Horizon Yachts Open House 2024

by Holly Dukeson

I have visited Taiwan on a couple of occasions in the last 15 years, once in 2010 for an investigation into the Taiwanese boat building industry and once for the first Taiwan Boat Show back in 2014. This year, Pacific PowerBoat was invited to attend the 2024 Horizon Open House. Previously, my late business partner, Barry Thompson, always jumped at the opportunity to attend the biennial Horizon Open House, and I know why! 

The three-day biennial event brings together over 300 Horizon owners, clients, partners, international media, and family and friends from around the world, including Japan, the USA, Australia/NZ, Europe, and Thailand to observe Horizon’s latest accomplishments and gain insight into the brand’s strengths and capabilities as a luxury yacht builder. This includes where they are heading moving forward, including the announcement of a collaboration with Lexus to manufacture the new Lexus LY680. 

Lexus LY680

The 2024 Horizon Open House event was held at Horizon’s headquarters in Kaohsiung, where we enjoyed personal tours and learned more about Horizon, as a luxury yacht builder and to enjoy their showcase of the 25 different models in the 8 Horizon styles of power cats and monohulls. We experienced their shipyards in person with factory tours and were among the first press to see their latest debuts and launches, including a Horizon FD80 with a game fishing modification, due for New Zealand later this year. 

In an interview with John Lu, Horizon Group CEO, he shared his growth to date and vision moving forward. He explained that the Horizon business is all about people, with customers being the first priority. Working with clients to offer customization options and “to make owners dreams come true”.  With 50 designers on the payroll, they are ready to make this happen as quickly and cost effectively as possible. 

Over the three days, we covered the five aspects of the Horizon Business (with a combined 900+ permanent employees) 


  1. THE HORIZON SHIPYARD: Est. 1987 Covering an area of over 462,540 square feet, the Shipyard builds the bulk of the Horizon Yacht models (up to 150ft), with a maximum of five boats in progress at any one time. During our visit, we saw five Horizons in build (there can be up to 12 boats in build at different stages at any one time), including an RP122, E75, FD 90, and two FD 80s, one being delivered to New Zealand later this year with a customized Sport Fishing cockpit option. This showcases the customization options and willingness to work with owners. All of these boats are built on-site and are designed to be water-tested in huge tanks (run-up, flotation, and overhead sprinkler testing) before being delivered by road to the port. The commitment to innovation and investment in new technology within this company has continued with the introduction of Stereolithography (SLA) 3D printing into its manufacturing processes, introduced alongside a PAR Systems 5- Axis CNC machine upgrade and upgraded 3D printing capabilities to further improve production efficiencies and design quality. 
  1. ATECH COMPOSITES: Est. 2000 At half the physical size of the Shipyard, at 249,070 square feet, this part of the company develops and tests fabrics, resins, gel coats, core and sandwich composites of all sorts, emphasizing maximizing strength and minimizing weight. We had the opportunity after a short classroom session to see the Automatic 6D Vacuum Infusion Process in action. I was impressed to view and we were told the process enables Horizon to produce boats 8% lighter and uses 40% less resin that conventional boat building processes. Moving around the factory we also got to see the destructive testing pushing materials to their absolute limits. Also on view was the two very impressive non-destructive quality control processes, Infrared Thermography and Laser Shearography – two process that scans each boat once out of the mould for any imperfections. Combined with the 3D Profile Measurement Reality Capture process, which scanned the hull and compares it against the factory hull structure design drawing for absolute pin point accuracy.
  2. VISION SHIPYARD: Est. 2001 This yard was developed in 2001 to build yachts up to 80 ft, this is where the new Lexus 680 will be developed and built. 
  3. PREMIER SHIPYARD: Est. 2005 Built to be used as the delivery centre for Horizon Boats, the shipyard also offers refit services and facilities, including a 1,000-ton ship lift platform available for Horizon and outside clients. 
  4. HORIZON CITY MARINA: Est. 2014 The latest development for Horizon, built right outside the Convention Centre to encourage local and visiting cruising vessels to Taiwan, offering a full-service marina right in the heart of Kaohsiung. In 2023, the Marina became the first marina in Taiwan to receive Superyacht Ready certification. At the marina we had the opportunity to experience the world debut of four brand-new yachts. The featured yachts shown were:- FD90, a Cor D. Rover co-designed fast displacement motor yacht, designed specifically for the Australian market offering a five-stateroom layout, including a full beam on deck master stateroom with an ensuite head. There were also two FD80 skyline models on display (similar to the model we featured in our March/April issue) with their expansive saloon floor-to-ceiling windows and generous accommodations for up to eight guests in four staterooms, as well as four crew members. 

