Four Winns Horizon 190 November 2003 Boat News, Review & Advice

31 Янв 2014 | Author: | No comments yet »
Four Winns 190

Four Winns Horizon 190 (November 2003)

Four Winns makes its re-entry into Australia with a comprehensive lineup of sport and dayboats, among them the Horizon 190 — a sleek, beamy family fun machine that’s all class

It was roughly 15 year ago that this budding boating writer first set foot on a Four Winns bowrider. I remember the day well. There were two of the trailerboats in separate hull colours. At the time, these American-made boats were streets ahead of anything else on the market. In fact, they went on to win our local Boat of the Year Awards.

The Australian industry wasn’t too happy about the Yanks winning our award and there was some pretty heated fallout. But from that kick-in-the-pants, our local lads lifted their game. And I don’t think they ever looked back.

In 15 years there have been many changes at Four Winns. The company and its assets were acquired by marine giant Genmar — which enjoyed $US1 billion in boat sales worldwide last year — after the former owner, Outboard Marine Corporation, went belly-up.

Genmar, which now owns 16 different boat companies, is the largest recreational boatbuilder in the world. In America, Four Winns is among a select few boats that enjoy household-name status. That is, as one of biggest bowrider production houses around.

Four Winns has recently expanded its line-up from a 17ft entry-level bowrider to a 43ft express cruiser that is, ironically, made in Queensland by our own Riviera Group. So you can see how we have turned full circle.

While it is early days in the re-launch of the brand here, already some faithful former Four Winns owners have come out of the woodwork and ordered new boats to replace the ones they had — now more than a decade old.

Released last year in the US, the Four Winns Horizon 190 fills the niche between the 18-20-footers that make up the lion’s share of bowrider sales worldwide. It costs about $2000 more than the company’s 18-footer and is the smallest Four Winns with the throaty note from a V8 motor.


Like all Four Winns boats, the Horizon 190 is an exceedingly well-equipped bowrider. The only options on the demo boat were the yellow hull — one of six colour choices in UV-resistant Armorcote gelcoat — and the canvas cockpit covers, hour meter, walk-through bow door and filler cushion.

All the Four Winns’ imported here are packages with a full mooring cover, snap-in carpet, bimini top, Sony stereo/CD player, digital depth sounder, and much more as standard.

The brochure reveals a bagful of tempting options to consider, including different canopies, a pedestal helm seat in place of the back-to-back seat, and a Sunsport seating layout with twin pedestal seats and a full-length rear lounge.

I would add a stainless steel propeller to my Four Winns, as well as the extended swim platform and factory-fitted wakeboard tower if you’re the sporty type. There are engine options with MerCruiser and Volvo inboards from 190 to 225hp.

Pitched at families, the Horizon 190 boat/motor/trailer package includes a 220hp 5.0lt carburetted V8 MerCruiser petrol inboard motor — the only V8 engine option. You can get a multipoint injected 4.3lt 220hp V6 MPI motor, which is 47kg lighter and could deliver a better top-end speed — but the V8 will leave it behind as far as hole-shot and pulling power is concerned.

The boat is imported on a galvanised Sure-Load trailer that is better quality than you will find on some American BMT packages. The tandem trailer had 14in mag wheels, a foldaway drawbridge, surge-activated disc brakes, sealed bearings, galvanised axles and stainless-steel fasteners.

The trailer comes with skids rather than multirollers, yet I’m told the boat isn’t a handful to launch or retrieve. On the road the package tips the scales to 1270kg, which is well within family wagon or mid-sized 4WD towing capability.


Genmar has introduced an innovative closed-moulding process called Virtual Engineered Composites, or VEC for short. This incredible boatbuilding technology will be investigated in detail in an upcoming issue of TB. The Horizon 190 is one of the Four Winns’ built using more traditional — but no less sophisticated — methods.

The plug was created using a five-axis milling machine and is mindful of ergonomics. The 5.65m-long hull sports a 2.46m beam, which is wider than some competitor’s 20-footers, and helps with onboard comfort.

Extra ‘glass is used on the high-load areas and fibreglass stringers provide stiffness. A fully moulded liner is fitted to the boat and the deck is glued and attached with stainless steel fasteners. Fitted with clip-in carpet, the 190 is easy to maintain. Remove the carpets, hit it with a hose and you’re done.

To help with maintenance, the engine bay is sprayed in white gelcoat, the wiring harness is routed through underfloor conduits, and the storage lockers drain away. The boat’s upholstery is a product called Aquaflex, which is apparently stronger, lighter and more supple than conventional vinyl.


