72 Foot Catamaran Excitement
As summer yachting vacations give way to the autumn boat shows, the excitement builds in anticipation of the unveiling of new models for the 2017 cruising season. Following the launch of the new Horizon E75 and Horizon E56XO models and the announcement of the 2017 Horizon E98 luxury motor yacht this summer, we bring spaciousness, luxury, efficiency and seakeeping comfort to the power catamaran market with the new Horizon PC72 power catamaran model.
Now in development and scheduled to debut in 2017, the Horizon PC72 is a much larger model than the twin-hulled Horizon PC60, which first launched in 2011. The PC72 is poised to bring improved functionality, comfort, and performance in a spacious and luxuriously outfitted package rarely seen in the power catamaran market.
Horizon Yachts’ Development Department manager Morris Tseng and Horizon’s CNC Tooling Center Assistant Supervisor Andy Tsai give catamaran enthusiasts a sneak peek into the background, design and development of this exciting new model.
What inspired the idea for the Horizon PC72 Power Catamaran?
Morris: Horizon first stepped into the catamaran market in 2011 with the Horizon PC60, which we designed and developed for a longtime Horizon client. The result was so successful that we went on to develop the PC52 and eventually created an official Power Catamaran series.
As the catamaran market grew, so too did the requests from our catamaran clients – for more space and more amenities. Our Horizon PC Series dealer in the U.S., The Power Catamaran Company, suggested that we develop a much larger catamaran model to satisfy these demands. Jumping to a higher sector of the market required careful consideration in order to maintain Horizon’s standard of quality, so, after much discussion with the dealer on the details of the design, the decision was made to create the PC72.
What are the main design features of the Horizon PC72 Power Catamaran?
Morris: The wide beam and stability provided by Horizon PC Series have been highly praised by catamaran owners worldwide, so to maintain these two aspects in a larger model we invited New Zealand naval architect Angelo Lavranos to design the hulls and American superyacht designer J.C. Espinosa to lend his clean, modern and chic styling to the exterior lines and interior configuration.
A well-designed, lightweight hull is extremely important in maintaining efficiency, but the slim hulls of a catamaran have less hydrodynamic drag than monohulls and thus less water plane area, which makes them even more weight sensitive. So, a big concern was not only how to optimize the larger PC72 to achieve both excellent seakeeping and a soft ride without having to reduce speed in a heavy chop, but also how to achieve fuel economy with minimum horsepower with regards to weight.
Another major challenge was the design and construction of the hull structure. Where the master stateroom and master bathroom are situated on different deck levels on the PC52 and PC60, the PC72 design situated both on the same level. This required an adjustment of the yacht’s center of gravity and a re-plan of the space arrangement. The PC72 also offers the option for owners to incorporate a Hi/Lo swim platform, which meant that the weight of the FRP hulls and superstructure had to be very carefully controlled as well.
Andy: Because we have 30 years of experience in manufacturing luxury yachts and own a CNC Tooling Center as well as an advanced composites manufacturer, Atech, it is not difficult for Horizon to produce a lightweight hull.
We use a number of methods to create these lightweight hulls, starting with the production of the PC72 hull molds. Here we utilize Horizon’s 90-foot, 5-axis milling machine – the largest in Taiwan – to precisely cut each molded part of the PC72 hull. This computer-driven milling system works at high speeds and can create single-piece molded parts that are nearly perfectly symmetrical and remarkably consistent, which minimizes the need to amend the hull and thus add more weight.
Our state-of-the-art facilities and yacht manufacturing experience, coupled with Atech’s advanced technologies and manufacturing processes give us the capability to achieve the utmost in overall performance with the PC72.
What are the biggest challenges in the designing and constructing the Horizon PC72?
Morris: To build yachts that meet owners’ demands and expectations is our core philosophy as a yacht builder. So, when developing a new model we have to consider not only all the ways an owner will want to use the yacht, but also incorporate the dealers’ and designers’ opinions and suggestions – integrating all of this and deliver a perfect product is definitely one of the biggest challenges.
In the case of situating the master stateroom and main bath on the same level, for example, we spent a great deal of time discussing the structural details and configuration and had many rounds of designs back and forth with the designer – all of this was to provide convenience to the owner and add an extra guest room. The end result makes the time spent worthwhile, however.
Another challenge we face now is delivering the PC72 in time for her debut at the 2017 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show — we have to speed up the production schedule to complete this new PC72 in less than one year in order to meet the shipment at the end of August/early September 2017.
How is the in-house design team handling the shorter timeframe?
Morris: Usually, Horizon’s in-house design team spends a great deal of time researching, collecting information and discussing the suggestions and requests from our customers and the market with our global dealers before developing a new model, and then applies all of this information into the model’s design. It typically takes one-and-a-half to two years to develop an 88-foot motor yacht, for example. In this case we have one year to complete the first PC72, so effective communication is extremely important to ensure there are no mistakes in the construction process. This does put greater pressure on the Horizon design team, because we have to maintain 100% focus from drawing boards to launch.
What advantages do the Horizon PC72 and the Horizon PC Series bring to the market?
Morris: Most catamarans on the market are designed for casual yachting, so the exterior lines, interior configuration and specifications are less enhanced. The Horizon PC72 – as well as the entire PC series – is designed with a “superyacht” interior layout, finish, comfort and amenities, and is built to ensure safety and performance while offering all options for on- and off-water recreation in an overall high-quality product.
When compared to a monohull of the same waterline length, built with the same construction method and equipped with the same finish and amenities, the PC72 is likely to offer 20% more space in a 20% shorter length.
How will the Horizon PC72 be positioned in the market? Do you predict any challenges?
Morris: Because we envisioned the PC72 as the Ultimate Cruising Yacht, we gave great consideration to its excellent seakeeping ability as well as its luxurious layout, amenities and space. Extensive tank tests were performed and CFD tools were used to predict the hydrodynamic performance – including resistance, powering and seakeeping – of these often unconventional hull forms. Our sophisticated and innovative construction techniques, coupled with the highly experienced naval architecture and design team, will create a remarkable luxury cruising yacht that will exceed the demands of the most discerning and experienced yachtsman.
There are not many mid-to-large scaled power catamarans like the Horizon PC72 on the market – and in the range of 70-75-foot luxury catamarans it is rare to find such a wide beam, spacious accommodations, lightweight hulls, well-appointed space planning and luxurious comfort. We are confident the new Horizon PC72 will have great success and stand in a class of her own.