Written by Kyle Barnes

by Holly Dukeson

Exemplifying the ideal fusion of style and spaciousness, in a fast displacement motor yacht.

A monster truck among utes, or the love child between an icebreaker and a luxurious Scandi-styled penthouse apartment. These are my first thoughts as I am shown around the Horizon FD 80 by Horizon Yacht Australia business manager Erica Rae. Erica is a 15-year veteran of the motor yacht building company which has the largest on water display of Horizon Yachts in the world, based at Sanctuary Cove in south-east Queensland. It is also rumoured that she has more than a bit of a hand in the interior selections of the vessel, which makes sense. It might not be PC to say, but it has a woman’s touch. It’s a true passage maker, and from the dock, craning my head skyward to see the topsides above the boat’s truly ominous flaring bow, was a dwarfing experience. And we are talking about not one, but a row of seven of these megatrons, on the one arm and a total of 17 in the confines of this inland marina. It’s also where you spot the bulbous bow just below the waterline, piercing forward. Fun fact, the bulbous bow concept is credited back to a naval architect who used the ‘bulbous forefoot’ as a ramming device to scuttle ships in his design of the US Delaware in 1910 during WWI. As it turns out, with ramming out of fashion these days, he was onto something that had vast fuel economy benefits.

Apartment-style living – The middle or main deck houses the owner’s apartment-style accommodation, and with just a few steps from the waterline, it’s all one level. Starting with the cockpit, it’s huge with a large dining table for 10 and walk around side decks as well as a wet bar, the first of two teppanyaki barbeques and a dropdown TV – and we haven’t stepped inside yet. The walk around deck that leads forward can be shutdown with wind doors that, when underway or at anchor, stop your guests getting blown about. And then it’s through the full width and height doors that slide away to reveal a designer-influenced cavernous space that seamlessly flows all the way forward past the galley to the owner’s suite. “We are finding that some of our new owners that are on the younger side are looking for boats with a more modern interior and we are trying to appeal to that niche with this Cor D Rover design interior,” Erica says. “We also have a lot of clients who are getting on the older side so having the living and entertaining areas and master all on the same deck makes the FD series appealing to them as they don’t have to worry about the trip up and down the stairs.”

The well-appointed galley looks aft to the saloon with its huge, light coloured, softly curved portside lounge. It also comes complete with bar chairs that, with a quick shuffle, can be swapped to the starboard side to change the breakfast bar into a formal dining table for six. The galley also features a centre island of Hermitage Cambria quartz, with its delicate gold veining swirling in both tight and open patterns, creating lighter and darker pools of colour. It’s an elegant warm design that glistens – and a theme that runs right through the vessel. The galley has everything you might expect with a vessel of this price tag including a dishwasher, convection oven and normal oven, stove top (with a view!), a trash compactor and a separate full-sized fridge and freezer a true ‘home away from home’ with that beautiful fresh, light styling championed by a single gold tap and under bench sink. There’s an electric drop-down panel that separates the island and most of the galley from the view of the saloon if needed, perhaps when you have your personal chef onboard who is reluctant to share recipes and techniques. 

The saloon and galley areas are filled, it seems, with secrets. Wall panels open up every few steps with just a simple touch. One forward on the starboard side reveals a massive crawl space which contains a lot of the electronics, most sparkies used to crawling around tiny switchboard cabinets would consider this a relative castle. Also hidden behind the panelling is a spacious day head, tucked away in the portside aft area of the saloon opposite the stairs to the crew quarters. Who knew? The saloon and galley area combined is direct from the pages of an upmarket designer magazine, with huge full height windows that run the length of the saloon. The curves in the ceiling, with camouflaged lights which match the floor and carve out spaces, turn a mammoth cavernous arena into a chic and well-proportioned apartment. There are water views from every vantage point, bringing the outdoors in, and televisions and electric blinds melt seamlessly away out of sight into the ceilings and cabinetry. A sturdy glass door either side of the saloon, combined with opening the aft doors, creates plenty of cross breeze combinations for any situation. Further forward, past the galley and just before the owner’s suite on the starboard side, is a set of clandestine stairs. The timber treads seemingly float in the air using a glass wall and some pretty ingenious construction. They lead aft and up to the bridge and down to the other three passenger cabins.

Owner’s suite – From there we head into the owner’s suite. With its massive skylight above the bed and extensive fore-to-aft windows it is a deceptively sizable space and more than adequate digs for the most discerning owner. The cabinetry and more hidden compartments make this sanctuary extensive in terms of closet space, personal office configuration and a huge amount of repository spots for everything you need on an extended trip. This forward cabin arrangement boasts a huge bed, sumptuous carpet and the gold and Scandi-theme continues all the way from the saloon – with small changes as you head forward. The windows on either side of the room doth the hat to its predecessors with old-style portholes imbedded in the glass which can be opened for a cross breeze. The whole feeling of being part of the great outdoors while secure in your suite is achieved with the room seemingly floating above the water or being able to be totally buttoned up and blackened down for a cosy night’s rest. The bathroom is tucked away behind the rounded ribbed wall and cleverly disguised behind a door which blends into the wall. Again, light and bright with that beautiful quartz complemented by gold tapware along with cleverly tucked away lighting systems for top-end hotel ambience.