We also had the opportunity to look through the impressive new US $5.7m Horizon V77 CMY (Cockpit Motor Yacht), a further development on the proven V68 hull, adding a load more fish fighting space with an array of rod holders, electric reel outlets, live bait wells, and ample storage space for all the fishing gear. Even further extending the cockpit space is the addition of a hydraulic fold down transom. 

2023 AND ONWARD…. Almost 20 new-build yachts ranging from 75 to 110 feet from the FD, V, RP, and E series were delivered to clients scattered around the world in 2023 alone. We were told that one-third of the boats on order were due for delivery to existing Horizon owners. John Lu explained that this was sometimes a problem, as many owners are so satisfied with their boat that they do not want to change. While mixing and mingling with owners at the event, I found this to be true. While ‘socialising’ with one Christchurch Horizon owner, who currently has his Horizon 97 RPH (Raised Pilot House) located in Croatia. He explained he had purchased his new Horizon 97 RPH, 15 years ago and still more than happy with his Horizon, the choice of model, his time with the boat and what it offers to his life on the water, even now fifteen years later.  

Speaking with Mark Western, Director of Horizon Yacht Australia, the 30% repeat business ratio is actually higher in Australasia, with the percentage being closer to 50-70% repeat business for New Zealand and Australia. With three boats already sold this year by March 2024, and another two sold at the 2024 Horizon Open House event, the Horizon Australasian family is quickly growing every year. Mark explained on business moving forward ‘We have two more boats arriving for the Sanctuary Cove Boat Show in May 2024, a FD90 and FD80, the two boats that were displayed at the 2024 Horizon Open House Event. On top of that, I have just ordered two more stock boats, another FD80 Skyline and FD100 Skyline, which will be the first FD100 Skyline variant built’. 

As previously mentioned, developing Horizon as an owners family, is a significant part of the Horizon philosophy. In 2023, in-person events continued to draw current and prospective clients as Horizon partners displayed the latest Horizon yacht builds in global boat shows. Three international Owners’ Rendezvous were hosted in 2023, including the Horizon Yacht USA Mystic Seaport Museum Rendezvous, The Horizon Power Catamarans Rendezvous, and the Horizon Yacht Australia Airlie Beach Rendezvous. It brings John Lu and the entire Horizon family great joy to see so many Horizon owners joined together to share their build experiences and cruising stories. 

While the Taiwanese boating leisure market has not taken off as it has in other countries, it is believed that this will come in future generations, as they become more comfortable spending leisure time out on the water. The Taiwanese boat building industry in general is continuing to develop and in general going very well. With the old China-Taiwan clash still raising its head now and then, we the press, were assured nothing has developed or scaled up or down over the last 70 years, in fact, business investment right now is at an all-time high. John Lu reassures us, ‘It is business as usual and there should be no concerns in having a boat build in Taiwan, the Taiwanese are still living their lives at the same pace with economic activities continuing to flourish’. 

Horizon Yachts certainly work as a team, and it is little wonder they already have a full schedule and production line up in place. From a relatively small country, about the size of Tasmania, and a population of 28 million (the same as all of Australia), Horizon’s openmindedness to listen to their owner’s requirements and desires has certainly helped them to develop product that has found a strong demand worldwide.

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