Crea­ture Com­fort

THE PC74 FLAG­SHIP FROM HORI­ZON POWERCATS IS READY TO TAKE GUESTS TO THEIR DES­TI­NA­TION IN COM­FORT.

Power & Motor Yacht - - IN THIS ISSUE - BY LOUISA BECK­ETT

The PC74 from Hori­zon Yachts is ready to take pri­vate own­ers or char­ter guests on an ad­ven­ture in style.

One of the de­sign goals for the Hori­zon Power Cata­ma­rans line, which ranges from 52 to 74 feet, is for each model to look as much like a mono­hull as pos­si­ble when viewed in pro­file. But as I pre­pared to board the builder’s new flag­ship PC74 Open Fly­bridge from the tran­som, it was clear this was no mono­hull. High, wide and hand­some, the four-state­room ves­sel spanned a 28-plus-foot swath from spon­son to spon­son. It was a cata­ma­ran, all right, and at nearly 74 feet LOA, one of the largest I’d sea-tri­aled.

The con­cept for this ca­pa­cious cruis­ing power cat dates back more than a decade, when sail­ing cata­ma­rans were rapidly grow­ing in pop­u­lar­ity, es­pe­cially with char­ter fleets around the world. Sail­ing in­dus­try vet­eran Stuart Hegerstrom saw an op­por­tu­nity that led him to start The Pow­er­cat Com­pany in Ft. Laud­erdale in 2009.

“I re­al­ized that in the mar­ket­place there was no high­end power cat,” he said. He and com­pany co-founder Richard Ford wrote a set of pa­ram­e­ters for their first model, the PC60, that in­cluded owner-op­er­a­tion, char­ter-friend­li­ness and per­for­mance. They asked Naval Ar­chi­tect An­gelo Lavra­nos of South Africa to de­sign a semi-dis­place­ment hull. Lavra­nos, a rac­ing sail­boat de­signer, had also cre­ated a line of suc­cess­ful pa­trol boats with cata­ma­ran hulls.

“We wanted it to be very eco­nom­i­cal at hull speed, but with a top speed in the low 20-knot range,” Hegerstrom said. “That’s a big ask.”

Lavra­nos de­vel­oped a hull form with a fine en­try and a plan­ing wedge at the back of the boat that helped raise the rud­der and re­duce draft. “The vol­ume of the bridgedeck, the beam, the height, the shape of the tun­nel and the spray knuckle were all cru­cial mea­sure­ments,” Hegerstrom said, adding that they used tank­test­ing and Com­pu­ta­tional Fluid Dy­nam­ics (CFD)

anal­y­sis to re­fine the data points. As a re­sult, the PC60 met its top-end per­for­mance tar­get with a cruise speed in the 19-knot range. The Pow­er­cat Com­pany con­sid­ered sev­eral yards in the U.S. and over­seas to build the con­cept PC60. Then, a cus­tomer in­ter­ested in pur­chas­ing the first hull re­ferred them to Hori­zon Yachts. “Our client had a longstanding re­la­tion­ship with Hori­zon. He bought the very first boat Hori­zon ever built,” Hegerstrom said. “He got ex­cited about [the project]. We flew off to Tai­wan and [Hori­zon CEO] John Lu took it on.”

The first PC60 launched un­der the brand Hori­zon Power Cata­ma­rans in 2011.

“It’s a full-fledged Hori­zon prod­uct,” said Hegerstrom. “The Pow­er­cat Com­pany is the ex­clu­sive distrib­u­tor for North and South Amer­ica, the Caribbean and the Ba­hamas.” As Hori­zon Power Cata­ma­rans con­tin­ued to add new mod­els, it be­came clear this com­pany was the ideal builder for the line, not just be­cause of its in­ter­na­tional rep­u­ta­tion and mar­ket­ing reach, but also due to the weight sav­ings achieved by its high-tech, patented SCRIMP resin-in­fu­sion process.

“Weight can be a killer for cata­ma­rans,” Hegerstrom said. Re­fer­ring to the new PC74 we were on, he con­tin­ued, “This boat has a dive com­pres­sor and dive tank stor­age. There are five fridges on board. It has two gen­er­a­tors: one is the main, the other is a night gen­er­a­tor. Resin-in­fu­sion saves you a tremen­dous amount of weight and if you come within your weight range, you can add back some ameni­ties.”

Take the fly­bridge that sits atop the PC74. It is shel­tered by a large hard­top at­tached to the three-piece wind­shield. There is a teak din­ing ta­ble for eight plus a sun­pad (or watch berth) to port, and a U-shaped bar with swing-out stain­less steel stools to star­board. Ap­pli­ances be­hind the bar in­clude a sink, fridge, ice­maker, drink box/freezer and even a dryer for bar tow­els. The boat deck aft in­cludes an E51500 Steel­head Ma­rine

Davit to launch a ten­der, cus­tom life raft mount­ing bracket, another fridge, BBQ grill and stor­age. Oh, and there’s an en­closed head on the fly­bridge as well.

