Jill Bobrow chats with Alec and Barbara Hammond, the owners of Blue Horizon, Hull No. One of the new Horizon PC58 series.
How involved were you with the build of the Horizon PC58?
Alec Hammond: We were involved with the build from the very beginning, even during the design process.
Were you familiar with Horizon?
AH: I knew Horizon back from when they started 25 years ago. I had one of the first Horizons ever built.
What other Horizons have you had?
AH: I started first with a 40, then a 44, then a 64, then 68. We spent about seven months running the 64 as a charter boat in the BVI in 1998/99 and then we hired crew to take over. I think 22 Horizons have passed through my hands one way or another. I like the product so much that I am an unofficial ambassador for the company; I have sent contacts of mine to the company because I think so highly of them. John Lu, CEO of Horizon, has become one of my best friends; we get on so well together.
What is your connection to Richard Ford and Stuart Hegerstrom?
AH: At one time, I owned two Africats and they were involved in that company. I enjoyed my Africats, but they were utilitarian, and not super luxury. Stuart and Richard also wanted to get into a more high-quality power cat. While Barbara and I cruised on our Africats, we dreamed of what improvements we would make to suit our style and taste.
What did you dream of?
AH: Well, we got it with this boat.
How long did it take to build the boat? Did you visit the yard?
AH: It took eight months. Well, maybe a year including the design and engineering phase. We went to the yard three times.
Barbara, what was your involvement in this boat?
Barbara Hammond: I guess I really took charge of all the interior furnishings; I chose the walnut paneling, the bamboo flooring, the fabrics on the couches, and I substituted the Corian countertop in the galley with granite.
How much time will you spend on the boat?
AH: Four or five months. I could spend more; it all depends on Barb.
Where do you call home when you are not on board?
AH: We live in the Cotswolds, west of London; nice to be there and nice to get away. We have eight grandchildren between us, and it is nice to spend time with them.
Where did you get your love for boats?
AH: I am from Devon in the UK, where Sir Francis Drake is from, so it was compulsory to like boats. I distinctly recall being 15 sitting on a bridge where the sea comes in and dreaming of owning a boat. My first boat was an 18-foot Hardy open boat with a rubber rail with a rope around it. As my boats starting getting bigger, I spent time cruising around the UK and in the Channel Islands. When I got to this part of the world, I was amazed that you abided by red right return, which is opposite in the rest of the world.
What business are you in and are you still working?
AH: I have a company called Oxford Products. We are the largest manufacturer of motorcycle accessories and export to 72 countries. In fact, we just stared exporting to the United States. My son has taken over the day to day, but I am still chairman of the board.
So motorcycles, boats, what about cars?
AH: Oh yes, I am into car racing. I just bought a 1966 Shelby Mustang, blue with orange decal, which I’ll keep in the US. We did the Daytona. Barbara is our signaler in the pit. We like to have fun.
Back to Blue Horizon; which places on board do you enjoy spending time?
AH/BH: The flybridge and our master bedroom. We love waking up to a view of turquoise water in the Exumas.
Barbara, what interior feature did you initiate on board that has enhanced the livability?
BH: Walkaround beds. I also insisted on plenty of storage. I like how the galley is set up for entertaining, but my secret pleasure is having a separate washer and dryer and a pull-down ironing board.
What about you Alec?
AH: I like the aft-deck fish locker and icebox for keeping the catch cold, and having a filleting table—nothing like eating fish caught yourself an hour before. I am also grateful for space in the engine room. I am not a boy and hate hanging upside down to fix something. If I have to, I can change a filter or service a generator, but frankly, these days I am happy to have others do the dirty work.
Do you have a favorite cruising area?
AH/BH: We enjoy the Exumas in the Bahamas. We are not dock people. We like to be at an anchorage where there are no other boats and, better yet, anchored off a deserted island where there are no houses and people. We are not antisocial, we will occasionally go to Staniel Cay or islands that have a bar and something going on, but as our boat has everything, we look forward to being with friends alone in an idyllic setting.
For more on Horizon, visit horizonyacht.com