Horizon 78 Motor Yacht — By Capt. Bill Pike
— April 2005
The Horizon 78 Motor Yacht offers a whisper-quiet ride, polished performance, and a grand piano finish.
It was a grand feeling, standing in the sky lounge of Horizon’s 78 Motor Yacht. I could faintly hear the big, 1,500-hp MAN diesels I’d just cranked, idling in the engine room, seemingly miles away. Below on the dock I could see the 78’s master, Capt. Heinz Bonde, working his way up the starboard side, casting off mooring lines and tossing them aboard with an old hand’s confidence. To compensate for the incoming tide, which was moving the boat subtly astern, I clicked the starboard stick of the Glendinning electronic control into idle ahead for a second, then clicked it back. The 78 eased delicately, almost imperceptibly forward.
“Such responsiveness portends great things,” I enthused to myself.
Finally Bonde held his hands aloft, the signal that all lines were off, and started aft. I went aft myself, opened the door in the back bulkhead of the sky lounge, strolled to the starboard side of the boat deck, leaned over the railing, and assured myself that Bonde was safely onboard before beelining back to the helm.
I thought things over. Getting out of our slip was gonna be tricky, according to what Bonde had said earlier. Although the 78 was moored starboard side-to, there were pilings aligned on the port side, preventing me from simply walking her sideways into open water. I needed to do two things instead. First, I had to ease the boat astern just enough to angle the bow out into the fairway between the two lead pilings but not so much to risk nailing the motoryacht behind us. Second, I had to go forward with just enough oomph to keep the boat from being set down against the aftermost piling by the burgeoning current.
I breathed the same apprehensive sigh I always do when handling somebody else’s boat and momentarily toggled the hydraulic bow thruster to port while backing down briefly on the port engine. Again, the 78’s response was perfectly poised. In moments the bow was precisely where I wanted it, and the stern, which had been pivoting dangerously toward the dock, was nicely under control thanks to a quick shot from the stern thruster. Bonde gave me a thumbs up from the foredeck, and I shifted ahead and throttled up. We were off!
Sea conditions were rough and ready in the open Atlantic, with six- to eight-footers prevailing. Still, Bonde and I were able to comfortably complete all testing procedures without getting much spray on the traditionally styled superstructure. Moreover, sound levels were whisper quiet, mostly thanks to the work of Dutch sound- and vibration-attenuation specialist Van Cappellen Consultancy. Specifically, readings were well below the 65 dB-A level of normal conversation for most of the rpm band and peaked at just 67 dB-A, a remarkable number considering that many large motoryachts I test these days register readings in the mid-60s only at idle, with top-end readings pushing the mid-80s.
Driving was a hoot. The boat kept her nose up in head seas and positively refused to pound, an achievement attributable to a fair amount of transom deadrise, some 12.5 degrees. Down-sea running was smooth, with modest yaw and no propeller ventilation, even when running slow with big waves washing underneath. Vibration was minimal thanks to a substantial clearance between each propeller tip and the underside of the hull (approximately 17 percent of prop diameter), a parameter that also seemed to cut maneuvering rumble dockside. I measured an average top hop of 28.6 mph without tabs and 29.5 mph with them.
This article originally appeared in the March 2005 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.