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Ken Toye
March, Cambridge
Viking 20
Julie and I had been looking for a small cruiser for some time and after months of trailing around boatyards looking at cruisers in varying states of decay, decided to look at new boats. We met Howard at the 2002 Southamton boat show and ordered a Viking 20 a few days later. We wanted a trailable boat with reasonable headroom and comfortable accomodation for 2. We also wanted a hot water system, shower/toilet, fridge, and a fair size cooker. The previous model Viking had met our spec and we were pleasantly suprised when howard advised us that a new 2003 model was available for delivery early in the new year. We were also able to take advantage of a boat show offer from Mariner and bought a 30 hp four stroke EFI. The boat was delivered to our moorings near March, Cambs in March 2003 just in time to fit her out for an Easter break.

We are very pleased with the boat and the accomodation is very comfortable but her handling seemed a little vague initially and the bow was prone to wandering in gusty conditions, these are common on the middle level! We got quite a scare entering Marmont priory lock on Easter Sunday. Fellow boaters advised me to add some ballast to the bow. The boat as delivered relied solely on the water tank for ballast and this was inadequate particularly with the weight of the 30 hp four stroke. After early experiments she now has 160 KG of ballast and her manners are much better. The only handling problems we currently have is mooring when there is a slight wind. With the engine on tickover and the boat travelling a low speed there is little response from the steering wheel. I am considering fitting a rudder to the outboard, any thoughts on this? Most boats using our moorings have rudders fitted, some appear to be aftermarket accessories and some homemade.

We have made some other modifications including fitting an additional battery and selector switch. While the standard battery performed well and gave no cause for concern it seemed sensible to add some reserve capacity and reduce the need to run the engine for battery charging. Julie sugested we had a shelf fitted across the bow for storing books. We leave the bed made up in the bows and sleep across the boat so the space in the bow was more or less redundant. The removable shelf is simply chipboard, cut to the contour of the bow, covered in matching fablon and held in place by velcro tape.

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