One Family’s 30+ Year History of Building Vikings with Bluewater
With six new builds from Viking Yachts and a relationship with the Healey and Bluewater families that spans three decades, Bill Page is what you may call a boating enthusiast. Boating for Page began at a very young age in the DC area. But, once he experienced the Viking brand and got to know the family behind these iconic American-made yachts, there was no turning back.
Vehicles to Vessels
Bill Page started working with his father at the age of 14 at the family car dealership that was founded in 1950. Growing up in the car business didn’t mean everything had to be about cars. Bill’s father also had
a deep affinity for boating which he passed on to his children. They’re continuing the family legacy by operating 15 car dealerships from Maryland to Florida while still enjoying the pleasure of boating in their free time.
Growing up around DC the Page family boats launched from the docks of Annapolis. Bill recalls over a half dozen boats of different makes and models that he grew up on and eventually owned in partnership with his father. This experience garnered him the opportunity to witness firsthand the variety of strengths and limitations available in the yacht market. Both in their car business and time spent boating, Bill enjoyed the benefit of an inherent grasp of best practices. He witnessed emerging technologies and developed an appreciation for basic mechanical genius—and he liked quality machines.
With his background, Bill could spot success and saw it in Viking Yachts. So, in 1988 he bought his first, a 48 Viking from Bluewater Yacht Sales named Noel for his wife Mary Noel. Today, Bill Page has a sixth Noel and states, “If I couldn’t have a Viking, I wouldn’t have a boat.” His confident loyalty began nearly 30 years ago amid the bonding that occurred while constructing his first boat, and it has continued to grow with all the new builds since.
The car dealership that started in 1950 flourished under their founder’s philosophy, “take care of the customers and employees and they will take care of you.” Bill Page still operates with this underlying philosophy today and has seen it at work with Viking and the Healey’s. Page explains, “They are the best at what they do. They have the best engineering, the best of everything. From the Healey’s on down to the guys on the production line—they are the best. It’s incredible. Building a boat with them is one of the most enjoyable things I’ve ever done.”
When it came time to move up from the 48, it was 1992 and the luxury tax was taking its toll, wreaking havoc across the marine industry. Healey brothers Bob & Bill led an impressive counter against the luxury tax’s devastation and eventually prevailed with a full repeal of the tax. Working with Bluewater salesman Jud Black, Bill Page ordered a 58′ convertible and it was likely one of the few yachts of that size built that year. Through the toughest of times, the relationship between Page and the Healey’s grew stronger and trust was simply going on one’s word.
Jud Black recounts that time frame, “I think Bill [Page] really enjoys the fellowship, the brotherhood he’s built with the Healey’s and the crew at Viking. That’s part of why he keeps coming back.” They soon built another 58, this time with an enclosed bridge. The family was dubious about it at first but quickly came to see the benefits of the protected arrangement, especially as the family grew.
Livin’ the Life
Bill and Mary Noel’s son and three daughters continue to boat with them, now with kids of their own joining in on the fun. Their fourth Viking, a 61′ also featured an enclosed bridge and continued to deliver more of the best of everything. The children and grandchildren enjoy boating around the Chesapeake Bay, visiting Annapolis and also cruising up the coast to Newport and Nantucket. To ensure the utmost safety in their family adventures, Page even removed a bunk in one of the staterooms to accommodate a crib for his infant grandson who experienced his first visit to Newport at age 1-1/2.
But the Page family wasn’t done yet. “I always say that if you want the latest Viking, you’re going to have to buy one every six weeks. They constantly incorporate all the latest technology and innovation and do it better every time.” Bill went to Jud Black once again and set out to build a 62 enclosed bridge. Bluewater’s service and refit experts in Hampton installed the teak mezzanine for his new boat. Once the boat was completed and back in Maryland, Mary Noel was able to apply the finishing touches with final decor, and all the necessities of home that men sometimes overlook. She too has enjoyed the togetherness of the family aboard the new boat.
Page proved yet again just how enjoyable it is to build a boat with Viking and the Healeys by returning to the New Gretna facility with Bluewater’s Jud Black a sixth time to build their latest cruising masterpiece: a Viking 72 Enclosed Bridge. When asked why he chose to build a sixth new Viking, Bill replied, “I just wanted a new boat with all the latest stuff, the latest electronics, the latest design.” Or, maybe he
just enjoys building boats with Bluewater and Viking!
Viking 72 Enclosed Bridge:
- LOA: 72’ 8”
- Beam: 20′ 0”
- Draft: 5’ 9”
- Displacement: 129,700 lbs.
- Fuel: 2,594 gal.
- Water: 372 gal.
- Cockpit: 209 sq. ft.
- Power: Twin MTU 16V2000 M96L @ 2,600hp each