Jake Frith looks at the Viko S30 and wonders how far he’d cruise in this affordable Polish-built cruiser…
Following last month’s test of the Viko S21 and learning that Paul Simmonds, the 21’s owner, is upgrading to the Viko S30 Walkaround, we took the opportunity to have a peep at the latter model during the Southampton International Boat Show.
The first thing we noticed about the S30, especially this one which happened to be berthed next to an S21 for reference, was the fact that they are so clearly peas from the same pod.
Both Sergio Lupoli designs, they share a distinct family resemblance from their open transoms to their plumb stems. The 30’s freeboard is not far off that of the 21 though, so it’s a more lithe and elegant looking affair than the cute 21.
But where the 21 boasts class leading interior volume for a 21-footer, the 30 offers volume below that’s more on a par with some other 30-footers.
With a UK base price of around £85,000, for a yacht with the UK cruising pack which includes extras such as heating, hot water, lazyjacks, anchoring kit and upgraded engine size, my gut feel was it could end up being two thirds the cost of a 30ft French boat or half that of a Scandinavian boat of the same size. This for many will present a more than compelling argument in the Viko’s favour.
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It doesn’t take a genius to see where a lot of the savings are made. Being picky, some of the rigging and deck hardware looked a size down from what you’d expect to stub your toes on aboard a 40-year-old Westerly Fulmar.
More of a surprise was that, according to UK dealer Boatshed Suffolk, UK models come with a 20hp saildrive as ‘semi standard in the UK cruising pack’, meaning an upgrade that it’s anticipated everyone will go for.
As ‘standard’ standard, in Europe they’ll sell you a Viko S30 Walkaround powered by a 9.1hp saildrive with a 15hp or 20hp as upgrades. Frankly, they all sound a little on the light side for a 30ft yacht that weighs 3.5 tonnes with the heavier of its two keel options. I guess the 9.1 is aimed at the European lakes only – or those of them that still allow internal combustion engines.
The forward part of the coachroof as it descended to the foredeck had an odd rippling effect that looked as though some of the internal deck reinforcement structure was printing through the outer skin, but this was purely a cosmetic matter.
Venturing below to explore the six berth accommodation, the Viko S30 shares the 21’s moulded GRP headlining which is bright and low maintenance, but fully equipped 30-foot boats need quite a lot more electronics at deck level than 21-footers, so the inability to pop a vinyl headlining down to route a handful of new wires might become an annoyance for some owners. The S30’s aft cabin, accessed on the starboard side, was oddly massive at about 8ft square.
Such huge sleeping spaces are of course great in port but can be something of a freefall liability on an offshore passage. I’d imagine a lot of this volume could be pinched for a big cockpit lazarette on the port side aft of the heads.
The 30 is clearly going to be a more offshore capable boat than the 21, but as a CE Category B boat, just like the (Category C) S21 it would pay for those with passage-making dreams to not get too carried away.
It might be tempting to assume a Polish-built 30-footer would be hewn from metaphorical granite to master the Baltic on any given day, but at this price that would be a large ask. Category B covers offshore sailing in up to 40 knots of wind with significant wave heights up to a ‘quite scary enough’ 4m (13ft).
Realistically this puts a summer trip across Channel or a week in the Scillies within scope, but once those with longer legs start muttering about Biscay it begins to stretch the imagination.
Viko S30 specifications
Hull length: 9,27 m
Max beam: 3,28 m
Total mass: from 2900 – 3400kg/2750kg
Keel: “T” shape Fixed/”T” shape Lifting
Draught: 1,65 m/0,80/1,80 m
Ballast weight: 900/1200 kg/750 kg
Engine/ Type: Sail Drive 15 HP/Outboard 15 HP
Mainsail/ Type: 25,00 m2 /22,90 m2
Genoa/ Type: 21,50 m2 /18,30 m2
Gennaker: 75,00 m2 / 69,00 m2
Designer: Sergio Lupoli Yacht Design
CE category: B
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This feature appeared in the February 2023 edition of Practical Boat Owner. For more articles like this, including DIY, money-saving advice, great boat projects, expert tips and ways to improve your boat’s performance, take out a magazine subscription to Britain’s best-selling boating magazine.
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