A proud “Ten Pound Pom”—as the beneficiaries of the assisted migration program between Britain and Australia that ran from 1945 to the early 1970s were known—Grant arrived in Western Australia (WA) in 1966 as a nine-year-old and took to Aussie life with gusto.
“The sunshine, the outdoor lifestyle, the beach, the ocean… there’s nothing like it,” he says.
Grant began his career as a welder in the North West—“the hottest job in the hottest part of Australia,” he recalls, and today oversees several businesses in the construction industry, spanning from specialized welding to personnel placement.
As it did for so many, the pandemic prompted a realignment of priorities and a sharper focus on what really matters: family, well-being and a life well lived. In late 2020, finally taking the leap of faith to cross coasts, Grant and his wife Irene relocated to Sanctuary Cove, their sights firmly set on exploring the Whitsunday Islands and the many attractions along the east coast.
“We’ve always had boats, whether it was messing about in a canoe as a kid or cruising in a 56-foot motor yacht,” says Grant. “We’d seen Horizons at the Mandurah Boat Show and always found them an interesting proposition. The quality of the construction is second to none and they really are leaders in the superyacht finish for every vessel, whatever the size.”
By February 2021, the Taylors acquired their first Horizon: an E73 named Justified. Out of respect for its mantle as “the fastest Horizon on the east coast," Grant and Irene chose not to re-name her.
“It’s a strong name, a memorable name. It’s fit for purpose. The boat’s well-known to everybody as Justified and we feel the same way about owning such a fantastic boat—it’s totally justified.”
Upon taking ownership of their new yacht, the Taylors headed north to Airlie Beach, securing a berth at Coral Sea Marina and spending time getting to know their new vessel, while island hopping and discovering the myriad natural wonders of Far North Queensland.
“It’s an absolute boating paradise,” says Grant of the Whitsundays. “I don’t think Queenslanders realize how good they’ve got it! The Great Barrier Reef and islands right down the coast provide protective waters. In WA, conditions can get very rough. We have the strong easterlies in the morning and the dry south-westerly winds in the afternoon, known as ‘the Doctor’.”
For the Taylors, the leap that was spurred by the pandemic has allowed them to fulfill a lifelong dream. They have explored anchorages in Butterfly Bay, Nara Inlet, Tongue Bay and the legendary Whitehaven Beach. Their favorite spot to drop anchor is in the southern bays of Thomas Island, best accessed when the wind blows from the north.
“It’s incredible,” states Grant. “We kayak, stand-up paddle board, enjoy beach barbeques, swimming, fishing... Everything about the place is peaceful and perfect. When the wind changes, we move to the next bay. That’s the best thing about owning a boat – we can change our backyard every day.”
While Irene is not one to splash about, she is just as enamored with the boating lifestyle as Grant. “The social scene at every marina is fantastic. Airlie Beach is so laid back and welcoming. It’s a friendly, relaxed village with so much going for it. That’s one of the reasons we love the place,” she says.
Grant loves the serenity of open water and has taken on a new hobby as well. “I love the motion of the ocean. I’m also right into fishing and I like to think I’m a bit of a cook.” His specialty? Fresh-caught reef fish, fileted and crumbed, straight on the “barbie” with butter, lemon, garlic and herbs.
“We have a barbecue on the flybridge and on the transom as well. There’s so much volume on this boat, plenty of storage, a full-beam master stateroom. We could live on it.”
The step up to a 73-footer has not caused the Taylors any consternation. “It’s a much bigger boat than we’ve had before, but I do the skippering myself. It’s easier to handle than our smaller boats. It’s so responsive and doesn’t get blown around.”
The 2021 Horizon Rendezvous held at Chance Bay in the Whitsundays was the ideal opportunity for the Taylors to meet other Horizon owners and share experiences with like-minded people. “The Horizon Australia team is great. They’re very helpful, nothing is too much trouble. They make us feel like part of the family”.
Justified is currently back on the Gold Coast for scheduled servicing at The Boat Works, the purpose-built refit and maintenance yard that Grant says is “more like a resort for your boat than a service facility.”
“We’re looking forward to taking off back north in the next couple of weeks,” says Grant. “We’re really excited to stop at all the islands we didn’t see on the way down. Lady Musgrave Island off Bundaberg has some amazing diving and marine life with many turtles.”
The Taylors’ customary route north is to cruise Justified up to Airlie Beach, then fly home to the Gold Coast and drive their car back. “There’s plenty to see up there,” says Grant of Queensland’s northern coastline, “whether it’s Airlie, Mackay, Cairns or Port Douglas. We plan to get a pen [berth] in Port Douglas in August for three weeks and use it as a home base to explore that end of the Queensland and Reef.”
Next year, the Taylors plan to take Justified to WA and sample some west-coast itineraries, including Ningaloo Reef and the Kimberley Coast, before heading over the top and back to Queensland.
“We have a place at Exmouth, which is beautiful. Ideally, we would like to take two to three months and maybe even visit Papua New Guinea, which isn’t far from Australia. We have a 7,000-liter fuel capacity, which at 8 knots gives us a gazillion nautical miles, and twin C32 engines at 1,600hp each of which can get up to 30 knots!” says Grant.
“If you saw the Horizon sprint last year, you’d see Justified was way out in front of everybody!”
For now, Grant is working on transitioning from semi-retired to actually retired so he and Irene can enjoy more time on their Horizon.
“I’m over in Perth now working,” he says as of press time. “It’s been great to catch up with friends we haven’t seen for a long time. They’re all wining and dining us hoping we’ll take them out on the boat! And we will. We’re planning to schedule different trips for our friends for each of them to spend a week on the boat.”
What’s next? We ask. “The bigger picture is to sell the company and maybe buy a bigger Horizon!” says Grant. Now that is a beautiful life, justified.