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Quality? Horizon 80' New Motor Yachts

Discussion in 'Horizon Yacht' started by rmjranch, May 8, 2015.

  1. rmjranch

    rmjranch Member

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    General thought on the quality of new Horizon Motor Yachts in the 80' range. Positive and negative greatly appreciated. Also comparisons with other boats in this general size range, price point. Thanking you in advance
  2. HTMO9

    HTMO9 Senior Member

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    Which Series of the Horizon portfolio are you looking at?
  3. rmjranch

    rmjranch Member

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    E84-095 Motor Yacht 5 to 6 million US Dollars, New
  4. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Very average.
  5. rmjranch

    rmjranch Member

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    Thank you
  6. HTMO9

    HTMO9 Senior Member

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    Remarks:

    I am not an Horizon Yacht owner or by any means related to Horizon Yachts or the Drettmann Company.
    I have no idea about the final sales prices of Horizon yachts in the USA but a new Horizon E-95 was never available in Europe (to my knowledge) for 6 million Dollars. For 6 Mio $, I could only think of an E-88 at the max.

    My humble personal opinion:

    The E-series was by far the best selling Horizon series in Europe. Due to a very successful Horizon dealership setup in Germany, the Drettmann Company in Bremen developed the E-Series and EP-Series in combination with Horizon. This E-series was called Elegance Line and the EP series the Bandido Line. The product names were and are still property of the Drettmann company.

    Both yacht lines were semi custom boats, arranged together with the customer, most equipment bought in Europe and send to Taiwan. The GRP and woodwork was done in the Horizon factory including the final assembly. The complete process was supervised and quality controlled by the Drettmann Company by an Drettmann Rep permanently in the yard. This system worked pretty well. Drettmann sold a lot of boats. You could find E-Series yachts from 60+ to 90+ ft in many harbours in the Med.

    I have personally seen, driven or being on board (both in harbour and during voyage) of several E-Series 64, 78, 80 to 88 and EP-69 and 77. During a business trip to Taiwan, I had the opportunity to visit the Horizon factory in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

    IMO, the Horizon Elegance Yacht Line and the Bandido 69 and 75 were well designed and constructed boats of astonishingly high quality. Because they were real semi custom boats, some boats were showing, lets say it that way, a special taste. Means, the boats were reflecting the buyers whishes and tastes. Technically and as far as layouts are concerned, no boat was like the other. All installments were of top quality and best available equipment. Engines came from MAN, MTU and Caterpillar but never using their top rating. 99 % Flybridge boats with hardtop and dual steering positions, only a very few with enclosed pilothouse (I have personally seen only one in the Med). Compared to typical Italo type planing boats, the displacement was on the lower side, performance in the average range but of higher quality. Due to hull form and design dry ride and stable. GRP work and paint was very good and from what can be seen here in the Mallorca harbours, quite long lasting but some of those boats were totally unable to resell, because of its very specific interior design and layout.

    And that was the biggest problem of the Drettmann Company and the Horizon European market. After a while, Drettman could only sell new Horizon yachts by taking used ones in. After piling up nearly 100 used boats, Drettmann went bankrupt and the complete Horizon dealership in Europe came to a hold. Because of the Drettmann rights on the design of those names, they became part of the bankrupty mass and so, part of the installments of unsold boats, whereas the unsold hulls and the wooden interior were property of Horizon. A big mess and the insolvence is not coompleted jet, as far as I know.

    As I have stated several times here on the forum before, if you are buying a new boat, which is built in China (both Taiwan an PR of China), you have to be dam sure about building supervision and quality control. After the bankrupty of Drettmann, this was not assured anymore in Europe and sales went down to Zero.

    Horizon took over the dealership in Europe and continued to build both lines for legal reasons under the new name of E-Series and EP-Series. They are still the same boats, built with the same moulds and methods and they are still semi custom boats. Horizon has inserts for the moulds and can even adopt the hull length, aft platform or cockpit, type of anker pockets, position of windows, hull ports and doors, position of bulkheads, different flybridge layouts or enclosed pilothouses and antenna masts.

