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Review: Horizon Yachts EP69 Expedition

Discussion in 'Horizon Yacht' started by YachtForums, Mar 11, 2013.

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  1. Horizon Yachts EP69 Expedition
    In A Class All Its Own

    by Judy Waldman​

    "EP" is Horizon-speak for Expedition and this series of bravado looking boats combine expedition
    features with luxury yacht amenities to satisfy serious boaters from several yacht segments.
    For the yachtsman looking for luxury accommodations, a hint of speed, and the solid
    slugboat feel of a full displacement trawleresque hull, the EP69 has much to offer.​

    Horizon Yachts, whose fleet of vessels includes motoryachts, megayachts, express cruisers, and powercats, now adds explorers to its fleet of luxury vessels plying the waters worldwide: the EP Series. Foremost, what it provides is pedigree from a proven builder. Horizon yachts has been building motoryachts for 25 years and have between 600 and 700 boats afloat to their credit. Corroborating their accredited lineage, Horizon Yachts was recently awarded their seventh consecutive “Best Asian Yacht Builder” award. Consistency and continuity confirmed.

    The Horizon Group was founded by John Lu whose beginnings were as a naval architect and whose title continues as CEO. The Horizon Group owns 4 shipyards, all in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, at which the various models are built. Over 800 Horizon Group employees are responsible for the 8 different lines of Horizon Yachts. John Lu’s business strategy has been to keep improving the products, including his recent investment of over $9 million in tooling alone. Lu’s vision of providing an appropriate yacht choice for every market segment is what led to the concept of the EP69 as a fuel efficient, medium range explorer for the family that is looking for the traditional motoryacht feel and comforts.
  2. The machismo look of the EP69 is emboldened by Alexseal’s Sunstone Red for the hull color. Horizon’s choice of the metallic burgundy hue was for the initial “Wow” factor. I would reframe it as Visible Vermillion: the pigmentation that allows the boat to stand out whether at a yachtclubbish marina or in a crowded harbor. No matter the choice of color, the EP69 has presence. With 12 feet of freeboard, it stands tall at a dock and holds its own against hulls twice its length.
  3. In addition to the aesthetic appeal, this vertical real estate has a good foundation. The hull, deck and superstructure are built using Horizon's SCRIMP lamination process. The hull is solid fiberglass below the waterline and the remainder of the construction is resin infused foam core. Because the EP69 was built with exploration in mind, the stringers were laminated to the hull in a one-piece process and the bulkheads were reinforced for added safety.
  4. The proud bow is an awesome 12 ½ feet from waterline to caprail. The significant flare of her bow keeps her decks high and dry. If you venture into wet deck coordinates, take comfort in non-skid decks, high bulwarks, covered decks and full wrap around hand rails. Teak cap rails are a traditional touch, but you can uncheck the option box if you don't like annual varnish therapy.
  5. Visibility from the upper helm is commanding at this altitude although the bow feels like it's been chasing parked freighters. Visibility aft, like most motoryachts, isn't good. You'll definitely want to use the remote control station when backing down a slip. A tinted acrylic windshield lined with a stainless steel frame helps to reduce turbulence and the EP69's cruise speed further insures the same. Not shown in this picture is an EZ2CY flybridge enclosure for inclement weather. A retractable helm adds further protection from the elements. Overall, the flybridge is well-executed, although we'd like too see the hardtop extend further forward.
  6. A Novurania tender with a Yamaha 60 outboard was chosen for island hopping, although as a provision supply vessel it may fall short. With the dinghy deployed and the chocks removed, the EP-69's aft deck provides plenty of space to party. The combined upper deck space, both undercover and exposed, would rival a yacht in the 90-foot range. It's massive and well conceived.
  7. The transom boasts curved stairs going to the aft deck. The handrails and closable gates are nice safety features, as well as the 3 foot wide fully covered sidedecks – all contributing to the ease of movement around the vessel from most any point. The upholstered seating on the aftdeck is built in to the coaming and of course has great stowage beneath. The hi/lo table flaunts a nicely crafted compass rose. The starboard side cabinet houses the remote control connectors for docking cheats. And on the port side, the stainless rimmed hole on the built-in stairs leading to the flybridge is…? The answer is elsewhere in this review.
  8. Another “Wow!” opportunity presents itself upon entry into the salon. The high gloss, finely executed cherry cabinetry, the slick ceilings, and the large picturesque windows give the exclamation mark as well as a voluminous penthouse at sea ambience. The expanse is heightened by the 6’7” ceiling and the interior beam. All lend to a contemporary feel of young and fun. First things first though: grab a drink - from either the U-Line beverage chiller to port or the U-Line bar refrigerator to starboard. Really, this is a convenient location for refueling whilst enjoying the outdoors without traipsing through the boat in bathing suits or for alfresco aftdeck dining without having to reach too far for a refill. It would be easy to become a two-fisted drinker just by standing centerline.
