A Splendid Way To Get Anywhere
The HORIZON EP69 may very well be a ‘vessel of interest’ for those desiring an efficient, full displacement expedition yacht with a bit more speed and luxury.
By Capt. Ken Kreisler
One of the great things about what I do is having the ability to travel. And one of the truly great perks of the job is that I get to do it on boats; boats of all sizes, profiles, amenities and functions and ones designed and built in shipyards all around the world. This time out, it’s aboard a Horizon EP69.
A mere six years after its founding in 1987 by CEO John Lu, himself a product of the National Taiwan Ocean University with a degree in naval architecture, Horizon, already a business in the throes of its own country’s nasty recession, saw its forward thinking leader adjusting his company’s target markets. With Europe, Asia, and Australia showing up on Lu’s radar screen, he also decided to enter the large yacht arena by launching an 80-footer. That was in 1995.
What followed over the next few years and continuing into the 21st century, would be a series of high points including, among many others, applying the patented SCRIMP resin infusion technology to the building process, establishing subsidiary companies consisting of Altech Composite to manufacture hulls and superstructures as well as megayacht-dedicated Premier Yachts, and launching the 130+ foot Miss Rose, billed by Horizon as the then-largest, one-shot, SCRIMP-hulled vessel in the world. And it is with that same progressive attitude the company now offers its EP69, an expedition yacht with a lot more than a rugged exterior.
I have to say that right from my first sighting of her big red hull and salty, ship-like exterior including a Portuguese bridge and bulbous bow, at the end of the dock at the Lake Union, Seattle-based facility of Emerald Yacht Sales, the EP69 does offer a fairly tempting nudge in the right direction for fulfilling nautically-powered dreams of those who suffer from what I term as terminal wanderlust.
“The EP69 began life as the company’s Bandido 66 but as the design team tuned it up, they added more space so that now she serves as the entry level vessel to our line up of expedition yachts, that being the 77, 110, and 148,” said Lex Mitchell, Emerald’s west coast distributor for Horizon, as he led me onto her teak-decked swim platform. There is amidships boarding on either side as well but with her stern-to docking here, the ladders were still stowed in the engine room. Not that it’s a negative; in fact, I found getting aboard to be simple, safe, and easy via this large, solid area. And once there, surrounded by all that beefy safety railing, there’s convenient access up to the main deck using the wide stairways to either side or right through the big, dog-latching door smack on the boat’s midline leading to the crew quarters.
“One of the many aspects we really like about what we are able to offer is the yacht finish, both inside and out,” Mitchell remarked as he swung the door open and ushered me inside.
If this was the start of being impressed with Horizon’s ability to finish off the EP69’s interior to yacht standards, the Taiwan-based builder had my attention. Even with the space’s functional profile, its décor still favored the elegant. The fully found galley, seating area with dining table, and plenty of storage space lies to port, and the head, shower, and two-berth stateroom are to starboard, all surrounded by beautiful cabinetry featuring outstanding joiner work with the area taking full advantage of the boat’s 21’8” beam. And yes, the fit and finish was excellent and a foretaste of what to expect topsides.
A duck into the engine room just forward, via yet another sturdy dogging door, also confirmed Horizon’s ability to provide a working space paralleling the vessel’s mission; that being open ocean cruising where the need to get things done in the most practical and time sensitive way demands quick and easy access to all critical maintenance and machinery areas. I could not find any knuckle crunching, elbow smashing, or forehead denting spaces that would prevent me from getting the job done. With two engines, and lots of space for spare parts and proper tools, the chances of being dead in the water or underway during a crossing or extended voyage, favor the latter.
Topsides, the mood definitely changes from the practical elegance I just visited to classy sophistication, and on this particular EP69, to one with a trace of contemporary touches to the décor and furnishings.
Entering from the sizable aft deck area, itself outfitted with a proper transom seat, finely finished table, and teak sole, the salon offers wide-open spaces for creative decorating. “We’re a completely custom builder and owners can furnish the boat out to individual tastes and needs,” said Mitchell as we toured the main deck, galley, lower pilothouse, and living accommodations.
The wide-open spaces of the salon allow for creative seating and entertaining areas, and choices of woods and finishes. The galley offers an area for the kind of culinary equipment and facilities to make food prep as laid back or tasteful as the situation demands. And the pilothouse is as professional and well resourced as any with fine woodwork all around, large windows forward and to the sides, and a comfortable seating area to port. Down below, the three stateroom, three head layout allows for spacious forepeak, starboard side, and full beam master accommodations, all with ample storage space, superb cabinetry work, and the kind of room found on larger vessels.
Access to the bridge deck is via a stairway from the aft deck or in the pilothouse and once up here, it’s a hard place to give up. Seating areas abound with cooking and serving facilities, a bar to port, C-shape couch with a table to starboard, and port side helm. Aft and to starboard, there’s room for a 12-foot tender with the davit mounted on the outboard side.
There were no surprises when out for a ride on the placid waters of Lake Washington, unless it’s the stingy 12gph rate at just over eight knots or the hush quiet 59 dB(A) reading at the lower helm. And even at 11.2 knots, I registered a still-respectable 30gph burn. “We feel it’s the kind of vessel the ‘trawl crawl’ crowd is looking for. She slips easily into that six-plus to eight-knot speed with very efficient fuel consumption for a boat displacing some 72 tons when light,” Mitchell remarked.
Oh, and if you’re wondering what EP means, hang on we’re almost there. You see, while I don’t mind leaning on the throttles now and then, and feeling the adrenalin rush of big iron coming to life and pushing a massive planning hull up out of the hole, I do have a very special place in my nautical heart for just taking it easy and having a strong, well-built vessel at my command. And that’s where the ocean-going Horizon EP69 may come into play for those like-minded mariners. EP stands for Economical Pilothouse, and in these days of fiscal stress and strife—and even though they will come to pass—getting away from the dock, and staying away for as long as is necessary, just got a lot easier. Horizon Yachts, 886-7-860-7770, firstname.lastname@example.org
RPM KNOTS GPH dB(A)
650 4.7 2.3 56
900 6.5 6.0 57
1200 8.2 12.0 59
1500 10.1 19.0 60
1800 11.2 30.0 65
2100 12.1 48.0 65
Speeds were measured by GPS in 200 feet of fresh water on Seattle’s Lake Washington, with calm seas and 10-knot winds, with 1,000 gal. fuel, 520 gal. fresh water, and four people on board. Fuel consumption was calculated by the electronic engine-monitoring system. Sound levels were measured at the helm.
DISPL.: 191,400 lbs.
FUEL: 4,760 gal.
WATER: 800 gal.
STANDARD POWER: 2 x 560hp MAN D2876LE diesels
TEST POWER: 2 x 560hp MAN D2876LE diesels