By: David Lockwood

Presented by
  • Trade-A-Boat

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A cool urban aesthetic runs through the new Horizon Elegance 70, a luxe private liner that’s more Italian than Taiwanese.

Horizon Elegance 70 Motor Yacht

"Don't worry," says boating-industry stalwart Russell Wright perched on the rear deck of the Horizon 68 camera boat, "I've got a Yacht Controller." And with that and a couple of wiggles of his fingers he deftly manoeuvres the towering motoryacht towards the fuel wharf. Yet the Yacht Controller is just one item of cool kit that stands Horizons in good stead with prospective buyers. The established Taiwanese yard, 24-years young but already among the world's top-10 biggest boatbuilders by length, assuages a clientele that's accustomed to conveniences, comforts and living in the lap of luxury. Indeed, we're up for it…

Our five-star boating experience begins as we step onto the decks of the Horizon Elegance 70 (hull #4). Her contemporary lines and great volume command attention, as does the heady melange of marble, granite and high-gloss timber joinery. Then the plush freestanding furniture, if not the homelike accommodation soon after, beckon. Throw some glass cabinets, mirrors and trick lighting into the mix and the transition is surely seamless for owners accustomed to the high life.

But the Horizons are more than show ponies; they are workhorses that can gallop places. Add a backdrop from some faraway cruising destination, a pair of stabilisers so you don't spill your cocktail as the crew rustle-up canapés, and your experience is enriched. Finally sated, you fly out by seaplane, as the paid hands shift your floating home to, well, new horizons.

Such is the charter of so many Horizons and the Elegance 70 that offers all these possibilities. But this boat also transports you to an altogether new place. While the marque is coveted around the world for interiors - indeed, no two Horizons are the same - the new E Series speaks Italian rather than Taiwanese.

Based on the 68 but with a bigger swimplatform, the Elegance 70 is the work of one Tommaso Spadolini, whose portfolio includes the yacht Fortuna made for the King of Spain and the yacht Nina J that won the 2006 Cannes World Yachts-Trophies. Interior-wise, the finish from the factory is refreshingly new with two-pack matt-white liners, carefully chosen colour accents, and apartment-like furniture. The idea was to show the possibilities and send a message that Horizon doesn't just build teak-topped Asian boats.




We were overjoyed to meet Captain Wright, the sales principal behind Horizon in Australia, with whom this writer first tested a boat some 25 years ago. That was when we were all driving trailerables. Since 2006, Russell joined the local Queensland-based Horizon dealership, where some 30 boats have since been sold to all manner of clients in various ports around Australia.

Incredibly, there were 13 Horizons imported locally in 2008, but even in these lean times, we're told, there are five new boats on order: two 100-footers, a 94, 74, and 54-footer. Collectively, that's some $27 million in boats. Who's buying multimillion-dollar motoryachts in this climate? The top end of town, of course. Miners and those involved in the industry, property developers, semi-retired business owners, and entrepreneurs. The latest shipment of Horizons is bound for Adelaide, Sydney and Perth.

It also helps that Horizons are bought and sold in US dollars and, for this reason, they're considerably cheaper than two years ago. In fact, the word is that there's at least 20 per cent better value today. Two years back, a 97 was selling for about $10 million loaded. You can now get one for $6.5 million. What about resale? There's the rub for previous owners, but if they trade-up they'll be buying more boat for less.




Horizon uses the SCRIMP process for its hulls up to 130 feet, which are built in its Atech yard. The process involves vacuum bagging to create a one-piece hull with solid-glass bottom, foam-cored longitudinal stringers, and composite sides and decks. All hulls are built to Det Norske Veritas (DNV) certification, which basically means survey standards, before being fitted out in a separate yard.

It's in the Vision yard that Horizon's in-house interior designers added the Italianate touches borrowed from various boats seen around the world and/or built for previous clients. The demonstrator's floor-plan features four-cabins forward but three cabins and three heads are standard, with options for five and even six cabins if you plan to carry crew. As for interiors, well, you are bound only by your imagination rather than Horizon.

The E70 should also arouse interest for its interesting hull form. There is a huge amount of volume forward, but thankfully most of it lifts bodily out of the water at planing speed, leaving a sharp forefoot with plenty of rake to slice the waves. Pronounced reverse chines keep the spray away, while the generous 5.95m beam is especially noticeable when you enter the full-width owner's stateroom.

With hydraulic Zero Speed stabilisers fitted, you can anchor away from the marina in a busy bay, as might be needed, and stay aboard in comfort. The stablisers use electronic sensors to react in real time to correct up to 90 per cent of roll at rest, while also functioning when underway at displacement speeds in beam-on seas.




