by Steve Morgan •
At Fishing Monthly, we like getting the first look at new ranges of boats. Horizon Plate is a new line-up from Horizon Aluminium Boats, sister brand to Stessl, which is built in the same, growing factory in Coomera, South East Queensland.
The two brands have merged together nicely under the management of Scott James. Incidentally, they also build boats for other brands and plenty of commercial workboats. It’s a busy factory that’s already spreading into their second block of land next door.
Horizon boats have been built for years, specialising in a range of affordable runabouts that have been historically built with pressed aluminium. And you would assume correctly if you thought that Horizon Plate boats were a similar line-up of craft – built with plate aluminium.
“The Horizon Plate boats feature a Grid Core underfloor construction,” said Brand Manager, Mark Johnson, “They have full height bulkheads in both directions under the floor which give an extremely solid build – just what you would expect from a plate boat.”
And if you think that the upgrade costs an arm and a leg, you’d be pleasantly surprised. Depending on the model, it’s a ‘couple of grand’ and you can find out exactly the difference at your local Horizon dealer.
The 525 tested is a true, basic runabout configuration. There’s easy access to the anchor well up front, a couple of comfortable helm seats, some simple dividers to keep your gear stashed under the front and then a mountain of cockpit space from there back.
The way the anchor well access has been built is a great treatment of the access to the bow.
There is a small, two-person foldable lounge along the transom, but this easily stows when not underway to maximise fishing room.
Also on the transom is a (standard) transom door that leads out to the boarding ladder. Both on the water and on the trailer these features are a must. Because the hull sits over the top of the wheel guards, you’ll need to climb in and out of the boat through here.
Powered by a 115hp, 2.1L Mercury Pro-XS 4-stroke outboard, this was always going to be a responsive package. Top speed was 66km/h at wide open throttle, where it reached 6,300rpm and yielded 1.5km/L. Drop the stick back to 3,500rpm and economy jumped to 2.4km/L while cruising at 32km/h.
Remember that if you haven’t driven runabouts before, they can be a little weight-sensitive while underway. Understandably it didn’t like all three of us on the starboard side while trying to film running shots while underway. Move a person to port, however, and the problem is solved.
There’s a neat bimini top that sits over the helm and this is essential no matter what part of Australia you are from. You can fold it down to squeeze into certain garage situations, however, I’d suggest that this boat wouldn’t fit into a standard suburban garage.
Overall, the ride of this boat feels solid. You can see the rig in action on the video boat test that’s available by scanning the QR code on the main pic of this article or be searching for the test on the Fishing Monthly Magazines YouTube channel.
There are around 30 Horizon Boats dealers nationwide. They can help you get a quote for YOUR ultimate Horizon Plate rig. As tested, this rig came in at $49,990.
Bottom sheet 4mm
Side sheet 4mm
Hull weight 700kg
Rec HP 90
Max HP 115
Capacity 5 persons
RPM SPEED (km/h) Economy (km/L)
1000 6.3 2.6
2000 10 1.6
3000 18 1.8
3500 32 2.4
4000 36 2.0
5000 50 1.7
6000 60 1.5
6300 66 1.5