REVIEW: HORIZON V74 YACHT
Her visual perception nudges shiplike proportions, but the stylish Horizon V74 is not so big that she cannot be handled by a seasoned seafaring couple.
Horizon Motor Yachts Australia can claim to be the biggest show in town. In fact, at more than 23m overall, the Horizon V74 is the smallest of three vessels from the stable we have tested in 2013. In January, we covered the fabulous P110 Tri-Deck and the elegant E88 in April. Yet even this comparative baby of the three cut a majestic sight as it carved into the bay to pick us up.
In truth, she’s no baby. Indeed we were also shooting two smaller Horizons this day – the E56 and the company’s big cat, the PC60. I can honestly say that the five boats we have seen from this Taiwan-based shipyard this year could not be more different.
With no less than eight separate model lines including expedition craft, professionally-crewed white boats, power catamarans, solar catamarans, classic sportsfishers, mid-size family cruisers and much more, the range of vessels produced by the yard is massive.
Not only is it vast, it is also topnotch. For those unfamiliar with Horizon Motor Yachts the company produces some of the finest vessels currently coming out of Taiwan. Regular readers of Trade-a-Boat will be aware of the quality this country produces; still leading Asian boatbuilding by a comfortable margin.
Down Under, the yard is represented by Horizon Motor Yachts Australia, based at Sanctuary Cove, Queensland. Headed by husband-and-wife team Russell and Denise Wright, HMYA offers the professional level of service one expects when dealing with vessels nudging the edge of superyacht status.
Having tested vessels with similar waterline lengths in recent weeks I was quite surprised by the volume of the V74. The boat carries capacity well forward and aft, with its significant beam immediately noticeable. The high sheer lines, which towered over us as it approached the dock, gave the impression of a vessel on the transition point between a boat and a ship.
Stepping aboard, the V74’s statesmanlike lines belie a softer side. The lighter tones and open-plan approach to the interior is an unexpected and pleasant surprise.
Our guide for the day, Sean Madgwick, explained this lighter styling was new for the company and was being very well received. The boat which arrived in Australia just before the Sanctuary Cove show has won many admirers with this high-quality, yet relaxed detailing.
It’s a palpable change from some of the heavier, more traditional-looking interiors and changes the viewer’s perception of space.
FAMILY AND FRIENDS
Chatting to Sean, as we ambled out to sea to meet the helicopter, gave me an opportunity to pick up a few pointers I would have otherwise missed.
For starters, it is important to note that the Horizon V74 has been designed as an owner-operator vessel. Doing so on a boat of the size takes careful planning, both in terms of navigation-control setup – ensuring the boat can be docked safely by a skeleton crew – and from an engineering point of view, with systems installation being clearly defined and easy to follow by an amateur. In short, such a beast needs to be thoroughly housetrained, with impeccable manners.
Internal styling aside the general layout of the Horizon V74 is a familiar and well-proved one. Three levels of luxury – a flybridge with command centre, a mid-level saloon, galley and outdoor living area, and a lower deck dedicated to accommodation spaces and engineering – are configured in a way regular boat users will be very comfortable with. Privacy for invited guests less au fait with the confines of living afloat is also available with en suites for all cabins including the separate crew cabin aft.
I also like that Horizon has opted to leave out the usual downstairs helm station, which frees-up space for a bigger gallery, a formal dining area and a palatial saloon. Indeed, my 10-minute tour prior to heading seaward soon confirmed the vessel’s credentials as a family entertainer.
FROM THE BRIDGE
In more detail the flybridge itself is separated into internal and external zones. One Stidd helm seat (more can be added) sits pride-of-place behind an impressive yet not too daunting dash. While the approach to the helm setup should not be described as simplistic, it is pleasing to see it would be familiar enough to anyone with reasonable sea time.
A pair of top-of-the-range Raymarine E165 navigation screens – recently made iPad compatible – form an anchor point around which an array of controllers and monitoring systems are laid out. From a standing position behind the wheel the important stuff can be taken in at-a-glance and reached by hand without moving. Everything, except the beverage holder as Russell pointed out. Do we take marks off for that? I’ll leave it up to you to decide.
