Author : Barry Tyler
The advent of the current EGM has led Horizon Motor Yachts down the path of the slower paced passagemaker style of vessel, with the latest Horizon 66 Bandido model bridging nicely the cross-over between consummate luxury and long-range cruising capability.
Most discerning boaters will be well aware of the Horizon brand, for the Taiwanese Kaohsiung-based company Horizon Motor Yachts, founded in 1987, is well known for the spectacular range of luxury motor yachts it produces. They are well respected for their attention to detail and specification. Just as importantly, the company is equally well respected for its ability to move with the times and respond to ever changing market trends. One such market trend of late is the emergence of this slower paced and certainly
more fuel-efficient passagemaker style of vessel. Seafarers are now demanding a more leisurely pace of boating, and Horizon Motor Yachts has been quick to respond with its
own version of an ideal that very much combines business with pleasure. I say that because Horizon has unashamedly stamped its own air of individuality into a market sector that in many people’s minds was becoming very stereotyped. From the outside certainly the hull and superstructure profile follows the rugged passagemaker theme, but on the inside it was unadulterated luxury – almost beyond comprehension!
The Bandido range at this stage comprises five models, the 66, 75, 90, 110 and the 148, with local Australian agent Horizon Boats International choosing to introduce the ‘baby’ of the range to in its words test the market with a boat spec’d to this level of appointment, as well as luxury. Some baby, I thought as I meandered down the marina arm, for the very first impression of the Bandido was of a boat with enormous dimensions and quite obviously, sublime volume. I even went as far as re-checking my notes to ensure it was a 66-foot boat I was to review, for this was a veritable ship, not a mere 20-metre passagemaker motor yacht!
Nowhere was this more evident than immediately on stepping aboard, for the height of the topsides was monstrous. Six steps up in fact, from the impressive marina-level teak covered integral boarding platform. Immediately off this was the cantilevering bulkhead-style door which the crew would use to access their cabin as well as the engine room further forward again.
With this height available, up onto the deck level, needless to say headroom below decks was of the ‘8ft-stud’ variety. Accommodation for the crew consisted of a double and twin-single cabin, all with TV, stereo, air-conditioning – and a distinct air of luxury about the décor of padded wall and ceiling panels and walnut and teak woodwork. The best part
about these crew quarters though was the amount of sink, bench, storage and refrigeration space that allowed the crew to handle all the daily chores such as clothes washing and food and drink preparation.
Further for’ard again of these rooms was the engine room, and sorry for the vernacular but there was just the one four-letter word required to aptly describe this room. Massive height, stainless steel everywhere, and a transcendent amount of space around the engines, batteries, filters, air-conditioning (2 x Marine Air 28kW chill-water systems), the impressive array of chargers and inverter, the two Cummins Onan MDKBR 17.5kVA gensets, the 8933-litre fuel tanks and the two work benches for’ard of the engines. Engines incidentally which in this case were upgraded from the standard-issue twin 460hp Caterpillar C7 ACERT 460hp diesels to twin MAN D2876LE402 560hp diesels which ran through ZF 960 (ratio 2.971:1) gearboxes and conventional shaft drive, to a pair of Hung Shen 43”D x 29”P propellers.
Good Exterior Access
Leaving the boarding platform level, six steps each side of the crew doors lead you up onto the actual main deck level. Wide and fully encapsulated bulwark-style walkways lead you forward to one of two side entry doors either side, and further forward again, to the Portuguese Bridge. More steps then lead you down from the centre of this bridge, onto what was a compact yet in proportion and entirely safe, well-spec’d anchoring area.
Back at the aft cockpit, this teak-lined area complete with its across-beam lounge and table setting would undeniably be a most congenial part of the boat from which to enjoy your late afternoon drinkies. Yet it was seemingly deliberately kept smaller than traditional, and I soon discovered why. Yet more steps up the portside of the exterior wall of the saloon, led you up onto an outdoor setting of immense proportions and specification.
Obscene it was, just plain obscene – this whole immense area just cried out for a party to begin! The ‘dance floor’ was of course still to be fitted with the owners’ choice of tender and water toys to go with the already mounted Steelhead ES1000 davit crane, but forward of this it was all creature comforts. The huge sun-pad complete with copious storage beneath the pad, was to portside, with opposite this a BBQ and refrigerator module. Forward of this is a massive U-shaped eight-person ‘sun umbrella’ dining setting, then forward of this again a two-person forward facing lounge. Back to portside and opposite this was a U-shaped Corian-topped galley complete with servery and around the walkway side, swing chairs as in a ‘breakfast-bar’ situation.
Ahead of the galley was the 200-litre-plus fridge/freezer module, then finally, forward of that again and offering some insight into the immense size of this area, was the upstairs
helm station. Complete with a two-person helm seat and almost a replication of the electrics and controls at the lower helm station, seated at this station you were indeed very much in control of proceedings. I did especially appreciate the fact this expensive electronics nerve centre electrically recessed back down into the dash top, onto a sealing pad which completely sealed the electrics off from any moisture.
Ship-like in Stature
From this flybridge level it was stupendously easy, courtesy of the sliding bulkhead door (alongside the helm) and the elegant staircase, to drop back down onto the level below, in this instance down into the pilothouse. What a room! Offering the appearance of a bonafide ship’s helm station, this pilothouse is complete with Horizon-embossed wheel, two more upright Raymarine E140W integrated electronics systems and between these screens the Bonning AHD 1015 MTC Onboard Management and Monitoring System.