    The 80 to 84 or even 86 are based on the same hull, the 88 is a totally different boat with far more volume but a more conservative appearance and is underpowered with 2 x 1600 HP. My favority hull is the E-84/86 with flybridge layout and enlarged bathing platform and depending on the area of permanent usage, either with MAN (Europe) or Cat (USA) engines up to 1800 / 2000 HP each. The MTU V12 2000 is in my opinion to large and to heavy. The fuel tanks are either located on the forward wall of the engine room or on both sides of the engines. The first version makes the owner room more quiet but leaves less space for other equipment. The Crew area is behind the engine room and very adequate.

    If I would be shopping in that size and class of boat, I would always choose a Horizon 84-86 over an SanLorenzo, Ferretti or Canados of equal size, period.

    provided:

    You have an qualified owner representative as often as possible present in the yard or you have a local Horizon dealer, you personally know and fully trust and he has a permanent Rep in the yard. This provided, you will buy a lot of boat for your money, which is built exactly to your specs, tastes and needs and of highest quality.

    This 86 would have been my favorite

    86.JPG

    An example of the MTU engines and fuel tank forward

    MTU engines.JPG

    The same engine room with MANs and side tanks

    MAN engines.JPG

    But do not buy the hydraulic fin stabilizers, they take up to much room in the owner cabin and they are very noisy. Take a seakeeper gyro into the engine room, works great.

    Just my 2 (Euro) cents.
    Last edited: May 10, 2015
  7. YachtForums

    YachtForums Publisher/Admin

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    Capt J,

    You've posted thousands of very informative and helpful posts over the years. In the areas that I have first hand knowledge, I find your opinions dead-on. In the case of Horizon, I have to disagree. There's a reason I've published 9 reviews for this builder, probably more than any other builder on YF. I tend to dismiss reviews on those that fall short, hoping YF readers will read-between-the lines. If we DON'T cover it, there's a reason why. It's easy to write about a boat that lacks shortcomings. Try mustering up sweet words when the shortcomings are in plentiful supply. It's not easy to do when you know the world can call you to the mat, live, publicly 24/7. I'm not sure which model or what year Horizon you were exposed to, but as a semi-production boat builder I think Horizon is delivering on so many levels, they can't be overlooked.

    Just my 2 (non-Euro) cents.
  8. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I haven't been on any of the newish ones, newest I've been on was probably a 2008, I honestly don't think things have changed that much. I work for an owner that also owns a 100' 2006 or 7. The boat is a very poor sea boat and only has a 20' beam. At anchor it rocks and rolls and rocks and rolls. It cruises at 14 knots and wallows around and in 8-10' seas you have bluewater coming over the hardtop. It has the typical Asian s/s that constantly needs polishing. The engine room is tight and engineering could be better as well as the layout of the fuel system. Working on the generators is not very pleasant. The woodwork is pretty good, but what Asian build isn't. Some of the hardware is good, some just average. A Westport it is not. A Moonen it is not. A Hatteras it is not. Quality is average IMO and it's price point reflects that.
  9. HTMO9

    HTMO9 Senior Member

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    Hi Capt J,

    thats why I said, you need a good dealership, you can trust and good build supervision. As Horizon being a true semi custom builder, you will get what you ask and pay for. A US customer can make an almost completely made in the US boat out of a Horizon, just by defining only made in the US equipment for it (including the wood and paint).

    Stainless steel is a typical example. If you just ask for SS, you will just get that (AISI 312 or less). But if you ask specifically for AISI 316 SS, the complete boat will be equipped with that. The outcome can be very different. The same E-80+ boat can therefore range from very average to top quality but with a big difference in price. The (internal) design of some elegance yachts in Mallorca made me shake my head but beautiness is in the eyes of the beholder. I have seen a boat, that looked like a chinese horehouse inside :p but that boat was built for a pimp.

    I have never seen an Italian yard being that flexible and listening to customers to such an high degree like Horizon. You can talk them into almost everything, as long as the boat does not sink upon launch :). The relativly low resale value of some Horizon yacht here in the Med is not because of quality, its because of the sometimes totally overblown interior design.

