If the name Mankiller Bay makes you think of The Sopranos, you wouldn’t be too far off the mark. Falling within the limits of Atlantic City, within view of Harrah’s Casino, marsh-covered islands scatter the ominously named waterway. In the daytime, Mankiller Bay’s fishing grounds offer respite from the snotty conditions typically found nearby in the Atlantic Ocean. Ghastly names aside, you could do much worse when looking for a place to test a new center console—or three. With 3 feet of draft, the twin-stepped Valhalla flagship was right at home.
At a VIP event, I found myself aboard the V-41 with Justin Healey at the helm as we headed deeper into the marshland. We were pushing over 60 knots when Justin eased up on the throttles to show off a critical feature of the Michael Peters-designed hull. I had déjà vu, after witnessing the same demonstration aboard the V-33 and V-37 earlier in the day. (Together, the three herald Viking’s first foray into production center consoles.) Justin threw the wheel to port, turning the boat in tight concentric circles, while at the same time ramping up the rpm. Had I not been coached on the powerful grip of the ventilated tunnel hull, I would’ve felt nervous. But the outcome was the same: the loss of control never occurred, as the grooves in the running surface held the 41 in place without any discernible slide.
How did this happen? How did Viking come out with not one, but three new center consoles? And why now? The project’s publicized genesis began at the 2018 Miami Boat Show, when Viking CEO Pat Healey met with Peters and described his vision; eight months later, Valhallas started rolling off the line. But it really started much earlier than that. For decades, the New Jersey builder, famous for a legacy built predominately on sportfishing battlewagons, had batted the idea around. It wasn’t until the third generation, brothers Justin and Sean Healey, came up through the boatbuilder’s facility on the marsh-lined Bass River that musings and sketches passed around the lunch table coalesced into a concrete idea.
The Valhalla Boatworks V-Series has a similar look and feel, with the larger models upping the cockpit space, console space and available engine options. Altogether, the Healeys can see them utilized as hardcore fishing boats, sport cruisers or tenders. All three feature a black acrylic panel that spans the width of the console for flush-mounted electronics. For seating, the standard layout includes a forward sunpad with storage; abaft the helm, a bench seat includes tackle storage and Gemlux rod holders with cupholders on the backrest. Up on the bow, forward-facing lounges with backrests are also available.
The Viking DNA is strong in this trio. Anglers will welcome a transom livewell, in-deck fishboxes, a sea chest and tackle storage. As with the parent company, over 90 percent of each Valhalla is manufactured in-house by a team of experienced craftsmen. (Add-ons such as hardtops, marlin or gap towers and electronics packages are installed in-house.) Power is supplied by Yamaha or Mercury outboards with horsepower ratings from 300 to 425 in twin, triple or quad configurations, depending on the model.
The Valhallas have come to dominate the Mullica facility as they move down the line on an eight-day schedule. According to Viking, the plan is simple: build 70 in the first year of production. After that, the sky is the limit. —Simon Murray
Displ.: 18,533 lbs. (full load)
Fuel: 557 gal.
Water: 49 gal.
Power: 1,600-hp in quad configurations
Cruise Speed: 45 knots
Top Speed: 64 knots
Standard Horsepower: 1,600