According to Viking Yachts communication director Chris Landry, the New Jersey-based behemoth had the largest display at November’s Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, with 12 of its vessels — nine Vikings and an additional three of its Valhalla Boatworks center consoles — in the water.
It was a bold move at a show that was, in all senses, a scaled-down version of itself. Builders that generally take up significant dock space — such as Ferretti Group and its constellation of brands, Hatteras Yachts and Horizon, plus a large number of superyacht builders — skipped the event entirely. But those that did exhibit said they saw pent-up demand from attendees, and none more than Viking and Valhalla.
“It was a huge success, exceeding all of our expectations,” says Viking president and CEO Pat Healey. “What a great show, especially considering the challenging circumstances. Seeing all the people coming out to FLIBS proves just how much people love and value boating and fishing.”
“There was never any question that Viking would be part of FLIBS,” he adds. “It’s an extremely important part of the industry, and we support this industry 100 percent.”
When the show closed, the builder had sold a total of 11 Vikings, including two 92 Sky Bridge models and three of the new 54 Convertible — which debuted at the show — and 9 Valhallas, including two of the in-production 46-footers, Landry says. (The V-46 is slated to make its world premiere at the company’s VIP Preview at the end of January.) And Viking expects that number to go up, with deals that are in the works.
“Our sales were actually a little better than last year,” Healey says. “Not only did our Viking and Valhallas do well; our sister company, Princess Yachts America, sold seven yachts. So it was a tremendous event for all three brands.”
The Viking brass came away impressed with Informa’s AllSecure Health and Safety standards. Measures included mandatory face coverings and social distancing; contactless ticketing; additional and expanded entrances; widened docks;
cleaning of all areas before, during and after each day’s events; plus numerous hand sanitizing stations and CDC signage.
“We are focused on doing a good job at social distancing,” Landry said during the show. “We aren’t handing out brochures, no paper at all. We have QR codes at all the transoms, and you can walk up and take a picture of it with your smartphone, and it takes you directly to an online brochure and spec sheet. From there you can get to our website, as well.”
Adding to an all-around successful event for the builder, the Viking 54 Convertible was crowned winner of the FLIBS “Best of Show” award via NBC Sports.
“Winning the FLIBS Best of Show award is an incredible milestone, particularly after what our boatbuilders have been through over these past seven months,” Healey says. “The 54 is a one-of-a-kind boat and an accomplishment of all of our previous midsize sportfishing yachts. … Our manufacturing facility and our great team of boatbuilders are what made winning this award possible.”
This article was originally published in the December 2020 issue.