Guest accommodations – Down the companionway to the sea-level deck, we turn towards the bow and there’s a portside full-sized laundry, tied into the theme of the vessel including the quartz, light timber, hidden mood lighting and a gold under bench square sink and tap set. Further forward is the first bedroom where two large single beds splay along both sides of the hull underneath a couple of well-placed traditional portholes. With the touch of a button they come together to form a large double bed. There is a mid-sized bathroom and head as well as plenty of space  including a wardrobe. Back past the laundry towards the stern, are a pigeon pair of cabins lying athwartships that are so identical I had to push my arm through one door before I went in, it looked as if it was a mirror or trick of the light. They are hotel room-sized suites with bathrooms which boast such a high collaboration of workmanship, and that quartz, they look almost moulded as one.

Pilot house – Back up to the main saloon and then up the floating stairs we come to the stunning pilot house with huge, raked windows and a massive brow to keep out the sun. The view from the flybridge truly gives you scale when looking at boats of a similar length around the marina and there are many. But it becomes very apparent to you as you stand there at the command post that you are aboard a comparatively large vessel in terms of height and girth. The pilothouse is decked out with three sturdy leather helm chairs and a set of three large 22-inch multi-function programmable displays for easy navigation are set into the eyes forward portion of the helm station. It is high tech without feeling like you’re on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise. A simple set of throttles, thruster controls and a plethora of perfectly balanced port and starboard controls and instruments are laid out flat on the helm station in front of the leatherbound midships’ helm. It has a real ship feeling with the softness of the hood lining and gold on light wood design. Bulkhead sealed-style doors with dog down (handles are at either side of the wheelhouse for when the weather gets a little sporty to prevent water ingress. The station overlooks a couple of sunbeds forward as well as the deck carved in a couple of deep paths with hip-high rails to keep you safe. These economies of forward deck space and different deck heights produce a huge amount of extra storage. Back in the pilothouse, there is also a day head and a corner lounge and table and the walkways around the pilothouse and the visibility to the waterline and from stem to stern is astounding. The vessel can be parked with a simple walk around wireless remote Yacht Controller instead of a joystick. Solid buttons to go ahead and astern, port or starboard, as well as bow and stern sliding buttons are a breath of fresh air. In terms of getting my head around new technical systems and procedures I am not much chop and a bit of a traditionalist. I even struggle with my Netflix setup. But this craft’s manoeuvring systems are beautifully simple and uncomplicated with traditional propellers over rudders and thrusters either end. It can be shoehorned into the tightest spots around the marina or even into a coral bombie field for a dive.

Skydeck – Further aft on the top deck, through heavy double glass doors, is the skydeck where the second teppanyaki barbeque is stashed away into a huge wet bar and a lounge suite that looks like an outdoor version of the one in the main saloon with its lovely curves and styling. The area wouldn’t be complete without a huge spa pool, massive outdoor fridge/freezer combo and another rattan-style free standing lounge suite near the davit crane at the stern. These can also be stowed away in one of this ship’s many hidey-holes to make way for a large RIB to be docked.

Engine room– We finish the tour with another surprise. Once we find our way down through the steps at the rear of the saloon we emerge and turn towards the bow into the very roomy engine room, certainly an engineer’s dream, and a tall one with big shoulders at that. Housing an array of long-range water makers and black and grey water systems, all comfortable and accessible to work on, we find the elephants in the room. The twin MTU 10V2000 1,600hp mains and twin Onan 27kW. The machinery space is kept cool by the massive overhead twin breathers sucking the hot air away from the space. The ‘simple is best’ layout in the workspaces of the engine room and bridge are uncomplicated and it wouldn’t surprise me if they were designed or replicated from the same merchant navy workrooms as they are well laid out, ordered and extremely functional.

Crew quarters – I am not quite at the crescendo yet as we come out of the engine room and spot the first of the two utilitarian double-berth crew quarters and nicely laid out kitchenette which doubles as a cocktail bar for the beach club.

The Beach Club – The club starts up when the back transom is lifted and forms a hood over the furniture in what would traditionally be called the lazarette part of the vessel. The view is exquisite, water level with full head height which leads out over the adjustable height swim platform. Erica said while the formal use of the lazarette was to store the toys, some self-drive owners were using the beach club and crew quarters as the perfect teenage retreat. Lucky kids!

In the family way – If it all sounds like a lot to take in, don’t worry. You are never alone. “Once you purchase a boat from us you are part of the ‘Horizon Family’. We have clients from all over Australia and New Zealand and we look after our clients throughout the entire process. We are also unique in that where many boat manufacturers do a one-day hand over, give you the keys and say ‘see you later’, we, after a day’s dock training, are usually onboard for the maiden voyage to go through all the systems over a few days.”

The new Horizon FD80 Skydeck is a high-volume fast displacement motor yacht (hence the FD in the title) and balances style and space with superyacht amenities. She is a beautifully balanced pedigree of fine furnishings and top end finishings combined with some refreshing simple non-complicated workspaces for the serious mariner – the true passage maker of a motor vessel.


  • Boat Design Name Horizon FD80 Skyline Motor Yacht
  • L.O.A 80′ 7″ (24.56 m)
  • L.W.L 74′ 6″ (22.70 m)
  • Beam 22′ 6” (6.87 m)
  • Draft 5′ 7″ (1.70 m)
  • Fuel Capacity 3,170 US gals (12,000ltrs)
  • Fresh Water Capacity 400 US gals (1,500ltrs)
  • Engines Twin MTU 10V2000 1,600hp
  • Generators Twin Onan 27kW (50Hz)

Side Power VF1650 stabilizers

Side Power SH550 bow thruster

+ SH420 stern thruster

Steelhead davit ES1500 (680kg/1,500lbs)

Stella Aquarius fully-automatic watermakers

Czone monitoring system

Performance Data (design load with Half Fuel & Half Water)
RPMSpeed [kts]Fuel consumption (l/h)Operate HoursRange (nm)

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