Running a cat on open water—on any water, really—presents a different experience than that aboard a V-hulled boat in the same conditions. Four Winns’ TH36 smooshes into ocean swells like the deepest of V-hulls might. But it’s the “bottom” of the plunge that gives it that smoother-than-pulled-taffy ride. A V-hull, even a great-riding one, stops, if only slightly, as it changes direction from going down to going up. But the TH36 changes direction without any discernible pause in between. It feels sort of like it’s riding on springs. Super-smooth redirection.
Interior and Accessories
Beyond ride, cats offer more space than monohull boats of the same length. This enables the TH36, a wide-open dayboat possessing all the amenity and sociability implied by that moniker, to offer cruising amenities for four people. It is a bowrider layout featuring two consoles, each of which houses a cabin. Heading belowdecks, I found a queen berth in each cabin, and each cabin has its own enclosed head and shower. There’s also a vanity with sink, storage, portlights, and headroom enough for this 6-foot-1-inch-tall boat tester to stand up straight. Appointments and styling meet a high bar. Need more sleeping capacity? Extra guests can slumber on the salon lounges, under the hardtop.
Of course, the main mission—the raison d’être—of Four Winns’ TH36 is dayboating. At this it excels. Check out the boarding opportunities, for one thing. Aft, extending between the twin outboards, is a broad boarding platform, with swim ladder under. Engines down, you can step from the float right onto the platform and up a few steps into the cockpit. Plus, this will be a space in which to enjoy a semi-private conversation during any dockside soirées you throw. Tied to a fixed dock at low tide, you say? Use the hullside door. It is high enough to enable gracious boarding.
The cockpit lounges are a credit to Four Winns’ engineering. These slide and lock in several positions, both with and without tables. Slide them outboard, and two L-lounges reside on each side of a central walkway. Slide them inboard, and you create a giant U-shaped lounge. At the cockpit’s forward end, large, plush upholstered double chaises face aft. It’s all one level from here, right up to the bow lounge—a nice feature.
Amidships, a pair of counters to port and starboard house the galley. Lift the faux-stone lids to reveal a cooktop, sink and optional grill. A fridge is underneath, and our test boat’s starboard counter featured an optional refrigerator ($2,450) as well. The recessed handrail looks great, and is smart. Lay out your buffet here, whether it’s just post-tubing snacks for the kids or a repast for a more elegant affair. Let’s move forward, passing the helm for now.
Monstrous describes the size of the TH36’s bow lounge. It’s a square space that’s deep, plush and comfortable, and fitted with drink holders, charging outlets, and lumbar-area storage for cellphones, lip balm, and the like. I’d say eight could crowd in here; six can sit; and four can be super-comfortable. There’s deep storage and access to the anchor windlass. The bow aboard the TH36 proves a naturally fun place for wind-in-your-hair riding. But it also serves as a separate social area from the aft cockpit. Ever notice how people at parties break off into groups? The TH36’s layout accommodates that in fine style, especially when you close the windshield and the wind-block door. A removable table serves this area, and the cushions can be reconfigured to serve as seats or a sun lounge, as the moment requires.
Heading to the helm, you’ll note that the styling is ultra-chic, what with two touchscreen MFDs (our tester boasted twin Garmin GPSMap 8416 with transducer and engine display; $8,670) mounted in a pod that seems to float above the accessory switches and engine controls. A single captain’s chair swivels and slides, and proved comfortable during my daylong trick at the wheel. Visibility is good fore and aft, and I found it comfortable to stand at the helm, which I prefer while docking. Opposite the helm is an equally nice double-wide chair for companions to share the ride and, if they’re like my friends, take control of the JL Audio system.
Read Next: Boat Test: Four Winns H2e
For comparison shopping, you can look at Aquila’s 36 Sport. The Aquila is a cat of equivalent length and beam and with similar choices of power. It’s available with the Cruiser Option, which provides a solid door to close off the salon and provide more privacy and better climate control. It also can be ordered with a hydrofoil mounted between the hulls. I ran the 36 Sport with this Hydro Glide Foil System, noting increased speed and enhanced efficiency. Learn more at boatingmag.com/foilcat. A price for the Aquila was not available at press time.
Looking for a dayboat that can cruise or a cruiser that can handle a big crowd? Book time to see the Four Winns TH36.
How We Tested
- Engine: Twin 350 hp Mercury Verado
- Drive/Prop: Outboard/NA
- Gear Ratio: 1.73:1 Fuel Load: 160 gal. Water on Board: 65 gal. Crew Weight: 790 lb.
- Space, space, space! (Did I mention space?)
- Soft riding in the ocean and with a protected cockpit.
- Aft platform between motors is a feature that I loved for several reasons.
- Wide beam means you might have to pay for a larger slip than monohull boats of -similar length.
- The overboard discharge valve for the holding tank is really hard to reach. Four Winns says it is working on a solution.
Pricing and Specs
|Max Cabin Headroom:
|Twin outboards to 700 hp total
Speed, Efficiency, Operation
Four Winns – Cadillac, Michigan; fourwinns.com