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Four winns H4 running 400Much more than just a bow-rider

By Andy Adams

Seen here in navy blue with white, the extensive options list allows owners to personalize their H4 with features like the wake tower, interior colour choices, Mercury power as well as Yamaha and far more.

The well-known Four Winns brand is now a part of the international boatbuilder Groupe Beneteau and the new H4 is a great example of how the design and engineering resources of Beneteau can up the game even for a brand like Four Winns that has a long and distinguished history.

The Cadillac Michigan-built H4 is a brand-new design this year and we think it's especially handsome. The vertical stem bow is all new and innovative. It is a design feature that was chosen to give Four Winns and the H4 a sense of modern and contemporary look while the stern remains more traditional. The distinctive bow includes a stainless-steel scuff plate to ward off damage when hauling up the anchor. The H4 also has a bit of tumble-home at the stern like traditional wooden boats used to have, giving it an attractive shape. The H4 is a lovely big boat at 23 feet 11 inches overall (plus the motor) on an 8-foot 5-inch beam and with a boat and engine weight of approximately 4,500 lbs.  

Four winns H4 test boat 400With an 18-degree vee-hull at the transom, it has more buoyancy aft than deeper vee designs and that supports a wide variety of power options and design iterations. The H4 is available as a classic cottage boat with MerCruiser or Volvo Penta inboard stern-drive power, or as an outboard version with Mercury or Yamaha power (like our test boat) and there are also Merc’ and Volvo forward-drive versions for those who want to wake surf.

Our actual Miami Boat Show test boat at the Sea Isle docks in Miami.

The Surf Edition includes two stern ballast bags and a third ballast bag mounted forward. In surf mode, you deploy the electronic trim tabs to their maximum to help shape the wake for surfing. It's a great option for cottagers and others because you can get a versatile H4 Surf Edition at $120,000 US compared to $200,000 for a dedicated wake surf boat. The H4 starts at around $100,000 US which seems to us to be an attractive price point.

The extensive options list allows a high degree of personalization for specialized uses as well as interior and hull colour choices.

EXTERIOR

At the bow, our test boat had an anchor locker with a powered windlass which is a great feature in this size of boat. There were docking lights as well as rectangular pull-up cleats.

Four winns H4 swim platform 400An important design feature on the H4 is the multi-way curved windshield that carries far back for great lines. It's called a CrossCurve windshield by Taylor Made and it features a bright header and powder-coated A-pillars (in gray to match our test boat’s trim). We loved the wind doors on friction hinges in the helm console walk-through. These stay in position without needing other latches. The underfloor locker in the same area has room for skis, boards and other large items.

Even in the outboard version, the H4 has a big swim platform. The sun pad sides can tilt for head rests or lift for port and starboard walk-throughs. The test boat’s Yamaha F300 was a white version to match the boat.

Our test boat had a Bimini top, but many buyers are likely to opt for one of the wakeboard towers that have a Bimini included.  

From the stern, even in the outboard version, there is a generous swim platform that includes a powder-coated boarding ladder under a cover. This ladder is a signature Four Winns feature with wide steps and it stays out at an angle. Soft yet grippy decking adds to safety on the platform. The boat also gets a remote stereo system control here, a freshwater filler and a shower.

The sun pad has built-in cup holders, a cell phone tray (!) and both sides can lift for a walk-through. The sides can also angle up as backrests for tanning.

Four winns H4 cockpit 400INTERIOR LAYOUT

The cockpit has wraparound seating, storage under the seats with hinged seat tops and the lids are gasketed with a drainage channel. Under-seat storage includes a place for an Igloo Cooler. There are cupholders and on both sides, there is a covered trash locker with a removable bin – a very nice feature!

Eight drink holders in the cockpit, more in the bow and swivel seats at the helm and companion sides give the H4 great accommodations for a gang of people.

