By: Rick Huckstepp, Photography by: Rick Huckstepp

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It’s a bowrider, a flatdeck estuary fisher, in fact anything the family wants with the Horizon 540 SeaBreeze, writes Rick Huckstepp


Horizon Aluminium Boats first went to market with their 540 model in 2005. Now the beauty of alloy boatbuilding is that there is not a horrendous expense involved when change is required as would be the case with fibreglass which necessitates a complete mould change. Hence, continual improvements may be made as required.

Such is the case with the 540 SeaBreeze which has had its V-bottom modified to 12º and its reverse chines increased in width since that first model rolled off the line. Also, the bottom has been upgraded to four-millimetre pressed sheet with three-millimetre pressed sheet sides.
It encompasses most things that a family find desirable across a range of water sports and pastimes, and then some.
The bowriding section has a deep leg well and the seat cushions extend well back with thick cushioning fixed to the inside of the coamings to pad the back when seated.
With those seat cushions removed, one finds hinged hatches into the stowage areas below and an infill for the leg well, that is stowed against the transom bulkhead, may be bought into play to make a fully flat casting platform which is constructed of carpet-covered marine plywood.
A pedestal mount in the centre of the leg well deck may be utilised to install a dining table or a swivel seat.
The anchor well is open and features a false floor so the ground tackle does not wear away at the hull proper. This has restricted the internal space somewhat to the point where a big grappling anchor will protrude out of the aperture. The flat style of a Danforth anchor would fit neatly here.
The high bowrails go well back to the helm and passenger modules so there is plenty of safe hold-on for passengers up front.
The companionway between the modules has a hinged door which closes snug all the way to the deck to reduce draught for those in the rear cockpit. The centre of the windscreen folds back on hinges and the remaining sides of the wraparound Perspex windscreen has grabrails fixed on the inside.




The modules are alloy bases on which the manufacturer has installed its own moulded plasticised UV resistant tops. That for the helm has Yamaha's digital gauge system installed across the brow and Humminbird's 747c GPS depthsounder is mounted to the side. There is no compass on the test boat and one fitted on a fascia rather than a flat top will need to be contemplated.
The top of the module for the passenger features a top-loading compartment which is quite roomy. A couple of drinkholders and a radio/CD player are also installed this side.
This boat has Teleflex mechanical steering and we found it was easy to steer with the engine at all angles of trim. Would the extra $900 for hydraulic steering be justified? In this case no.
In the deck between the two bucket seats a hatch opens to a killtank that runs across the beam. It is drainable to the bilge via the normal type bung in the bottom.




Sidepockets occupy the rear three-quarters of the length of the cockpit. At the transom bulkhead, the battery installation is on the port side on a tray that runs full beam and in the opposite corner, a walkthrough has been scalloped out of the bulkhead. It features a heavy nylon door.
Three-quarters of the rear bulkhead is padded as a backrest and on the deck immediately below is a long seat base which is a lidded trunk with a padded cushion. Being hinged on the front, it may be tilted farther forward in the cockpit to allow people to walk between it and the bulkhead.
An option at purchase time is to have the second topside padded to make it an island seat and also to have the internals of the box insulated to make up a huge icebox capable of carrying large, long fish. As tested, this box had a permanent hinge, but an option is for a removable pin type so the box can be easily removed from the boat.
In the top of the bulkhead in the port corner is a livebait tank. It is a Johnson Pump model that utilises a water jet coming into the bottom of the tank which incorporates a venturi feed to aerate the water gently. Violent high-pressure jets don't do a lot for livebaits and often make them very dead.
The author is utilising one of these Johnson pumps in a portable format and they work brilliantly as a permanent setup and also as a backup pump should your main pump system fail while the bait tank is full of 'livies'.
A sturdy skipole is fixed permanently with fully welded gussets down the front of the bulkhead as well as struts angulating to the aft corners.
With the engine tilted down, there is good clearance between the rope and the top of the engine cowl. An optional baitboard was fitted to the test boat. It needed a hose drain from the lipped tray to get rubbish down over the transom bulkhead rather than splashing on top of it.
Out through the transom bulkhead, a sturdy boarding ladder folds down and props at a good angle for those boarding onto the narrow checkerplate platform assisted by full handrails on each side.




Yamaha's 115 four-stroke outboard is bolted on the back providing for quiet travel at all speeds.
We ran the boat on a becalmed Tweed River. There had been no experimentation with propellers on this boat and while holeshot was good with three people on board, a skier out the back as an extra might feel the drag getting upright.
Steering was good and hard high-speed turns had only a slight hint of aeration at the propeller.
At WOT and 6000rpm, the GPS showed 35kts and the speedometer 37kts. This equates to 64.8 and 68.5kmh respectively. At that speed, fuel consumption was registering at 41.3lt/h.
Slowing to a fast troll of six knots (11.1kmh) fuel consumption was 5lt/h and down to barra and cod trolling speed of two knots or 3.7kmh the Yamaha used a miserly 1.3lt/h.
With little more than a ripple from passing small-boat traffic there was no test on the performance of this hull, but, from previous experience, they have a deadrise that can handle big chop in reasonable comfort.
All up, a neat boat with a practical, versatile layout.




Seat box arrangement and potential as an ice box
Something for the entire family is on offer




Baitboard needs a better drain
Should have a compass as standard




Specifications: Horizon 540 Seabreeze




Price as tested:                          $38,990
Options fitted:                           Transom door, 3mm sides, two-tone paint,
                                                radio/CD, depthsounder, and skipole
Priced from:                             $34,490




Material:                                   Aluminium 4mm bottom, 3mm sides
Type:                                       Bowrider
Length overall:                          5.55m
Beam:                             2.4m
Deadrise:                                  12º
Weight:                                     580kg (hull only)




Fuel:                                         110lt
People day:                               6 (450kg total)
Rec. min. HP:                                    90
Rec. max. HP:                            115
Max. transom engine weight:      200kg
Max. load:       740kg (people & engine)




Make/model:                      Yamaha F115
Type:                                       DOHC four-cylinder four-stroke
Rated HP:                                  115
Displacement:                           1741cc
Weight:                                     183kg
Gearbox ratio:                           13:28 (2.15)
Propeller:                                  19in




Marine Tune
64 Cortum Drive,
Burleigh, Qld, 4220
Phone: (07) 5576 7388

Originally published in TrailerBoat #234

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