Boats.com.au Horizon PC52: Review

pc52

Written by Barry Wiseman at BoatSales.com.au

A true long-haul luxury bluewater cruiser for the WA coast

Even for the designers and engineers at the Kaohsiung headquarters in Taiwan, this Horizon Power Cat 52 Skylounge set new boundaries and, dare I say it, new horizons. The brief was to provide a vessel with the range and stamina for its owners and guests to stay at sea for up to three months in one of the most remote regions on the globe. Enough power, fuel, refrigeration, and pantry room, to be able to cruise from the south west of Western Australia to Darwin and the Top End.

OVERVIEW
– The second Horizon Power Cat 52 Skylounge to arrive in Australia
The Horizon PC52 is a luxury ocean-going catamaran, built to satisfy the need of experienced mariners who have long distance cruising in mind. It is based on the popular PC60 and being in the 50-foot range (almost 16m) has attracted great interest. The interior is huge and the owners of this vessel have had a lot of input to create even more than what the builder had designed for.

“I wanted a beach house we could take anywhere,” said owner Jennifer Coote as we stood in the doorway leading from the rear deck into the vast saloon/rear galley.

We say vast because that’s the feeling you get casting your eyes around this main interior deck with its light, bright, and airy feel with 360 degree views.

“Jennifer was in charge of selecting the interior tones and fittings and because we don’t particularly like the dark timber look, we went for the White Ash mat finish,” said husband Terry. And what a wise choice that has proven to be. While the huge all-round tinted windows flood the area with natural light, the rays are reflected by the timber trim panels which resemble sun-bleached driftwood.

This is one of the most bright, fresh and welcoming interiors we have had the joy to experience. “I wanted to imitate that beach house feel where you can come in from the water and sand and feel at home. We spend a lot of time at sea and I didn’t want to be welcomed by dark colours,” added Jennifer. “I don’t like those dark cherry coloured timber tones. I think they can be depressing so as soon as I saw this sun-bleached timber with a slightly dark grain running through it I knew this was it.”

The theme continues throughout the whole boat, the staircases port and starboard plus the three cabins. It is particularly noticeable on the lower deck where three large portholes feed light into the port-side twin single-berth cabin and port and starboard bathrooms and passageway.

The forward master stateroom on the starboard side and the guest cabin to port have large streamline-designed tinted windows, again bouncing light off the walls in these quarters. No need for artificial lighting down here during the day.

This PC52 Skylounge has dedicated sleeping arrangement for six people, plus more room on the saloon lounges, a day bed on the bridge with more comfortable lounges up here too for casual sleepovers.

PC52 Interior

The rear galley comes with a very large servery-come-breakfast bar and is located on the starboard side as you enter the big glass door from the rear cockpit. A curved staircase leads off the cockpit to the upper deck on the port side but is built into, and protected by, the main superstructure.

Up here you are greeted by a spacious bridge, complete with lounges, day bed, large benchtop servery with refrigeration and cupboard/drawer storage and dual luxury armchairs at the helm station. At the rear of the upper deck, a large open roof-top carries the tender when underway.At anchor and with the tender deployed this area transforms into an entertainment/sun-deck.

The quality of workmanship and detail to finish is second to none. Powered by the twin Cummins, this “floating beach house” will bring endless hours of joy and luxury for her owners and crew.

PRICE AND EQUIPMENT
– A true-blue long-distance cruiser northern Australia is on the horizon
The base price for the Horizon PC52 Skylounge is $2.4million with a pair of Cummins QSB 6.7-550hp engines producing a top speed of 20-plus knots.

While Terry and Jennifer will push their new acquisition to the limits during their initial shake-down cruises off the south west and Perth metropolitan coast during the summer months ahead, it will be just to get familiar with the craft and its capabilities.

They are no new-comers to long distance cruising. Their previous power catamaran built on the Queensland Gold Coast served them well for 11 years before being traded in on the Horizon. The vessel is berthed on the south west coast with Africa due west.

