Its long-dis­tance range and vo­lu­mi­nous in­te­rior make the FD85 one to watch

Motorboat & Yachting - - Contents - Words Jack Haines

Ron Boogaard, Hori­zon’s Euro­pean agent who has been sell­ing its boats for 25 years, is perched on a fly­bridge rail­ing edg­ing the FD85 out of its berth in the port of Palma. In his hand is the re­mote for the Yacht Con­troller, which gives full con­trol of the engines and thrusters and al­lows him to wan­der around the decks to get the best view as we de­part the berth. He pads from one side of the deck to the other and moves down to the cock­pit along the side decks giv­ing in­ter­mit­tent bursts of power that sends wave­lets fizzing off the tran­som and to­wards the quay­side aft. He makes it look easy and, on a craft that is de­signed to de­liver su­pery­acht lev­els of lux­ury in a man­age­able pack­age, ease of use is cru­cial.

“The beauty of this model,” Ron says giv­ing a flick of bowthruster via the re­mote, “is that it drops be­low the 24m wa­ter­line length, which makes life a lot cheaper and eas­ier for the owner.” By duck­ing un­der the reg­u­la­tions for boats over this size you don’t need a com­mer­cial en­dorse­ment to skip­per the FD85 nor do you have to ad­here to strict in­sur­ance pro­to­cols like al­ways having a crew mem­ber on board, even when the boat is in port.

It is a boat that is de­signed to be owner run but, with a pair of bunk bed cab­ins and mess area, has ad­e­quate space for crew if re­quired. The master en­suite is at the op­po­site end of the boat, on the main deck, el­e­vated from the guest ac­com­mo­da­tion and flanked by floor-to-ceil­ing win­dows. It’s a spec­tac­u­lar space with an open-plan bath­room for­ward and sep­a­rate toi­let and shower rooms ei­ther side.


In the lobby aft of the master suite, stair­cases con­verge to grant ac­cess ei­ther be­low to the guest ac­com­mo­da­tion or up to the fly­bridge via a pi­lot­house. The lower deck on the boat we tested – hull num­ber 2 – had four guest cab­ins on the lower deck. An iden­ti­cal pair of en suite dou­bles amid­ships with a twin en­suite for­ward to star­board and an­other dou­ble en­suite in the bow. It’s a lay­out that works well, sup­ply­ing com­fort­able sleep­ing room for eight peo­ple with­out any of the cab­ins fall­ing short in terms of floorspace or crea­ture com­forts. There’s even a day heads op­po­site the stair­well so guests don’t have to dive into their cab­ins to use the toi­let in the day.

The main deck saloon is won­der­ful, blend­ing re­laxed seat­ing with fine views out of the floor-to-ceil­ing win­dows aft and an eight-per­son din­ing ta­ble for­ward that is within easy reach of the port­side gal­ley. It’s lux­u­ri­ous but warm and invit­ing with fur­ni­ture pieces that are to be used and not just ad­mired for their aes­thet­ics.

Slid­ing doors on both sides draw in the af­ter­noon breeze and make it an easy stroll up the for­ward steps to the fore­deck. What isn’t so easy, thanks to the side deck design,

is running lazy lines for­ward if you are us­ing a Med-style moor­ing. The bro­ken side pas­sages mean you have to hold the line aloft whilst some­one else grabs it and progress can con­tinue. Not easy if you’re short­handed.

On the most part if there is some­thing you don’t like about the lay­out you can change it. This is what sets Hori­zon apart from much of the com­pe­ti­tion. Yes, at this size most ship­yards are open to a cus­tomer’s wishes and will make lay­out and design al­ter­ations within rea­son, but when you or­der an FD85 you sit down with a de­signer, their pen­cil and a blank sheet of pa­per. Of course the ba­sic struc­ture is set in stone but what fits in­side it is re­stricted only by the imag­i­na­tion of the per­son who signs the cheque. De­spite this, Ron as­sures me that FD85’S can be built in just un­der a year, of­fer­ing an in­sight into how so­phis­ti­cated and ef­fi­cient Hori­zon’s 1.2 mil­lion square feet Tai­wanese fa­cil­ity is. Ac­cess to the top deck is ex­cel­lent thanks in part to the in­ter­nal stair­way, but also in the cock­pit, where two broad stair­cases lead up from ei­ther side of the boat. The top deck feels as if it has been plucked from a 100ft boat such is the feel­ing of space and the wide va­ri­ety of seat­ing and sun­bathing ar­eas. To star­board there is a wet­bar gal­ley with stools ar­ranged along­side and a dinette op­po­site. This boat had the hot tub op­tion, which re­ally ups the su­pery­acht vibe, and it’s easy to pic­ture long, sun-soaked days at an­chor with the Be­douin style aft canopy in place when some cool­ing re­spite is needed.

