We’ve Come A Long Way!
April 1 marks the 50th Anniversary of the Viking Yacht Company. It was on this date in 1964 when co-founders Bill and Bob Healey opened the doors of the Viking Yacht Company.
Today Viking is the world’s number one builder of boats ranging from 42 to 92 feet. With more than 4,600 Vikings built over the past half century, there are legions of stories about the boats, about the people who built them and about the people who own them.
While it was not easy in the early days, the Healey brothers were eager for the challenge. Starting with wood boats, the switch to fiberglass in 1971 signaled to the industry that the two brothers were in it for the long haul.
This 1970’s magazine ad is a testament to the brothers resolve, so much so that one afternoon they recreated their eponymous pose in front of a Viking 61 Convertible some 30 years later.
As a team, the brothers were inseparable and awesome in their commitment to the people of Viking and the industry. In 1991 through 1993 when the luxury tax reared its ugly head and was killing thousands of jobs throughout the marine sector, Bob Healey ramped up the forces and spearheaded buses packed with unemployed boat builders who traveled to Washington to plead the injustice of the bill. Bob was instrumental in getting the bill repealed.
While the Healeys were never big on personal fanfare, the brothers were recognized by their peers frequently, winning among other accolades the Chapman Award in 2001 and being inducted in to the National Marine Manufacturers Association Hall of Fame in 2003 for their ongoing contributions to recreational boating and the marine industry.
Today, hitting the 50 year mark with a full order book, a new flagship 92 Convertible on the way, the 75 Motor Yacht about to join the line and more new models waiting in the wings, Viking is enjoying the view from the top of the mountain where we plan to stay.
During a cake cutting ceremony with Bill and his son Pat Healey in the company’s cafeteria on Monday with 120 long time employees, Rudy Dalinger a 49-year Viking veteran remarked, “We started with wood boats, dirt floors, and no heat and today we have five modern buildings, a tri-generation plant for heat and power, and we’re building 92 footers. We’ve certainly come a long way!”