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Review: Horizon 80' Catamaran Yacht "Billabong"

Discussion in 'Horizon Yacht' started by YachtForums, Jan 10, 2011.

  1. Horizon 80' Catamaran "Billabong"
    Surf Riding on a City at Sea

    by Chuck Gnaegy​

    She’s so ample in girth, she'll surprise you. When viewed from astern she appears to register
    in the 125' to 150' range. Yet here is the “fat lady” who sings; flaunting all her live-aboard advantages
    in a svelte and stylish 80 feet – barely more than half her initial impression. With stability and grace,
    she revels with a definite charm for those who appreciate living large at sea. ​

    Horizon asked Australian designer Mark Ellis to design the kind of yacht many cruiser’s dreams are made of, they planned for more room, broad comfort, delivered with relatively compact size and excellent stability. Those requirements would center on a highly specialized yacht; yes – a Catamaran – many of which he has berthed before. Those previous models were sight-seeing yachts, cargo haulers, military. This charming new innovation – built with a one-piece SCRIMP lamination and solid fiberglass bottom hull -- would present challenges as well in this unique approach to high level cruising.
  2. Then began two years of planning and construction, determining what they could and could not add – engineering, crafting, contentment, compromising to meet the wide ocean’s gauntlets. They would create a novel, extraordinary live-aboard cruising yacht, rather than following time-honored patterns. Finally, introduction of this compelling entry into yachting’s elite. This futuristic cruising model sports two wave-piercing, subsurface hulls. Also, wider than average sponsons, full walk-around upper and lower decks, with many marvelous innovations. She flaunts most of all, a sense of relaxed pleasure. Built in Taiwan at the famed Horizon Yard, she is an astounding leap forward in cruising yacht design. We discover them all on this YachtForums special tour.
  3. While one of her most enduring attributes is stability at rest, she also glories in walk-around ease with her wide beam passageways, where voyagers may stroll without bumping elbows – try that on any standard 80-footer. Plus, her wave-piercing hulls, shallow draft by comparison, take a daintier superficial “bite” of a mere 5’ for prop clearance. This allows our happy-go-lucky dancing queen to tip-toe over reef patches few others of her size even dare to think about.
  4. Sponson bulbs were added for considerable longitudinal stability, in addition to her inherent catamaran footprint with a 27’3” beam; which is full width for almost her entire 80’ length. Consequently, her side to side movement, with a shallow 5’ draft, is minimized in sea conditions, as compared to single hull contemporaries. She is designed to skip, instead of wallow, in ratcheting seas.
  5. Her overhead-protected aft deck continues the charm, offering a plein-air observatory. The beam-width swim platform – with removable stainless steel rails – is easily accessed by stairs; as are other decks as well, via convenient steps, ladders and stairways. A built-in shower above the swim deck refreshes with hot/cold fresh water. Music, entertainment, is everywhere with built-in sound systems. Bose SA2 Amplifiers with speakers bring your favorite music to every room.
  6. In full sun and open air, her upper aft deck provides a stabile outdoor platform with excellent space for lounging. She’s big enough to throw a full scale party with little fuss. The convenient bar and utensils cabinet is just steps away, or if you’re in post New Year’s Eve recovery mode, a comfy line of folding sun couches awaits.
  7. Up top, her Sky Lounge offers deeply padded, welcoming couches, a coffee table, as well as a study-charting space and office chair. All are crisply outfitted in bright white over maple/walnut veneers, with teak strip decking. All-weather Sunbrella cushions provide genuine outdoor comfort.
  8. This longer view of her Skylounge shows the warmth and proximity between the all-business Bridge and the easy comfort of her elevated viewing area. Large windows all around allow excellent light as well as wide visibility.
  9. Her Portuguese Bridge/Pilothouse sports three adjustable Captains chairs, facing a brace of nav-screens that sweep the beam of the bridge. The array of equipment and monitors includes Furuno Radar, Navpilot, GPS, Sonar, Weatherfax, MF/VHF, full charting and depths, Satellite compass, as well as Guardian cameras and Sentinel systems.
  10. In this close-up, forward of the center helm chair, her leather-covered instrument panel reads crisply. In addition to the navigation equipment previously mentioned, the ship’s communications systems include Panasonic PBX and telephone hook-ups in the Pilothouse, Salon, Master stateroom and VIP stateroom, plus connectors for shore phone and cable TV.
  11. Entering the main salon through a stainless steel sliding door, this lengthy overview from dining to sitting room emphasizes the crisp cleanliness of her design, favoring teak decking blended nicely into the fresh layout of shades against whites. Her open plan easily transits, melds from one room to the next without breaks. Contrasting tonal interest is added by the rounded dining table, offset by stark whites in the ceiling pattern.
  12. Her galley follows the design scheme in tone and color, while centering on the tasks at hand, with ample room for the chef’s utmost expression. Fully found, with granite and marble countertops; she sports nothing but the best. Her U-Line icemaker, Subzero fridge, electric cook-top, microwave and convection ovens, plus a dishwasher-dryer, announce that she is ready for any culinary challenge. Oh yes, she also wields a trash compactor.
  13. This striking rounded-ovoid dining table, emulating elm, hickory or light walnut wood, offers the perfect platform for sea-centered dining. All rooms sport TV cabinets, plus a High-Low TV system in the salon, featuring a 42” screen. Her Skylounge offers a 32” screen; while each room presents 15” screens. (Sigh: the crew compartments rate only a 12V auto stereo).
  14. The glories of fine yacht interior design fully express themselves in her salon. A fine blending of comfort with artistic elements is certain to be admired as well as much appreciated by her cruiser-audience. Ahh-hh, relaxation time.
  15. This view aft in the salon demonstrates a comprehensive design process exercized here. Spacious is, as this 27’+ beam allows, her salon-sitting room easily rates the most comprehensive and creative layout we are likely to see on an 80’ yacht. The luxurious sofa sports fine leather upholstering, with deep pillows.
  16. Centered in the flooring of the Master Bedroom entryway, this enlarged Master’s Compass – fully operational – lends an entertaining touch to the designer’s and builder’s love affair with the sea.
  17. Sporting all the glamor and comforts of a top level hotel suite, the Master Stateroom displays a king-size raised berth with an embossed leather headboard. Lush in its decor, fine cherry, macore, birdseye maple and walnut woods add to the sumptuousness. In addition, the Master offers walk-in closets and hanging lockers. For ultimate safety, there is also an overhead escape hatch-with-ladder in the Master Suite.
  18. Crisply designed yet full in comfort, the Master bath is laid out with the latest ultra modern fixtures such as deep bowl wash basins. Set over a flesh-pink marble along the vanity-for-two, the design is open, roomy; a quite attractive space, over dark patterned carpeting. There is also a full-size bath tub, not shown here.
  19. Guest staterooms, as pictured, demonstrate the generous scope of her twin sponsons. Easily composing double berths or a single VIP queen, they offer ample relaxation room with nicely enlarged windows, as well as dressers and walk-in closets. The full complement includes three double or twin staterooms, with ensuite heads/showers.
  20. Guest baths also reflect the clean, modernist design with flesh-pink marble floors. White fixtures, large mirrors, jalousie windows are featured in the comfortable scope of full showers.