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Four Winns H260

The H260 is a hard-core bowrider, designed to eke out extra space.

June 25, 2013
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Four Winns H260

BTGBG13

Four Winns H260

BTGBG13

Four Winns H260

BTGBG13

Four Winns H260

BTGBG13

Four Winns H260

BTGBG13

Four Winns H260

BTGBG13

You have expectations from a boatbuilder based in a town called Cadillac. You want to see American know-how, sound engineering, sleek design and a soft ride with plenty of creature comforts. That’s the goal of Four Winns boats and one I believe achieved aboard the H260, which offers more cockpit space, more versatility and a higher level of quality that’s bound to keep other premium boatbuilders on their toes.

The first thing you notice about the H260 is the expansive cockpit. From the platform, step through the transom door by lifting the hinged sun-pad wing, and you find yourself standing on a swim platform that’s easy to board because it’s just a scant few inches above the waterline. Striding from there to the bow, peeking in at the fiberglass-lined enclosed head with its sink and designer vanity along the way, you can see and feel the extra space built into the H260’s 8-foot-5-inch beam. The room was cleverly eked from narrowed gunwales and tucked-in coaming panels.

In boatbuilder lingo, Four Winns uses a short deck — which is the gunwale, or cap, ringing the cockpit, not the cockpit sole. Most other builders use a tall deck, which must be wider in order for the lamination crew to reach in with tools to wet out and smooth the fabric. Compare the distance between the rub rail and the top of the gunwale aboard this boat to that of other runabouts and you’ll see the difference. The result is more seating and more deck space without increasing the maximum beam.

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In fact, the H260 is all about feeding the desires of a broad spectrum of boating crew. Sunbathers have their choice of forward lounges with folding armrests for added security. The bow converts into a “playpen” rivaling that aboard wakeboard boats, enabling crew to stretch out and catch the rays while surrounded 360 degrees by plush padding. On the hook in a quiet cove, the sun pad at the transom takes on a new and inviting lilt, with razor-edged upholstery styling in evidence. The lines are straight and the angles obtuse, but the upholstery molds itself to the way you want to recline. First with the sun pad fully flat, stretch out and snooze. Sharp-looking but ­soft-feeling bolsters along the cushions let your body nest against them securely. Next, lift the starboard wing and recline on the angled pad. Raise the port wing and a cavernous stowage locker is revealed.

You’ll need that if you bling your boat with the wakeboard tower ($6,923). The tower is powder-coated and folds down for storage or bridge clearance — particularly handy if your port is in backwater canals with low bridges so often found along many lakes in the Upper Midwest or Florida.

Four Winns offers even more cool, custom options. I’d add the LX package ($1,923) for the bolstered bucket seats and pull-up cleats, and then I’d tag on the luxury package ($7,077) for its spicy-looking beige and mocha interior, mahogany table and helm, sea grass mat, and teak treads on the swim platform and steps. Underwater lighting ($654) provides ambience at night. Our test boat boasted the bow wind dam ($500), which Four Winns calls the “walk-through doors.”

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Monterey’s 264 FS ($86,171 powered by a 320 hp Volvo Penta sterndrive) can also be equipped with a radar arch and tow point ($10,375) and comes with seven color choices for the base price noted. There’s an aft rumble seat for at-anchor lounging that converts to a full lounge. The entertainment galley has a stainless-steel fiddle rail. Unlike the Four Winns, its trailer is optional.

Horsepower is another place to bling this beauty, but I felt well rewarded with the smooth-running 320 hp Volvo Penta Duoprop sterndrive. It took just 3.9 seconds to plane and 7.7 seconds to hit 30 mph. OK, so top speed was 2.7 mph shy of that magic 50 mph goal line, but if the GPS hadn’t said so, I wouldn’t have known it. Four Winns’ trademarked Stable-Vee hull delivered the goods.

Our inland lake had just a riffle on it from a fair breeze, so I cut some hard turns to port and starboard to rough things up and then cut back into the wakes to sample her solid feel. And, yes, it was solid. It was also stable, accepting acute helm input as we crossed over wakes at normal cruising speeds between 30 and 40 mph. Some of that stability comes from the sharp chines and 20-degree deadrise and some comes from the superior hookup of the Duoprop drive. With the drive trimmed neutral, it idled forward straight and true, just what you want when taking a starlight cruise or idling down a long channel to a slip.

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When I stepped off the H260 and tossed the keys to the engineers, I nodded approval. Here’s American ingenuity and Midwestern dedication to quality that will meet the expectations of any discriminating boater planning to plunk down the better part of $100,000. For the money, count me as one.

Comparable model: Monterey 264 FS

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