With the welcome knowledge the PC52 was automatically put through its “wet bath” treatment even before leaving the Horizon factory to test for water leaks, their forthcoming shake down voyages are bound to include some rough treatment whipped up by the never-ending south-westerlies.

Of course Perth’s offshore aquatic playground, Rottnest Island, will beckon over the Christmas holiday period and for this type of cruising from her home port, 10 to 12 knots will be the norm. At 12 knots, the PC52 has already proved to be economical – a combined 70 litres per hour for both engines.

The next few months will also allow the owners to thoroughly plan their next major voyage. For almost 10 years Jennifer has kept what she calls the “Perfect Boat Book” – an ordinary school exercise book in which she has noted anything and everything that could improve things on their next vessel.

As a result, both talked at length with the Horizon team to include extra batteries for the solar electricity system, long-range fuel tanks, increased fresh-water making capacity, refrigeration, ice-makers, large dishwater, storage cupboards/lockers in the galley/saloon, including a safety equipment locker in the raised bamboo timber floor of the saloon, and the tool locker under the first three steps on the staircase leading to the upper deck.

Rather than having their four-metre aluminum dinghy tender permanently mounted on fixed cradles at the rear of the upper deck, Terry had two fiberglass portable box supports constructed which can be moved out of the way when the dinghy is in use and tethered to the transom. This leaves the space up top clear for sun lounges or an outdoor table.

A bank of four solar panels has been fitted on the hardtop superstructure to collect power for the extra storage batteries. Horizon’s technicians fitted 10 extra batteries for the solar power, as well as the usual four engine starter batteries.

The satellite television and internet systems were also customized to suit extensive travel. The owner’s destinations include the entire West coast and the Top End, wild and rugged but beautiful areas of Australia. Deep water and extreme coastal tidal movements demanded a 100 metre anchor chain (double the standard length) accompanied by a sparkling stainless steel Delta plough anchor on the bow.

The helm station is fitted with a pair of Raymarine E165 Hybridtouch monitors for navigation and sonar, Mercury’s VesselView display unit for monitoring engine management, and the control for the bow thruster. The couple optioned for twin helm armchairs rather than the usual one as both have their skipper’s tickets and will spend much of their voyage time up here. Night vision lighting is also included and there’s a day bed to starboard for those long hauls at the wheel.

Another extra are the rope cutters fitted to each drive shaft as a lot of the areas to be travelled are well established rock lobster grounds with thousands of pot ropes and floats.

COCKPIT AND DECKS
– Glorious sunsets ahead
Being a catamaran of course you have two marlin boards either side of the large tunnel hull of the PC52. The stainless safety rails double up for that outdoor barbeque mounting. The teak decking starts on the two steps and continues into the rear cockpit which spans the full 6.75m beam.

A large settee to seat eight or nine people curves along the transom, accompanied by a large high-gloss  teak dining table and four chairs.

Below deck there is easy access to the engines rooms in each hull. Immediately at the foot of the ladders are facilities for regular maintenance and service checks such as a sight gauge for fuel, fuel filters and the like – all located in easy-to-get-to places at the foot of the hatches.

Two large refrigeration units are located on the starboard bulkhead in the cockpit, giving that all-important chilling and freezer capacity needed for lengthy stays at sea.

On the port side there is a full length broom/fishing rod/rubbish bin storage locker under the staircase heading aloft, plus that tool locker under the first three steps.

Hatches each side of the transom lounge support general cleaning and house-keeping gear with one dedicated to housing an air compressor for Terry’s hookah diving gear.

Both Terry and Jennifer love their fresh fish so their tackle and rods are kept handy here in the aft section – not far from the dinghy when deployed. The tender is used to sneak among the bombies and reefs in the Abrolhos Islands and up the creeks in the Kimberley and Top End.

