The design boundaries of bowrider length and beam continue to be stretched. The trend proceeds with the Four Winns H350. It accommodates the desires of waterfront homeowners who want the comforts of home on their vessels but don’t want or need to sacrifice top-deck entertainment space at the expense of sleeping berths or a full galley for an impromptu overnight. The latest in Four Winns’ Horizon lineup breaches those limits again — and does it with exciting style, performance and comfort.
Performance proved exemplary in our tests. The 12,800-pound vessel responded beautifully to power-hydraulic steering and electronic-throttle commands. Our crew rode in both cockpit and bow seats in rough chop and enjoyed the experience with comfort and only enough motion to remind you, “Yes! You’re on a boat!” In crisp turns we trimmed down and pressed the throttles, reducing the radius while keeping both Duoprop drives biting solid water. Our dual V-8s lacked nothing for acceleration, planing in a few seconds. The torque helped maintain planing speeds and also hold them with modest throttle adjustment in turns.
Dual Raymarine displays offered navigation support, as well as the ability to display all engine functions in partnership with the Volvo Penta digital display. If, however, we could change one thing on this beauty, we’d widen the instrument terrace to accommodate displays of 10 or 12 inches. Joystick steering, fast becoming ubiquitous in larger vessels, added close-quarters confidence that only state-of-the-art technology can. Together, the sleek helm design gave this streamlined vessel the modern look and feel that is light years ahead of vessels with push-rod throttles and analog gauges. Though we wanted it to accommodate larger navigation displays, the helm is clearly a nod to the future of great boat design.
And from the helm, four entertainment zones are laid out to make sure the skipper and host can cheerily commune in luxury, enjoying the fun of large crowds. The first zone naturally surrounds the helm station, keeping captain and mate in the H350’s social center.
Like most skippers, I like to have my friends at my shoulder, enjoying my view over the spacious helm. Four Winns makes that possible with dual seats at the station and dual seats at the passenger console. Both swivel aft to join together a tiered passenger deck complete with entertainment galley from which to prepare snacks or offer up refrigerated drinks.
Four Winns complemented the seating arrangement aft by setting an L-shape lounge to the port at the transom. There is a step down to it — so beware — but there is also, wisely, two steps up to the transom, adding protection from following seas of the big waters in which the H350 is destined to become popular.
There’s a cool trick to the aft lounge in the form of an electric switch, which, when depressed, can quickly slide the transom seat back aft, adding even more lounge space in the cockpit. When moved fully forward, the aft lounge can be adjusted to support the knees, like a folding hospital bed but with a sporty ride and a much more uplifting view.
All the walkways are lit in the H350 with a soft glow, visible only from the interior of the vessel so not to diffuse the clarity of navigation lights or diminish night vision.
The radar arch overhead was a prototype and boasted an accordion-style Bimini that folded against the aft frame of the top. We liked the open-air effect, but in our sunny, humid testing climate, preferred to open it, shading the cockpit.
Forward seating is equally plush and sporty. It’s designed with the same Euro-firmness of good sport sedans, but with upholstery so durable and stain resistant that not just rainwater but spilled soda beaded up from it, allowing us to slap it away with the edge of our hands. The spacious seating area is on the same deck level as the helm deck, but can be separated by a wide, folding-glass wind dam and windshield. The glass wind dam itself was an extravagant touch bound to fulfill any owner’s demand for elegant exterior design.
Below deck, Four Winns chose an interesting floor plan, giving just a couple of steps down to the galley with a door to the head compartment straight ahead. You’ll have to duck to the right to tuck up into the starboard single berth or the double aft berth, but once there, you’ll enjoy access to the television or, as in the case of our tester, the benefits of genset-driven air conditioning. For an overnight affair, the aft berth offered ample room and comfort.
Clearly, the Four Winns H350 was designed to fill its owner with pride and possibly a chant such as, “I’m on a boat! Take a good long look at my Four Winns boat!” It’d be hard to ignore.