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Horizon Premier 130

With deck upon deck offering space for owners and designers to play, the Premier 130 raises Horizon's game.

September 14, 2009

Horizon Premier 130

The terms “men’s club” and “gentleman’s club” have fallen into disrepute. Most any person who hears them today immediately thinks of a dimly lit bar reeking of stale beer and filled with bearded truckers watching a barely dressed woman writhe around a pole. Sad.

My first introduction to a gentleman’s club was when I was sent by Yachting decades ago on an errand to London to watch the workings as some of the wisest men in the sailing world gathered to administer the sport. It was held in a private gentleman’s club on a lane known only to London cabbies and it was, well, quite wonderful.

The images I retain are of dark walls with intricate paneling, marked by impeccably framed sporting prints from a lost Empire. Of comfortable, deep leather chairs with a patina from a century of men wearing morning coats. Of the faintest aroma of fine cigars and even better brandies. This was where corporations were born and continents conquered.

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With my first steps aboard After You, the horizon Premier 130 trideck, I was immediately transported back to that London club, and it was even more wonderful than I remembered, because this is a gentleman’s club that can carry you to the farthest reaches of an empire in grand style.

The salon sets the tone for After You, with sapele pommele finished in a dark-stained satin lacquer for the club look. Sapele is an African hardwood much like mahogany but, in this case, the pommele (a French word meaning “dappled”) appellation indicates a wonderful grain that a wood expert once likened to “champagne bubbles rising.” Set off with raised paneling, intricate crown moldings, baseboards, and tasteful curtains tied off with black silk, the effect is at once elegant and inviting.

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Underfoot, the planked-rosewood sole complements the look and, with more than 7 ½ feet of headroom, the salon seems immense. One reason for this is because the engine exhausts were moved to eliminate the usual intrusions on each side of the salon. Delineated by an area rug, the lounge has an immense rolled-arm leather settee and matching chair with ottoman, and you almost expect to see Ernest Hemingway (or Dr. Livingstone) enjoying them. Opposite is a black granite bar with a sunken serving area finished in marble and, in addition to the expected ice maker and fridge, the bar features a wine chiller large enough for two cases of wine.

The dining area fills the forward salon with a round table for 10, notable for its inlaid and backlit onyx center, all perfectly positioned under a circular overhead treatment with triple waterfall relief and a chandelier. The granite sole provides scuff protection (and easy cleaning) that continues the round theme, and china cabinets set the area apart. A round dining table creates informality: all guests can converse with each other-appropriate for the “clubby” theme.

Interestingly enough, the galley, which is just forward on the port side, is also finished in the same sapele, as well as acres of gleaming stainless steel on the counters, cabinets, and appliances. Anyone with the faintest gourmet pretensions would swoon to have such a food-preparation space in their home, highlighted by a full walk-in (not reach-in) freezer and a six-burner gas stove with oven. A settee is to port with a granite-topped table, ostensibly for the off-watch crew to hang out or grab snacks. I wouldn’t be surprised, however, to find guests wandering in to watch the chef at work. It might even lead to cooking demonstrations: the galley as theater.

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Thoughtfully designed from the crew’s standpoint, the galley has a well-equipped butler’s prep station that separates it from the guests. Equally thoughtful are doors from both the foyer and the port deck so groceries can move directly from boarding ladder to galley.

The foyer is a lovely way to enter the yacht from dockside, with a chocolate-colored Emperador marble sole perfectly aligned so the veining matches up. and it’s hard to take your eyes off the delicate handmade iron and bronze banister.

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The master stateroom fills the forward portion of the main deck, starting with a double-door arched entry through a study with a large desk and settee. Another arched door opens to the masculine suite, with a king berth amidships, granite-topped bureaus to port and starboard, a vanity tucked in the forward corner, and a spacious walk-in closet. Twin doors lead to the his-and-hers heads, which are separated by a most unusual space. Dividing such a head arrangement with a shower and tub isn’t news, but this large compartment is completely paved with smooth river rocks, including up the side of the tub. This unexpected Flintstones décor is, well, startling.

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Off the lower foyer, a discreet door hides a full pantry with fridge, freezer, and sink, plus a stacked washer/dryer. Mirrored staterooms are to port and starboard: two with angled queen-sized berths and two with twins. Each has an en suite head with shower, cedar-lined hanging lockers, and large bronze ports. At the end of the hall is the VIP stateroom with a king berth on a platform, a desk/vanity, a walkin closet, and a marble-lined head with shower and spa tub.

