The Evolution of Valhalla Boatworks
The origins of Valhalla Boatworks go back to the early 2000s. Don Gemmell, a close friend of Patrick Healey and a member of the Viking design team that still exists today, wanted to develop a Viking-quality boat in a smaller size. He mapped out a four-page business plan in 2003 for a line of outboard-powered center consoles from about 26 to 34 feet.
These boats would be built with the same high level of construction, engineering and craftsmanship as a Viking yacht. Don also suggested the creation of an independent company (with the same commitment and passion as Viking Yachts) that would design, build and sell the boats. “We were all excited about the project, but at the time the economy was turning for the worse and it got put on the backburner,” says Don.
Fast forward 10 years. Viking co-founder Bill Healey and his grandson Sean (Pat’s son) revived the idea and even began looking for a site in New Jersey to build smaller boats. Finding the right location proved very difficult at that time, but Sean and his brother Justin kept the dream alive.
At the Miami Boat Show in 2018, the Viking team met with yacht designer Michael Peters and began discussing a high-performance center console project using Michael’s patented double-stepped hull design. “We had worked closely with Michael on our motor yachts, and teaming up with him for the center consoles was a natural extension of that relationship,” says Pat. “The timing was right, and we were all very eager to build our own center console after all these years.”
In addition to Don and the Healeys, the Valhalla Boatworks team includes Viking Vice President of Design & Engineering Lonni Rutt, Design Manager David Wilson, Viking Mullica General Manager John Leek IV and Viking Southeast Sales Manager Ryan Higgins. This group – supported by Viking’s vast resources, advanced technology and experienced boatbuilders – is now focused on the production of the finest center consoles that money can buy.
“It’s an amazing accomplishment for everyone at Viking to see this come to fruition,” says Pat. “Valhalla Boatworks is a new chapter and a new milestone in the Viking Yacht Company’s storied history.”