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Four Winns V265 (2010-)
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Brief Summary

Anybody reading this having a mid-life crisis? Are you thinking of cashing in your IRA, buying a red Porsche and a bag of clubs or trying your hand at schmoozing a Denny’s waitresses? Forget it – buy a Four Winns V 265 instead, leave the kids home and take your significant other for a cruise. You’ll have more fun and won’t get in as much trouble. For not much more than $100K (base $91,507 with a 300-hp Volvo-Penta), you’ll get a nicely equipped pocket cruiser fast enough for chasing around on day trips, comfortable enough for summer cruising, versatile enough for almost any waterborne activity. (O.K., except hard-core fishing.) If you have to take the kids, so be it – there’s room for a couple of pre-teens aboard this 26-footer – but this is really an ideal boat for a young, or young-at-heart, couple in search of aquatic adventures.

Key Features

  • Trim tabs
  • Balsa-cored hull sides and deck
  • Bow and stern eyes, stainless steel
  • Dockside power w/power cable
  • Stable-Vee hull
  • Swim platform, aft
  • Depth sounder with shallow water alarm, water & air temperature
  • Battery charger, converter (20 AMP)
  • Stereo, Sony AM/FM/CD player
  • Dinette, Converts to berth
  • Specifications

    Length Overall 26' 0''
    7.92 m
    Beam 8' 6''
    2.55 m
    Dry Weight 6,270 lbs.
    2,840 lbs.
    Tested Weight N/A
    Draft 36''
    .91 m
    - Draft Up N/A
    - Draft Down N/A
    - Air Draft N/A
    Deadrise/Transom 17 deg.
    Max Headroom 5' 10''
    1.78 m
    Bridge Clearance 6' 11''
    2.11 m
    Weight Capacity N/A
    Person Capacity N/A
    Fuel Capacity 70 gal.
    265 L
    Water Capacity 16 gal.
    60 L
    Length on Trailer N/A
    Height on Trailer N/A
    Trailer Weight N/A
    Total Weight
    (Trailer, Boat, & Engine)

    Prices, features, designs, and equipment are subject to change. Please see your local dealer or visit the builder's website for the latest information available on this boat model.

    Engine Options

    Std. Power Not Available
    Tested Power Currently no test numbers
    Opt. Power Not Available

    Four Winns V265 (2010-) Line Drawing


    Captain's Report

    Four Winns V265
    Whether you’re a young couple just starting out in boating, or older folks with an empty nest, the Four Winns V265 express cruiser will take care of you in style. (We wouldn’t mind a slightly longer swim platform, though.)
    Four Winns V265
    The V265’s raison d’etre is its livable cockpit and helm, with a table and “refreshment center” near at hand. Upholstery is best-quality, scuff- and tear-resistant vinyl. A filler cushion between the benches is optional; so is the Florentine teak-look carpet and the teak swim platform. Camper canvas is standard, turns the cockpit into a quasi-cabin and is great for long summer vacations. Protective canvas is optional.

    The Back Story

    The company that became Four Winns started life in 1962 as the Saf-T-Mate Boat Company of Cadillac, MI. Fiberglass was still relatively new back then, but Saf-T-Mate saw the writing on the wooden wall and started building in fiberglass from the beginning. In 1975 the Winn family, a dad and three sons (yep, there really were four Winns) bought the company, and for a year kept building Saf-T-Mate boats. You can still find a few for sale on the internet, so apparently the newfangled fiberglass worked out O.K. In ’76 the Winns family changed the company name to Four Winns. Two years later the old plant burned down, they built a new one and prospered. By the early ‘80s they had introduced a bunch of new boats – tri-hulls, cuddy cabins, deck boats, cruiser – signed an international dealer and were well on the way to becoming one of America’s finest boat builders. OMC bought the company in 1986. Since then it’s been sold several times and is now owned by Platinum Equity, a company that apparently specializes in buying other companies. Now under the Platinum Equity umbrella, along with Glastron and Wellcraft, Four Winns is won of the best-funded boat companies in America.

