The semi-custom Horizon V80 allows guests to gather together or seek out a little solitude. there’s room for a crowd, and not just in the staterooms.
I’ve always been a bit flummoxed by the obsession that some boaters and boat salespeople have with sleeping accommodations. Lend an ear at any boat show and you’ll learn that one of the first questions a potential buyer asks is, “How many does she sleep?” And if by chance he or she doesn’t ask, the rep will surely proffer the information within the first minute.
It isn’t that I think sleeping accommodations are a trivial criterion when shopping for a boat. If you have a family or often cruise with friends, you most assuredly need to know whether you’ll be able to offer everyone a comfy place to snooze. No, my objection is that folks too often assume that the number of people a boat can sleep is the same as the number of people it can comfortably accommodate.
I can’t recall how many boats I’ve been aboard that can sleep X number of people but on which that same number are unable to find places to congregate as a group—or for that matter, even to share a meal together. Too often there isn’t enough seating for everyone to eat or sunbathe or watch a movie together. In short, the only time and place many boats can accommodate their touted capacity comfortably is at night, in the staterooms.
Horizon’s V80 has no such issue. While it can sleep eight in four staterooms (each with its own en suite facilities), it can also accommodate that number just about anywhere a group is likely to congregate: at the main-deck dining table, the foredeck sunning pavilion, the aft-deck dining area, the pilothouse dinette, even in the fishing cockpit. On this boat no one need be consigned to solitude unless they desire it.
Surely one of the explanations for such design savvy is the fact that Horizon builds such a remarkable variety of vessels. The V Series is but one of a multitude of model lines from a builder that has become known for both its versatility and its flexibility when it comes to customization. There are two Vs, the other being the V72 whose smaller LOA is due to the lack of a fishing cockpit. Then there’s the seven other distinct Horizon lines—E, EP, P, RP, PC (powercat), SC, and T—that together field a total of 25 models, and if that isn’t enough, Horizon also happens to be the world’s fifth-largest custom yacht builder.
The company’s motto, “Define Your Horizon,” is not an empty sales pitch. Its willingness to customize any of its production models is one of the things that sets this builder apart. Our V80 is a case in point. Although a stock boat, the dealer, Orange Coast Yachts, used its own interior designer to select and coordinate fabrics and finishes. Owners wishing to build their own V80 are invited to be likewise involved, even to the point of visiting the factory (one of four Horizon facilities) in Taiwan if they desire. However, to make things easier for buyers, the company has come up with packages that are optimized for different geographical areas—East Coast, Great Lakes, West Coast—and the V80 I was aboard was spec’d expressly for West Coast clients.
If buyers do visit the factory they’ll see firsthand the advanced construction techniques that along with optional 1,622-horsepower Caterpillar C32s (1,150 CAT C18s are standard), allowed our V80 to reach an impressive 25 knots. All Horizons employ a variety of corings and laminate fabrics, which are assembled using a version of SCRIMP resin infusion. But Horizon also uses something called “fiber precut technology,” a technique common to the aviation industry that minimizes excess material and so reduces weight.
And weight is important to Horizon. While the V80 is hardly a light vessel, her listed displacement of 136,687 pounds is relatively modest for a fully found motoryacht of this size. She feels light under hard acceleration but she also feels substantial shouldering into swells. On test day a brisk offshore breeze out of the northwest had generated sizable swells in the Santa Barbara Channel but the V80’s semidisplacement hullform handled them easily at anything below WOT while taking only a little spray aboard. Underwater exhausts with low-speed bypasses help keep sound levels in the living spaces to modest levels, although in some of the larger swells, the main ports occasionally uncovered resulting in a momentary rumble that disappeared as soon as the boat resumed normal running trim.
Our V80 was also surprisingly responsive to helm input, especially for a vessel of this size. Close-quarters maneuverability was also good thanks to hydraulic bow and stern thrusters, but because sightlines to the aft quarters from the elevated pilothouse helm are necessarily compromised, we especially appreciated the wireless Yacht Controller that Orange Coast Yachts specified.
