Horizon FD85 boat test

The Horizon FD85 doesn’t just have superyacht-baiting deck spaces and interior volume on its side; it will tackle long-distance voyages with the best of them

Ron Boogaard, Horizon’s European agent who has been selling its boats for 25 years, is perched on a flybridge railing edging the FD85 out of its berth in the port of Palma. In his hand is the remote for the Yacht Controller, which gives full control of the engines and thrusters and allows him to wander around the decks to get the best view as we depart the berth.
He pads from one side of the deck to the other and moves down to the cockpit along the side decks giving intermittent bursts of power that sends wavelets fizzing off the transom and towards the quayside aft. He makes it look easy and, on a craft that is designed to deliver superyacht levels of luxury in a manageable package, ease of use is crucial.

“The beauty of this model,” Ron says giving a flick of bowthruster via the remote, “is that it drops below the 24m waterline length, which makes life a lot cheaper and easier for the owner.”
By ducking under the regulations for boats over this size you don’t need a commercial endorsement to skipper the FD85 nor do you have to adhere to strict insurance protocols like always having a crew member on board, even when the boat is in port.

It is a boat that is designed to be owner run but, with a pair of bunk bed cabins and mess area, has adequate space for crew if required. The master ensuite is at the opposite end of the boat, on the main deck, elevated from the guest accommodation and flanked by floor-to-ceiling windows. It’s a spectacular space with an open-plan bathroom forward and separate toilet and shower rooms either side.

The choice is yours

In the lobby aft of the master suite, staircases converge to grant access either below to the guest accommodation or up to the flybridge via a pilothouse.
The lower deck on the boat we tested – hull number 2 – had four guest cabins on the lower deck.
An identical pair of en suite doubles amidships with a twin ensuite forward to starboard and another double ensuite in the bow. It’s a layout that works well, supplying comfortable sleeping room for eight people without any of the cabins falling short in terms of floorspace or creature comforts. There’s even a day heads opposite the stairwell so guests don’t have to dive into their cabins to use the toilet in the day.

Horizon FD85 master cabin

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The main deck saloon is wonderful, blending relaxed seating with fine views out of the floor-to-ceiling windows aft and an eight-person dining table forward that is within easy reach of the portside galley. It’s luxurious but warm and inviting with furniture pieces that are to be used and not just admired for their aesthetics.

Horizon FD85 aft deck

Sliding doors on both sides draw in the afternoon breeze and make it an easy stroll up the forward steps to the foredeck. What isn’t so easy, thanks to the side deck design, is running lazy lines forward if you are using a Med-style mooring. The broken side passages mean you have to hold the line aloft whilst someone else grabs it and progress can continue. Not easy if you’re shorthanded.

On the most part if there is something you don’t like about the layout you can change it. This is what sets Horizon apart from much of the competition. Yes, at this size most shipyards are open to a customer’s wishes and will make layout and design alterations within reason, but when you order an FD85 you sit down with a designer, their pencil and a blank sheet of paper.
Of course the basic structure is set in stone but what fits inside it is restricted only by the imagination of the person who signs the cheque.
Despite this, Ron assures me that FD85’s can be built in just under a year, offering an insight into how sophisticated and efficient Horizon’s 1.2 million square feet Taiwanese facility is.

Access to the top deck is excellent thanks in part to the internal stairway, but also in the cockpit, where two broad staircases lead up from either side of the boat. The top deck feels as if it has been plucked from a 100ft boat such is the feeling of space and the wide variety of seating and sunbathing areas.

To starboard there is a wetbar galley with stools arranged alongside and a dinette opposite. This boat had the hot tub option, which really ups the superyacht vibe, and it’s easy to picture long, sun-soaked days at anchor with the Bedouin style aft canopy in place when some cooling respite is needed.

Drift down one of the two aft staircases to the laid-back and comfortable cockpit. The seating is low slung and inviting, arranged in a square around a couple of coffee tables. You could of course have a more formal dining arrangement but this
layout is wonderfully relaxed, lending itself perfectly to late evening drinks as the sun sets.
There’s far more to the FD85 than its sprawling deck spaces and voluminous interior, however.
Beneath the waterline a High Performance Piercing Bow (HPPB) hull design by Dutch naval architects Cor D. Rover promises stable performance and extraordinary fuel efficiency. It features a submerged wave-piercing section, which lengthens the waterline and reduces the efficiency-hampering effects of the bow wave while cutting cleanly through the surface of the water.


Cruise control

It wasn’t the weather to test the hull’s rough weather capability but the distances it can cover are quite staggering. With the full compliment of 13,170 litres on board, the FD85 will manage 3,117nm at 7.1 knots allowing for a 20% reserve.
Increase the speed a knot and the range is still just over 2,150nm miles and even pushing along at 9.5 knots it will cover nearly 1,400 nms. From that point on there is a pretty steep drop off as the range plummets to a mere 347nm at the top speed of 16 knots.

Horizon FD85 helm

Top speed is irrelevant here and the MAN 1,200hp motors make light work of wafting the FD85 about. You can opt for 1,136hp Caterpillar engines if preferred and Ron tells me that a 1,700hp Caterpillar C32 option will do 20 knots, though that feels like asking a Rolls-Royce to compete in a Grand Prix. Let the FD85 do its thing and slip along in single digits and it will reward you with spookily serene progress.
Standing at either helm the engines, buried deep in the lower deck with layers of superstructure, soft furnishings and teak between them and me, are imperceptible and the steering is equally detached. This is a straight-line animal that will
swallow up huge swathes of ocean without batting an eyelid.

The FD85 is fortunate to be called a Horizon as it will be head-butting it on a regular basis.
Some craft of this size feel like they are stretching the limits of what its parent yard can achieve, a small boat beefed up in all the right places to feel like a big boat. On the contrary, Horizon, with a range that reaches up to the 45m EP 150 has created a boat that effortlessly feels like a larger yacht in a compact shell.



At a glance…

Length overall: 85ft 7in (26.07M)
Beam: 23ft 3in (7.07M)
Fuel capacity: 13,170 litres
Water capacity: 1,500 litres
Draught: 5ft 9in (1.75M) (half load)
Displacement: 89 tonnes (half load)
Test engines: Twin MAN V8-1200 1,200hp. Optional engines Twin Caterpillar 1,136hp
Price: from €5.74m ex VAT
Price as tested: €6.2 ex VAT
Contact: Horizon Yachts Europe

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