As with most boats, we came aboard via the blunt end, where a considerable swimplatform adds to the waterfront real estate and justifies the 70-model designation over its former 68 guise. The hydraulic swimplatform can launch a jetski, while the twin PTOs on the engines for this launcher also power the ABT 38hp hydraulic bow and stern thrusters. Thus, should one engine fail, you still have thrusters.

There were underwater lights, a garage for a Williams 325 jet-powered or Walker Bay tender, and steps up to the elevated cockpit whose height above the waterline underscores the fact there's plenty of volume for that tender, utility room and twin CAT C18 engines. In fact, the engineroom with headroom and Delta T ventilation is a real highlight and the engineering has evolved over time to become a strength of the marque.

A scan of the engineering revealed twin Racor fuel filters per engine, easy-check coolant bottles, oil-change system, sight gauges on tanks, underwater exhausts, air compressor, and excellent sound insulation. All the lighting on the boat is LED, there's a 2500W inverter, three separate chargers for engine-start, generator start and house batteries, and 12/24V converters.

Twin 50amp Shorepower leads run the boat's full suite of gear, via optional soft-start systems, when not using one of the twin generators. Air-con is the superior chilled-water type, a Sea Recovery watermaker was fitted, and there were AC waterpump and backup DC pump. Intercoms throughout the boat let you call for help or lunch should you need it.

Indeed, the E70 arrived loaded. Bose takes care of entertaining, with separate TVs and CD/DVD players in every cabin, while a Raymarine electronics package using large-screen E Series looks after the serious business of navigation. The E70 also had the aforesaid Yacht Controller with wireless remote, cockpit docking station, satellite television, hotel-grade innerspring mattresses on all beds, granite stateroom and galley counters, and just enough teak trim above decks to remind you that you are indeed boating.




As with all good motoryachts, the cockpit is a beauty that can seat a crowd of at least 10 around a high-gloss teak table once you add some deck chairs. As touched on, there's oodles of room below to store such things, watersports gear and more. The inbuilt Umbrella-upholstered rear lounge converts to a sunpad or daybed under the flybridge overhang. An optional top-loading cockpit fridge was provided.

Details such as concealed cleats, (optional) side gates, deep and wide partially-covered bulwarks, with high rails so they are dog and kid friendly, were a feature when traipsing forward. This is something you could do with safety in a seaway or with champagne glass in hand during a go-slow sunset cruise. A pulpit seat in the bow lies in wait and there's a forward-facing lounge for two couples, with a big sunpad for them behind.

We were impressed by the heavy-duty anchoring gear, with colour-coded chain and chart fixed near the well, by the oversized cleats, and side fender lockers. But for most the focus will be on using the foredeck as a lifestyle area. That said, on the good days, the elevated flying bridge and its rear deck offer even greater views.

Bridge access is via moulded cockpit stairs or internal staircase. Up top, there's just a single helm seat before a centre console more in keeping with a sportscruiser - we would prefer twin seats instead - while the hardtop with glass windscreen has clear Strataglass side curtain panels. Besides a full spread of electronics, there were generator start buttons, bilge alarms, stabiliser controllers, and tank gauges at this main helm station.

Guests will ride aft on an L-shaped lounge for eight, near an amenities centre with fridge, sink and hot-rock barbie. At rest, the aft bridgedeck will call, perhaps for owners upon sun lounges, if not at sunset with a crowd and cocktail in hand.




Asia certainly makes way for Europe when you waltz inside the Elegance 70: there is white two-pack in place of the usual soft ceiling and wall liners, free-standing home-like furniture, plush shag carpet, trick blinds, and judicious use of high-gloss cherrywood that's a highlight rather than overwhelming as with some Asian-made boats.

Light pours into the lower saloon or sunroom, where a couple of lounges and a single seater can swallow six before a brace of coffee tables. Two half steps forward deliver you to the dedicated freestanding dining setting flanked by display cabinets with vases and dark-timber joinery.

Ceiling features, different wall textures daubed chocolate, trick air-con vents, a ship's door to starboard and small window opposite complete the mix. Otherwise, the large 3D television with Bose AV system will create the desired entertainer's layout.

The galley that feeds back to the dinette is nothing if not handy. Appliances include wine cooler, upgraded twin-door fridge-freezer with icemaker, additional fridge-freezer drawers, Miele combo oven, hot plates and range hood, and central vac and separate Miele washer/dryer elsewhere. A wetbar and wine fridge is opposite the galley.

The overall effect on the Elegance 70 seen here was more upmarket apartment than traditional boat and that might lure a different demographic aboard. As we said, there's some new money about courtesy of the mining boom. Those with a flare for interior design will certainly lose themselves when creating <I>their</I> Horizon.