Drift down one of the two aft stair­cases to the laid-back and com­fort­able cock­pit. The seat­ing is low slung and invit­ing, ar­ranged in a square around a cou­ple of cof­fee ta­bles. You could

of course have a more for­mal din­ing ar­range­ment but this lay­out is won­der­fully re­laxed, lend­ing it­self per­fectly to late evening drinks as the sun sets.

There’s far more to the FD85 than its sprawl­ing deck spa­ces and vo­lu­mi­nous in­te­rior, how­ever. Be­neath the wa­ter­line a High Per­for­mance Pierc­ing Bow (HPPB) hull design by Dutch naval ar­chi­tects Cor D. Rover prom­ises sta­ble per­for­mance and ex­tra­or­di­nary fuel ef­fi­ciency. It fea­tures a sub­merged wavepierc­ing sec­tion, which length­ens the wa­ter­line and re­duces the ef­fi­ciency-ham­per­ing ef­fects of the bow wave while cut­ting cleanly through the sur­face of the wa­ter.


It wasn’t the weather to test the hull’s rough weather ca­pa­bil­ity but the dis­tances it can cover are quite stag­ger­ing. With the full com­pli­ment of 13,170 litres on board, the FD85 will man­age 3,117nm at 7.1 knots al­low­ing for a 20% re­serve. In­crease the speed a knot and the range is still just over 2,150nm miles and even push­ing along at 9.5 knots it will cover nearly 1,400 nms. From that point on there is a pretty steep drop off as the range plum­mets to a mere 347nm at the top speed of 16 knots.

Top speed is ir­rel­e­vant here and the MAN 1,200hp mo­tors make light work of waft­ing the FD85 about. You can opt for 1,136hp Cater­pil­lar engines if pre­ferred and Ron tells me that a 1,700hp Cater­pil­lar C32 op­tion will do 20 knots, though that feels like ask­ing a Rolls-royce to com­pete in a Grand Prix. Let the FD85 do its thing and slip along in sin­gle dig­its and it will re­ward you with spook­ily serene progress.

Stand­ing at ei­ther helm the engines, buried deep in the lower deck with lay­ers of su­per­struc­ture, soft fur­nish­ings and teak be­tween them and me, are im­per­cep­ti­ble and the steer­ing is equally de­tached. This is a straight-line an­i­mal that will swal­low up huge swathes of ocean with­out bat­ting an eye­lid. The FD85 is fortunate to be called a Hori­zon as it will be head-butting it on a reg­u­lar ba­sis.

Some craft of this size feel like they are stretch­ing the lim­its of what its par­ent yard can achieve, a small boat beefed up in all the right places to feel like a big boat. On the con­trary, Hori­zon, with a range that reaches up to the 45m EP 150 has cre­ated a boat that ef­fort­lessly feels like a larger yacht in a com­pact shell. CON­TACT Hori­zon Yachts Europe. Tel: +34 971 673 508. www.hori­zony­acht.com

The low-slung, re­laxed cock­pit ar­range­ment of our test boat and the stair­cases ei­ther side I t ’ s ea s y t o p i c t u re long sun- soaked days at an­chor

Soft light­ing through­out

The hull’s High Per­for­mance Pierc­ing Bow in ac­tion Slid­ing doors on ei­ther side of the saloon grant ac­cess di­rectly to the out­side decks

F LY­ING HIGH The sheer feel­ing of space on the fly­bridge is re­mark­able – add the op­tional hot tub for the full su­pery­acht vibe

The fin­ish in­side the en­suite bath­rooms is out­stand­ing One of two iden­ti­cal dou­ble guest cab­ins on the lower deck The pri­vate master cabin for­ward on the main deck

THE HELM The busi­ness-like helm fo­cuses on func­tion­al­ity over aes­thetic flair TAKE A SEAT The dinette in the pi­lot­house al­lows crew to snack in com­fort on watch STAIR­WAY There is di­rect ac­cess to the fly­bridge from in­side the pi­lot­house

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