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On board the first FD75 from Horizon

8 September 2020By Cecile Gauert

The newly launched Horizon FD75 offers big-boat comfort in a 23-metre package, as Cecile Gauert discovers.

As smaller yachts go, Horizon’s FD75 – 23 metres in length with a beam of six metres – feels pretty large, even with 15 to 20 people milling about on the main deck at its debut appearance in Taiwan. The original concept of this fast displacement series comes from Amsterdam-based designer Cor D. Rover. The 75 is the smallest FD model yet, with extensive input from the head of Horizon’s Vision Shipyard, Austin Lin, who developed the modern interior design of hull No 1 with Horizon’s European dealer.

FD75’s sundeck can house multiple guests with ease. All imagery courtesy of Horizon Yachts.

The ambiance on board is pleasantly casual, from the interior to the exterior teak decks, both with loose furnishings. “The design is focused on the owner operator. It goes back to the raised pilothouse design of the [26-metre] FD85, with a protected helm plus another up on the bridge,” explains Elise Caulder, sales and new build consultant for Horizon Yacht USA, which has ordered the second in the series.

Aside from the beguiling hull, which offers a comfortable ride at variable speeds, the main draw of the FD series is high volume. The “on-deck” owner’s cabin is a case in point (no owner should be expected to stumble down to what Rover jokingly calls “the dungeon below”).

The raised flybridge is designed with owner operators in mind.

It’s not easy to include the kind of generously sized space that deserves the appellation “master cabin” on a 23-metre hull with four cabins, a large saloon, an enclosed bridge and a small crew area with beds for two. What helps here is the hull shape and vertical bow, plus a little bit of poetic licence – the owner’s cabin is not on the main deck per se; there are a few steps leading down to it. But it’s worth the small effort it takes to reach it from the enclosed bridge or the main saloon – it’s full beam, private and bright and has, of course, its own bathroom en suite. It’s most definitely not a dungeon.

The other cabins, which include another candidate for the title of master cabin, and two smaller ones with flexible bedding arrangements, are accessed via a different set of stairs. Finally, all the way aft, on the other side of the engine room, is crew accommodation for two.

Achieving such a roomy full-beam saloon on a 23-metre boat required considered and innovative design.

The main deck is especially pleasant with the saloon doors wide open, which creates roughly 10 metres of uninterrupted space from the exterior lounge (a stylish grouping of banquette, table and armchairs) to the forward end of the saloon/open galley combination.

The open galley has a cleverly integrated corner bar with a quartz top by Cambria, and the refrigerator and more storage hidden behind a feature wall. A glass partition serves as a discreet splash guard for anyone seated at the bar and watching over the food prep. It seems everyone enjoys eating at the bar these days, but the design also makes provisions for a more formal affair. A breakfast bar, lined with comfortable seats and facing the large windows on the starboard side, unfastens from the wall and is easily transformed into a dining table.

The master cabin has two wardrobes, an en suite bathroom and a fold-out TV.

“There are no catches on the floor,” Caulder points out; instead, once unfolded, invisible magnets hold the table in place. “Austin’s idea was to have clean lines and no visible mechanisms such as catches or latches on the floor, so there is no toe stubbing or anything like that.” 

Also invisible is the opening mechanism for the cupboards and refrigerator, concealed behind a mirrored surface decorated with slats. Lin came up with the idea to integrate sensors that detect a hovering hand and ignite lights to reveal where to open the panel. Perfect for midnight snacks.

Slide open the aft deck saloon doors for an impressive indoor/outdoor space for guests to congregate.

As the yacht is let loose of its shackles and pulls away from the dock, most of us retreat to the sundeck to enjoy the setting sun over Kaohsiung’s working harbour. The 1,200hp MAN 2868 diesel engines (chosen for the European market) have come to life and we motor quietly at a moderate 10 knots. 

The conditions are ideal for a casual cruise and rosé wine, but not so much to test the ABT Trac stabilisers or the hull design, which is one of the series’ selling points. But the leisurely pace gives me plenty of time to wander around the deck, which is furnished with laid-back furniture and a bar with sink, fridge and grill. The compact helm has two seats and a socket for a plug-in yacht controller. The companionway overlooks a spacious lounge on the foredeck.

The asking price for the FD75 starts at $4,550,000.

I disembark the FD75 impressed with its big ideas. And as the Rover puts it, many owners who “don’t want the big yacht hassle” won’t have to trade too much comfort for convenience.

This feature is taken from the August 2020 issue of BOAT International. Get this magazine sent straight to your door, or subscribe and never miss an issue.