A highly evolved dayboat, this new Four Winns delivers style and substance, and capitalizes on the advantages of outboards.
The Four Winns Horizon 350 OB offers wide-beam elbow room and all the space you’d want for two dayboating essentials: friends and coolers. The big, new Horizon is more seaworthy and sexier than a pontoon yet not nearly as fishy as a glammed-up center console, which are two other options if your main priority is simply fun in the sun.
The OB on the end of model name stands for outboard but might as well stand for “only better.” By converting its Horizon 350 from sterndrive to outboard power, Four Winns has improved this boat in several ways. Performance of the OB version with twin 350 hp Mercury Verado motors is almost identical to the Horizon 350 we tested in 2015 with 760 sterndrive horsepower, with a top speed of 49.1 mph and best cruising economy of about 1.3 mpg. The big difference is sound level. Measured at the helm, the twin Verado outboards produce just 79 dBA at 4,500 rpm cruising speed compared to 90 dBA for the sterndrive boat at 3,500 rpm. Let’s also note that outboards can be tilted completely clear of the water at the dock to limit corrosion and marine growth. Servicing the engines is easier and less expensive. And there’s now a big empty space for dive tanks, floating toys or more coolers where the sterndrive engines used to be. Flip a switch and the aft seat section of the Horizon 350 OB lifts on rams to reveal a space 1 foot 6 inches deep to a flat floor, which has two hatches to reach 2 feet 6 inches deep to the finished bilge.
A key objection to outboard power will be that the motors clutter the transom. So instead of a nice view of the bay or the marina from the aft-facing lounge seat, you have a view of the Verados. Outboards also don’t look very “yachty” and upscale to some people. Despite the outboards, the Horizon 350 offers an expansive transom platform that wraps around the aft corners of the hull to ease dockside boarding, with 1 foot 8 inches of passageway in front of the motors. The Verado outboards also have a single prop, while available sterndrives have dual props that really help lift a heavy boat onto plane. With a light load, our test boat was no rocket, but it achieved plane with little bow lift.
A similar dayboat to consider is the Sea Ray SLX 350 Outboard ($354,999 with triple Verado 300 motors).