    Four Winns V265
    The arch is optional, and includes a ski-tow eye and Bimini. The young lady’s shoes aren’t recommended for boating – or dockwalking either, for that matter

    Despite changes in ownership, Four Winns has continued to evolve over the years and has been lucky enough to have been graced with good management through it all, something that is unusual in the boat business. Because of its solid, boat-savvy management, the company has built up a line of strong models, some of which are leaders in their class.

    Origin of the V265 Hull Design

    In 1993 the company introduced the Stable-Vee hull, a design they still use today – the V265 rides on a Stable-Vee. According to Four Winns, this hull uses a stepped running surface to reduce drag, “uniquely shaped” chines to add stability and after pods for faster planing. The V265 is one of the few Four Winns models we have not tested, so we don’t know if the Stable-Vee works like they say it does, or not. When it was introduced years ago it won an award from Popular Mechanics magazine, so obviously they liked it.

    $100K Pocket Cruiser

    Today Four Winns builds a raft of boats of all kind, including the V Series Sport Cruisers. The V265 is the smallest in the line, which reaches all the way to the 50’ V475. But small doesn’t mean they left much out: The V265 is built to the same standards as larger Four Winns, and comes with a long list of standard equipment. We priced our hypothetical boat on the company’s website (, adding a stainless arch ($4453); fire-extinguishing system ($692); windlass with anchor and rode ($2,060); Mediterranean SunSport seating, which converts the opposing bench seats into a sun deck ($412); a nav package, including Garmin 521 GPS/plotter and Raymarine VHF ($1,692); air conditioning ($2,856); VacuFlush head ($1,719); tank-level indicators for potable water and waste ($634) and a cockpit cover ($578). The total, including shipping, came to $109,354, list. That is an MSRP price. If you don’t have a trade in, we bet you can do better. And, if you don’t need a SS arch and a couple of other things on our list, the MSRP can be under $100k. That’s not bad for a boat in the class of a Four Winns, in our opinion.A genset would have added almost $10,000, and there are several MerCruiser and Volvo Penta options more expensive, but not much more powerful, than the standard engine. We think standard power is fine.

    Four Winns V265
    Here’s a helm to die for, complete with full Faria instrumentation, a deluxe tilt wheel and depth sounder. There’s room for both a GPS and VHF, too. A canvas helm cover is standard. Note the throttle is horizontal, as it should be.
    Four Winns V265
    The helm is plenty comfortable for two full-size adults. There’s stowage space under the seats, too. We wouldn’t mind a fold-down armrest, too.

    Heart of Vinyl

    The heart of any express cruiser is its cockpit, and that’s where we’d spend most of our time aboard the V265. There’s lots of luxurious seating, all of it upholstered in top-quality vinyl. The helm seat is wide enough for two adults of normal dimensions, not skinny boat-photo model types. We’d like to see a fold-down armrest to provide a little extra security for the co-pilot, though; some folks get nervous at the thought of sliding off the seat in hard turns.Back-to-back against the helm seat is a pair of facing benches that at first reminded us of seats on an Amtrack train. But these have more tricks: Four Winns includes an oval table that mounts between the benches for al fresco dining, or, optionally, a fold-out setup that creates a sun deck here with a reclining seat back; that’s the SunSport option we included above. Or you can get a simple filler cushion instead. Either way provides sun tanning opportunities even when the boat’s underway when it’s not smart to use the sunpad on the foredeck.

    Four Winns V265
    Sometimes it’s nice to stare aft and watch the wake, and here’s the seat to do it from. Note the stereo speakers, drink holders under the gunwale. The opening port lets air and light into the midcabin below.
    Four Winns V265
    Rig the cockpit table and – voila -- the bench seats become a waterborne bistro, just right for snacks and sundowners.
    Four Winns V265
    Four Winns calls this a “refreshment center,” but it’ll work as a wet bar for us. The drink holders will come in handy, too; why don’t all builders think of putting them here? There’s a removable 36-qt cooler so you will have plenty of ice and cool drinks handy. The molded step makes it easy to reach the side deck.

    Let Me Out of This Cockpit!

    When the anchor’s down, somebody always wants to go forward and sunbathe. Four Winns provides a set of molded steps that make it easier to scramble over the helm and through the opening windshield; the option is to creep around on the side decks, which on a boat this size demands the sure-footing of a mountain goat. No, the windshield is the preferred route, even though we predict some bumped heads when the Bimini is rigged. But it’s soft and yielding, we hope. Once on deck, there’s a comfortable sunpad, easy to remove when the sun goes down. Only thing is, it blocks the translucent hatch that lets light into the cabin – but during sunning hours, most folks will be on deck, anyway.

