By: Dan Trotter

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Dan Trotter reports about how he’d never felt so pumped about sitting behind the wheel of a boat as when he reversed the Four Winns H200 off its American skid-style trailer.




I'd never felt so pumped about sitting behind the wheel of a boat as when I reversed the Four Winns H200 off its American skid-style trailer. Clean lines and quality finish, a sleek chrome and timber dash, tunes pumping and the purr of a 260hp V8 MerCruiser - I felt like I'd arrived in sportboat heaven.

Cranking the wheel hard to port and then to starboard, the first thing that struck me about the H200 was its tight turning circle - a great quality for picking up skiers in the water or gently manoeuvring into a jetty. Pumping up the Sony stereo to test its "doof", as
I like to do, I found the four-way speaker system sounded solid and bassy without any audible distortion. Grinning ear to ear, all I wanted to do was push down on the throttle and get this baby moving.

As we impatiently cruised through the moorings in the upper reaches of Sydney's idyllic Pittwater, TrailerBoat editor Bazz and I discussed how well thought-out the layout was. Every seat had a drinkholder and the bow was configured to comfortably accommodate two lounging adults (or four seated children) as they await their turn on the ski-biscuit. We liked the tucked away additional cushions too, which can be put in place to create a full forward-lounge.

Looking into the fully-lined storage compartments it was apparent that the designers at Four Winns were seriously committed to quality. There were no sharp edges to catch on nor was any flo-coat visible - it was just clean and crisp.

Another standout feature, thought not one that was immediately noticeable, was the patented "Stable Vee" hull design. It incorporates many clever elements such as a unique, stepped running surface at the transom that improves the hull's handling during hard turns at pace. Another feature is in the form of "after pods" that quickly lift the hull onto the plane and even improve stability at rest.

I wasn't actually aware that the H200 had these features when I took it out at first. Only when I asked Mark Wellstead from Sydney Power Boat Centre if there was something special about this hull did he explain about the special Stable Vee design. It goes without saying that the ride and holeshot were excellent.




From the moment you turn the key you can't miss the fact that the H200 is driven by a 5lt V8. However, sound-deadening insulation delivers a pleasantly buffered rumbling.

Once the throttle goes down the package is quick onto the plane where a dry and sure-footed ride ensues. The bow stays low on takeoff when trimmed in and lifts effortlessly across a wide trim tolerance. Apart from the purring of the inboard, the hull glides quietly and suffers no evident vibration.

At WOT we achieved impressive speeds, although fuel economy would be better at towing speeds. Access to the inboard is easy, although spring-loaded struts aren't my preference for keeping weighty hatches open.

The plush interior which, let's face it, is a major attraction with these boats, shows plenty of dedicated quality. Padded UV-protected marine-grade vinyl upholstery adorns the lounges, skipper's and navigator's chairs, and snap-in cockpit carpet makes hosing out after a day on the water less of a hassle. Alternatively, the carpet can be lifted out if you're going fishing.

The walkthrough at the centre of the swept back windscreen is supported each side by two sturdy stainless bars. The dash not only looks great with its classic and somewhat minimalist-style chrome and wood trim, but is also functionally laid out with the gauges and switches right where you expect them to be. The wooden steering wheel is another classy touch.

Storage onboard is in a number of either carpeted or fully-moulded compartments; an under-floor gear and ski locker means you can get a lot of the toys tucked away while moving, and there's a stowable pedestal-mount table as well. More stowage spaces are found in the glovebox, under and behind the seats in the forward lounge, while under the rear seats you'll find spaces for small cooler bags or Esky-type coolers. These can be lifted out to provide standing room against the internal transom, or they can be slotted to create a full rear lounge. Smallish sidepockets provide another well needed stuff spot.

Over the back, the transom's swept-down lines give way to a sizeable boarding platform with a neatly integrated boarding ladder. Our test boat came with a variation of the standard seating that created plenty of space for socialising. Optional Sunsport seating is available for increased bum and sunlounging room but this also reduces cockpit floor space.




Standing back and taking in the finely polished Classic Navy gelcoat glistening in the sun, I felt that the Four Winns delivered the goods in almost every direction. I thought storage space could be improved, and the fact that the standard package is delivered on a US-made trailer should also be kept in mind.

The swept back windscreen looks sleek and provides a good wind-break for the driver and navigator. However, someone of my height might find the aluminium frame splitting their line of vision while propped up on the bolster.

Priced at $62,900 the Four Winns is at the upper price range of the boats tested but is still well worth the spend. It's also the second largest model in
this shootout.





Specifications: Four Winns H200








Type: "Stable Vee" family cruiser

Material: Fibreglass

Length: 6.00m

Beam: 2.54m

Deadrise: 19°

Weight (BMT): 1807 to 1877kg

Max. draft: 0.81m

Min. draft (sterndrive trimmed up): 0.38m




Fuel: 132lt

People: 8



Make: MerCruiser

Type: MPi V8 inboard sterndrive

Drive: Alpha 1

Rated: 260hp

Displacement: 5.0lt




Four Winns




Originally published in TrailerBoat #268. 


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