De­spite this ma­jor pay­load, as we trav­eled south down Florida’s At­lantic coast to Ft. Laud­erdale, we recorded a top speed over 22 knots. Cruise speed was around 18 knots at 2000 rpm. Sit­ting in a com­fort­able Stidd chair at the helm, I en­joyed good vis­i­bil­ity around the boat, plus an easy view of the charts and data dis­played on the three 27inch Garmin mon­i­tors. Tak­ing the boat off au­topi­lot, I found that steer­ing with the rud­ders placed so far apart took some prac­tice. I had a ten­dency to over­cor­rect, but the wheel was nicely re­spon­sive to my touch.

Run­ning in 2- to 3-foot seas, the boat pro­vided us with the smooth ride that has at­tracted many off­shore yachts­men and women (es­pe­cially those with bad knees and aching joints) to power cats over the years. The tun­nel lets the boat ride on a cush­ion of air.

Dock­ing elic­its ap­pre­hen­sion from mono­hull boaters who are new to power cats with their ex­treme beam. Hori­zon’s Capt. Fred Ham­ple used Side-Power thrusters linked to a joy­stick to slowly but ac­cu­rately ex­tri­cate the PC74 from the boat show docks and later, to slide it into its home slip. There are also dock­ing sta­tions on the aft deck be­low.

When I asked the cap­tain if he ever had dif­fi­culty find­ing a berth wide enough for a big cat to park in, he said, “We took a PC60 up the coast from Laud­erdale to Bar Har­bor, [Maine] and we never had a prob­lem find­ing a place to dock.” How­ever, he ad­vised, “you have to plan ahead.”

On the plus side, the ex­tra width af­forded by the power cat con­fig­u­ra­tion gives the PC74 a huge aft deck that’s ac­cessed from the fly­bridge by a wide, curv­ing stair­case.

There is room here for a long set­tee and a sep­a­rate din­ing ta­ble that seats up to 10 peo­ple. A wet bar is for­ward, along with a stor­age locker in the bulk­head that’s big enough to be plumbed as a day head.

Open the slid­ing glass doors to the sa­lon and gal­ley to cre­ate a huge in­door/out­door space for loung­ing and en­ter­tain­ing. Yacht de­signer JC Espinosa, who de­vel­oped the PC74’s con­tem­po­rary in­te­rior plan, kept the sa­lon open and the loose, beach-house-style fur­nish­ings low in or­der to draw the eye to the large win­dows on each side. The head­room is around 9 feet.

Espinosa clev­erly dis­guised the gal­ley, which lies to star­board as you en­ter from the aft deck, as a long bar com­plete with swing-out barstools. It’s only when you go be­hind the counter to fix a drink that you dis­cover it dou­bles as an is­land and there’s a full suite of gal­ley ap­pli­ances back there, in­clud­ing a dish­washer, re­frig­er­a­tor, range, oven and wine cooler.

But the big sa­lon/gal­ley is not the full ex­tent of the main deck’s ac­com­mo­da­tions. For­ward lies a mas­ter suite with a king berth that has a com­mand­ing view through wrap­around win­dows.

Our test boat had three lower-deck state­rooms, reached by a short flight of stairs from ei­ther side of the main sa­lon. Any­one who has been bil­leted in a state­room in­side one of the hulls of a small sail­ing cat might be ap­pre­hen­sive about the guest sleep­ing quar­ters in a power cat. But a visit to the PC74’s lower decks quickly put me at ease. Each hull has an iden­ti­cal VIP state­room for­ward with a king berth an­gled to face the side hull win­dow, along with an en suite head. There is also a guest state­room with twin berths in the port hull that can be con­verted to a queen, again with its own head. These state­rooms are ideal for char­ter guests who seek pri­vacy and don’t want to have to share a shower. If you want to fur­ther cus­tom­ize your PC74 for char­ter or sim­ply to match a per­sonal pref­er­ence, Hori­zon is will­ing to ac­com­mo­date.

“Hori­zon not only per­mits cus­tomiza­tion, they re­ally en­cour­age it,” said Hegerstrom, “to the point where we will ac­tu­ally move bulk­heads.”

The aft sec­tion of the star­board hull houses a sep­a­rate crew’s quar­ters that in­cludes a cap­tain’s cabin, crew cabin and small lounge with mi­crowave. The crew’s quar­ters add the op­tion of full lux­ury char­ter op­er­a­tions.

In fact, The Pow­er­cat Com­pany of­fers lux­ury char­ter man­age­ment to clients who pur­chase its yachts, pro­vid­ing those who take ad­van­tage of this ser­vice with a nice fi­nan­cial ben­e­fit. “When the owner is not us­ing it, we’ll char­ter it,” said Hegerstrom. “Typ­i­cally, if it is char­tered ten to eleven weeks a year, all oper­at­ing costs are cov­ered.”

LOA: 73'9" Beam: 28'4" Draft: 5'11" Displ.: 163,142 lbs. Fuel: 2,000 gal. Wa­ter: 400 gal. Test Power: 2/1,150-hp Cater­pil­lar C18 ACERT Cruise Speed: 19 knots Top Speed: 23 knots Price: $6.6 mil­lion

The ex­tra width af­forded by the power cat’s im­pres­sive beam gives the PC74 a huge main deck, where the sa­lon, gal­ley, din­ing area and mas­ter state­room are all lo­cated.

The din­ing area on the fly­bridge seats 10 pas­sen­gers in cli­mate-con­trolled com­fort.

Test data sup­plied by man­u­fac­turer.

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