    I must admit, I have never driven a Horizon E type through a storm but their behaviour was not worse than any other semi displacement boat. There are no high speed boats and as I said above, the fin stabilizers are not very effective (and they slow down the boat). But with an correctly sized and mounted Seakeeper, they should be fine.

    I say again, with proper planning and design plus good build supervision in the yard, you will get a lot of fine boat for your money. But only then! By just signing a contract with an unknown dealer and picking up your boat 15 to 18 month later, you might get one or the other little surprise.

    Below, you will see the engine room of an Elegance 86 with MTUs and perfect access. The whole area behind the engine room is crew area with an access staircase from the Bb sidewalk and the salon plus transom door. In comparison to some Italo plastic fantastic, this is crews heaven :).

    elegance-86.JPG
    And I do not believe, that is bad installation of technical equipment. And the size of the engine room is determined by the choosen layout of the buyer. And for an only 6 m beam semi displacement boat (must have been be a 74 0r 78 E-class), I would choose MANs.

    Just my 2 (Euro) cents
  10. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    "I say again, with proper planning and design plus good build supervision in the yard, you will get a lot of fine boat for your money. But only then! By just signing a contract with an unknown dealer and picking up your boat 15 to 18 month later, you might get one or the other little surprise."


    HTM, with all due respect you shouldn't have to ask for good standard equipment. A good builder only builds with good equipment (like stainless for example). A good hull shouldn't need stabilizers or a seakeeper, basically you're making up for a hull designs shortcomings the majority of the time. You look at most all of the Euro built Motoryachts and you almost never see stabilizers, why, because the hull is designed correctly and they ride so well they don't need stabilizers. The Euro built MY's in the 50'-100' have the best planing hull designs in the world when it comes to ride. Better than the US builders even. A good builder shouldn't need to be supervised in order to get a well built boat out of them. I can guarantee you that if you order from any one of the builders I mentioned in my previous post, a yacht in the let's say 80-120' size range, without any supervision whatsoever, and you will get a well built yacht. How many people really are going to send someone to Asia and pay them to supervise a 80-120' build...... 150'+ is a different story.
  11. HTMO9

    HTMO9 Senior Member

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    Hallo Capt J,

    I nearly agree with you on all points but :):

    The Elegance Line and the Bandido Line Horizon Yachts are both US designed by Espinosa Custom Yacht Design, Palm City Florida.

    The Elegance Line Yachts I were on, did not need Stabs while on cruise but they would have needed some kind of stabilisation while on the hook. The Italo boats, my sons and I have tested and the ones I have been a guest on, were not more stable at all. Some Italian planing yachts will rock, if you are handing a piece of butter to your neighbour on the table during breakfast (old German saying :)).

    But as I said above, you could talk Horizon into almost anything, that is still save. Some of those semi custom Horizon yachts, due to customer requests, are bloody top heavy. A big tender lift, a jaccuzzi, heavy furniture or last but not least a solid enclosed pilot house on the top deck can turn a stable boat into something very shaky. Remember a semi custom yacht builder.

    I agree, when buying a production boat, someone could rely on looking at a boat in the showroom, verifies the spec and determines his options, inks the contract and waits for his new boat to arrive. This might work with well known builders in northern continental Europe or Scandinavia but not with most yards in Italy. Yards like Riva, Pershing or (cant think of a third one :p) might be different. I would at least have a build captain visiting the yard quite regulary. I have heard stories about happenings on new Italian boats (even here on YF) already during the delivery trip, I could not believe.

    But with any yard in Asia this will not work at all, period. And I say that both for any Asian yacht builder and for any ship builder in Asia, regardless of country. Asia is different, totally different.

    Yards in China (both), Korea, Japan and Malaysia have a totally different thinking, mentality and honesty, when making business with Europeans, US Citizens or Canadians for example. They call us " long noses" and they will not loose their face by fooling one of us. They are only loosing their face getting caught doing so. They have highly skilled workers and can build very good boats and ships, if you tell them exactly what you want and how you want it and if they know, you will watch them doing it, they will deliver great products.

