Simply unbelievable is probably the best way I can describe the ride and handling of the Horizon PC60 power cat.
I had gone to Taiwan to do a sea trial on a PC60, the second one built by Horizon Yachts and while having experienced many large powercats I felt reasonably confident that given the physical dimensions of the boat it should perform and handle reasonably well. Wow, was I and everyone else aboard, including Australian Horizon agent Russell Wright, in for one big surprise when we headed out of the sheltered waters of Kaohsiung Harbour.
The sea state was extremely messy to say the least as a result of the trailing edge of a typhoon the previous day. Two-metre swells with half-metre breaking waves lashed across the bay with 27 knots of wind really making the water conditions uncomfortable for boating. Yeah right, someone forgot to tell the designers of the Horizon PC60 that boating at 24 knots in an 18m boat in such conditions should not be this comfortable.
It didn’t seem to matter which angle we attacked the swells, the PC60 was unfazed. The transition onto the plane was slippery and with almost no bow attitude. The cat felt extremely stable and once it got over 15 knots it felt like you were riding on a cushion. Not once did we hear any tunnel slap or slamming or any harshness from the chines and in high-speed turns the heel was negligible.
Work the trim tabs just enough to change the riding attitude and the chines deflect the spray away from the boat. I found the tabs very good, especially at the lower speeds, where I could tweak the riding angle of the boat to its best.
Interestingly, during the sea trial we had full fuel and water plus 15 people aboard so the boat was certainly well loaded. The first PC60 powercat weighed in at 41 tonnes, the boat I tested was a little lighter at 36 tonnes and the next one will be even lighter again. This has all been achieved through construction and layup changes by the builders.
The PC60 is built with the same processes as all Horizon boats using the patented SCRIMP (Seeman Composite Resin Infusion Molding Process) system plus using Horizon Yachts 5 Axis CNC milling machine. Everything that goes into building a Horizon Yacht contributes to its overall superior performance, high safety standards, ease of manoeuvrability, durability and extraordinary luxury down to the smallest detail.
Russell Wright was so impressed with the PC60 that he placed an order on the spot for the first enclosed pilothouse PC60, which will be on show at the 2013 Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show.
“F@&king amazing. In all my 35 years of being involved in big boats I have never experienced anything like it. I was blown away with the ride and handling and knowing the sea conditions we get off the Australian and New Zealand coasts, I know this boat is ideally suited”, said a very excited Russell after the trial.
He said that it’s a boat that he will have to take people out for demos on, so that they can really appreciate just how good it is! “It’s a 60-footer that’s got the capacity of an 80-footer but rides like a 100-footer,” he added.
Boat #4 will come to Australia, and being the first of the enclosed hardtop models it will have significant changes to the layout of the bridge and upper deck area, but the rest of the boat will remain virtually unchanged.
To understand the design philosophy of the PC60 you have to trace its lineage back a few years and over a number of different continents. It all started as an idea by South African born Richard Ford and Stuart Hegerstrom of the Powercat Company, and they approched Alec Hammond, one of Horizon’s first clients some 25 years ago. He was looking for a big powercat and knew what he wanted but couldn’t find it. With Alex’s strong relationship with CEO John Lu as the catalyst, Alec, Richard and Stuart approached Horizon to build the boat.
The Powercat Company and Hammond also played a pivotal role in the design and specifications of the PC58. However, the real credit for the naval architecture and hull design goes to Kiwi based designer Angelo Lavranos. He was also responsible for powering, driveline and steering specifications, plus the hull and deck interior and exterior structural design. Peter Gimpel, of Winchester Design, was responsible for the styling and interior detail design, and Horizon was responsible for systems and a lot of detail.
Of the design, Angelo says: “Firstly you need to compare an 80ft monohull to get the equivalent to our Horizon PC60 cat with about the same spaces (65sqm) in saloon plus galley plus cockpit, the same on the flybridge (36sqm), with three cabins and assuming the master cabin is similarly large. Such a boat in GRP would weigh about 65 tonnes light, 78 tonnes loaded, compared to 33 tonnes and 37 tonnes for the cat”.
He adds, “Consequently, to get 24 knots a mono needs about 1800kW (2400hp), which is 60% more horsepower and fuel required than our cat.”
Angelo points out that the PC60 in a typical 1.2m chop with 25-knot headwind would be at least equally comfortable to the 80ft mono and I would have to agree with him. He says that some of the reasons are the slim hulls of a cat offer less resistance, penetrate waves better, have a lower combined waterplane area than a mono because of the reduced displacement, and therefore are less reactive to wave induced motions.
The slimmer the hulls (and of course the lighter they are) the less “interference” drag is generated in the tunnel. This can be improved by increasing the hull to hull clearance and wingdeck height. Both these factors are higher in the PC60 than the minimum values the designer has successfully used in the past.
A deep spray knuckle is essential in producing a dry boat, which the PC60 certainly is. The hulls feature a horizontal “flat” at the stern area, which act a little like planing wedges to reduce stern trim at speed. In this respect the effectiveness of this feature is partly mitigated by the propeller tunnels that are incorporated to reduce draft.
