Strapping two outboards to the transom of a boat like the Four Winns Horizon 350 OB proves advantageous in a number of ways. Corrosion resistance is increased versus a sterndrive-powered boat, since the outboards can be tilted completely clear of the water while at the dock. Servicing the engines is easier and can be done in broad daylight while standing upright. Outboards are also really quiet and virtually vibration-free, facts we noted during our test. We also couldn’t help but notice the cavernous stowage space where the sterndrive engine would normally be. Yes, the transom platform isn’t as wide-open as that of a sterndrive-powered boat.
Four Winns offers the boat both ways. In fact, from the transom forward, the OB is identical to the sterndrive-powered Horizon 350. It features an expansive bow lounging area with a direct walk-through from the hardtop-covered cockpit and an aft lounge at the transom. The result is a boat with three distinct areas for socializing (teenagers to the bow, for example).
Despite the outboards, the Horizon 350 offers an expansive transom platform that wraps around the aft corners of the hull to ease dockside boarding. An electric ram raises the aft seat section to reach “the basement” where inboard engines would have fit — that’s 1 foot 6 inches deep to a flat floor, which has two hatches to reach 2 feet 6 inches deep to the finished bilge. There’s a lot of room here for stuff day-boating requires: dive tanks, floating toys, or big coolers. There’s another stowage bay below the cockpit deck that will hold a pair of 36-quart coolers.
The entry to the cabin and head compartment is in the port console. The head is expansive and private because it’s belowdecks. Cabin headroom is compromised by the walk-through to the bow, but the berth will do for an overnight away from home port. Our test boat was rigged with Joystick Piloting, Active Trim, and the full suite of Mercury SmartCraft features that make the most of Verado outboards. This boat returns almost identical performance and economy to the 760 hp sterndrive Horizon 350 we tested, but it is much quieter: just 79 dBA at 4,500 rpm cruising speed compared to 90 dBA for the sterndrive boat at 3,500 rpm. The performance of these sophisticated outboards is felt but not heard.
* Versatile layout is good for socializing, coving and light cruising.
* Outboard power is easy to maintain, smooth and so quiet.
* Luxurious appointments include premium upholstery and beautiful wood trim in the cockpit and cabin.
* Right size for open-water adventures.
How We Tested
Engine: Twin Mercury Verado 350 outboards
Drive/Prop: Outboard/14.625" x 17" Mercury Revolution 4 stainless steel
Gear Ratio: 1.75:1
Fuel Load: 150 gal.
Crew Weight: 760 lb.
Four Winns Boats - Cadillac, Michigan; 231-775-1351; fourwinns.com