Inland waterways offer boaters some of the safest, yet most interesting experiences, especially on a state-of-the-art cruiser. NauticExpo e-mag reporter Kevin Green was invited by Le Boat to test the new Horizon 1150 in southern France.
Europe’s extensive network of rivers and canals are home to many boaters who travel from region to region, country to country. Traditional canal cruise boats are low and narrow to cope with the locks and low bridges found along these waterways.
However, one of the largest boat rental firms, Le Boat, recently changed this design scenario with the launch of the Horizon range. The company has in excess of 900 vessels throughout Europe and America. Given its substantial buying power, Le Boat designs its own vessels and the Horizon represents a major upgrade for the 2016-17 season. Models from 11.5 to 13.5 m are built by the experienced Delphia yard in Poland.
Higher and Wider
Arriving at Le Boat’s marina in Port Cassafières on the Canal du Midi, it was easy to spot the new Horizon 1150 standing high above the low-profile boats. It resembled sea-going craft, with its wider, angular lines and tall flybridge. The company claims to have the largest flybridge in this canal boat class, a claim that seems credible when you climb up to inspect it. The starboard steering console with adjacent wet bar/barbecue and aft deck saloon make this an ideal party and conning area.
On the main deck, the stern cockpit is shaded by the flybridge. Another standout feature not found on older canal boats is the large swim platform. This is ideal for storing bicycles and fishing. It also facilitates boarding. Moving inside reveals an open plan saloon with longitudinal port galley and dinette to starboard. Huge windows accentuate space, while exterior fiberglass overhangs reduce the glare.
The main steering console offers the skipper good visibility all around. The joystick-controlled hydraulic thrusters were configured by the English company AR Peachment. You simply twist the joystick to turn or move it sideways to push the boat in that direction. We found this an excellent system during our five-day cruise along the busy Canal du Midi. The thrusters fore and aft and the cleverly designed Nanni transverse engine transmission took all the stress out of boat handling.
Our Horizon had two double cabins plus a drop-down saloon berth. Onboard comforts included air conditioning, Webasto heating, zoned Fusion hifi, WiFi, television and microwave plus a capacious hot water system. The 1150 S version has two heads instead of one.
Read more about canal cruisers on NauticExpo website.
HORIZON 1150 SPECIFICATIONS
– Length: 11.5 m
– Beam: 4.2 m
– Height: 2.90 m
– Draft: 0.80 m
– Engine: Nanni N450 50CV (plus twin thrusters)
– Water: 300 l
– Fuel: 600 l
– Price: 189,000 euros
– Berths: 5 in two cabins + saloon
– Builder: Delphia Yachts Poland