“The semi displacement hull form I have developed and used in many leisure and commercial vessels of all sizes has superior economy in the 16-24 knot range, superior seakeeping and handling, and good load carrying capacity,” says Angelo.
The wide beam of the PC60 allows for a huge flybridge area, covered with a fibreglass hardtop, either draped in clears or as in the case of PC60 #4 fully enclosed in the pilothouse form. It’s a self-contained, air-conditioned biosphere completely unaffected by the elements. It is also the sole helm station on the boat, so it needs to be cosy! Access to the flybridge is via the smoked-glass sliding hatch to starboard or the aft deck exterior staircase to port.
This is designed to be not only a functional work station for the skipper, but also a great entertainment and relaxation space. The difference in the layout between the two options is quite significant. In the ‘open’ hardtop version the dinette with comfortable seating around a teak table mounted on adjustable stainless pedestals is to starboard, with an offset granite countertop with two swivel stools, a prep sink, fridge and barbecue opposite. Plus the finish is more durable fiberglass.
In the fully enclosed pilothouse version (addition of a rear bulkhead with wide opening glass doors) there is a lot more emphasis on timber and high quality interior style finish. There is a separate day head and vanity area to starboard with a lounger and smaller coffee table opposite. The barbecue, fridge and wetbar area are all on the outside of the rear bulkhead, where there is more attention paid to lounging space and relaxing, than a place to stow the tender. However the space is available for a tender up to 4.0m
In the open version a hydraulic crane stands ready to launch and retrieve an inflatable tender. This also doubles as a great place to sunbathe.
The forward helm stays the same with a pair of fully adjustable chairs with foot pedestals and flip-up arm rests. I found the helm position to be extremely comfortable when driving and all controls and instrumentation were in clear view and easily accessible.
The PC60’s instrument panel presents every modern advance in navigation, with an optional electronics package. In the boat going to Australia the owner has chosen to go with a full Furuno MFD set-up. Touch screen Garmin is standard, but you have the option of most of the major brands.
Enormous Aft Area
Like the flybridge, the aft deck of the PC60 is enormous and more akin to a 30m motor yacht. This is party central and has been designed as an extremely versatile area, yet not overwhelming. Across the transom is a full lounge seat for up to eight with storage bins under. Aft is a live well/ice chest built into the aft-deck sole. Beside the entrance to the main saloon is a well-equipped wetbar, with the curved flybridge staircase, complete with a closed storage cupboard under, opposite.
In the boat I reviewed the main dining table was situated in the centre of the cockpit, with seating for eight. While this is under the cover of the flybridge overhang, the aft bench seat is out in the open. You don’t have to have a full dining table and can opt for a more flexible table arrangement.
Engine room access is via exterior, aft deck hatches. The engines are located far aft of the superstructure and accommodations, removed from items sensitive to vibration and nestled in layers of insulation.
While the original PC58 (now PC60) was fitted with Cummins engines at 705hp each, the PC60 is now being fitted with either Cummins QSM11 @ 705hp or Caterpillar C12A @ 715hp, both of which offer a better performance. The original PC60 was increased in waterline length to just over 18m to accommodate either a standard shaft drive or the ZF 4000 series POD drives at the owner’s option.
A nice feature in the cockpit are the polished stainless steel safety gates either side, complete with Horizon’s logo, that lead down to the swim platform. Being a catamaran there are two swim platforms and each offers ample space to deploy dive equipment or fight a fish. A set of auxiliary controls are compactly housed at the base of the aft deck staircase.
Worth mentioning at the other end of the PC60 is the bow storage, which has two opening lockers each side plus a huge step into locker, almost big enough to call a utility store room. This can house spare anchors, fenders etc and is where the Maxwell RC10 anchor winch is located.
Dividing the cockpit from the saloon is a stainless steel framed sensor-controlled saloon door with a wide 2.4m opening. The saloon deck level is split between the port side lounge and starboard side galley and the main area with an owners’ master stateroom forward.
Owners have a wide choice of fabrics and timbers, from rich dark timbers such as mahogany, cherry or teak, to lighter options such as beech, sycamore or ash. Each PC60 exemplifies the personal desire and vision of the owner(s) and while there is a standard layout, Horizon will customise the saloon to suit your individual taste and requirements.
If you are planning to do a lot of cooking for your guests then the PC60 provides everything a gourmet chef needs, from the counter tops – your choice of Corian, granite or marble – customised cabinetry, large pantry, a four-burner cooktop, microwave/convection oven, fridge/freezer and dishwasher. Storage cupboards, drawers and lockers abound, so food storage isn’t an issue. The two-tiered, two-material counter doubles as a backsplash with bar stools that are easily stowed when it’s time to go.
There is a small but very handy work station and a laptop-friendly desk. Above is a 42″ flat screen TV display and space below can be utilised for your entertainment centre. The forward lounge area has twin sofas and again the choice of table is yours, be it a small coffee table or one large enough for dining.