My tour began in the bow, where there is U-shaped seating and sufficient buoyancy to carry two adults or kids. The seats have padded backrests. The stainless steel bowrail doubles as a handhold or place to swing a fender — far better than those toy plastic grabs.

A couple of drinkholders are nearby, but there is no place for stowing personals up front. The little patch of non-skid on the foredeck could be more aggressive. And the hinged seat bases limit access to the storage lockers.

However there are clips to hold a plough anchor in place — presumably you stow the anchor rope in a separate locker — and the hinged seat bases at least ensure they won’t be lost overboard.

The walkthrough back to cockpit is nice and wide. This 190 was fitted with a removable windbreak or door that did an admirable job of keeping the cold winter air at bay.

All the deck gear is heavy duty, including the supports for the armour-plate glass windscreen. The navigation light is chrome, not plastic; the six mooring cleats are easy to find, and there is a stainless steel rub rail.

The drinkholders and grab handles strewn about the cockpit are hallmarks of American boats. The standard seating arrangement is a common one, too — back-to-back helm seats and aft quarter seats that relocate alongside the engine box to create a sunpad.

The back-to-back seats are better than many, with a really good recliner mechanism that lets you convert them to sunpads with elevated headrests. I noted that the aft quarter seats were nice and deep for security.

Storage exists under the aft sea bases, in cockpit sidepockets and moulded full-length side shelves. There are numerous padded vinyl facias in the cockpit that will take some looking after.

Four Winns 190

Between the helm seats is a tremendous subfloor locker whose lid lifts on a gas strut to reveal room for stowing wakeboards, skis and wetsuits. An elevated rubber mat ensures good drainage and drying of whatever is left inside.

The copilot’s or portside console has a lockable glovebox and a deep icebox with overboard drain. It’s good to see the CD player on the driver’s side — the owner doesn’t need to lean across to adjust volume or change tracks.

The dash has moulded burl facias with recessed Faria gauges branded Four Winns. You get a digital depth sounder with alarm; multifunction bezel conveying fuel, battery, oil and temp levels; a tacho and speedo.

The switch panel controls the bilge pump and blower, nav lights, courtesy lights and horn. There are two accessory switches and a 12V outlet for the spot, camcorder or mobile phone. The tilt-adjustable wheel and seat felt good, and legroom was adequate.


Above all else it was the sensation of the Horizon 190 through the water that most impressed me. The so-called stable-vee hull has 19° of deadrise for a smooth ride. There’s a brief moment of lost vision as the boat leaps out to planing speed, but then it’s all smooth sailing.

Over choppy water the Horizon 190 was quiet with very little sound reverberation, unlike some bowriders. The lack of thumping, drumming and droning leads to a feeling of solidity and integrity in this boat.

The 19-footer’s broad beam and low centre of gravity give it stability at rest. Two adults on one side affected trim to just a small degree. Families will take comfort in that. The boat’s generous freeboard, positioning of handrails and deep seats will also please mums.

The Horizon 190 is backed by warranties that you shouldn’t need to call in. There is two years on the MerCruiser motor, seven years on the structural parts of the hull, three years on non-structural areas, and one year for cosmetics such as gelcoat crazing.


It struck me after a few high-speed passes that there aren’t too many vehicles left in the world that let you run flat-out. In fact, the speed limit on many suburban roads is less than cruising speed of this bowrider.

Fitted with the standard aluminium prop packaged with an Alpha One sterndrive, the 190 Horizon touched the benchmark 50mph (85kmh) at 4800-4900rpm straight out of the box. Add a stainless steel prop and you might see somewhere in the vicinity of 90kmh.

Comfortable cruising came in at 63kmh at 3600rpm and fast cruising could be maintained at 71kmh and 4000rpm across a windy Middle Harbour. The boat’s trim range will be improved by fitting a stainless-steel propeller.

While you needed to tuck in the leg during tight turns, the boat held on well. You could jack it around like a sportsboat and only a small amount of spray landed on the windscreen. Perhaps when fully loaded you might have to throttle up when crossing steep wakes to keep the bow dry.

While not as groundbreaking as it was 15 years ago, the 19ft Four Winns bowrider impressed this writer. It is beamy, comfortable, sporty and well appointed. The boat can tow skiers, wakeboards and take the family on fun runs. And it represents honest buying at $49,995 going into the Sydney International Boat Show.

Knowing that the world’s biggest boatbuilder stands behind the boat is reassuring in itself. It means factory warranties, professional dealer networks, spare parts, resale value and so on. And it means an exciting new range of boats has returned Down Under.

Four Winns 190
Four Winns 190
Four Winns 190
Four Winns Horizon 190

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