Cor D. Rover on Horizon’s Pioneering High-Volume FD Series
With 65 yachts built and sold worldwide, the renowned designer discusses the creation of the Industry’s Fastest Growing Yacht Series
It took a sketch, a chance meeting, and a leap of faith. In hindsight, the events that led to the creation of the world’s fastest growing yacht series could have been considered an alignment of the stars – it was the rainy-day inspiration of a design team, an impromptu meeting, and one shipyard’s willingness to take a risk that culminated in the creation of the most acclaimed yacht series the industry has seen in recent years.
Cor D. Rover is not afraid to push the envelope in yacht design. For over 20 years, the Dutch designer has been behind the lines of some of the most beautiful builds on the water, from 28ft runabouts to 220ft superyachts and everything in between. Innovation and technology are his areas of focus, he says, fueled by a passion for design that inspires creativity.
A conversation with his design team one rainy afternoon about the increasing popularity of SUV vehicles in Europe led to the idea for a high volume, mid-range yacht design. Armed with drawings for a beamy 78ft hull with large windows and five staterooms, Cor visited the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show and stopped by the Horizon Yachts booth, where he sat down with CEO John Lu and showed him the drawings.
“John immediately understood our idea and saw the potential for this type of yacht and what it could give to his clients,” says Cor. “I was brave to put it on paper, but John was even braver to develop it.”
The first of the Fast Displacement (FD) Series to be built was an FD85, which featured a raised pilothouse. Soon after, an American owner commissioned the FD87 Skyline, which saw the FD85 lengthened with the wheelhouse raised to the next deck and even more interior volume added.
At the same time, Horizon engineered a High-Performance Piercing Bow (HPPB) and hull design for the FD Series platform that propelled the series to the head of its class in terms of comfort and stability.
The FD Series’ hull features both hard and soft chines—a hard chine at the bow to increase lift force and a soft chine midship and aft to reduce resistance. A well-designed tunnel aft further reduces resistance and decreases draft. The sharp underwater bow protrusion cuts through currents with ease and reduces the entrance angle of the bow wave while increasing waterline length. This enhances ride comfort in head seas by damping the motion and improving hydrodynamic performance across the board. The HPPB design also features a long skeg that offers a longer lateral underwater surface area and yields excellent directional stability.
Efficiency and performance must accompany style in yacht design, and such aspects formed the basis of the design conversation as the Fast Displacement series evolved to include new models. Comprised of a hybrid hull shape and tunnel design, Horizon’s High Performance Piercing Bow delivers a shallow draft, more comfortable ride, lower resistance, and excellent stability in comparison to a traditional fast displacement, hard-chine hull design.
CFD and tank testing of the HPPB design resulted in across-the-board hydrodynamic improvements over a traditional design. While alternative bow designs that feature protrusions work efficiently at either high or slower speeds, the HPPB delivers lower resistance and a smooth transition in all speed ranges, bringing both efficiency at slower speeds and performance at higher speeds.
Since 2016, the FD Series has grown and evolved to its current complement of eight models ranging from the innovative FD75 to the FD125 superyacht concept, with new clients joining the family in impressive numbers. Such success would never have been possible, says Cor, without Horizon’s willingness to innovate and consider requests for customization. FD Series yachts have been fully engineered and built to accommodate such elements as helipads, tri-deck layouts, and myriad ingenious applications such as convertible dining tables and foredeck entertaining areas complete with Jacuzzis and refrigeration.
Of the rainy afternoon inspiration that led to the FD Series, with 65 yachts sold or in build and growing, Cor says the high-volume design and fully engineered customization formula will see long-term success, evidenced in part by the large numbers of new high-volume designs coming onto the market from world builders.
“The fact that we sell so many and that other brands are following suit with big-volume designs of their own proves that this concept works,” says Cor. “But where Horizon distinguishes itself is in its engineering and willingness to modify designs to suit the client’s requirements without compromising the seakeeping, stability and safety of the builds.
“Just like Porsche did when creating the Cayenne SUV, we did the same with the FD Series. Now the rest of the market is following us. Volume is king and will always be.”