When the Horizon 82 cockpit motoryacht Lady O arrived in the U.S., it was the final chapter of a story that perfectly illustrates why semi-custom yacht builders have so much to offer knowledgeable yachtsmen. Coincidentally, it also marks the opening chapter for a new story, a new way of life for one lucky couple.
The owners are an experienced yachting couple based in Baltimore, Md., who, having lived aboard a 57-foot pilothouse motoryacht for two years, decided that they wanted to look around for something a little larger, a design with an open-water pedigree that would let them explore from the Canadian Maritimes to the Bahamas with confidence. They had no intention of putting their new home into charter, but following the advice of the professionals at Gilman Yachts, southeast U.S. dealers for Horizon Yachts, they came around to the idea that chartering could give them some flexibility for planning their use of the yacht over the next few years.
After much research and visitation at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, they connected with Gilman Yachts and settled on the Horizon 76 as the boat of their dreams. Not long after putting down the deposit and finalizing all the specs for equipment and amenities, they made a decision to join 20 or so other people on another customer’s sea trial of the Horizon 82. In short order, they were smitten by the vessel’s ability to accommodate a crowd without feeling crowded, and they realized that the lower aft cockpit was a watersports-centered element that they couldn’t do without.
Here’s where the story gets interesting. Even though their hull was already in the molds, and even though they took complete fiscal responsibility by stating they’d be willing to pay for the work done and just store the hull, Gilman Yachts and Horizon worked with them to hold the hull for an as-yet-unidentified potential buyer-at no cost to them-and to begin work on their new 82.
And so began the saga of Lady O. Over the next few weeks, the owners would decide that, because they wanted to explore the colder waters Down East, an enclosed bridge would replace the open-air configuration they had enjoyed as primarily mid-Atlantic and southern-waters cruisers. For liveaboard comfort and convenience, they added a fireplace to the saloon as well as a dedicated coat closet close by the sliding glass door leading out into the upper aft cockpit. Crew quarters for two or three are aft of the engine room.
All of this was possible because of John Lu, a naval architect by training who worked in several other yards to gain real-world experience before founding Horizon Yachts in 1987. The company he started with just 30 talented engineers, designers and craftsmen now employs 600 craftsman and professionals who have built more than 400 luxury motoryachts over the last 18 years-in configurations including trideck, pilothouse, flybridge and cockpit.
Like all of Horizon’s yachts, Lady O is molded in a state-of-the-art, ISO-9001-certified facility in Kaoshiung, Taiwan, using the SCRIMP resin-infusion process, a process that reduces weight and emissions during construction while providing optimal strength, consistency and durability. Divinycell closed-cell foam is used above the waterline for composite structures, such as hull sides and decks, cabin sides and decks, and interior structural components, such as stringers and bulkheads. Lady O can hit a top speed of 21 knots when conditions warrant, but she typically cruises at 18 knots and burns 130 gph. Fuel consumption drops to 80 gph at 14 knots and 40 gph at 12 knots.
Lady O‘s clean, contemporary trideck lines and immaculately installed teak decks belie the at-home comfort the owners specified for themselves and their guests. The main saloon, warmed by the fireplace, has sumptuously upholstered furniture and magnificent views out large side windows and a massive aft glass bulkhead. Warm honey tones in the sculpted carpet and Roman shades complement the perfection of a mellow-finished mahogany interior. Fit and finish of the woodwork and cabinetry is flawless. And at night, when the lights are dimmed, a fiber optic universe of stars appears in the overhead lighting recess.
Meals are prepared forward in a massive galley highlighted by a gleaming black granite counter and beautifully paneled appliances that blend seamlessly into the overall woodworking artistry. Just forward under large bow-facing windows is a cozy country kitchen dinette for six, upholstered in soft green leather. In good weather, meals will be taken alfresco on the main deck aft cockpit, protected by the boat deck extension, and can be served easily from the galley through pantograph doors leading to covered wide side decks. Alternatively, a large dinette is included on the enclosed flying bridge for meals with an extraordinary view of surrounding waters and interesting harbors.
Lady O has luxurious accommodations for six in three staterooms with marble-and-granite heads and showers en suite. Owners and guests are surrounded by beautifully varnished, custom-milled cabinetry, and sleep on pillow-top mattresses. Each stateroom has its own entertainment system, served by a satellite receiver, and an individual satellite phone. The master stateroom features abundant closets and drawers finished in fine custom millwork, and a king bed on the centerline flanked by his-and-her bathrooms served by a spacious center shower. The owners specified a 32-inch plasma-screen TV with CD and DVD players and a surround-sound system in the master.
Because the owners are water-sports enthusiasts, they selected a 16-foot Novurania RIB with a 120 hp diesel sterndrive as their tender. A davit is included on the boat deck for easy launch and retrieval, and a custom fuel station drawing on the yacht’s main tanks was installed in the lower cockpit. Storage for water skis, fishing gear and snorkeling gear is close at hand.
Although Lady O makes her home port in Baltimore, she has spent the summer chartering out of Newport, R.I., under the management of Nicholson Yachts. This fall she’ll move down the coast, stopping in at Annapolis and Ft. Lauderdale for the boat shows, and then spend the winter in Florida and Bahamian waters.
Contact: (East Coast) Gilman Yachts, (561) 626-5615, www.gilmanyachts.com; (West Coast) Newport Horizon Yachts, (949) 675-5696, www.carlfrench.com; (Pacific Northwest) Emerald Pacific Yachts, (206) 587-0060, www.emeraldpacificyachts.com