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Horizon 76

The Horizon 76 is a well-built platform for family cruising and entertaining.

October 4, 2007

Not so long ago, a 76-foot motoryacht would have dwarfed most others on the waterway. Such vessels were common by the early 1980s, when American motoryachts soared beyond 100 feet. Most custom builders migrated in the same direction, and semi-production yachts between 70 and 80 feet have since filled the void. This is where the Horizon 76 resides. After spending time aboard her, I cannot help but think bigger is not always better.

Her 18-foot, 9-inch beam is average for a modern design in her class, and her 12.3-degree deadrise aft is appropriate for her semi-displacement service. Our sea trial was restricted to the calm waters of the Intracoastal Waterway, but her captain expressed satisfaction with her performance during her maiden voyage to the Bahamas.

We achieved a top speed of 25.3 knots at 2350 rpm and a cruising speed of 21.6 knots at 2100 rpm, all while lightly loaded. The Caterpillar electronics indicated a fuel burn of 100 gallons per hour at 2100 rpm. Her captain said he documented virtually identical performance fully loaded. Clearly, the Caterpillar 3412s are an excellent match for the 76. Our test boat had optional stabilizers and a standard bow thruster, both appropriate accessories for a yacht of this class.

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Some pundits promote the pleasures of owner-operation with a vessel this size, but the arrangement leaves little time for pleasure. The captain who runs our test boat employs a mate for longer trips and a steward when necessary for entertaining. The arrangement makes sense, and Horizon accommodates the need with crew’s quarters abaft the machinery space, segregated from owner and guest quarters. There is discreet access from the platform aft and direct interior access from the saloon. The captain’s cabin has a queen-size berth, and a second cabin has upper-and-lower berths. The crew’s head is relatively large and accessible from the passageway, as is a laundry and service area.

Stealing a bit of space from these areas would allow for a crew lounge, which is no problem because Horizon’s interior layouts are flexible. Standard trim and finish in this area is on par with the general accommodations, and owner-operators could dedicate the space for guest use.

A stairway near the interior helm leads to the owner and guest staterooms. The full-beam master has a king-size berth, a walk-in wardrobe and a desk area. His-and-her heads with a common shower extend the full beam and buffer sound from the machinery space. A VIP with a queen-size berth is forward, and a third stateroom has two single berths. Both have private heads. The layout is hard to improve on, but I would add a cabinet for a second washer/dryer unit, perhaps in the passageway.

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The deckhouse is accessible from a stainless-steel trimmed sliding glass door on the afterdeck, or from pantograph-style doors adjacent to the helm. These access points, along with the 76’s side decks, are important for those who operate the boat shorthanded.

The main deck has an open arrangement with a seating area, entertainment center and full-service bar aft. A dining area is adjacent to the galley, and the interior helm position is forward. The design is ideal for family cruising and entertaining. While the layout has something of a European flavor, the galley is neither cramped nor cloistered, as is sometimes common. The helm is also well conceived, extending almost the full width of the deckhouse.

Taiwanese yards have long been recognized for their work in traditional-style teak. Modern interior design and other woods are relatively new to craftsmen in this part of the world, but Horizon’s investment in climate-controlled, dust-free finishing booths has paid off. The 76’s fit and finish are first class. A selection of satin-finished woods is standard, and a high-gloss finish is a $24,500 upgrade. My vote would go to our test boat’s satin-finished mahogany joinery, which-together with marble, leather, and high-end fixtures and fabrics-creates a warm atmosphere.

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Exterior styling follows a contemporary European theme. The hull has a high, straight sheer, a rakish stem and a reverse transom that incorporates an integral platform. The 76 is relatively full bodied, and her chine rises steeply forward. Because docking stern-to is uncommon in the United States, her bulwarks are fitted with boarding gates fore and aft. A lower rub rail provides protection against pilings. A fiberglass arch caps the low-slung superstructure, and a fiberglass hardtop is optional. An excellent gelcoat finish and plenty of stainless-steel hardware embellish the European features.

The shaded afterdeck has a seating/dining area, and the foredeck has a sunpad and a small bench seat. Horizon used space beneath the forward trunk to create deck gear stowage. Standard equipment includes shore-cable reel systems at the transom and a receptacle at the bow. A Maxwell windlass, 250 feet of chain and a pocketed stainless-steel anchor are also standard.

Access to the upper deck is from the afterdeck, and interior access is available as an option. The full helm station has pedestal and companion seating. A 14-foot tender can be carried aft and deployed with a low-profile crane.

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The remainder of the upper deck is public space dedicated to owner and guest relaxation-a key feature of motoryacht designs of this type. Amenities include a large seating area with a table, and a wet bar with cooktop, refrigerator and barbecue. Sunning areas are adjacent to the helm and aft.

Machinery space is accessible from the crew’s quarters. Most everything is within reach, although access outboard of the engines is tight because of wing tanks that feed a centerline tank serving the main engines and generator. A 27.5kW Onan is standard, and I recommend the optional 13.5kW Onan for anyone cruising warmer climes.

The noise attenuation experts at Van Cappellen are responsible for the low sound levels recorded during our sea trial. Generally, systems appear well organized, and plumbing and wiring are labeled. Component specification, installation and design follow American boatbuilding conventions.

The hull and superstructure are built in female tooling at Horizon’s yard in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. The company uses hand layup and Scrimp, a resin-infusion process that results in a high-quality laminate with optimum fiberglass-to-resin ratios. The 76’s bottom is a solid fiberglass laminate, and the hull sides, decks and superstructure are cored with Divinycell foam. The bottom is supported by a fiberglass longitudinal stringer system laminated over high-density foam. Bulkheads and web frames are marine plywood.

I have inspected many boats built in Taiwan over the years, some better than others. Yacht building there has definitely matured, which is evident in the 76’s quality.

One of the 76’s most appealing features is her price. Reasonably equipped and powered with 1,400 hp 3412 Caterpillars, she can be delivered on the East Coast for $2,150,000. Our test boat-with interior upgrades, teak decks, electronics, stabilizers, a hardtop, a second generator and a tender-tallied about $2,300,000.

Contact: East Coast: Gilman Yachts, (561) 626-1790; fax (561) 626-1514; www.gilmanyachts.com. West Coast: Carl French Yacht Sales, (206) 223-9333; fax (206) 223-9349; [email protected]; www.cfys.com; www.horizonyachting.com.

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