Horizon EP69

The Horizon EP69 is designed and built to explore the world’s oceans in extreme comfort.

Horizon EP69 Main

A mere six years after CEO John Lu founded the Horizon Yacht Co. in 1987, the business was in the throes of Taiwan’s nasty recession. Lu, who has a degree in naval architecture from the National Taiwan Ocean University, determined that he had to adjust his company’s target markets. With Europe, Asia and Australia showing up on Lu’s radar screen, he also decided to enter the large-yacht arena by launching an 80-footer in 1995.

What followed over the next few years and continued into the next decade was a series of high points. Lu established the subsidiary companies of Altech Composite and Premier Yachts. Altech manufactures hulls and superstructures, and Premier is dedicated to building megayachts. When Premier launched the 132-foot Miss Rose, the yard used the resin-infusion molding process, SCRIMP, making her the largest one-shot SCRIMP-hull vessel in the world. And it is with that same progressive attitude that the company now offers its EP69, an expedition yacht with much more than a rugged exterior.

From my first sighting of her on Seattle’s Lake Union, the EP69’s big red hull, Portuguese bridge and bulbous bow rekindled my nautical wanderlust.

“The EP69 began life as the company’s Bandido 66,” said Lex Mitchell of Horizon’s Seattle dealer, Emerald Pacific Yachts, “but as the design team tuned it up, they added more space so that now she serves as the entry-level vessel to our lineup of expedition yachts — the 77, 110 and 148.” We talked as he led me onto the swim platform. Getting aboard from the stern was safe and easy. And once there, surrounded by all that beefy safety railing, I found convenient access up to the main deck using the wide stairways on either side or through the dog-latching door to the crew quarters on the boat’s centerline.

“One of the many aspects we really like about what we are able to offer is the yacht finish, both inside and out,” Mitchell said as he opened the door and ushered me inside.

If this was the start of being impressed with Horizon’s ability to finish off the EP69’s interior to yacht standards, the Taiwan-based builder had my attention. Even with the space’s functional layout, its decor favored the elegant. The fully found galley, seating area with dining table and plenty of stowage space lie to port. A head with a shower and a two-berth stateroom are to starboard, all surrounded by beautiful cabinetry featuring outstanding joinery.

A duck into the engine room just forward confirmed that Horizon’s workmanship parallels the vessel’s mission: cruising in the open ocean, where the need to get things done in the most practical and time-sensitive way demands quick and easy access to all critical maintenance and machinery areas. I could not find any knuckle crunching, elbow smashing or forehead denting spaces that would prevent me from getting the job done.

Topside, the mood definitely changes from practical elegance to tasteful sophistication, and on this particular EP69, that was reflected in contemporary touches to the decor. Entering from the sizable afterdeck area — outfitted with a proper transom seat, finely finished table and teak sole — the salon offers wide-open spaces for creative decorating. “We’re a completely custom builder, and owners can furnish the boat out to individual tastes and needs,” Mitchell said.

The spacious salon has room for creative seating and entertaining areas and is available in a variety of woods and finishes. The galley offers an area with the kinds of culinary equipment and facilities that make food prep as basic or elaborate as the situation demands. And the pilothouse is as professional and well equipped as any, with fine woodwork all around, large windows forward and to the sides and a comfortable seating area to port. Below, there are three staterooms, three heads, a spacious forepeak and full-beam master stateroom, all with ample stowage, superb cabinetry and a roominess typically found on larger vessels.

Access to the bridge deck is via a stairway from the afterdeck or the pilothouse, and once up there, it’s a hard place to leave. With cooking and serving facilities and a bar to port, a C-shape settee with a table to starboard and additional seating, this is a perfect spot for casual entertaining. The helm is on the port side; aft and to starboard, there’s room for a 12-foot tender with the davit mounted on the outboard side.

Out for a ride on the placid waters of Lake Washington, I recorded a stingy 12 gph rate at just over 8 knots and a quiet 59 decibels at the lower helm. And even at 11.2 knots, I registered a still-respectable 30 gph burn. “We feel it’s the kind of vessel the ‘trawl crawl’ crowd is looking for. She slips easily into that 6-plus- to 8-knot speed with very efficient fuel consumption for a boat displacing some 72 tons when light,” Mitchell said.

Oh, and if you’re wondering what EP means, hang on, we’re almost there. You see, while I don’t mind leaning on the throttles now and then, and feeling the adrenalin rush of pushing a massive planing hull up out of the hole, I do have a very special place in my nautical heart for just taking it easy and having a strong, well-built vessel at my command. And that’s where the oceangoing Horizon EP69 may come into play for like-minded mariners. You see, the EP stands for economical pilothouse. Getting away from the dock, and staying away for as long as is necessary, just got a lot easier.

Test Conditions: Speeds were measured by GPS on Lake Washington, with calm seas and 10-knot winds, with 1,000 gallons of fuel, 264 gallons of water and four people on board. Fuel consumption was calculated by the electronic engine-monitoring system. Sound levels were measured at the helm.

RPM Knots GPH dB(A)
650 4.7 2.3 56
900 6.5 6.0 57
1200 8.2 12.0 59
1500 10.1 19.0 60
1800 11.2 30.0 65
2100 12.1 48.0 65

LOA: 69'5"
LWL: 59'0"
BEAM: 20'0"
DRAFT: 6'½"
DISPL.: 158,732 lb.
FUEL: 2,360 gal.
WATER: 400 gal.
ENGINES STANDARD: 2 x
560 hp MAN D2876LE diesels
ENGINES TESTED: 2 x 560 hp MAN D2876LE diesels
BASE PRICE: $2.95 million
PRICE AS TESTED: $3.8 million
Horizon Yachts, 561-721-4850, www.horizonyacht.com