Charging across the lake at 50.7 mph, I swung the Four Winns H210’s wheel to the stops. She carved through a G-inducing hairpin that widened my grin. No slip or skip, and the bow didn’t try to nose under.
Beyond handling excellence, the H210 is one of the roomiest 21-footers I’ve tested, boasting maximized function and distinctive aesthetics. This is one 21-footer built for boaters, those who value pride of ownership and quality water time more than an easy monthly payment. That’s the H210’s greatest merit.
Attribute the H210’s spirited handling to Four Winns’ Stable-Vee hull. Incorporating “after-pods” that serve as fixed trim tabs provides extra lift and keeps the bow down. On plane, these run clear of the water, so there’s no drag penalty. My tester hit 5 degrees of inclination, and my test archive proves most runabout bows rise to 7 degrees before getting over the hump.
A Four Winns Stable-Vee also sports wide chines. I measured these at 6 inches, as much as twice the width of those aboard some competitive craft. Reversed, these are largely responsible for the docile manner the H210 exhibits under way. A wide chine beam — the width of the bottom between the chines — increases stability, adds running surface and is another Stable-Vee characteristic.
For 2012, there’s a new twist. Four Winns increased the chine beam by six inches, improving stability. More to the point, increasing the chine beam led to additional usable cockpit space. Here’s why.
By widening the chine beam, the H210’s topsides are vertical, not flared, so there’s more width lower in the boat. This enables a wider cockpit sole, and thus more room between the seats. Sharp-eyed boat shoppers will also note the H210’s tall hull and short deck. Compare the height above the rub rail on the H210 to the same measurement on competitive craft. You’ll see
Others utilize a taller deck that cants inboard, eating inches from each side. The H210’s short deck adds six inches to the cockpit over its length, approximately 10 square feet. Width between coamings is 87½ inches, a dimension typical for a 23-footer. Cobalt’s 210 ($52,752 powered like my test boat, trailer optional) achieves similar space gains in similar ways.
The Four Winns and Cobalt share another feature I applaud: swim platforms just three inches above the water. That makes boarding a snap compared with most runabouts, where the platform cantilever is a foot or more above the lake. Vice-president of engineering Christophe Lavigne explained why most companies won’t lower their platforms, saying that it’s easy to design but leaves less room for error in manufacturing with respect to allowing the stern-drive to reach maximum tilt for ease of beaching and trailering. But, thanks to the precision of the CAD design software and computer-controlled routers Four Winns uses to develop new boats, Lavigne took that risk. It paid off: Drives installed on the H210 have full tilt.
What did Four Winns do with the newfound real estate? Flip open the starboard section of the sun lounge and enter the cockpit to see for yourself. Underfoot is a wet locker, and like all the H210’s hatches, this one features a through-bolted lid and a gutter plumbed to carry water away from stowed gear. There’s an L-shape lounge to port. As throughout the boat, this is upholstered in Silvertex, a fabric with the look and soft “hand” of cloth, which purportedly is as easy to maintain as vinyl. Lift the lounge and you’ll find dedicated cooler stowage in a locker with a removable bulkhead providing fantastic access to the front of the engine: I wouldn’t gripe when changing a belt aboard the H210. Lifting the sun lounge to reveal the engine compartment, I found great service access and admired the fiberglass stringer grid.
Forward, the companion-seat backrest flip-flops, creating a spotter seat. The helm seat, a high-back bucket, does swivel, but its sides are cut away. This means you don’t have to swivel to chat with crew aft. Just swing your legs around.
The H210’s helm is styled as smoothly as its hull rides. Hand-stitched vinyl, similar to what you’ll find aboard the Cobalt 210 or Sea Ray 210 SLX ($43,707 with a MerCruiser 5.0 Alpha), and a faux granite gauge panel make it both elegant and nonglare. You’re protected from the wind by a sexy, compound-curve windshield. Even the standard trailer makes a statement. With sporty rims, color-matched frame and oil-bath bearings, it’s just like the boat it carries: topnotch, good-looking and high-performing.