Photography by Scott Pearson
Something to Crow About
Horizon’s CC 105 Explorer is sure to make an impression regardless of where in the world she goes.
Believe it or not, even professional yacht testers occasionally become jaded with their jobs. Walking the docks at any major boat show, you can find roving gaggles of bleary-eyed and sunburned souls who have had it up to here complimenting a boat’s excellent sightlines and ample stowage space. Nevertheless, during boat tours, they’ll still politely ooh at the varnish job and aah at the electronics setup as they shuffle obediently from stern to bow. But this was not the case this past March at the Palm Beach International Boat Show when I stepped aboard the Horizon CC 105 for a group tour. Even among a pack of battle-hardened salts, there was palpable excitement in the air. People were legitimately intrigued—and for good reason. There’s a lot to like about this yacht, in large part because Horizon managed to fit so very much into a 105-footer.
But first things first, let’s take it from the top. Literally. Perhaps the most striking thing about the CC 105’s profile, and indeed one of her most impressive spaces, is a crow’s nest that soars close to 40 feet above the water. Outfitted with a bench seat and a helm, the area serves as either an outdoor perch for the captain, or, when not underway, as a tucked-away nook for entertaining an intimate party. Personally, it’s where I’d most likely spend a large portion of my time onboard. Open air and away from it all, isn’t that why you buy a boat in the first place? And I should add, the crow’s nest helm? It really does have excellent sightlines.
Moving down one level to the spa deck, I found another area perfect for entertaining. This deck features a grill to port, a wet bar to starboard, a Jacuzzi forward, and a large, circular dining settee. There’s also room for PWCs aft, along with a davit. It is, at its core, a deck built for fun. Eating, drinking, relaxing, and maybe even skittering across the waves on a Jet Ski. What more could you ask for? Well, one thing I suppose. Oddly enough, the sole underneath the settee is made of glass, so if you’re on the deck below and you happen to look up, you could get quite an eyeful. It’d probably make sense to rig up some sort of cover for the sole—or not, I suppose—depending on what kind of party you’re throwing.
The deck with the aforementioned view, as it were, is pretty damn cool in its own right. With a slickly styled and fully accoutered bar forward and to port, and elegant, white-leather couches to starboard, there’s something undeniably Bondian about this space. As if 007 himself might stroll up to the bar, shake his own martini, and then vanish into the night to save the world and inevitably get the girl.
Forward of this entertainment area is the boat’s indoor helm, which is fitted with four Furuno displays. One of Horizon’s main concerns during the build phase for this boat was docking. With a displacement of about 215 tons and high freeboard she could be a bull in a china shop at the docks. To check this potential, Horizon outfitted her with a Hydrive hydraulic steering system and a powerful, 75-hp hydraulic bow thruster for slow-speed maneuverability. What’s more, wing stations on either side of the pilothouse provide helpful vantages while in port. With these features in place this yacht should provide a docking experience that would make any captain smile.
Below the helm deck is the main saloon, which is rather impressive in its sheer size. This is the part of the boat that really makes the 105 feel outsized. The space takes full advantage of the vessel’s beefy 26-foot beam and features a marble bar forward, and a large, white-leather L-shaped settee aft. Forward of the main saloon is an 11- by 14-foot dining room with seating for eight at the table. The dining room is flanked by round windows that are nearly large enough to contain a full-grown person striking a Vitruvian Man pose. So the views are exceptional, however I had to wonder about privacy. What if you’re at the docks in St. Barts for example, would everybody and their sister outside be able to tell how much you were enjoying your rack of lamb? The answer, as I would come to find out, is no. The windows are mirrored on the outside so you can dine in peace without feeling like you’re inside a well-appointed fishbowl.
Rounding out the main deck is a spacious forward master. It boasts an embarrassment of riches, from gorgeous, satin-finished walnut walls with wenge accents to an expansive en suite head with his-and-hers sinks and a Jacuzzi. There’s private access to the boat’s foredeck lounge area as well. This is a nice touch, since despite all of her obviously luxurious features, the CC 105 is not a boat designed for those inclined to stay indoors, sipping tea and holding forth on the relevancy of the Hegelian dialectic as it applies to the macro-sociopolitical sphere. Nope. This boat is for doing.
Horizon envisioned the 105 as a true explorer, and as such she is built to DNV standards. These credentials are evinced by her cleanly laid-out wiring, heavy, watertight doors, and a four-inch thick packet containing in-depth drawings of every single system on the boat. Furthermore, a 6,300-gallon fuel tank and a range of about 4,000 miles at cruise mean that she can safely get you to just about any locale you can dream up. Indeed, all of that space that so impressed the group I initially boarded her with (I toured her again solo a month or so later for this story) is an outcrop of her expeditionary ambitions. The boat has an imposingly high bow—part of a hull designed by now-defunct builder Calixas—that’s good for swatting down any waves that might bear malicious intent. That bow, coupled with the aforementioned 26-foot beam, not only prepares her for rough water in far-flung seas, it also gave her designers ample space within which to work, and is the reason the yacht feels so much larger than a normal 105.
The downside to all this, as Horizon has found out, is that the 105 occupies a small niche in the market, and requires a very specific buyer. Horizon doesn’t expect this boat to go to someone looking to upsize from, say, a 90-footer, since this is a lot more boat than that buyer could or would want to handle. Instead, the company thinks the CC 105 will end up with an owner looking to downsize from a boat around 140 feet. But if the buyer opts to build his own 105, he’ll find that his boat will be completely custom, the CC in CC 105 stands for Custom Collection after all. And he can also take heart that he is buying from a financially stable builder, one that intends to be around for the long haul. Horizon is currently celebrating its 25th anniversary and owns outright four different shipyards in Taiwan, so the company is firing on all cylinders, with few concerns other than turning out the very best boats it can possibly build. And that’s a good thing to know, because sailing all around the world, and impressing everyone, even those that have seen it all, wouldn’t really mean a thing if you didn’t have peace of mind.
This article originally appeared in the September 2012 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.