Anyone that has read my review on the FD87 knows how much I love the unconventional approach to its design. The 87, along with the full range of FD’s, utilises a wide beam and tall main-deck height to create an on-deck master and saloon with the space of much larger yachts, but there is a compromise. That bigger beam requires a hull style that is, well, less than sporty. The name tells the story — they are Fast Displacement hulls after all.
So what if you wanted something sleek, something with a sharp bow designed to take true blue water in its strides? Enter the Raised Pilothouse, or RP for short.
STRAIGHT AS AN ARROW
Kaoshuing, Taiwan based Horizon Motor Yachts flew me over in early 2020 to meet the team, learn their processes and get a feel for the new models hitting the Australian shores in 2020.
Early in the trip, Mark Western, Managing Director of Horizon Yachts Australia, learned that my return flight gave me a few hours spare on my last day so he swung into action to get me aboard the local branches’ latest stock vessel, the RP100, for a proper sea trial.
It’s not easy to do sea trials in Taiwan. The waters surrounding the island are heavily monitored by the Chinese mainland and it takes a week and a dockside passport check for a foreigner to get permission to leave the harbour.
With due process out of the way, we were in the shipping lanes that once carried up to a third of the world’s textiles. Luckily we had a local captain and the first Horizon fitted with Raymarine’s Augmented Reality system, making navigating the sea of shipping vessels a lot less daunting.
The harbour entrance faces SSE and is well protected by a number of breakwalls, some as far as a mile out of the entrance. The result is a very confused sea with some deep pockets. I expected much more sedate seas, but plotting along the breaks, our day felt like the lower latitudes of New Zealand, but warmer and busier.
Oh, how I had missed the feel of a long, sharp hull in a sea full of surprises. Too many of my days are spent in the peaceful confines of the Broadwater where the wake of a passing boat is sometimes all you get to try and test a hull.
Into the deepest of pockets outside Kaohsiung harbour, the RP100 performed flawlessly. The bow rose and fell smoothly with no creaks or groans from the 88-tonne hull. From our perch up top, the soft hum of the CAT’s and water being muscled to the sides was all we could hear. Impressively, almost no spray bothered the pilothouse screens or our faces up on the top deck.
Knowing owners of the RP100 will likely have her navigate our east and/or west coasts regularly, Western chose to option on larger ABT-TRAC 16 stabilising fins. These have around 20 square metres of surface area per fin so offer a lot of roll and pitch reduction when paddling away like the pectoral fin on a whale.
The CATS were smoothest at 1100rpm which returned a healthy 10kt. At 2200rpm I felt the ride was its best — the RP100 took everything in its stride and the balance between turbo whine and engine rumble was the most subdued. It might not be the most economic speed, consuming a combined 270 litres per hour at 20kt, but it felt powerful and purposeful. I expect owners will enjoy the tempo as much as I did.
Horizon couldn’t hide their secrets from me. During our guided factory tour, there were plenty of chances for me to sneak off for a closer look at every process, and what stood out was the use of Seeman Composites Resin Infusion Molding Process aka SCRIMP. The patented process is used in as many areas of the build as is feasible to keep weight and costs down, quality up and pollution and wastage as low as possible. It's an impressive technology which utilises a specially designed foam-core with channels to divert and manage resin flow as it is injected and manipulated by vacuum to fully infuse with the foam and fibreglass cloths. I spent an inordinate amount of time watching as a main deck for an upcoming FD102 was infused and it really impressed me.
The team running the tour gave us samples of both traditional blown fibreglass and SCRIMP built panels. The difference in weight, evenness of the resin and in the flex between the two was like night and day. If you are considering a Horizon, do take the opportunity to see it yourself — it will give you immense confidence knowing how your boat is to be built.
The RP100 blends relaxed and formal zones exceptionally well. The cockpit is sumptuous and inviting. A curved lounge is well cushioned and with a wet-bar and hot-plate it is a genuine entertaining zone or a great private getaway to enjoy the wind in your hair while watching the waves slide by.
Step through the massive glass doors and the saloon seems almost endless. As you enter, you are met by a large, low and deep L-shaped lounge sitting atop a parquet floor. Opposite, a near full length cabinet hides the pop-up TV and plenty of storage. Raise your gaze towards the bow and you’ll come to a fantastic centrally positioned formal dining area making the best of the views out the enlarged side windows. Beyond this, a wall separates the well-appointed main galley, some large item storage options and the stairs to the pilothouse and lower decks.
My favourite spot, the front lounge, is positioned forward of the galley and under the raked windscreen on the main deck. It feels relaxed and will be popular as a day area and for breakfasts. With a decent C-shaped lounge and two small tables, it is a place to stop and unwind with a book and glass of wine. Handily, the fridge is nearby too.
