-up battles. Flush rod holders, recessed stainless-steel hawse pipes and cleats keep the cockpit clear.
This year’s winner was selected by a panel of independent judges including: Matt Caldwell, President & CEO of the Florida Panthers Hockey Team; Craig Jackson, CEO of Barrett Jackson Auto Auctions; John Staluppi, auto magnate, boating enthusiast and superyacht owner; Ricky Carmichael, former professional Motocross Champion, stock car and Nascar driver; and Josh Jorgensen, sportfishing mega-influencer and star and host of BlacktipH.
This year, Viking Yachts’ 54 Convertible contested against other exciting new debuts at FLIBS for the Best of Show title, including Monte Carlo Yachts’ 76 Skylounge; Ocean Alexander’s 27 Explorer; Azimut Yachts’ Magellano 25 Metri; Mangusta GranSport 33; Invincible Boats’ 46 Catamaran; Intrepid Powerboats’ 409 Valor; and Riviera Yachts’ 64 Sports Motor Yacht.
“Winning the FLIBS Best of Show award this year is an incredible milestone, especially after what our boat builders have been through over these past seven months,” said Pat Healey, President and CEO of Viking Yachts. “The Viking 54 Convertible is a one-of-a-kind boat and an accomplishment of all of our previous mid-size sportfishing boats. No other manufacturer has built more of these boats in the past 20 years. Having the facility and the team we have is what makes this boat different. FLIBS is the king of all boat shows taking place in the Yachting Capital, and to debut the 54 Convertible here during such a special year was only right.”
“Every year builds more and more momentum and excitement surrounding the title of Best of Show,” said Andrew Doole, President of Informa Markets U.S. Boat Shows. “This year’s winner, Viking Yachts, distinctively showcases the range of vessels we have on display, from superyachts to sportfish boats to express cruisers. We are thrilled to have Viking Yachts take home the trophy for their impressive 54 Convertible.”
Healey and his sons, Sean and Justin, accepted the trophy. The “Best of Show” award ceremony was filmed by NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) at the show and was included in the one-hour special that aired on November 1 on NBCSN. The NBCSN show special will be broadcast again on November 17 at 4 p.m. You can also watch the special below.