Friday, February 15, 2019

THE DUSSELDORF BARGAINS: VIKO S35


The Viko S35 looks as good in reality as in the photos and drawings and this is saying a lot: nice design, clean lamination, well done gel coat and tidy interior, made of american oak veneer with a quite pleasing design and a well integrated led illumination.

The interior looks solid but in fact cabinets and cabin doors are not really tight and if you force them around they will rattle. The door handles are a little flimsy, not strongly fixed and all around the boat needs some detailing that anybody with decent hands and some spare time can do, at a low cost.

The exposed boat had some extras among them the two wheel setup. It comes standard with only one wheel. Like on most other brands bigger winches can be mounted as well as a bigger engine and more batteries. The standard winches are Lewmar 30 and the standard engine a Yanmar 15hp. It comes with a dacron semi-batten main sail and a genoa.

Of course almost everybody will opt for a 20 or 30hp optional engine since 15hp on a 5.2T boat works only as an auxiliary engine, will want more than a single 60 A battery and will rather have teak on the cockpit that,by the way, is a very nice one, deep, large and with a good seating position with lots of back support.

The Viko S35 is well ventilated by an adequate number of hatches of good quality and in fact it looks quite "normal" taking into consideration the low price.

The sail hardware is quite complete, including a genoa track, a traveler track near the wheel and a boom-vang. Nothing looks particularly strong, quite the contrary, but probably it will be enough for coastal sailing where if something stops working a fix is not far away. The running rigging looks practical and traditional, using 4 winches and two groups of 4 halyard stoppers, one on each side, over the cabin.

What really looks very good is the hull and since it has a good B/D (36%) on a 1.95m keel I have no doubt that it will sail very well. The design is from the Italian cabinet of Sergio Lupoli yacht design that, without being a major one, is certainly competent.

The overall design is very good with a very well integrated cabin and a nice interior layout even if on the three cabin layout the aft cabins are on the small size and with a part (the one under the cockpit) with a really low height. The deep cockpit has here negative consequences and the aft cabins are only practical for one person not only due to that characteristic but also due to the short width between the engine box and the hull.

 The two cabin version has a much bigger head, a bigger salon with a small chart table with a seat, it offers a much bigger storage space but unfortunately, even if the aft cabin is bigger it offers not a much improved space since the height is the same as well as the width. For solving that problem the cabin would have to be transversal and not a longitudinal one.

That solution would imply not to have a dedicated charter table and a redesign of the head. It would be a much better solution since it would not only allow a decent height all around as it would increase the cabin width and length, that with only 1.86m will not be comfortable to many sailors.

The standing height on the boat is good having 1.92m at the entry and 1.70 on the forward cabin, that has a bed 2.00m long. The interior boat storage is also good, with two lockers on the forward cabin, one in each aft cabin and a considerable and practical storage on the galley area.

Outside, on the three cabin version, the storage is not enough for extensive cruising even if adequate for shorter cruising. It has no lateral lockers under the cockpit seats but has two deep lockers under the seats aft the wheels  that go all the way till the hull. The volume is big but the practicability not so much except for things like fenders. Smaller items will be very hard to reach since the opening is not big.

On the two cabin version it will have, besides these, a big storage space that will occupy the underside of the right cockpit seat and also part of the space that was occupied by the starboard cabin. That will make for a very good and practical storage on a 35ft boat. The chain locker without being big is deep and it will be enough for a fair amount of chain.

As I have said many times, all main mass production shipyards are saving money producing boats with a very good hull stability but with a low B/D. Managing to make an inexpensive boat with a relatively high B/D is what seems to me more extraordinary regarding the Viko 35 and I was really curious regarding the boat structure and keel fixation.

1900kg is a lot of weight, 1.95m is a considerable draft and the boat structure and keel attachment to deal with the involved efforts have to be considerable....and expensive to make. For that reason I wanted to have a good look at them, but the floor boards on the boat were screwed in and it was not possible to have a look at any of that.

I  talked  with the German Viko dealer that not only was not interested in showing that part of the boat but also told a strange story about industrial secrets and not revealing them to the competition.

Quite surrealistic stuff, I would say, as if the boat had some kind of high tech building that they wanted to maintain secret. He ended up saying that the bottom on the keel area was 5cm thick and pointing to the massive steel structure, exposed by X yachts on a nearby stand, that it was something like that but made of composite material.

I was not impressed, quite the contrary, I was strongly convinced that he did not know what he was talking about. I remember seeing once the keel attachment on a Viko 30s keel and it did not seem to me particularly strong. I certainly would not buy a Viko S35 without more information about the way the boat structure is built, without having a good look at it and the way the keel is bolted.



As I have said, the thing that amazes me most on this boat is how they have managed a relatively high B/D ratio maintaining the boat price very low and it is very important to know if that was not made at the cost of the boat resistance and strength and if shortcuts were not taken on this area.

This is the biggest Viko boat to date so it cannot be said that they have experience with boats of this size  and I cannot give you any information regarding boat structure. The visit at the boat in Dusseldorf did not provide any and the shipyard on their site do not give any information or images regarding the way the boat is built, namely in what regards boat structure or bulkheads. A pity since the boat really looks interesting.



I  guess you would have to find for yourself, or by buying one and seeing what happens (or not) or going to Poland and visit to the shipyard, assuming they will allow that, to see how the boat is built. Anyway, if you get more information on that aspect please share it here.

The above video was published by Yacht.de, and in it Michael Good makes a good report about the boat, unfortunately in German, for the ones that don't understand it, but you can still have a look at the explicit images. You can learn more about the Viko S35 and about its price here:
https://interestingsailboats.blogspot.com/2019/01/viko-s35-beauty-for-less-than-54-000.html


3 comments:

  1. Thanks a lot, Paulo, for the review! No a good strategy at all to hide such an important aspect of a boat! If I were anyone at the sales dept. of Viko Yachts I would have ordered to install a glass cover at the keel area..just believing they are saying the truth and there is a solid an original technology after such an impressive B/D ratio!! Sooner than later we will discover what was hidden down those screwed floor boards...
    Fair winds!-

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    1. Hi!,
      I guess that the viko's hull structure is something like what is used by all French mass production shipyards, a kind of "contre moule" bonded with strong adhesive to the hull.

      Do to the extra efforts created by the bigger ballast it has to be stronger than the usual, but it is not difficult to create such structure with that method.

      Boats like the First, also with a higher B/D than most mass production boats, used that type of structure but it had to be stronger than the one of the Oceanis of the same size and that was part of the reason the First were more expensive than the Oceanis.

      What amazes me is the boat being very inexpensive and yet having to have a more reinforced structure than same sized mass production boats. That's why I would like to have a look at it and not because it is difficult to do.

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  2. So, you don't believe at all there is an original or, at less, more "integrated" technology than a "contra moule". I agree: that sounds the most easy way of solving the question with such a low price. That and perhaps a marketing strategy, a way to enter the market with a hit on boats longer than 30 (the 40's and the 50's are coming...) even if they do not earn much money.

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