Seven steps descend to the accommodation forward, which again hints at the high volume aboard. Naturally, the aft stateroom is the highlight. I made sure the generator was running but it was barely audible thanks also to the 3M insulation. There was nothing to take your focus away from views and fresh air out the opening portholes, but perhaps the walk-in robe and lounge, starboard dresser that doubles as an office should work call, and the bed that is sufficiently large to swallow a giant. Ditto the en suite shower, with the Tecma head that's switchable from fresh to saltwater. A safe is squirreled away for the family jewels.

Next best abode is the VIP cabin with queen bed up front that, because of the full-beam forward design and exceptional volume again, doesn't command a high jump to access.  And it's got its own en suite. The third cabin to starboard has twin adult-sized single beds, with the fourth cabin featuring crossover bunks as a likely kid's retreat. A third head doubles for communal use, but everyone has their own AV system.




We gad about the Gold Coast, cruised through the Seaway, and tracked north as you do at this time of year. The Horizon Elegance 70 cut a pretty picture travelling alongside. The boat travels flat but with longitudinal lift so it's not a bow-up running attitude. High freeboard helps keep it dry at go-slow speeds.

But to be frank, there wasn't anything to challenge the boat by way of wind and waves. From our experiences, Horizons have always had a solid, heavy-boat feel even despite the SCRIMP process. As a light ship, the Elegance 70 displaces a not inconsiderable 51 tons to which you can add 4232lt of fuel and 1322lt of water, a 750lt holding tank, and all the gear.

Some hours later, we returned from whence we had come. "Don't worry, I've got the Yacht Controller," quipped Captain Wright as he single-handedly shifted the boat back against the deck. We stepped off without a worry, but our Gold Coast apartment with water glimpses just didn't seem the same that night.




(Facts & figures)




Twin 1150hp Caterpillar C18 ACERT diesel engines, hefty 3in shafts and four-blade props get the 51-ton (light load) ship up and running smartly, but the boat and its occupants will be equally comfortable trucking for long periods of time at 10kts displacement hull speed using 60lt/h for a 630nm-plus range from 90 per cent of the 4232lt tank. Meanwhile, with stabilisers deployed, the 70-footer feels very surefooted, headstrong and willing to range farther north.



$3.35 million w/ twin 1150hp Caterpillar C18 ACERT engine upgrade and options as landed




RPM        SPEED             FUEL BURN
800          6.9kts               5lt/h
900          7.8kts               11lt/h
1000        8.5kts               17lt/h
1100        9.5kts               23lt/h
1200        10.1kts              30lt/h
1300        11kts                 41lt/h
1400        12kts                 54lt/h
1500        12.4kts              66lt/h
1600        12.6kts              85lt/h
1700        12.9kts              105lt/h
1800        13.9kts              122lt/h
1900        17.2kts              125lt/h
2000        18kts                 135lt/h
2100        19.8kts              145lt/h
2200        22.2kts              167lt/h
2300        23.8kts              183lt/h
2368        24.3kts              200lt/h

* Official sea-trial data supplied by Horizon Motor Yachts Australia following sea trials with Caterpillar. Max load at full throttle 88 per cent at 2368rpm. Fuel burn per engine.




Teak decks, cockpit cooler chest, hydraulic-opening tender garage, Aqualuma underwater lights, flybridge layout including single helm seat, engine upgrade, Trac stabilisers, hydraulic sternthruster, second Onan generator, watermaker, interior upgrade and four-cabin layout, granite, full suite of appliances, Bose AV systems and extra TVs, Raymarine electronics package, sat-comms and more.




POA w/ twin 873hp Caterpillar C18 ACERT (reliant on exchange rate)




MATERIAL: SCRIMP bagged GRP fibreglass w/ cored decks, superstructure and hull sides
TYPE: Hard chine variable-deadrise planing monohull w/ 13° deadrise at transom
LENGTH OVERALL: 21.76m (inc. swimplatform)
BEAM: 5.95m
DRAFT: 1.45m (max)
WEIGHT: Approx 51,000kg (dry w/ standard engines)




FUEL: 4232lt
WATER: 1322lt




MAKE/MODEL: 2 x Caterpillar C18 ACERT
TYPE: Fully electronic six-cylinder turbo-diesel w/ common rail injection
RATED HP: 1150 (each)
WEIGHT: 1678kg (dry)
PROPS: High-performance four-blade 




Horizon Motor Yachts Australia,
Shop 31/3a Masthead Way,
Sanctuary Cove Marine Village
Post: PO Box 487, Paradise Point, QLD, 4216
Phone: 1300 885 056; 0418 445 998 (sales); 0418 767 260 (sales)



tradeaboat says…

The Horizon Elegance 70 is one of the boating life's best contradictions: fast but frugal (at displacement speeds), Taiwanese with Italian styling, big but easily handled, in the multi-million league but better value than before thanks to exchange rates. Best of all, the semi-custom yard lets you create your own personal boat no matter where your tastes may lie. Even though we went nowhere much at all, it was nice to get away from oppressive high-gloss timber.


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