Just about everything superyacht owners are currently demanding in their new vessels—from a big beach club to a main-deck master stateroom to an ultra-stable ride—is built into the new Horizon FD77 motoryacht, which measures just over 80 feet.
“It’s the smallest 140-footer we’ve ever designed,” said Cor D. Rover, the founder of a well-known superyacht design house who collaborated with Horizon on the Fast Displacement (FD) Series. “It has four staterooms [with] the master on the main deck. In my opinion, you cannot take volume any further than that.” Launched at the Palm Beach International Boat Show earlier this year, it’s now the smallest model in the Taiwanese builder’s FD Series and the only one designed for owner-operators.
“The FD87 was such a success that we wanted to do a slightly smaller version,” said Roger Sowerbutts, director of Horizon Yacht USA. Like its larger siblings, which range up to 105 feet, the FD77 hull is based on the concept developed in collaboration with Cor D. Rover Design and Donald L. Blount & Associates naval architects.
I experienced the 77 on a sea trial in the Intracoastal Waterway near Horizon’s stateside headquarters in North Palm Beach.The spot that grabbed my attention first was the transom beach club, which, believe it or not, is actually larger than the one on the FD87. It has an L-shaped settee where you can sit in comfort and watch the kids dive off the huge hydraulic swim platform, or simultaneously enjoy the sunset and a game on TV. When the transom hatch is closed, a separate glass door in its center provides convenient access to the beach club, with two additional windows.
Owners are welcome to work with Horizon to personalize the décor on their vessel. The yacht I tested, an FD77 Open Bridge model, had a clean, contemporary, somewhat neutral interior design with light American oak cabinetry, high-gloss walnut accents and Carrara marble stonework.
Cor D. Rover’s design for the salon nixed the formal dining table that is obligatory on so many yachts, eliminating another potential obstruction. Three people can dine casually at the bar that separates the salon and galley; apart from that, all meals on the FD77 Open Bridge model are alfresco, either at the large table on the aft deck or the flybridge dining area. Since each of those tables is shaded completely by a large overhang or hardtop, it’s a small trade-off for having such an open salon.
This yacht is available in two versions: the FD77 Skyline and the Open Bridge. Both feature a fixed, forward-raked windshield that provides added protection in a seaway. (It also has windshield wipers that are rated for use on 100-mph trains.) The windshield helps keep the Open Bridge model exceptionally quiet at the helm while the yacht is underway, as we determined during our sea trial. The Skyline version is fully enclosed, adding a third level of interior living space to the yacht.
The helm station offers excellent sightlines of the sea around the yacht, allowing the helmsman to look over a huge lounge with a seating area and sunpads on the foredeck. Our test boat came with an extensive Garmin package, although owners can specify the brand of electronics they prefer.
Cruise speed is whatever you want it to be: 10 knots if you’re trying to go 1,500 nautical miles without a fill-up, 15 knots if you want to get from Palm Beach to West End in the Bahamas for lunch—or anywhere in between. Whichever pace you choose, on the FD77, the journey is sure to be an enjoyable one. —Louisa Beckett
Displ.: 174,160 lbs.
Fuel: 2,700 gal.
Water: 400 gal.
Power: 2/1,200-hp MAN V8
Cruise Speed: 15 knots
Top Speed: 18 knots