With Horizon’s FD77, the destination is the journey
Just about everything superyacht owners are currently demanding in their new vessels—from a big beach club to a main-deck master stateroom to an ultra-stable ride—is built into the new Horizon FD77 motoryacht, which measures just over 80 feet.
“It’s the smallest 140-footer we’ve ever designed,” said Cor D. Rover, the founder of a well-known superyacht design house who collaborated with Horizon on the Fast Displacement (FD) Series. “It has four staterooms [with] the master on the main deck. In my opinion, you cannot take volume any further than that.” Launched at the Palm Beach International Boat Show earlier this year, it’s now the smallest model in the Taiwanese builder’s FD Series and the only one designed for owner-operators.
“The FD87 was such a success that we wanted to do a slightly smaller version,” said Roger Sowerbutts, director of Horizon Yacht USA. Like its larger siblings, which range up to 105 feet, the FD77 hull is based on the concept developed in collaboration with Cor D. Rover Design and Donald L. Blount & Associates naval architects.
Gallery: Horizon FD77
I experienced the 77 on a sea trial in the Intracoastal Waterway near Horizon’s stateside headquarters in North Palm Beach. The yacht tops out at about 18 knots: speedy for a full displacement yacht, but slow enough to give you time to savor the journey. “It’s for people who are thinking differently about boating,” Sowerbutts said. “This is for people who want to spend some time on board.” In that vein, the FD77’s design maximizes its interior and exterior volume within its generous 23-foot beam.
The spot that grabbed my attention first was the transom beach club, which, believe it or not, is actually larger than the one on the FD87. It has an L-shaped settee where you can sit in comfort and watch the kids dive off the huge hydraulic swim platform, or simultaneously enjoy the sunset and a game on TV. When the transom hatch is closed, a separate glass door in its center provides convenient access to the beach club, with two additional windows.
“If you don’t like beach clubs, it’s a great storage area,” said Rover. In fact, Horizon—a semi-custom builder that gives its clients a lot of latitude when it comes to personalizing their boats—will turn the beach club into a lazarette, a dive locker or even a tender garage.
Forward of the beach club on the lower deck are crew’s quarters with a bunkroom for four and a shared head with separate shower. The fact that the designers managed to fit all of this into the layout is impressive, especially considering the immaculate engine room is of good size, with about 8 feet of headroom, offering room to work outboard of the twin MAN diesels. There also is plenty of room for twin generators, and space aplenty to service the watermaker and fuel polishing system.
Guest accommodations on the lower deck include not one but two equivalent VIP staterooms with en suite heads, which lets owners confer special status on two couples rather than just one. The third stateroom, also en suite, has twin berths designed to slide together to form a double. When you put the berths together, it conceals one nightstand but reveals another—a clever design seen on many Horizon models.
Owners are welcome to work with Horizon to personalize the décor on their vessel. The yacht I tested, an FD77 Open Bridge model, had a clean, contemporary, somewhat neutral interior design with light American oak cabinetry, high-gloss walnut accents and Carrara marble stonework.
Light and air are emphasized throughout the yacht, particularly in the salon, which features huge frameless windows that virtually run from floor to headliner. The aft glass doors open all the way, thanks to a clever bi-fold design, and there are also glass doors to the walkaround side decks in the mid-salon. The furniture, which includes stand-alone chairs and a long, modular settee, blocks as little of the view through all this glass as possible.
Cor D. Rover’s design for the salon nixed the formal dining table that is obligatory on so many yachts, eliminating another potential obstruction. Three people can dine casually at the bar that separates the salon and galley; apart from that, all meals on the FD77 Open Bridge model are alfresco, either at the large table on the aft deck or the flybridge dining area. Since each of those tables is shaded completely by a large overhang or hardtop, it’s a small trade-off for having such an open salon.
To prep those meals in the company of friends and family, a pass-through window in the forward bulkhead gives guests in the salon and at the bar a view into the on-deck galley, keeping with the yacht’s owner-operator mission. However, if preferred, the galley can be closed off by pocket doors and a screen that slides down to block the pass-through. The galley has plenty of upscale appliances, along with counter space and storage, to support meal preparation during a cruise.
This yacht is available in two versions: the FD77 Skyline and the Open Bridge. Both feature a fixed, forward-raked windshield that provides added protection in a seaway. (It also has windshield wipers that are rated for use on 100-mph trains.) The windshield helps keep the Open Bridge model exceptionally quiet at the helm while the yacht is underway, as we determined during our sea trial. The Skyline version is fully enclosed, adding a third level of interior living space to the yacht.
The helm station offers excellent sightlines of the sea around the yacht, allowing the helmsman to look over a huge lounge with a seating area and sunpads on the foredeck. Our test boat came with an extensive Garmin package, although owners can specify the brand of electronics they prefer.
It also is equipped with a high-tech Octoplex power management system and Maretron monitoring system, providing seamless control over all of the ship’s systems from the helm. In addition, our yacht featured a wing docking station with Rexroth controls for the engines and thruster, and an ABT-Trac stabilizing system.
Driving the FD77 was not as unusual as I would have thought given its unique hull configuration. Of course, our sea trial did take place in the calm waters of the ICW. The main difference I felt between the FD77 and a planing-hull boat is that when the Horizon accelerates through the rpm band, there is no appreciable “hump” to get over.
Cruise speed is whatever you want it to be: 10 knots if you’re trying to go 1,500 nautical miles without a fill-up, 15 knots if you want to get from Palm Beach to West End in the Bahamas for lunch—or anywhere in between. Whichever pace you choose, on the FD77, the journey is sure to be an enjoyable one.
Horizon FD77 Specifications:
Displ.: 174,160 lbs.
Fuel: 2,700 gal.
Water: 400 gal.
Power: 2/1,200-hp MAN V8 Price: Upon Request