    You do not need your personal owner Rep in the yard all the time, you can hire a company doing it for you. The Germanischer Lloyd for example, has an office in Taiwan, which does perfect build supervision. But all US and European companies building yachts in Asia on regular basis, like Nordhavn, Ocean Alexander, Bering yachts or similar have permanent Reps in those yards to watch the building processes. The Drettmann company did the same. And this setup worked and works perfect.

    The stainless steel example is the most typical one. A well known builder on our side of the globe would normally take the best available for salt water boat, AISI 316. An Asian builder will automatically choose the cheapest available to him, if not specified otherwise. Just saying SS will give you only AISI 312 or even less than that. "What do you mean? You asked for SS, this is SS".

    The question is, why buying a boat in Asia or have it build in Asia at all. Because the boat will be much cheaper, even with the best equipment available and the highest quality and the costs of build supervision, the boat will be cheaper, much cheaper.

    Getting an almost 90 ft planing boat with 2 MTU 12 V 2000 M 93 and overcomplete equipment and electronics with great quality for 6 Mio US $, is in my opinion very reasonable. Compare that to the amount of money you have to pay for a Ferretty, a Custom Line or a San Lorenzo of the same size or even for a Sunseeker, you will get a lot of boat from Asia for your money. And those boats are not better at all, if the Horizon yacht is build according to the preset spec and quality.

    As an example, a northern European Yard could not buy the pure steel for the amount of money, I buy a complete cargo vessel in Korea for. But my company inspectors have to stay behind them all the time. As soon as the paint is applied over a welding, you have no assurance about its quality.

    I can not speak for European Horizon Yachts post the Drettmann dalership aera, because the new Horizon Europe dealership is company owned. But the US dealer and the Australian dealer are using the same setup with supervision in Taiwan as far as I know. So I can assume, an US or Australian dealer could deliver the same quality, Drettman was able to provide with their dealership.

    And I would never order a semi custom boat from any yard in the world without someone I trust, having a look at my boat during the build. Only the reputation of the yard would determine the frequency of my Rep showing up.

    Just my 2 (Euro) cents
    Last edited: May 11, 2015
  12. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Here's where the problem lies. If you are looking for a used Horizon, who the heck knows what the quality is of the one you're looking at until you make an offer and hire a surveyor. IMO a good manufacturer builds a boat with one quality level and you know what you're getting, both new and used. You look at a used Searay, you know exactly what to expect, used Viking, Hatteras, Bayliner. Good or bad you know what level of quality is built into the boat. A good builder won't build a below their normal standard quality boat for a customer. It seems to me Horizon is willing to build everything from below average or very average to very good depending on who's watching or paying.
  13. HTMO9

    HTMO9 Senior Member

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    Capt J, you are 100 % correct. That is exactly what Asian boat and ship building means. You will get what you ask and pay for, if you watch them. And yes again, on a unknown used boat from Asia, you will only know what you get after a good survey. But most Italian, French or Turkish boats (and some British) are not any better. Germany is innocent, we do not build boats of this type and size anymore :).

    But the OP was asking for the opinion of a new Horizon boat. And again with a good build supervision and good preplanning or a dealership you can fully trust, you will get a lot of boat for your money and great quality. Horizon and Nordhavn are very good examples for this business setup. But the Nordhavn setup is even better than the Horizon system. With the reputation of the Nordhavn guys in Dana Point and their depths in preplanning, supervision and control, you know, that you will get a perfect boat all the time.

    But in my opinion, there is nothing wrong with a builder, who is offering the same boat with a broad range of equipment and options from simple stuff up to highest quality. As long as the basic boat is of solid build and good craftmanship. A Horizon yacht comming to Australia, NZ, America or Europe will IMHO guarantee this.

