Is your interest piqued by the idea of a boat that blends the sun-and-fun attitude of a bowrider like the Chris-Craft Launch 25 with the comfortable belowdecks accommodations of an express cruiser such as the Sea Ray 510 Sundancer? Well, the brand-new Four Winns H440 might just be the boat for you.
First off, let’s talk about the bowrider qualities, and that means bow seating. Not only is the forward seating area spacious, it’s also sunk well into the bow, which gives it an incredibly secure feel that will be welcome underway. You reach it by walking up a set of steps from the cockpit, through an opening panel in the windshield, and then down a set of faux teak steps into the circular seating area.
The bow seating is set up so that two people can lounge with their legs stretched out facing forward, or with four or five people sitting upright and facing each other around a teak table that raises and lowers electrically. There’s even a filler cushion that turns the whole area into a sunpad when the table is lowered.
Look around further and you’ll see plenty of drink holders, stereo speakers, and nicely placed courtesy lighting that make the whole setup super comfy. An optional “sail shade” can be ordered to help keep the sun at bay on the hottest of days. The display boat had one of these and I can’t imagine owning the boat without it.
Move aft back through the opening windshield and down four steps and you’ll find yourself in the massive single-level cockpit, which is partially enclosed and protected by a wraparound windshield and expansive hardtop. It’s so well protected that much of the main deck can be air-conditioned, as the display boat was. The air conditioning is an option, but let me tell you just how nice it was hanging out while it blasted away the South Florida heat—ahhhh.
The centerpiece of the cockpit is a huge, starboard-side, L-shaped lounge, which can comfortably seat about six or seven people around a large teak table. Adjacent to it on the centerline and amidships is a wet bar with stowage underneath, and farther to port is a small counter with refrigeration and an ice maker below it. One thing you might find yourself searching for in this seating area is a drink holder—I had a hard time finding any within arm’s reach.
Back aft on the stern, the fun-in-the-sun theme continues with a huge, hydraulically operated swim platform that’s big enough to hold a personal watercraft or dinghy. All it takes is the flip of a switch to lower your toys into the water. The transom has a two-to three-person bench seat and an integral electric grill, both with a surprising amount of stowage underneath. Steps lead up both sides of the transom to the narrow side decks leading forward.
Down below is where you begin to see some of the compromises that had to be made to support all of the on-deck seating and accommodations I just described. And while "compromise" sounds like a bad thing, it simply means that certain design elements can't coexist with others at the same time.
For example, to make room for the inset bow seating area on deck, Four Winns had to completely ditch the idea of providing a master stateroom with a centerline queen- or king-size berth in the bow–and that’s the norm on most express boats this size. Instead you’ll find an enclosed forward stateroom with a large, teak-clad post in the middle that supports the bow seating area. On either side of it are two single berths on port and starboard. The cabin looks great for occasional guests and kids, but not so great for use as the owner’s stateroom.
The H440’s main stateroom is more of an extension of the main salon. As you walk down the companionway steps the first thing you’ll encounter to starboard is an island berth that is set a step lower than the main salon’s cabin sole. What may take some getting used to is the exposed nature of this area, as it opens right into the main salon, sort of like a studio apartment. If you don’t cruise a lot with guests, you’ll likely love the concept. If you do a lot of couple’s cruising, it might be an awkward setup for you. All that said, it’s an extremely spacious, comfy sleeping area with plenty of light, decent stowage, and a standard 40-inch flat-screen television.
|Fuel capacity||300 gal.|
|Water capacity||85 gal.|
The massive, open-concept main salon has a beautiful, enclosed shower/head to starboard and a starboard galley with sink, refrigerator, microwave oven, and modest stowage cabinetry (too modest, if I’m honest). To port is a long couch-like settee and twin tables. The tables can be dropped and the settee folded out to form a double berth. There’s plenty of light below thanks to the long inset hull portlights and overhead hatches.
Standard power is provided by twin Volvo Penta diesel IPS 500 pod drives with joystick controls at 370 horsepower each. Twin IPS 600s at 435 horsepower each are an option. Engine access is easy through opening hatches in the cockpit level, and there’s plenty of room for daily checks.
So, does the Four Winns H440 pull off a successful blending of bowrider and express boat features? For the bowrider aspect, definitely. There's more on-deck fun than most any 44-footer in its class. Four Winns nailed the express boat qualities of this boat, too, but boaters with longer-range cruising plans may want to ponder whether an open concept interior is right for them.
Other Choices: This is one of those rare one-of-a-kind boats, the first of its type.
View Four Winns H440 listings.
For more information, visit Four Winns.