A Horizon Rendezvous Reunion in the Land Down Under
The 2023 Horizon Yacht Australia Owners’ Rendezvous brought 10 Horizon yachts and 100 guests to Airlie Beach, in the stunning Whitsundays, for a fifth year of laughter, libations and, of course, the Long Table Lunch.
Nestled in the heart of the Whitsundays, Airlie Beach is a paradise of white sand and turquoise waters, perfect for celebrating all things yachting—which is why this stunning location has been the home of the Horizon Yacht Australia (HYAUS) Owner’s Rendezvous for the past five years and counting. For 2023, the highly anticipated Owner’s Rendezvous gathered at the Coral Sea Marina and Resort, where more than 100 guests and 10 Horizon yachts spent three fun-filled days socializing, sharing their diverse yachting experiences, and making countless memories with family and friends.
Day One commenced with a casual poolside soiree, where those who arrived by sea could stretch their land legs and those who arrived by plane—from as far away as Perth, Adelaide and New Zealand—could unwind and relish the fragrant tropical air. The Horizon Yacht Australia team—comprised of HYAUS Director Mark Western, Erica Rae, Tony Jones, Jessica Pyke-Nott, Brad Flexman and Liam Phibbs—welcomed owners and their families and friends with a presentation of the Rendezvous kit: a hibiscus-print duffel bursting with useful gear including sunscreen, a wine cooler, a towel, a buoyant keyring, and a vivid blue 2023 Horizon Owners’ Rendezvous t-shirt. Against the sublime backdrop of swaying palms, sparkling waters and islands beckoning in the distance, guests got down to the serious business of “meet and mingle” with new and old friends. After settling into the impeccably renovated Coral Sea Resort, some guests chose to dine at the poolside restaurant while, spoilt for choice, others ventured to the restaurants along the marina or into the village a short walk away for some evening fun.
Day Two dawned in customary Whitsunday style—sun peering through atmospheric clouds and then clearing to intense azure—and the next social occasion on the agenda was the traditional Melbourne Cup White Lunch. Held alfresco on the beach, the lunch was the ideal opportunity for owners and guests to learn more about each other and savor the exceptional cuisine the region’s famous for; not to mention to place a few bets on the epic “race that stops the nation,” complete with emcee Steve “Hawko” Hawkins from Ladbrokes offering tips and calling out the action. Once the race was run and won, the Horizon team presented guests with lucky door prizes and awards for Best Dressed. Gifts were generously donated by sponsors The Boat Works, Benson & Brown, AusCoast Yacht Management and Highfield Boats, and also included a range of Horizon apparel.
On Day Three, the pinnacle Rendezvous event was finally here: the entire fleet traveled in formation from Coral Sea Marina to iconic Whitehaven Beach, famous for its powder-fine silica sand lapped by iridescent turquoise water. The fleet comprised the brand new Horizon RP100, the FD103 Askari, the E98 Sovereign Lady, the E94 Black Legion, the E84 Le Bateau, the E75 Wine Down, the E75 Laguna, the V72 Placidity and the PC52 Aurora. The early start for the nine Horizons yachts was rewarded with breakfast, a reviving coffee (or two), and more time to get to know each other and discuss boating aspirations.
The impressive-looking fleet was captured from above with drones and from a helicopter by the team from Ocean Creative House, who gave guests gathered on the foredecks a thrill with several close passes. Before anchoring in the picturesque Whitehaven lagoon, Mark Western organized owners or their captains into a line and coordinated the most thrilling race of the week: nine Horizon yachts vying for the title of the 2023 Rendezvous Race Champion. These majestic vessels steaming to an indeterminate finish line was a sight to behold from the beach, and with Highfield RIB tenders following alongside at 40 knots, it was even more stirring for the owners and guests of the nine-strong yacht armada.
Once transported nimbly to shore by the Highfield RIBS—a Sport 660 and Sport 700 provided by Northside Marine in Brisbane—the 100 guests were greeted by the expert team from Fish D’vine, an Airlie Beach institution popular with visiting yachts for local delicacies, for Horizon’s famous Long Table Lunch. After a lavish spread of seafood, cold cuts and salads of all sorts to rival a royal feast, guests spent the rest of the afternoon swimming in the serene and salty waters, trying their skills on the Red Shark aquatic bikes and wishing time would stand still.
After wrapping up the 2023 Horizon Owners’ Rendezvous, HYAUS Director Mark Western said he was ecstatic with the effusive feedback from owners and guests. “The very next day people emailed or called to say ‘top event,’ which is very pleasing. A lot of work goes into organizing and executing our event, and it’s heartening for the entire team to hear the owner’s appreciation. In addition, many owners make great efforts to bring their boats and invite friends and family, and that’s what makes the event such a success. It’s a magic combination.”
Not missing a beat, the HYAUS team are now back at their Sanctuary Cove headquarters and already working on the 2024 Horizon Open House in March as well as planning the 2024 Owners’ Rendezvous, which they promise will have “a Western twist”—a not-so-cryptic reference to the mystery destination and a play on Mark’s surname.
“You’ll have to wait and see, but we can tell you the new destination will be as thrilling and mesmerizing as the Whitsundays and just as much fun,” hinted Mark.
Horizon Yacht Australia would like to extend a sincere thank you to our dedicated staff and event sponsors for another wonderful event; and to the Horizon yacht owners for their loyalty and enthusiasm—you are what makes the Horizon family so special.
Thank you to: Highfield Boats/Northside Marine, Club Marine Insurance, Sanctuary Cove Marina and Airlie Summit
Horizon Yachts Australia 2023 Owner Rendezvous Video: https://bit.ly/3uAIPgj