    But do not ask for a Kia if you want a Rolls Royce or Bentley :p.
  14. RER

    RER Senior Member

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    This comment is worse than anything Capt J said about them.
  15. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Does rolling over on launch count as sinking?
  16. YachtForums

    YachtForums Publisher/Admin

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    The thread topic is on the quality of Horizon Yachts, not the lack of stability studies at Northern Marine. To the OP, I suggest you sea trial the Horizon of your choice. I've been onboard 4 different models in varying sea conditions. None of them exhibited any ill handling characteristics and the quality of hardware was on par with the best in the biz.
  17. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    You're right I should not have brought up the NM incident. However my experiences are different. I have been on 3 Horizons 2005 and newer, a 68' and 2 100's. On the 68' all of the salon windows were leaking and needed to be re-bedded and all of the thru-hulls needed to be changed from pitting and such (poor metal) among many other things. The 100's both fell into the budget build category and what I mentioned in the previous post held true about hardware and build quality.
  18. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    I do agree with HTM on the necessity of having someone representing you regularly on the builder's site and that goes for any custom or semi-custom builder.

    However, I do find the quality variations HTM discusses disturbing. If they're going to build cheaper, less quality versions they should put them under a different brand. A brand should stand for something. One should know the stainless steel will always be a certain quality. Same with other build aspects. A quality builder does say "no" and maintains their standards. They won't just do anything anyone wants and put their name on it.

    I've heard very good things about some Horizons. But then I read of the variation in quality and standards and find that quite disturbing. And even though I would have someone present, I still find it bothersome that they would compromise quality if I didn't.

    I don't know anything about their deal with Drettmann or other deals they have. I know the line is extremely extensive and appears far more than a builder doing their volume can really support. But I think letting dealers or brokers dictate their quality and design is a problem too.

    I want to be able to buy a Horizon knowing what they stand for and knowing they are uncompromising when it comes to meeting their standards of quality.
  19. HTMO9

    HTMO9 Senior Member

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    My comments about Horizon yachts do cover only their product lines sold in Europe and as I stated several times here on the forum, for the period of the Drettmann dealership. Past that time, I am not aware of any significant sales of Horizon E-Series or EP-Series in Europe. But I am quite sure, the ability of Horizon Yachts from Taiwan did not become any better or worse since then.

    By stating, you could talk them into almost anything, I was mainly reffering to interior decorations and designs and some heavy sundeck equipment which in my opinion and the opinion of paid crew (the skipper) of those boats, made them top heavy and less stable.

    I have seen some very ugly and I mean very ugly interiors on Horizon Elegance, Horizon Dynasty and Bandido yachts here in Mallorca but also some very nice ones. That is semi custom! The Buyer gets what he wants and pays for.

    The Bandido 75 or as she is called now, the EP-77 is still my favorite Trawler Yacht in that size. But I would not place a jaccuzzi or a 2500 lbs tender lift and a 1500 lbs Diesel RIB plus Seadoo on the sundeck of my 20 ft beam planing or round bilge full displacement boat. But the same can be seen here in the Med on SanLorenzos, Ferreties or Azimut. Just the fact, somebody has the money to buy on of those boat, does not mean, he has a clue what he is doing.

    And I say again, if I would be shopping for a semi custom boat of this size and performance (both semi displacement and full displacement), I would still consider a E-86 and a EP-77 as one of my choices. But due to personal experience, only by using my favorite setup of close control in the yard.

    You will have a hard time finding so much boat and quality for that amount of money.

    Those beauties were called Asian Baroque some years ago in the Med :). And so was the interior. One of them can still be seen in Poto Portals.

    Horizon Dynasty 105.jpg
    And this, I would call a fine example:

    Elegance-86.JPG

    Just asking for less expensive equipment, does not mean, asking automatically for bad equipment.

    Just my 2 (Euro) cents.
  20. HTMO9

    HTMO9 Senior Member

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    OB stated:

    "A quality builder does say "no" and maintains their standards. They won't just do anything anyone wants and put their name on it".

    +1 from me!

    But that is the ideal world. Even the big boys (Mega Yacht builder) in the US and Europe do not always stick to that. The customer is king. Some Mega Yacht designs and construction features really make me shake my had. I sometimes believe, only the classification society and the Large Yacht Code is preventing the worst.

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