Duck downstairs and you're met with a central hallway that branches forward to the bow VIP and midships to the Master suite. In between are two twin singles bed rooms, both of which feature ensuites. The Master and VIP are the stars of the show, however the full-beam ensuite of the Master is a real highlight for its layout and finish. To port is a walk-in robe and to starboard is the head with twin sinks and a good sized shower.
The VIP is large enough to feature a north-south bed. Although it still has small steps near the bedhead, they won’t bother a guest and the twin full-length robes offer plenty of storage.
As most RP owners will crew their vessels, crew quarters are a must. Accessible discretely from under the stairs leading to the bridge deck in the cockpit, the Horizon team have balanced the need for space and beds well. Twin cabins are standard and can be had with bunks or singles. The crew galley is a great size offering the opportunity to double as a prep area or second servery via the garage door and up to the cockpit or directly up internal stairs.
At the top of the internal stairs and you arrive at the main helm. The area behind the name of the vessel, the raised pilothouse has seen some revisions over the years to increase window size and visibility as well as a new dash arrangement which looks brilliant but is still very usable. It is good to see this area can be somewhat secluded from the rest of the vessel, and with the powder room at the base of the stairs, owners can expect a good degree of privacy from the crew underway. Step up the short flight of stairs to the bridge and you’re met with typical Horizon design excellence with a focus on entertaining with all you need inside arms reach.
The bridge deck feels like it could be a trendy seaside bar, one with unlimited views. It comes complete with a spa, dining table ready to take six or more, a well set up bar and a lounge beside the secondary helm. The console is of course teak and should you employ the SM2500 Davit to clear the aft section of the tender, there is plenty of room to party.
Relaxing on the rear safety rails and looking forward over the bridge, I was impressed by the long hardtop and radar arch. Not only does it easily clear my 2m frame, it complements the overall look of the RP100 very well. Quizzing Western, he told me it is a hybrid using the E85’s hardtop and RP110’s arch. It works fantastically. The view from the bridge is easily the best to navigate from, with near unobstructed vision and it was from here that something caught my eye.
Once you break 60 feet LOA, bow entertaining and lounges become an option for designers and here the RP100 doesn't disappoint. Featuring a flat sheerline you’d expect the RP’s bow would be shallow. It really isn’t, with deep gunwales and thick handrails making progress forward easy and safe. Seating is raised to amplify the view and the seat backs adjust to convert from a face-to-face lounge with a table between to large sunpads. Something not obvious but worth noting here is the move away from pocket anchors to 100kg Ultra Anchors. The design removes that constant slap of chain against the hull our conditions often cause and which pocket design anchors can have.
AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE
Many large manufacturers limit personalisation and, unfortunately, a lot of local dealers do not have the clout to stand up to them. The team in Taiwan however, carry a lot of respect for Western and Horizon Australia, no doubt thanks to sales in excess of a hundred vessels including six in the RP family alone. This means new boat buyers have a lot of allowance in their builds. Anyone familiar with the specification of Legion, the 2019 delivered RP110 and her major-fashion-label styled staterooms will appreciate how far the company can go for a buyer.
As this is a stock vessel, built with no one buyer in mind, it has to be more subtle than Legion but at the same time, it has to appeal to our local market. Enter the decades of experience the office has, plus a fit out I think will appeal. There is extra cool-storage everywhere — particularly on the bridge, which gets quality Dometic chest coolers capable of swallowing supplies for a week-long party — a closeable screen between the galley and the formal dining area, and little details like a shower under the aft cabin hatch and more powerful AC.
It culminates in a build that will appeal to those looking to explore our warmer regions and demonstrates a practical appeal of working with Horizon Australia.
2019 was a record year for the team at Horizon Australia. They took deposits for over $36m in the period around Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show and delivered some six vessels in the first quarter that same year. This led to unbridled optimism and the ordering of two of this exact RP100 as a stock vessel.
Yes, that’s right this hull is available for immediate delivery, something rarely seen for a hull of its size and something worth considering if you’ve been looking for an Aussie-inspired 100.
Facts & Figures
TRAC Star Stabilisers, Beach Club, foredeck entertaining upgrade,
jacuzzi, Yacht Controller, Hi/Lo swim platform, dive compressor plus more
PRICE AS TESTED
TYPE Monohull power yacht
LENGTH 30.6m (100’ 6”)
BEAM 6.55m (21’ 6”)
DISPLACEMENT 88,000kg (light ship)
PEOPLE 40+ (day) 8-12 (night)
MAKE/MODEL Twin CAT C32A 1600hp
TYPE V12, fuel-injected four-stroke turbo-diesel
RATED HP 1600 hp (each)
DISPLACEMENT 32.1L (each)
GEAR RATIO 2:1
PROPELLER ZF Faster
Horizon Motor Yachts
Horizon Motor Yachts Australia
44C The Promenade Sanctuary Cove QLD 4212
P 07 5577 9009