Throughout the H4 interior are stainless steel grab bars and these are all wrapped and stitched for comfort and an elegant, finished look. Another great feature is the cool-touch upholstery material that does not get so hot in the sun. The rich upholstery included quilted stitching and it’s all made by Four Winns in Cadillac. Snap-out floor coverings are coconut reed mat material that is attractive and easy to clean.

HELM

The seats at the helm and companion positions are really neat. With one lever, the seat can slide and also swivel. It’s Four Winns own mechanism – again very nice. Also, while the seat backs wrap around, they are cut away by your leg so you can turn around without swivelling the seat.

Four winns H4 Nick Harvey 400The helm is well-equipped with hand-stitched trim, an all-digital dashboard that’s standard with one 7-inch screen and a second 7-inch screen is optional. Four Winns uses a machined billet style dashboard for the switches. There is even a wireless charger for your cell phone at the helm and two USBs for charging on the companion side.

Four Winns Brand Manager Nick Harvey demonstrates the electrically-lifted hatch that gives the outboard version of the H4 standing height privacy for a change area or head. Curtains lower to enclose this space.

For comfort, the H4 includes a tilting wrapped and stitched steering wheel. The test boat also had the optional JL Audio system with a subwoofer and four speakers.

Four Winns includes a table with the H4 and it can be stowed in the aft hatch on the outboard version while the table post can be stowed in two different places.

Yamaha's flush-mounted controls are very cool and there’s a side armrest for the driver’s throttle hand. Really appreciate that!

Something else that will be appreciated in the outboard version of the H4 is that the area where an inboard engine would have been installed on a sterndrive version gets finished with an electric lift that opens the hatch right up to vertical. This gets a fold-out enclosure and the H4 is available with a head so you can have a private change space, or even a private standing height head!    

In recent years, powerboat designs have leaned toward what we call day boating. With the onboard private head enclosure, the Four Winns H4 has many of the important features of a day boat in a size and at a price that is an eye-opener!

Four winns H4 privacy enclosure 400PERFORMANCE

So how did this run? The test boat had the new Yamaha 300 horsepower 4.2-litre V6 engine with integrated digital steering. We were out in Biscayne Bay with Nick Harvey, Brand Director for Four Winns. It was a windy day to begin with, plus there were many boat show boats out in the same area being driven hard by potential buyers, dealers and other members of the press. Some were 50-footers running flat out.  The Bay was really chopped up. In spite of that, the H4 ran beautifully - high and dry over the waves and landing softly. The Yamaha F300 was smooth and quiet and very responsive, particularly at the mid-range.

This studio shot shows the privacy enclosure.

The 24-foot H4 handled the rough conditions with confidence. We found the steering was light and the power trim responds quickly making the boat very enjoyable to drive. The 300-horsepower Yamaha provided plenty of acceleration to get a big group of people up on plane and the engine feels eager and always ready to take off. The H4 felt playful with the four of us on board.

In the outboard version we drove, the Four Winns H4 was quick, capable and a pleasure to run. As we mentioned in the opening, there are three different power choices of outboard, sterndrive or surf drive as well as a ton of options available for this boat. You can keep it simple and keep the price down, or you can load it up and still have an excellent price for such an elegant and spacious boat.

With so many thoughtful features and options, the H4 is much more than just a bowrider!

 

SPECIFICATIONS

ENGINE: Yamaha F 300 XS B2 with Digital Electronic Steering, 4.2-litre V6 engine, 300 hp, stainless-steel prop.

RPM SPEED MPH

1,000  5.3

1,500  7.5

2,000  8.0

2,500 12.6

3,000 15.2

3,500 26.1

4,000 33.2

4,500 37.9

5,000 42.2

5,500 46.9

5,950 50.8 MAX

Length OA: 23’11” / 7.3 m

Beam: 8’5” / 2.54 m

Approx. Boat and Engine Weight: 4,500 lbs / 2041 kg

Fuel capacity: 52 gals / 197 L

Water capacity: 12 gals / 45 L

Price base in USD: $101,275

Boat and price supplied by: Four Winns, www.fourwinns.com