Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
Join Date: May 2006
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Check with Viking for boat show specials
I bought a Viking 6 person offshore raft 18 months ago at the New York Boat Show (a useless visit other than for the raft btw) for $2400 not including the special bracket to mount it on the stern pulpit. They only had this model on special and even included free delivery in the spring to our marina (this was about five months after the show and also meant the certification was dated to delivery). I would contact Viking's US office and see if they will have a boat show special at Annapolis or elsewhere that you can take advantage of. I doubt you actually have to go to the show to get the special if there is one. In any case you might well be at Annapolis since it is a popular spot to visit on the way south.
As to which model, I think either would be fine if you are going just to the Bahamas. If you decide that you want to go further you might want to have an offshore raft and it would be cheaper to get it now.
After the refit we have decided to sell Ainia. We want something smaller that would be could for the light summer winds of Lake Ontario, although we plan to spend at least a couple of winters in the Caribbean before heading north.