As expected all the usual equipment expected on a vessel this size has found a home – including controls for the hydraulic thrusters (38hp forward and aft) and the all-important AB TRAC stabilisers.
Comfort for visitors to the bridge is provided via a five- to six-seat lounger to the rear of the bridge proper, with a convenient dayhead to starboard.
Trainspotters will notice the overall enclosed length of the V74’s top deck is much shorter than they would usually see. It is an interesting move by the designers, keeping the internal space cosy but functional, while freeing up the available external space out back on the mezzanine. By my roughly paced out calculations, around 16m² of deck space is available for configuration as the owner sees fit.
On the test boat an enclosed barbecue, refrigeration unit and servery have been installed in a manner conducive to relaxed alfresco entertaining. In a nod to convenience an external stairwell leads directly to the lower deck and the water beyond, so it’s easy to visualise seamless utilisation of the top deck by those making the most of the lifestyle on offer at the waterline.
A 500kg davit is also in place, ready to receive a tender, so you could say Horizon has all the bases covered.
OPEN AND PLANNED
Reinforcing my first impressions of the mid-level living area, a closer inspection underlined my opinion this deck is the highlight of the Horizon V74. Its unobstructed layout refreshes and lends a contemporary apartment feel.
The galley, which sits all the way forward making the most of the panoramic windscreen, is subtly isolated by a partial wall housing a full-range of Miele appliances and a Fisher & Paykel tri-door fridge/freezer unit. Abundant bench space takes up close to three-quarters of the boat’s total beam. A servery allows easy service to an eight-seat formal dining table, with an appropriately handy Vintec wine fridge nearby. As a sum of its parts few excuses for substandard cuisine could be offered.
Although it would certainly be easy to wile away an evening in conversation at the dining table, especially with perfectly chilled wine only an arm’s reach away, the chance to lie back in a more relaxed composure is an appealing thought as well.
Keep that thought in mind as you peruse the images hereabouts of the vessel’s saloon and entertainment area. This uncluttered space of relaxation has been designed both as a retreat from the midday sun, with floor levels and seating optimised to bring the outdoors in via picture-frame windows, and as an evening wind-down haven.
So far 2013 has been a year where each vessel seems to lift the bar in terms of quality on offer in the sleeping quarters. With Horizon’s recently-launched boat tailoring service, where it welcomes owners to the company’s base in Taiwan to customise each new-build’s interior styling – every detail, from choices between granite and marble, types of showerheads and all the soft furnishings – this company has taken personal choice and taste to another level.
The luxurious forward accommodations include a sumptuous master, VIP suite and a classy twin single, all of which benefit from private en suites.
Today it seemed appropriate to focus on the full-beam master, which is subtly separated by a change in levels from the rest of the quarters. Quoting from my notes, "I love the double door entry, it really sets the scene." And by that I mean the feeling you are entering the king’s domain. To step through those doors and be greeted by such an illusion of space – created by more light tones and the liberal application of mirrors – is enough to cause an intake of breath, even in a seasoned campaigner like myself. In fact the space is so large there would comfortably be room for two of those enormous king-sized beds.
Other important features adding greatly to the room’s retreat appeal include a contemporary writing desk and vanity, an entertainment system, stylish bedside cabinets and a wardrobe system large enough to keep Imelda Marcos happy.
Personally, I think the photo hereabouts does a much better job of describing this room’s elegance than I could ever do but it is worth mentioning what a nice job Horizon’s artistic minds have done with the wall panels – features consistent across all of Horizon’s products – and the appropriately subdued mood lighting.
The en suite, in a change from the usual consideration where it would be found behind the bedhead wall, is located forward and on the starboard side. Twin sinks provide space for a couple – as does the oversized shower cubicle. That said, I was surprised not to see a rainforest-style head or perhaps dual fountains.
