TESTED: HORIZON E88

By: JEFF STRANG

Presented by
  • Trade-A-Boat

Horizon E88 motoryacht-01.jpg Horizon E88 motoryacht-01.jpg
Horizon E88 motoryacht-02.jpg Horizon E88 motoryacht-02.jpg
Horizon E88 motoryacht-03.jpg Horizon E88 motoryacht-03.jpg
Horizon E88 motoryacht-04.jpg Horizon E88 motoryacht-04.jpg
Horizon E88 motoryacht-06.jpg Horizon E88 motoryacht-06.jpg
Horizon E88 motoryacht-07.jpg Horizon E88 motoryacht-07.jpg
Horizon E88 motoryacht-08.jpg Horizon E88 motoryacht-08.jpg
Horizon E88 motoryacht-09.jpg Horizon E88 motoryacht-09.jpg
Horizon E88 motoryacht-10.jpg Horizon E88 motoryacht-10.jpg
Horizon E88 motoryacht-11.jpg Horizon E88 motoryacht-11.jpg
Horizon E88 motoryacht-12.jpg Horizon E88 motoryacht-12.jpg
Horizon E88 motoryacht-13.jpg Horizon E88 motoryacht-13.jpg
Horizon E88 motoryacht-14.jpg Horizon E88 motoryacht-14.jpg
Horizon E88 motoryacht-15.jpg Horizon E88 motoryacht-15.jpg
Horizon E88 motoryacht-16.jpg Horizon E88 motoryacht-16.jpg
Horizon E88 motoryacht-17.jpg Horizon E88 motoryacht-17.jpg
Horizon E88 motoryacht-18.jpg Horizon E88 motoryacht-18.jpg
Horizon E88 motoryacht-19.jpg Horizon E88 motoryacht-19.jpg
Horizon E88 motoryacht-20.jpg Horizon E88 motoryacht-20.jpg
Horizon E88 motoryacht-21.jpg Horizon E88 motoryacht-21.jpg
Horizon E88 motoryacht-22.jpg Horizon E88 motoryacht-22.jpg
Horizon E88 motoryacht-24.jpg Horizon E88 motoryacht-24.jpg
Horizon E88 motoryacht-25.jpg Horizon E88 motoryacht-25.jpg

Jeff Strang gets a dose of younger-sibling envy as his head is turned by the slimmer of two beautiful sisters: the Horizon E88

TESTED: HORIZON E88
The Horizon E88 motoryacht: the shorter of two sisters.

Believe it or not the 90-foot, 76-tonne Horizon E88 is somebody’s little sister. Yes, those long legs and refined features are hereditary. And you have seen them before, in the Horizon P110 Tri-Deck review back in January. On that banner Gold Coast day the E88 served as the biggest photographic tender we have ever employed – in all likelihood the biggest photographic tender we will ever employ.

But the Horizon E88 is no shrinking violet. That she was the perfect model for this month’s cover shoot is testament to her showgirl status.

The "E" stands for elegance – absolutely appropriate in my eye as she shows the combination of poise and precision expected, but not always present, in a vessel of this class. Next to the imposing P110 Tri-Deck the E88 has more feminine features with her sweptback deck lines and curved windows suggesting a softer side. She is also an interesting blend of well-proven traditional engineering and cutting-edge construction.



SIMPLE SCIENCE

Taking a low-risk approach under the water the E88 presents a highly conventional V-shaped hull form, which promises to deliver performance within or above its specification. The vessel’s twin 1600hp Caterpillar C32 diesels use hydraulic ZF boxes to control the thrust delivered via stainless steel Aquamet HS 22 shafts to four-blade high-performance props. Sans potentially vibration inducing tunnels or multidirectional pods the E88 is what the Americans call a simple straight-shot inboard-propelled vessel.

Contrasting the conservative approach under the water the very latest high-tech polymer-based construction techniques are utilised in the superstructure. A solid fibreglass hull forms a robust platform on which the high-density foam-cored topsides are built. The whole process is put together using a technique referred to as SRCIMPTM. I have no idea what it means but it’s supposed to deliver superior strength with less weight.



BENEVOLENT BEHAVIOUR

Once out on the turquoise-blue waters wide of the Gold Coast (the test was a few months ago, before it started raining) this combination of performance-proven power and high-tech construction won me over. For a big boat the acceleration is surprising and we quickly found ourselves nearing the 25-knot barrier – although my research suggests there is no barrier at 25kts for the E88. The boat remained on a very stable fore and aft plane throughout the rev curve, with only the slightest nose lift perceptible. Even more impressive was its stability through the turn. Like many larger vessels its big sister the P110 Tri-Deck showed an inertia driven tendency to lean out in the turning circle until the stabilisers kicked in to correct the situation. No such inclination with the E88, she remained upright and true at all times. Experiencing such power in action is seriously addictive.

