DARING TO BE DIFFERENT
Barry Thompson went to Taiwan to review the new Horizon FD75, the latest model in the ever-expanding series.
When Dutch designer Cor D. Rover conceived the idea for the FD (Fast Displacement) Series he wanted to achieve the maximum amount of volume on the lowest waterline length, which he set at 24m. The layout also called for the owner’s stateroom on the main deck.
The result was a boat that had people talking. Some detractors felt the bullish hull lines and snub bow design was too much and potential clients would baulk at the very non-traditional lines.
However, when the designer showed his concept to Horizon Yacht’s John Lu, he had no hesitation in taking on the project.
“Once the concept and design parameters were explained to me, I could see what the designer was trying to achieve and understand the potential of the boat,” said Lu.
With the vision and resources behind him, Lu quickly got the project started, and the first boat was launched around 12 months later.
The first of the FD Series, Skyline, an FD 85, was delivered to its American owner in 2016 and was an instant success. It was praised for its performance and exceptional stability, and quickly more orders followed for the yard. Today the range comprises seven models, from the just-released FD75, through to the still in development, FD125. Of the 25 FD Series boats built to date, 10 of those have been the FD87, with owners spread throughout the world. There have been four FD Series boats sold to Australian clients.
While the FD75 is the smallest in the FD Series, it still carries all the same DNA of the rest of the FD family. Cor D.Rover’s same principles applied although he had a little less space to work with. However, despite this, he has still managed to incorporate the master stateroom at virtually the same level as the saloon, albeit down a couple of steps. He also wanted this to be an owner/operator vessel, with no crew, although provision is made for two crew should an owner desire it.
Beneath The Waterline
To understand why the FD Series has the distinctive bow shape and oversized windows, you need first to understand what is beneath the waterline. Efficiency and performance are as important as style, and these form the basis of the Fast Displacement (FD) Series.
Designed in collaboration with Cor D.Rover, the hull platform and proprietary bow design sets the FD Series apart from others. Comprised a hybrid hull shape and tunnel design, Horizon’s high-performance piercing bow (HPPB) delivers a shallow draft, comfortable ride, lower resistance and exceptional stability in comparison to a traditional fast-displacement hard chine design. The FD Series hull has both hard and soft chines – a hard chine at the bow to increase lift and a soft chine midship and aft to reduce resistance. A tunnel aft also helps to reduce resistance and decreases draft.
When I stepped into the interior of FD75 #1, I was in awe of the contemporary design that makes you feel like you are walking into an apartment. The almost full height side windows, bi-fold glass rear bulkhead, surrounded with soft tone fabrics, bestow a very friendly and warm interior. Dark timber accents are strategically placed so as not to be obtrusive and add a touch of class.
Horizon has chosen free-standing furniture rather than fixed lounges, so there is plenty of flexibility for an owner. To starboard, we had a couple of settees with a low marble coffee table and to port a foldout dining table, which converts to the main dining area when required.
IN FD75 #1 the galley is forward with spacious Corian countertops and a three-seater breakfast bar. The refrigerator and Vitrifrigo drawer freezer are neatly hidden from view behind timber panelling and accessed by touching a sensor light to open one of three doors. There is a side door for access to the starboard bulwark which provides access to both the cockpit and foredeck areas. There is no lower port side bulkhead, with the space utilised to maximise the saloon beam.
Follow The Sun
The spacious main deck and bridge aft decks are designed to suit the owner’s preference. The high/low boarding platform leads to the crew cabin complete with PWC storage. However, you can turn this all into a beach club or much larger tender garage.
The aft deck is covered by a hardtop overhang providing shade and protection when lounging around on the sofas. To port is the external access to the open flybridge, which is a substantial area which is party central! How you layout the loungers, wet bar, or dining area is up to you, and there is certainly plenty of real estate to start with. The rear of the upper deck is designated as the tender stowage, but if you option the FD75 with a tender garage, then this space can be used for more loungers.
Horizon has not forgotten the foredeck which has been maximised with a forward lounge area that can be protected with sunshades.
The FD75 is unquestionably a vessel designed and built to cruise and Horizon have made sure the wheelhouse is well equipped for serious passage making. Triple Raymarine Axiom xl 19″ screens take up most of the dash, flanked by all the necessary electronics for navigation and handling the boat. However, Horizon points out that the FD75 is set up for an experienced owner/operator, so running the boat shouldn’t be a daunting task. There is a single helm chair plus a sofa, and like the rest of the vessel, how you configure this space is your choice.
A pair of 1200hp MANs give the FD75 a maximum speed of 20 knots and a cruise around 14 knots. The unique hull design also contributes to the efficiency of the boat, especially at mid-range cruising speeds.
As in all of the FD Series, the extra-wide forward beam allows for an on-deck master, including a spacious ensuite. The stateroom offers full privacy and panoramic sea viewing. Central is a King bed, flanked with cabinetry and storage lockers, a vanity table and sofa plus a TV that drops out of the ceiling. There is a walk-in closet plus opening ports if you like some natural airflow in the cabin.
Below deck, there are the guest cabins, each with separate entertainment and air-con systems. The port side guest cabin has two single berths that can slide together to form a double, plus a Pullman berth. The starboard guest cabin has a single berth with plenty of storage drawers and a hanging locker. The large VIP comes with a queen bed and ensuite, with the two guest cabins sharing a bathroom.
That’s not where the accommodation ends, with a crew quarters aft which has two single berths and ensuite. If you don’t have a crew, then it’s undoubtedly an ideal extra cabin for guests or children.
Since the FD75 was first released, there have been some similar style versions from competitive brands, however, Horizon is still the dominant player in that market. It is important to understand the design of the FD Series, no matter the size, before making a judgement just on appearance. When you add that to the outstanding build quality -ABS/DNV approved with one shot resin-infused hull, girders & stringers- you are looking at an exceptional vessel that gives a whole new perspective to innovative hull design.
FOR FULL REVIEW ON THE FD75 CHECK OUT THE MAR-APR ISSUE OF PACIFIC POWERBOAT (Online Feb 28)