As mentioned at the beginning of the story, the boatbuilding powerhouse which is Taiwan, currently rules Asia. And it’s not just something as superficial as the quality of the furnishings garnering this reputation. Of much higher importance is the calibre of the engineering.
Taking the time to look into every nook and cranny and under every hatch paid dividends on this tour. I found quality workmanship, with ease of servicing front of mind in the layouts. For instance in the for’ard pumping station a ladder leads to a surgically-clean chamber, with a system of pumps and valves all discreetly isolated from one another and clearly labelled as per the boat’s blueprints.
Even simple things like top-quality magnetic door catches, which are often overlooked, make all the difference, especially at sea with banging doors causing expensive-to-repair damage.
The engineroom proper is another good example of the company’s dedication to a complete product. Great head height, appropriately located stainless steel safety rails, easy to understand electrical and fuel management systems, rubberised lift-up floor panels and white boat quality sea doors demonstrate a seamanlike understanding of what makes good boats work. The only slight negative noted was slightly tight servicing access around the generators.
AT SEA AND ON DECK
As expected, our brief sojourn into the ocean, in albeit benign conditions, was a pleasure. The boat behaves in a ship-like manner, similar to what we experienced on the E88. To be honest there were no surprises on the high seas.
What did leave more of a lasting impression was just how pleasant and easy the V74 is to spend time on, around the decks and at anchor. An artificial product called Tek Dek, which is claimed to have much greater longevity than alternatives, has been used instead of natural teak on all the exterior floor surfaces. It feels good underfoot and looks as close to the real thing as anything I have seen.
High-sided gunwales and large-diameter stainless steel rails give a feeling of security and safety when traversing the side decks and accessing the bow. With an in situ sunbed at least large enough for four, this is a good thing. I also noted the anchoring system is completely recessed under the deck in a manner that looks stylish, completely eliminates any tripping hazards and the potential to muddy the decks with muck from the seafloor.
The Horizon V74 represents a class that deserves to recognised. It’s another very fine vessel from a very fine yard. I particularly like the designer’s ambition to present a sense of space using lighter than the norm tones and an open-plan approach to the traffic zones.
From an engineering perspective this boat appears, on the surface at least, to tick all the boxes. It also has the fuel capacity – at almost 6000lt – to back-up the visual suggestion of genuine seagoing potential. Those with ambitions to utilise this cruising capacity will be pleased to know state-of-the-art SCRIMP manufacturing techniques are used in the hull and add confidence to capability.
There are a few minor details to tidy up, such as a more elegant solution for zone independent media feeds and an improvement on the showerhead options in the master en suite, but given the company’s willingness to supply the best possible product to an owner’s customised needs, as demonstrated by the establishment of the Horizon Interior Design Centre, I am sure practical solutions and upgrades are only a question away.
› Maximum utilisation of the volume potential
› Lighter tones and open-plan lines add to the sense of space
› Top-quality boatbuilding backed-up by a high-level of personlisation
› Owner-operator configuration
› Sea-ready engineering and general fitout
› Independent media-feed solution not ideal
› Bigger shower heads in the master en suite would be a bonus
[ TRADE-A-BOAT SAYS… ]
My personal experience with this company’s local agent, Horizon Motor Yachts Australia, has always been an enjoyable one where I’ve seen them demonstrate enthusiasm to put their best foot forward – it is no small undertaking to take three boats of the size on an all-day sea trial. Several unguarded conversations after a long day on the job have proven to me that there is a genuine willingness to do the best job possible.
PRICED AS TESTED
TYPE Displacement monohull
LENGTH 22.55m (overall); 18.59m (waterline)
WEIGHT 52,000kg (light ship)
MAKE/MODEL 2 x MAN
TYPE V12 turbo-diesel
RATED HP 1100hp (each)
Horizon Motor Yachts Australia,
31 Masthead Way,
Sanctuary Cove, QLD, 4212
Phone: +61 7 5577 9009; freecall 1300 885 056 (Aust only); after-hours sales, Sean 0400 206 224; Wayne 0418 767 260; Steve 0418 865 163
Originally published in Trade-a-Boat #443, August/September 2013
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