For a big boat the Horizon E88 is also pleasingly nimble at the dock. Okay, so maybe the word nimble is generous but even so – with her aft-deck docking station providing quite good visibility and with a little gentle persuasion from the continuous-run hydraulic thrusters – parking the E88 is a proposition most seasoned boat owners would have little trouble with. That said if it is not already in place I would suggest considering the purchase of a lanyard to operate the engines and the thrusters remotely. Such an addition would certainly add extra confidence to the skipper at docking time ensuring he or she has a total picture of the situation at all times.

The general layout of this classy boat is the usual three-level approach. The flybridge with its mezzanine and tender storage space descends to the primary living deck and its saloon, galley and aft cockpit deck. This level in turn has different access points to the owner and guest accommodation spaces below and forward, the engineering compartments central and the crew quarters below and aft.



WHITE BOAT DISGUISED

In more detail and starting with the enclosed bridge the Horizon E88 offers a level of comfort and class a discerning buyer would expect at this exclusive end of the market. A richly varnished, subtly curved timber stairwell (cherry, maple and macore are the grain options) leads to an open-style bridge deck. The same classic timber detailing is continued to reinforce the white-boat feel and is complemented perfectly by the teak and holly flooring – a theme repeated in several areas of the E88.

A pair of full-leather Stidd helm seats is provided for the captain and navigator, but the dash area has generally been kept clear of clutter and distraction, as it should be. The station itself is dominated by a full bank of top-notch electronic navigation systems (in this case Raymarine). All the important control systems – the electronic engine controls, twin sidethrusters and the trim tabs – fall easily to hand, with barely a glance required to locate them. From a professional’s point of view the bridge can be summed up as business-as-usual.

Step back from that position of total responsibility and it is easy to relinquish yourself to the enjoyment of the voyage. The expansive Skylounge, unimpeded as it is by the need to shoehorn in additional seating (a challenge facing smaller vessels), provides relaxed accommodation for one’s derrière complete with panoramic views of the world going by, with the obligatory wetbar within reasonable reach.

The extra space has allowed Horizon to add a dedicated head on this deck as well, which is useful for a guest but more importantly provides a necessary quick-access convenience for the skipper.

If the enclosed space isn’t large enough on its own, weighty stainless steel sliders lead to a mezzanine deck that all but doubles the total floor area of the upper deck. It’s another excellent place to take in the atmosphere while providing a sensible spot to house the tender. No tender was in place this day but the hydraulic davit is in place ready for action.



WINE AND DINE

Down a level and participation in the voyage becomes optional as the layout of the E88’s primary living area allows a passenger to be as involved or as isolated from the world outside as suits their mood.

The interior spaces of this deck are divided more or less in half by a partial wall separating the galley and casual dining spaces forward from the saloon and formal dining table aft. My immediate impression was one of a laidback approach, with just the right balance of sophistication to please the tastes of those for whom such luxury is a reality.

In the saloon and formal dining area, high-gloss timber joinery and sumptuous furnishings complement the clean and contemporary lines of the pelmet, ceiling panels and blinds. I love to see a proper dining table on a boat and you know you are aboard a vessel in a higher league when you do. Setup as a six-seater this one could squeeze eight at a push. It is easy to picture long evenings in conversation with good company enjoyed at this table, followed by a port or two once the party has adjourned to relax in the saloon. I also really liked the shelving space behind that allows for a proper library.

Not surprisingly the Horizon E88 offers a galley which puts to shame all but the most impressive home kitchen, not only in size but also in equipment. A choice of marble or granite benchtops is on offer and the marble can be repeated on the floor should the timber not be to your taste. Is there any point in me listing the swathe of appliances in situ, not really, after all it’s probably a place you would want to personalise. What is important is that you could confidently invite a Michelin Star chef in for a guest appearance, especially when he or she sees the view.

Just in front of the expanse of stainless steel and granite that is the kitchen, an inviting C-shaped lounger and table offers a casual dining location only an arms-reach from the servery. Nestled under the enormous front windows as it is I couldn’t think of a better place to enjoy a bowl of steaming prawns and a cold chardonnay if the weather precluded such a snack outside.

On the other hand if the Gold Coast is living up to its "beautiful one day, perfect the next" reputation it would be a tragedy not to take the party outside. Under the shelter of the mezzanine deck the aft cockpit is as spacious as you would expect on an almost 90-foot vessel. On this balmy evening it proved a delightful spot to wind-up our day. Naturally it comes complete with a full wetbar and icemaker.

From the aft cockpit it is easy to access the bow via the twin sidedecks. Teak-laid pathways lie in deep wells formed by the high and solid gunwales. For the most part the length of these gunwales is capped by a study grabrail, which adds a little surety for those negotiating their way to the bow. In most conditions they are not required, so deep and wide are channels that lead forward.

Why go up there? Well asides from the occasional requirement to assist with docking and anchoring procedures, the bow is home to an absolutely enormous sunbed, which at my estimation could comfortably cater for two, even more should company be so inclined. Still need a reason? I didn’t think so.