Such maneuverability will be appreciated by anglers, as will the V80’s 8-foot-long fishing cockpit. While this boat is by no means tournament-ready, rod holders, a dedicated tackle locker, rod stowage, and an illuminated transom baitwell should allow the angler to satisfy his piscatorial urges. However, he’ll have to boat any fish of size from the swim platform, whose generous dimensions are aimed more at accommodating a PWC than making it easier to get a big fish aboard. The optional 2,000-pound Steelhead hydraulic crane on the port side of our boat’s platform further restricts the ability to boat a big fish, but on the plus side, there’s plenty of room to swing a big PWC. A large space abaft the pilothouse can accommodate another PWC or a tender, or the space can be left vacant for sunbathing, as it was on our boat.
But really, the spot for sun worshipers is the foredeck, where you’ll find a table with facing settees that can easily hold—you guessed it—eight. Fold down the forward seat and it becomes the headrest for the large sunpad forward. An integral bimini top that retracts into the deck is available for those who desire respite from the sun, and pop-up LED tubes provide just the right amount of illumination for evening relaxation.
Those not interested in fishing or Jet-Skiing may be inclined to opt for the cockpitless V72 but I’d advise against it, if for no other reason than it facilitates crew access from their aft quarters without disturbing the owner and guests. With two berths, a separate head, and a stall shower, plus direct access to the engine room via a forward watertight door, these quarters are generously outfitted and proportioned, and they’re finished nicely enough that crew-less families could use them as additional sleeping quarters for kids or teens, especially since there’s another access via a circular companionway from the saloon.
Any crewmember will find the engine room an easy place in which to work. Six-foot, 6-inch headroom, effective lighting, 360-degree access to the mains, and intuitive valving for the four fuel tanks (two forward, one to each side) on the forward bulkhead make this space an efficient workspace. However, since the tanks all gravity feed, there should be little need for intervention with the fuel system.
Here I found good access to the ABT hydraulic system (zero-speed stabilizers, windlass, crane, and thrusters), which employed a PTO on both marine gears to add redundancy. Two features I particularly appreciated in the mechanical spaces were the separate compartment for the batteries and inverter and the placement of the two gensets (29- and 17-kW Onans) in the lazarette. Not only does this positioning free areas on the aft bulkhead and outboard of the engines, it also places them farther away from the living spaces, which along with standard acoustical enclosures make their sound barely perceptible.
There is one more place aboard where eight adults can commune in comfort and that’s the pilothouse. A large table makes this a viable dining area, especially since immediately aft is a wet bar with sink, refrigerator/freezer, and big propane grill. On owner-operated V80s I suspect the hot setup will be congregating here to watch the helmsman, especially if there are chaises longues outside instead of tender stowage on the aft deck.
But that’s the beauty of this boat: There are plenty of places aboard where anyone can find quiet and solitude—where they can listen to music or read—but that option is strictly voluntary. If you’re looking for a yacht where everyone in your group can enjoy each other’s company as much as they enjoy the sun and water, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better yacht than the V80.
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(West Coast package) teak main deck; teak caprail; 2/Maxwell warping winches; storm covers for portlights; underwater lights; skylounge; country kitchen; hydraulic stern thrusters; hydraulic zero-speed stabilizers; upgrade to 1,800-gal. fuel capacity; Charles 50-amp ISO boost transformer; Sea Recovery watermaker; wine cooler; granite floors in heads; granite countertops; electric fold-down TV in master ceiling; folding bimini top for foredeck lounge; wireless Yacht Controller. Prices upon request.
Warranty: 2 years on everything, 5 years on structure
Conditions During Boat Test
Air temperature: 71°F; humidity: 34%; seas: 4-6' swells; wind: 15-18 knots
Load During Boat Test
750 gal. fuel, 100 gal. water, 3 persons, 200 lb. gear.
Test Boat Specifications
- Test Engine: 2/1,622-hp Caterpillar C32 ACERTs
- Transmission/Ratio: ZF/2.467:1
- Props: 42 x 42 four-blade nibral
- Price as Tested: $4,718,850
This article originally appeared in the February 2016 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.