The PC60’s rich colours and accents in the saloon come to life with plenty of natural light and high ceilings adding a greater sense of space. Even when seated in deep-cushioned sofas, you still have a 270-degree view, thanks to the sectional lounge area being raised above the main saloon floor. Forward to starboard, access to the enclosed flybridge area is via a stainless steel ladder with open treads so it doesn’t obstruct the views to any extent.
The PC60 is one of the few catamarans in production with a main deck master. If you look closely at the panelling, you will see the outlines of drawers, closets and lockers. Storage is abundant, seamlessly hidden behind walls, but it’s not limited to the master. The entire boat is a maze of well-planned storage compartments.
There is a king-size walk-around berth, a bedside settee, plus large separate closets for clothes, towels and linens. The mattress is also hinged, rising to reveal more storage space. While the first two PC60s had solid rear bulkheads in the master stateroom, in PC60 #4 this will be changed to a high/low frosted glass drop-down panel to open up the sightlines forward of the saloon. When you want privacy in the stateroom the frosted window can be raised. It certainly provides a more open feeling to the boat.
Down a couple of steps into the port side hull you’ll find the amazing master bathroom. A very unique use of space, this area has over 2m headroom, is extremely spacious and features a separate head, a raised bowl, cabinets and drawers aplenty. An ensuite walk-in shower with seating finishes off this expansive space. Again, you have the choice of composite or natural vanity and floor coverings. The surfboard shaped panel in the shower is an interesting touch and may just be something that will appeal to Kiwi and Aussie owners.
While the master stateroom has soaring ceilings, the forward VIP doesn’t quite benefit from the same. The berth is situated forward of midships and the bed is perpendicular to the starboard hull. To make this work, the floor around the berth has multiple levels. The walk-around queen size berth is raised, allowing storage beneath and offers additional, spacious closets with good capacity.
The large, en-suite VIP, while not quite as spacious as the master bath, sports ultra-fine design, with copious mirrors and a full-size glass-enclosed shower. Aft of this is the laundry/utility room with washer/drier and further storage areas plus easy access to the fuel transfer pumps, battery switching, AC and DC distribution panels, and air conditioning compressors and pumps. Aft of this again is a compact space that can be used for storage or configured as an extra half-size cabin for crew or children.
Over on the aft section of the port side hull, the 2nd guest stateroom offers split twin berths with a walkway between. This can be brought together to make a full double berth and there is also a swing-down single bunk overhead to provide an extra berth. While space appears somewhat limited, it invites a night’s rest with comfortable mattresses and plenty of stowage space beneath. The guest ensuite doubles as the vessel’s day head, with opening portholes delivering natural light and ventilation as needed.
More To Come
The PC60 would unquestionably be the best riding big powercat I have ever had the experience to run hard and fast in rough water. It is free of vices and a credit to the builders and designers. Not only does it provide outstanding performance and handling, it also has the now legendary Horizon stamp of quality along with it. The spacious luxury of the PC60 is the same as you will find on a superyacht but at a surprisingly cost effective price. The PC 60 now offers the choice of the original three-cabin layout or a four-cabin configuration. As with the PC58, the PC60 is available as an Open Flybridge or Enclosed Pilothouse. The first Enclosed Pilothouse PC60 will debut at the Sanctuary Cove Boat Show, Australia in May 2013.
The PC60 is the first of three models planned for the Horizon PC range, with a PC50 about to go into production and a PC76 already in the design stages.
- Boat design name: Horizon PC 60
- Year launched: 2012
- Hull designer: Angelo Lavranos
- Interior Designer: Horizon Powercats USA
- Superstructure designer: JP Espinosa
- Builder: Horizon Yacht
- LOA: 18.2m
- Beam: 7.47m
- Draft: 1.40m
- Displacement (light): 32.5 tonnes
- Max speed: 24 knots
- Cruise speed: 20 knots
- Construction: GRP using SCRIMP resin infused
- Fuel capacity: 3800 litres
- Water capacity: 1150 litres
- Engines make: 2 x Caterpillar C12A @ 715hp
- Gearboxes: ZF 2.037:1
- Drive train: Conventional Shafts
- Propellers: 4 Blade
- Generator: Onan 21.5kW
- Inverter/charger: Xantrex
- Air conditioning: Marine Air
- Watermaker: Aquamatic
- Icemaker: Scotsman
- Bow thruster: Side Power
- Anchor winch: Maxwell RC10
- Anchors: 63kg Delta
- Steering: Hydrive
- Engine controls: ZF Micro Commander
- Lighting: Cantalupi
- Paint (antifouling): International
- Hatches: Cebo
- Wipers: Speich
- Heads: Tecma
- Woodwork: Optional timbers
- Davit crane: Steelhead WD800
- Stainless steel fabrication: Horizon
- Saloon doors: Airtech
- Helm chair: Stidd
- Upholstery: Leather
- Searchlight: Total Sunshine
- Autopilot: Garmin GHP10
- GPS/plotter/sounder: Garmin GPS Map 5215
- AIS: Garmin
- VHF: Garmin VHF 200
- Entertainment systems: Fusion 600
- Base price of boat: $A2.8m incl gst