Other features here included activators or controls for the five Speich wipers across the front windows, the MAN Glendinning engine controls, the 38hp ABT (American Bow Thruster) hydraulic bow and stern thrusters, the two Maxwell VWC3500C winches and the TRAC ABT Hydraulic 250/9.0 stabiliser system, complete with the Zero Speed Stabiliser feature.
But wait, there is more, for as well as the impressive staircase and the grandiose helm station, cosily included within the confines of this pilothouse was a six-person formal dining setting. Normally the guests may get a bench seat and a makeshift table from which to view proceedings, but in this instance the Horizon team had excelled themselves – once again!
From this level the natural progression was to proceed aft, down two steps and into the living area proper. There was little or no indication from the outside, thus far, of a modern
design. It precisely and rather eloquently I may add, followed the ideals of a traditional, albeit indecently well-spec’d, passagemaker in every aspect, including the helm station – but step down into the actual saloon level and all that changed. Again that four-letter word sprung to mind, for the opulence, the attention to detail, the level of unadulterated luxury, was contemporary to say the very least.
This was the cross-over I alluded to in the introduction, for what lay before me was a virtual apartment on water. To the front of the saloon was the galley, a walk-in two-level virtual room any chef would be entirely at home in, with features such as the massive refrigeration module, the four-burner electric stove-top, the domestic-size oven, the microwave convection oven, a separate microwave-style vegetable steamer, and the
generous (Corian) bench, cupboard and drawer space.
Around the lounge side of this galley feature was a breakfastbar setting with three swing-out seats below the servery shelf. So well was this ‘presented’ that it impinged nought on the palatial formal lounge setting aft of this again. Décor was a rich walnut timber finish interspersed with lashings of stainless steel, carpeted floor, double window frames, fold-up drapes and several different versions of mood lighting around the furniture and recessed into the ceiling – very contemporary, and very eye-catching!
The starboard side of this fully air-conditioned lounge was taken up by a full-length module that included bar-appropriate storage cupboards, a small refrigerator, a wine cooler fridge, and an entertainment nerve centre for the stereo and the pop-up television set. Opposite this was the rather majestic L-shaped formal lounge setting, complete with low-profile coffee table and two Ottoman stools and aft of this again, the well secreted day head which was conveniently situated just inside the main saloon-entry doors.
As I say, very contemporary in that it looked more like an apartment than a saloon, but at the same time it was practical, an efficient use of space, and it was homely. A light and bright room too, for as well as the natural light during daylight hours, there was a generous amount of lighting here and in fact right throughout the boat. All of the LED variety and while of course more reliable it was also a demonstrably more efficient form of lighting, for with every light in the boat going, the current draw is only 4 amps.
An again elegant but his time spiral staircase complete with feature walls, leads down onto the accommodation level, seemingly way down in the bowels of the boat. It is not over the top to suggest this area was of a superyacht standard, with guest accommodation in this particular instance, provided for six people. To starboard was a Pullman-style twin berth cabin (complete with ensuite) that while a little tighter in space than the other two, nonetheless enjoyed the ambience and décor of the other rooms. The dark walnut timber finish prevailed, as did the plush ceiling and wall panels, the generous wardrobe provision and the mandatory lighting, television, stereo and airconditioning features.
Opposite this was the downstairs house bathroom which in reality was the larger ensuite for the main guest stateroom in the bow of the Bandido. With an ‘island’ berth of queen-size proportions this again was a very contemporary room with its décor and mirrored ceiling, yet the traditional and yes very contrasting nautical theme still prevailed, with ‘special’ features such as the porthole boxes and the pigeon-hole side lockers.
Then there was the master stateroom – what we would perhaps best describe under normal circumstances, as the owner’s amidships cabin. Taking pride of place in a stateroom that occupied the full 6.1m beam of the Bandido, was the king-size berth with above it the feature ceiling and mood lighting.
Again there were the featured porthole boxes, but this time, off to starboard the wardrobes were times two and of the walk-in variety. For the ladies the vanity and make-up module alongside were indicative of the respect afforded the female side of the buying equation.
This stateroom was large in dimension as it was but the portside mirrored walls turned out to in fact be massive sliding doors which slid back inside the walls to reveal – an equally enormous ensuite bathroom. Stepping into this tiled and mood-lit bathroom that again featured these porthole window boxes (I am sure there is a correct nautical name for these), the entire wall of the room was one long vanity unit. Off the forward end of this room was the tiled shower cubicle of obscene proportions, with off the other end a separate head. Both these end rooms were privatised with frosted glass doors.
One word, sublime! Attention to detail, specification, quality of build, the attentive way business has been combined with pleasure, the way contemporary has been combined with traditional – was awe-inspiring. It was a ship in every sense of the ideal, yet the fascinating realisation this boat was still only 21m overall, and easily handled by a husband and wife cruising couple. If you want to cruise in style and grace, this is the boat for you.
- Design Name: Horizon 66 Bandido
- Year Launched: 201
- Designer: Horizon Motor Yachts
- Interior Designer: Horizon Motor Yachts
- Builder: Horizon Motor Yachts
- LOA: 20.72 m
- LWL: 18.01 m
- Beam: 6.1 m
- Draft: 1.85 m
- Displacement: 76 tonnes (Lightship)
- Max Speed: 12 knots
- Cruise Speed: 8 – 10 knots
- Construction: Solid GRP hull/foam core topside
- Fuel Capacity: 8933 litres
- Water Capacity: 1514 litres
- Engines: 2 x MAN D2876LE402 560hp