Tucked in a compartment left of the helm was the VHF radio, convenient to use but protected from the elements. Right of the helm, a compartment held the joystick control for slow-speed maneuvering or backing. Of particular note, I liked the dual throttle and shift levers spread at hip width, allowing the captain to back down or pivot to the dock with traditional helm controls, should he prefer it. I tried it and felt it handled like a standard inboard sport-fisher, such as the Cabo 44 HTX with straight inboards. Don’t want to handle a joystick or twin levers? Zeus lets you run both engines with one lever — a feature you’ll prefer in open seas and won’t mind as a side benefit to pods.
The Cabo 44 HTX is slightly larger than the Viking, but inboard accommodations are somewhat diminished because straight inboards take up more space than pods do. At the helm, I preferred the beefy joystick to starboard of the helm for close-quarters handling, but some captains don’t want to abandon the devices of lifelong habits even when better technology supersedes them.
The 42 eased up on plane without cutting off forward visibility and, thanks to the Zeus 3800 pods and Cummins QSC 8.3 600 hp engines upgrade ($52,900), did it quickly. Engine options include dual 440s or 480s. Zeus pods include automatic trim tabs and a drive train in perfect alignment to the keel to make the step to plane painless. In three- to four-foot seas, I spun the helm hard over port and then starboard, looking for, but not finding, a chink in the handling armor. Underfoot, the Viking felt rock solid, and I watched my crew for a grimace of discomfort as we sliced through the seas. There was not a blink to suggest we back down. That’s the uncompromising confidence you get at the helm of your own Viking.
Comparable model: Cabo 44 HTX