HEAD BELOW

The lowest deck of the E88 could be described as a tale of three entirely different functions. Aft most and accessed via a stairwell at the rear of the saloon are the crew quarters. Like her bigger sister the quality of these accommodations is finished to a standard many smaller vessels would be happy with and includes a captain’s cabin with a good-sized double bed, a crew cabin with twin singles, a separate and dedicated shared bathroom and a separate mess with laundry facilities.

The middle section of this lower deck has been dedicated to engineering purposes housing the twin Caterpillar C32s, the twin generators and a small workshop. Although it is expected at this level I was still impressed with the quality of the hardware and level of workmanship on display. Heavy-duty sea-doors, good soundproofing and clear labelling are all outward signs of due diligence and high standards being continued in the spaces out of sight.



FITTINGLY ACCOMMODATED

Our grand tour of the Horizon E88 fittingly finished in the forward accommodation spaces. We have come to expect a lot from the Horizon yard and I am pleased to say this boat is every bit as good as anything else we have looked at.

The four-cabin, four-en suite setup has an almost 6.5m wide master cabin as its cornerstone. If the primary living deck upstairs gives you the option of either engaging in the environment or cloistering yourself from it then this lavish island of tranquillity, situated almost right in the vessel’s heart, is the boat’s monastery.

With your senses cooled by the dappled light coming through the triple portlights it is hard to imagine a more pleasant escape from the excitement upstairs. There’s a king-sized bed on offer – luxuriously made-up with the richest fabrics – couches, a writing desk, walk-in wardrobes and a huge en suite featuring twin oversized sinks and a generous shower cubicle. If I wasn’t working I would have put the do-not-disturb sign up on the locked door and disappeared for the rest of the day.

The further three cabins, a queen-sized VIP forward and two twin-singles to port and starboard, continue this theme, albeit to a slightly less extravagant degree. All-up and including the crew cabins the Horizon E88 offers a bed for more than 12 passengers. It is no wonder the galley has to be so large and well appointed.



THE VERDICT

It is a huge challenge to write a review on a vessel in this class. In reality there is very little to fault, and nor should there be. From my point of view such a story is more about giving the reader a taste of the lifestyle on offer.

With that in mind I offer the following observations to anyone who has had their head turned by the Horizon E88 in the hope these points will help build a case to take their interest to the next step:

At 90 feet the Horizon E88 is at the small end of the White Boat category. The lifestyle achievable in this sector is, quite frankly, the best money can buy. As an owner you can rest assured of being in the very best company in any of the world’s most fashionable ports.

It would be natural to assume any vessel offering such a refined level of on-the-water living comes with the requirement for professional crew. In this case – and I am always cautious to suggest this – Horizon has in the E88 produced a vessel which is completely manageable by an amateur, albeit an experienced one. I found this vessel to be very easy to manage at the dock, and with a few established procedures in place a competent husband and wife team could safely dock this vessel in all but the most challenging of conditions.

In addition to the boat’s easy handling Horizon has sensibly kept the complexity of the onboard systems to a minimum. The benefit being that most issues can be sorted out by reading the manual on-the-fly keeping the need to keep a highly qualified engineer’s number in your phone to a minimum.

So there you have it, the Horizon E88 in all its glory. I have to say that although it was certainly a daunting task to review this, and its larger sister the Horizon P110 Tri-Deck, in a single outing it turned out to be a thoroughly pleasurable experience. Many thanks to the Horizon team at Sanctuary Cove for their hospitality and patience as we worked through this pair of substantial and significant vessels in as much detail as practical.



[HIGHS]

› Refined, more elegant lines

› Ship-like performance combined with manageability at the dock

› Relatively straightforward onboard systems

› Beautifully finished, yet highly liveable interior

› Out of one of Asia’s finest luxury yards



[LOWS]

› Still has halogen lights in some applications





[TRADE-A-BOAT SAYS… ]

Our grand tour of the Horizon E88 fittingly finished in the forward accommodation spaces. We have come to expect a lot from the Horizon yard and I am pleased to say this boat is every bit as good as anything else we have looked at.





SPECIFICATIONS: HORIZON E88



PRICED FROM

$6,300,000 w/ Skylounge



GENERAL

MATERIAL GRP

TYPE Displacement monohull

LENGTH 27.24m (overall); 23.02m (waterline)

BEAM 6.4m

DRAFT 1.91m

WEIGHT 82,000kg (light ship)



CAPACITIES

FUEL 10, 250lt

WATER 1900lt



ENGINE

MAKE/MODEL 2 x Cat C32A

TYPE V12 turbo-diesel

RATED HP 1600 (each)

DISPLACEMENT 32.1lt (each)



SUPPLIED BY

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

Email: sales@hmya.com.au

Website: www.hmya.com.au

 

Originally published in Trade-A-Boat magazine #438, April 2013

 


Want the latest stories delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for the free TradeBoats e-newsletter.