VIDEO: Simrad Suite Viking 48 Game Boat

By: JOHN WILLIS, Photography by: JOHN WILLS, BARRY ASHENHURST, Video by: BARRY ASHENHURST

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  • Trade-A-Boat

When the opportunity came up to meet a legend in the game-fishing family and hear about his decision to install a full Simrad Marine Electronics suite to his mighty Viking 48, we jumped to attention.

Viking 48 – GunRunner - big, bold, meaty, confident and ready to pillage and plunder. This is state of the art pelagic weaponry matched with gutsy, long range, hi speed assault power. It makes no apology for its single purpose, blinkered design criteria for a defined purpose , namely offshore game fishing. "GunRunner" does justice to its namesakes, the Vikings. She’s a true seafarer that is rigged for action and devoted to glory.

"GunRunner" is owned by Scott and the Lee family, Scott is a dedicated and well decorated fisho with a host of credits to his livery including the hotly contested Port Stephens Interclub Competition. His previous boat, also named "GunRunner" was an O'Brien 44 that made its name on the Cairns Black Marlin grounds before a successful career with the Lee's. It now operates charter based fishing trips out of Broome. "As good as the O’Brien was the Viking 48 is better!" said Scott. I jumped at the opportunity to join Scott and his crew for a couple of days fishing out of its current base at D'Albora Nelson Bay.

Simrad Navico Viking 48 Port Heads

GunRunner is glorious in its livery. She’s big, bold and exceptionally powerful providing a truly confident attitude worthy of long runs to distant battlefields on the wide offshore grounds, and then bringing the triumphant warriors home safe and sound with their pelagic bounty. She’s a beautiful boat with a hull that’s worthy of conquering the worst channel crossing, with the power of a pair of big C18 ACERT Caterpillar engines that took us to the "Car Park" a popular marlin hot spot on the edge of the Continental Shelf, some 50 odd km run from the D’Albora marina at a speedy "normal" offshore travelling speed of around 28 knots at 1950 RPM.  That’s flying for a big and weighty hull, but then Scott opened her up and we tranced the armada at a confident 33 knots.

I asked Scott why he settled on the Viking. He’s a man of few words, but when he speaks you listen. The reply was simple, "the sea handling capabilities, the speed, the layout and the finish. Whilst she’s got all of the attraction of a high class cruiser she really is a devoted fishing package!"  There is accommodation for six with the master stateroom and its double island bed and two further bedrooms both fitted with a pair of single bunks.  She has a main bathroom on the starboard side and a further ensuite to the master, both featuring vanity, head and separate shower. They aren’t huge for a 48 footer but more than suitable for this boats purpose. There’s even a disguised laundry for washing those smelly fishy clothes on extended soirees.

 

Want your own Viking game boat - Click here for Viking's for sale 

 

The saloon is large and quite beautiful with a large L-shaped leather lounge, separate dinette trimmed in more classical fawn leather, and a fully equipped galley minus the dishwasher. The word "classical" suits the internal décor more so than the contemporary fit out we are getting used to with competitors. The joinery is first class featuring gloss teak finishes with marbled bone Corian counter and off-white ceiling liners and carpet. The saloon is well suited to a chic party back at the marina, or maybe a more intimate dinner party but the large Sony LCD TV that faces the rear deck and fully integrated Bose (Bose in the saloon and Sonic Hub is in the bridge, which is Navicos product) sound system indicate there’s more afoot than initially meets the eye.

Simrad Navico Viking 48 Salon Wide

The rear deck is simply huge and well equipped for game fishing devotees. There are large live bait and kill tanks under the teak floor, wide combings and a rear door but no marlin board to get in the way when that big thrashing marlin erupts at the transom. GunRunner is fully equipped with premium fishing accessories and loads of refrigeration, water makers and generators, but Scott would like to fit an ice maker in the future.

The flybridge is classic! Whilst the ladder is quite steep you get used to it rather quickly.  There’s plenty of seating up front and to the side and a pair of pedestal helm chairs to the rear allowing terrific 360 degree vision, including full view of the deck antics. The helm is wide and largely uncluttered, but it’s here that the real technology begins!

STATE OF THE ART SIMRAD

Gun Runner has recently undergone a full state of the art electronics update with world class Simrad equipment providing all of the information to keep the team on top of their game. The world of electronics for offshore fishing has changed dramatically over the last five years with a mind boggling array of information available to smart skippers drastically improving their safety and success.

The helm features dual MO19-T screens that are securely flush fitted and secured under hinged Perspex enclosures for maximum protection.  These multi-touch monitors provide bright, easy to see monitoring with very easy customization for preferred viewing components, even in bright sunlight. I particularly like the "Picture In Picture" selection for navigating through the information and customizing the dual touch screens.

Simrad Navico Viking 48 Helm Wide

The Simrad installation on GunRunner includes the following components. Dual NSO Processors, Dual MO19T screens, Halo 4’ Radar, S5100 Sounder Module with CHIRP, Airmar 3kw R509LHW transducer, Go free WIFI module, Sonic Hub and AP44 Auto Pilot Controller. This is all fully integrated with Safety AIS tracking allowing real time information of not only your craft and its position, but every other AIS fitted vessel in range.

HALO PULSE COMPRESSION RADAR

Much has been written on the value of radar in offshore fishing and Simrad’s Halo – 4 Pulse Compression unit is superb. I have personally used them in low trailer boat installations right through to the top of the tallest flybridge mount with similar success. It can turn a fishless day into success with its "Bird Watch" ability providing terrific viewing range indicating schools of birds crashing on schools of fish. Scott tells me that this feature alone has been a major factor in some of his captures. The Halo’s broadband 25W pulse compression radar with 4-foot open array antenna allows up to 64nm range and is not only a great boost to your confidence in navigation but will also show approaching storm fronts as well as any obstacles in your path. It is especially welcome when night falls, or when foul weather sets in reducing visibility. It might be worth mentioning that the Halo can operate as a dual radar (a & b) so you can have range set at say 3nm to pick up close targets on A and 20nm to pick up far targets on B.  This can be either split screen or one on each monitor

SEE THE FISH – THEN CATCH EM!