Two steps take you to the wide side decks and waist-height safety railing. The stainless rails continue across the foredeck and provide backrests for the two teak-planked bow seats, an excellent vantage point in calm weather.

SALOON AND ACCOMMODATION
– Bright an airy
Immediately to port as we entered the saloon, Terry opened the main electrics cabinet, complete with master switches, battery power gauges, engine start buttons, sullage and sewage tank gauges – all very neat and easy to read.

Along the port side, the white hickory takes over with a series of cupboards and drawers, all with the timber grain matching perfectly. Every cupboard door on the vessel is fitted with automatic light switches so when opened the interior is illuminated.

The saloon has a raised deck section about 200mm high where the lounge, coffee table and television are located. The Cootes also opted for an office desk to be included in this area.

Enquiring what was below the white walnut flooring, the Horizon designers explained it was vacant space. Terry’s mind immediately got working and he requested hatches be set into the floor and he now keeps lifejackets and other safety equipment close to hand in the main entertaining area.

The starboard side rear galley is close to the rear cockpit entertaining area and sports a large servery, double sink, dishwasher, electric hob and hood, microwave oven and full-sized refrigerator and icemaker. A large food pantry was installed next to the fridge at Jennifer’s request in a space which is normally a panelled wall.

The three cabins have wood flooring rather than the standard carpeting and again all wardrobes are fitted with interior lighting. The master bedroom is forward on the starboard side with the owners’ bathroom astern. The main guest queen suite is located directly opposite on the port side with the second bathroom amidships and a twin single berth cabin aft. The washing machine and clothes dryer are located in a cupboard recess in these quarters.

Cleverly, the Horizon designers have made it possible to easily access some of the vessel’s plumbing equipment and valves by simply removing the built-in mirrors on the interior cabin walls.

HULL AND ENGINEERING
– Perfection all around
The Cootes have aptly named their vessel Purrfection. Their previous catamaran was called Purrfect and it served them well but, as mentioned earlier, Jennifer jotted down in her “Perfect Boat Book” all those little things that could be done better next time round. The PC52 now ticks all the boxes and they now consider they have perfection on the water and are keenly planning their next long distance voyage.

Terry and Jennifer were first attracted to the PC52 at the 2014 Horizon Open House and subsequent sea trials met their expectations.

ON THE WATER
– Economy to please
When Purrfection heads off for two or three months those extra fuel tanks become an important factor. The standard tank is just over 3000 litres but the Cootes can now carry close to 4500 litres and with a cruising speed around the 12 knot mark that gives them a very good range.

The extra capacity is going to take some of the worry out of the agenda. Trials so far have recorded just over 20 knots at full speed and at 12 knots cruising, consumed 70 litres per hour for both engines.

The acute bulging wave breaker between the hulls and aggressive chine on each bow makes a most noticeable difference for Terry and Jennifer compared to their previous cat. Their new vessel is yet to be tested in the rough stuff off the WA coast but the couple were more than pleased during sea trials off Taiwan.

PC52

VERDICT
– A bright, airy, luxury vessel which is already pleasing
This has to be the most welcoming luxury cruiser I have boarded in a long time. Not only did the owners make us feel welcome, but you immediately get that feeling of almost walking into that “beach house” Jennifer was referring to.

The decor is light and bright with the bleached driftwood timber finish make you feel right at home on the beach. Jennifer’s tasteful ornaments, including pieces of driftwood, continue that nautical theme, matched by the sand coloured bench tops in the bathrooms.

The workmanship is high class and according to the owners, the Horizon design team were so receptive to meeting their optional extra requirements to “Australianise” this vessel for its long-distance adventures ahead. The living space is massive and practical but if you need to, you can still sneak away into your large cabin for a bit of peace.

The whole vessel, including the skylounge is air conditioned, with the clears fixed on the aft section of the upper deck. This Horizon PC52 is sure to turn heads as she gets to know the vast WA coastline.

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