The versatility of the new Four Winns S 265 makes me wonder why the cuddy-cabin runabout ever went out of style. Eclipsed more than a decade ago by stubby little pocket cruisers, the cuddy is poised to make a comeback in this new economy, according to Four Winns, which now offers three closed-bow models in its Sundowner line. The 26-foot-6-inch S 265 is the newest and the longest and combines the smooth lines and confident handling of a runabout with a low-overhead cabin that’s good for napping, pediatric shade or just stashing stuff. This boat trailers like a bowrider, and yes, you really could overnight on board.
The cabin contains a convertible berth, a small counter with a sink, and an enclosed head. The bonus here is a midcabin area, which with just 16 inches of headroom is too low for a berth but is perfect for stowing gear. The optional 18-inch television is portable and can be mounted on the available cockpit entertainment module, which contains a sink, a small refrigerator and, when shore power is ordered, an electric stove top.
The cockpit has wraparound aft seating with a built-in insulated cooler below the center seat section. The sun deck features the same multiposition features we’ve seen on other Four Winns models — the starboard panel can be angled up for a backrest, or the center section can be raised to create an aft-facing lounge. The starboard panel is also hinged to uncover a wide walk-through to the cockpit. Out back is a 32-inch-deep swim platform that can be covered with real teak as part of the Luxury Package. The cockpit carpet is one big piece, because the midcabin eliminates a ski locker.
With 320 horsepower on tap, the S 265 I tested planed smartly. The hull conveys a real feeling of confidence, always stable and responsive in turns, and that’s absolutely by design. The boat does not take much trim and never feels “aired out” at speed. I always felt like we should be going faster, but that’s the trade-off for keeping the hull planted in the water. Maybe not exciting, but also never sketchy, and so perfect for family boating.
Comparable model: Cobalt 243