  9. The free-standing furniture attests to the sea-keeping stability for enjoying cocktails or dinner at the hi/lo fold out cherry table. The large sofa provides good stowage beneath the cushions and a comfortable platform for TV viewing. The over-sized end tables complement the seating. The lighting is remarkable in many regards, not just in the salon, but throughout the entire yacht. Of course the LED lighting keeps the heat at bay and the amperage down. A unique effect that works well is the rope lighting behind frosted opaque panels. This implementation provides subtle yet effective lighting in the headliner panels and is paralleled in places such as at the window bases. Lighting and mood choices are further enhanced by the retractable shades on all windows.
  10. The barrel chairs on the port side are curvaciously conformed to maximum space and to give a go with the flow feel. The door to the aft deck has an easy-glide motion but no position choice – it’s either open or closed. The latch that holds it in the open position is at floor level between the door and screen, but, if barefooted, it’s an easy latch-release with a big toe. The screen has a light easy movement with a helicoil type spring.
  11. The galley is compact and efficient, although it is probably the weakest point in an otherwise exemplary layout. All the basic necessities for fix-a-dish are in attendance including the residential side-by-side GE refrigerator-freezer, Subzero freezer drawers, GE dishwasher, and trash compactor.
  12. The strong points of the galley are the swing-away leather covered barstools on the side of the marble counter rather than taking up salon space as is standard in this type of breakfast bar offering and the watertight door on the portside. This door is most convenient for loading the provisions straight from deck to galley stowage. Also nice for letting in some fresh air, or additional ventilation for extracting the fumes of burnt toast.
  13. The compactness of the galley offers safety at sea in that the design allows the chef to be safely encased in the U-shaped configuration. The absence of fiddles, lack of long-term provisioning space, and giraffe height microwave are elements that detract from the expedition concept, but the good news is that Horizon offers a choice of galley layouts and numerous other adaptations for the serious cruiser.
  14. EP, as in Excellent Pilothouse. This is a pilothouse that has it all, Everything Plus. Excellent visibility, good maneuverability, chart drawers, abundant stowage, and good seating-eating area for the onlookers are the basics. In addition to including all that we have come to expect from a well thought-out pilothouse, the “Wow” factor is upon entry. This is a beautiful room that is spacious, bright, interesting, and inviting.
  15. The leather helm console provides an easy to reach full suite of electronics from the captain’s seat, which is leather, electric, and particularly comfortable. The integrated Raymarine navigation equipment logistically arranged on the leather console includes 2 E120W displays, 48” HD digital radar, 2 Raystar 125 GPS receivers, AIS receiver, Autopilot, Fishfinder, and ST70 multifunction display, and of course the necessities like VHF, TV, and AV equipment. The removable interlocking vinyl ceiling panels provide good access for wire runs. The above helm opaque lighting panel also houses the red rope lighting for night travel.
  16. Attention was given to the pilothouse as being used for an additional entertainment area. The dining table maneuvers not only in and out, and raises and lowers, but also has a side-to-side sliding mechanism for allowing larger beamed guests easy access. The leather seating is at a considerate height for passive viewing and also converts to a large bed for use as a pilot berth or to accommodate the guests that refuse to leave.
  17. The full beam amidships master stateroom accords a luminous and capacious feel. With 11’x11’ dimensions and 6’7” headroom, numerous large portlights, and reflective materials all around, this boudoir is conducive to more than nocturnal dormancy. The island berth is uniquely positioned for easy access to the luxurious bathroom suite which closes off with pocket doors.
  18. The centerline king bed is flanked with large nightstands. There is more drawer, hanging locker, and storage space than should be allowed on a boat. There’s even a suitcase locker, although access to the electrical buses behind the panel isn't easy.
  19. Nautical nomenclature just doesn't do justice in calling this a head. It's a penthouse style powder room preceded by an enclosed marbled shower on one side and marble soled toilet room on the other. Space options for sharing, or not, are numerous.
  20. The living quarters combine the luxury yacht amenities with the fullness of the displacement hull and the 20 foot beam to give a voluminously large Ritz-like interior. The VIP stateroom is forward and is designed for making guests feel, well, like VIPs. The angled queen size bed gives even extra room for the bedside cabinets, hanging locker, shelves, and entry to the ensuite head.
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