GunRunner fitted twin Simrad S5100 Sounder Modules with CHIRP combining with an Airmar 3kw R509LHW transducer to gain the viewing edge in all water depths. These hi-performance sonar units have dramatically lifted the availability of undersea information creating more opportunities for angling success. We can now see not only bait schools, but the individual pelagic predators that chase them to enormous depths.

These high-performance CHIRP sonar modules feature three fully independent channels each supplying high-res performance and clarity on multiple viewing depths. You can use split screen viewing and  Ultra-Low, Low, Medium, or High CHIRP to zoom in on differing target levels with noise free screen clarity showing clear water columns, thermoclines, fish separation and amazing bottom clarity down to a specified depth of an amazing 3000 metres, however on this trip we never travelled past the first drop off.

Simrad Navico Viking 48 Dolphin Fish

What all of this means in practicality is that you can easily detect the bait fish schools, drop the jigs down to the desired depth, catch the bait and return them targeting the pelagic prey that follows the school. Furthermore with the thru hull transducer, its placement and its power the vision is clear right up to Wide Open Throttle.

VIEW FROM THE DECK

We were lucky to have Simrad’s Andrew Homann working the deck along with Luke Reilly along for his first marlin. Andrew is a very serious fisher and a terrific technician and he clearly demonstrated the system from the deck perspective. It then became clear what the large Sony TV was all about. It is a repeater from the upstairs displays so the deckies can see the action for themselves and position baits and lures accordingly. The information is also available through the Go free WIFI module to any mobile device, and you can even adjust the settings. You don’t have to be an electronics whiz kid either as it is all exceptionally easy to use with clear and friendly menu’s that even this old muggins could understand.

Simrad Navico Viking 48

GunRunner can be run efficiently with a very limited crew with thanks to the electronics package incorporating the AP44 Auto Pilot Controller and interactive controls. The auto pilot provides constant speed and direction for the angler, and you can even take regular peeks at the radar on the repeater screen, or your mobile device to ensure the safety of your course allowing the skipper to leave the flybridge to assist in the capture. In addition the NAIS-400 Sonic hub is communicating with other vessels via AIS keeping you free to fight the fish. You can even set radar alarms for complete peace of mind!

LET’S ROCK!

The Simrad system is completed with the interactive connections to other fixed and mobile devices. GunRunner has connectivity to the Sonic Hub entertainment system so the skipper controls the music and its outlets even from his own phone. There are digital readouts displaying caller ID and phone settings as well.

I asked Scott what he thought the best feature of his new electronics package. He said "The menu’s are so intuitive – there’s nothing hard, I’ve been marlin fishing for over 25 years first starting on the NSW south coast and now calling Port Stephens home port. I have never had such an easily accessed array of vital information available previously. It really improves my enjoyment and my success rate."

Simrad Navico Viking 48 Running Left To Right

One thing is for sure, this is a crew that knows their seamanship and their equipment. The Viking 48 GunRunner is one of the top game boats in the country, backed up by a terrific package of class leading Simrad electronics and put into practice by a leading and well informed crew.

Whilst the fishing was a little slow for this trip we still managed to tag and release a small marlin for young Luke and boated a beast of a 23kg Mahi Mahi that gave Andrew a hiding for an hour on 10kg line. Little wonder it fought so hard, a very large visitor in a dark grey suit decimated its mate from behind the gills early in the tussle. I’d be struggling hard too with that beastie on my tail!

 

 

Nine-piece Suite - Click the links for more info

*All costs exclude fitting, consumables and needed accessories. All prices correct as of 8 June 2017


For more information, head to Simrad-Yachting.com.au

Simrad Navico Viking 48 Port Heads Our test boat, a Viking 48 Simrad Navico Viking 48 Port Heads
Simrad Navico Viking 48 Running Left to Right The Viking 48 dominated the seas on the way to The Carpark Simrad Navico Viking 48 Running Left to Right
Simrad Navico Viking 48 Helm Wide Upstairs at the helm, the standard dash swallowed the twin 19" Simrad MO19-T's with ease Simrad Navico Viking 48 Helm Wide
Simrad Navico Viking 48 We had to test the gear so dropped some livie's out for pelagics Simrad Navico Viking 48
Simrad Navico Viking 48 Salon Wide The salon is super clean and well maintained with a massive Sony screen doubling the NSS Evo feed Simrad Navico Viking 48 Salon Wide
Simrad Navico Viking 48 Sony TV Mirror Handy for keeping an eye out forbait or even following your direction on autopilot Simrad Navico Viking 48 Sony TV Mirror
Simrad Navico Viking 48 Blue Marlin Jump The bait worked and gave Luke from Simrad his first blue Simrad Navico Viking 48 Blue Marlin Jump
Simrad Navico Viking 48 Dolphin Fish As well as a near-record breaking dolphin fish Simrad Navico Viking 48 Dolphin Fish
Halo 4 with Light 11128 The Halo-4 is a good size for game fishing boats like the Viking with Bird Radar a handy feature to find work-ups over the horizon Halo 4 with Light 11128
S5100 Hero jpg 17412 The real brains behind a good image of whats below, the S5100 processes what the tranducer sees and what's displayed on your screen S5100 Hero jpg 17412

 


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