While many designers place the crew quarters forward and sandwich the guest cabins between crew and engineroom, Horizon and designer J.C. Espinosa were able to create five cabins on the lower deck with truly generous space by putting the crew aft. It’s a smart layout that permits gracious staterooms with oversized heads and showers.

The skylounge, entered through arched double doors like the master suite, carries on the gentleman’s club theme, albeit on a lighter note. It’s actually a very clever transition that draws from a brighter palette than the salon below. The sole is similarly planked, but this time in a lighter mahogany, and the bulkheads with their raised panel details are the same. This works well because the large windows let in considerable light and the result is one of airiness. If the skylounge seems larger than the salon, that’s because it is: Spanning the full beam, it extends over the walkaround side decks and this also increases the size of the sundeck above.

A day-head is tucked immediately inside the skylounge, and the forward bulkhead is devoted to a very large television. A game table and stools are to port, and a long bar is aft by the twin sliding doors. The serving side is sunken and features a large wine cooler under the marble counter, which is almost white in keeping with the lighter theme.

The sitting area is accented by an area rug, but the couch-cumchaise is tropical in theme, with a rattan coffee table and casual chair. Just outside is a shaded and teak-planked deck, with a small table and four casual chairs served from a portside mini-galley. A cleverly hinged 32-inch Sharp Aquos LCD TV drops down from the overhead, and a large freezer is to port. Abaft the cocktail table is a bench seat that backs up on a truly immense sunpad that starts at the end of the bridge overhang.

The pilothouse reflects Horizon’s experience in large yachts, and the seamanlike simplicity should please the pickiest captain. The four main Nauticomp monitors are grouped amidships by the wheel, with large chart areas at each end of the helm console. Extra-wide chart drawers on both sides store full-sized charts flat, and there are provisions for handheld walkie-talkie chargers and laptop connections. Just behind the helm is a comfy settee with table, and dogging doors on each side lead to the Portuguese bridge.

Just abaft the pilothouse on the port side is the captain’s cabin, with a ship’s office and desk in the short passageway. The captain gets a queen berth, two hanging lockers, and stowage under the berth, plus an en suite head with a large shower and marble counters.

The top layer of this yacht/cake is the sundeck, where an oversized Jacuzzi spa is set abaft the combined electronics arch/hardtop. The two supports for the arch conceal an enclosed head on the starboard side and a wood-lined sauna to port with a rain shower just outside.

Forward, a very large dinette is to port and a curved bar with barbecue grill has five permanent stools. Behind the Jacuzzi is room for an 18-foot tender to be chocked or, in its absence, a large area for sunlounges. A 3,000-pound Steelhead davit handles launching on either side.

When it comes to the construction and mechanical side, the Horizon Premier 130 is most impressive. Horizon says the 130 hull is created with the largest “one-shot” resin infusion molding ever used to date. The entire hull, including the sandwiched coring, the longitudinal engine beds, and the thwartships stiffeners, was created in one piece, thus insuring an extremely strong but light hull that would have none of the flaws that can occur with multiple infusions. The yacht is built to the rigorous Det Norske Veritas (DNV) classification as well as MCA LY2, the updated MCA regulations for large yachts.

While the lines and layout came from Florida-based J.C. Espinosa, the systems were engineered by Greg Marshall. The engineroom is quite impressive, from the entirely hard-piped plumbing (including hydraulics) to the walkaround accessibility of both the mains and the gensets.

Power for After You is a pair of 1,825-horsepower Caterpillar C32 diesels that give the yacht a cruising speed of 14 knots at just 55-percent engine output and, at 11 knots, the yacht has a 3,300 nm range. The electrical side is equally well managed, starting with a pair of 65 kW Onan generators with parallel operation. Seamless power transfer comes from two 75 kVA Sea Power converters.

The crew area is finished to the same high standards as the guest areas, starting with a pleasant crew mess with sapele paneling, an L-settee and table facing a TV, a compact galley with stove, sink, and fridge, and another stacked washer and dryer. The engineer gets his own cabin with a queen berth, there are two more crew cabins with criss-cross bunks, and the heads have large showers. The crew have private access to their quarters from a door on the side deck.

With the entire Premier 130 series of tridecks, and certainly with After You, Horizon Yachts has served notice on the yachting community that they are a major player in the large-yacht market and, with yachts as large as 163 feet already in the works, Horizon is a must-see. Membership in this club has its privileges.

Horizon Yachts, (561) 346-5966; **www.horizonyacht.com**

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