    Four Winns V265
    You can get there from here: Steps make it easier to reach the foredeck through the walk-through windshield. The acrylic companionway door includes a screen.
    Four Winns V265
    A removable sunpad is standard, too. The bow rails are too low to keep anyone onboard, but that’s typical of a boat of this size and type. A translucent hatch provides light below when the pad’s removed. The windshield frame is aluminum, and all deck hardware is stainless. Note the port side windshield wiper.

    Foredeck Fun

    One option that is well worth it is an anchor windlass with controls on the foredeck. For some reason Four Winns doesn’t include an anchor as standard equipment – even if you don’t want the windlass, you have to add anchor and rode as an option, or buy one at the local West Marine. But old folks – and this is a good boat for older folks who don’t want to mortgage their Social Security years to own a boat, and are still young enough not to want to dawdle around aboard a trawler – old folks will want a windlass. Hauling the anchor by hand is for kids.

    Four Winns V265
    Here’s an option you’ll want: a windlass with on-deck controls. The option includes the anchor, chain and rode, too. Note the chain stopped at the inboard end of the anchor roller – a necessary feature that many builders forget. If you don’t want the windlass, you can get anchor and rode alone.
    Four Winns V265
    The V265’s deck layout is typical for a boat of this type. Note the clear passage from the cockpit into the cabin, and the transom door directly opposite the swim ladder. Always make sure the swim platform extends beyond the prop so that guests don’t accidently jump in the water on it.

    Let’s Go Below

    There are no surprises lurking on the other side of the cabin door, at least not as far as the layout is concerned. How many ways can you arrange a galley, head, dinette and mid-cabin on a boat this size? But what is surprising is how nicely Four Winns has styled this small space. The joinery is beautiful, with just enough of it to give a “boaty” feeling without being overwhelming, or making you feel like you’re responsible for deforestation. There are three color schemes; the one we like is Sea & Sand, a light-colored package reminiscent of, well, sea and sand. Other decors rely on dark blues and blacks, not the colors you want in the necessarily small cabin of a 26-foot boat.We like the storage shelves that have been designed in port and starboard over the portlights in the bow flair. We also like the round forward hatch, but make sure Poppa can get through it.

    Four Winns V265
    The Sea & Sand décor package makes it light and airy. Headroom is 5’10”, max.

    As aboard all boats this size, the dinette converts to a double berth. From the drawings it looks more suitable for kids or small adults, so we suggest the grown-ups live in the mid-cabin. The berth is a lot bigger and more comfortable, even if it’s a crawl-in space. Yes, the person who goes in first has to climb over his/her partner if he/she wants to get out first, but that’s a small price for sleeping comfort. And unrigging the dinette every night while cruising is a pain.

    Four Winns V265
    Cruising couples will likely sleep in this mid-cabin and keep the dinette set up in the main cabin; at least, that’s what we’d do. It’s crawl-in, but all mid-cabins are. There’s stowage overhead and in a hanging locker.

    Both the galley and head are well done, nicely decorated and equipped with the necessities. Folks planning on spending nights at anchor will want to change out the standard single-burner electric stove for the optional alcohol/electric model, not that alcohol is the most convenient fuel. The other choice is to add the genset, which will also power the microwave oven and air conditioning, if it’s installed. On the other hand, if your idea of cruising is jumping from marina to marina, go with the standard galley and just plug in. It’s simpler and less costly.

    Four Winns V265
    Nice galley for a boat this size, and it’s adjacent to the companionway so the cook won’t feel cramped. The microwave oven, dual-voltage fridge and single-burner electric stove are all standard. A genset to power them when you’re away from the shore cord is optional.
    Four Winns V265
    The head’s pretty good, too, with a compact sink and vanity, opening port, mirror and enough stowage for additional necessities. A 6-gal. water heater is enough for quick showers; there’s a second shower on the swim platform.
    Four Winns V265
    There are not many ways you can arrange a dinette, forward berth, head, galley and mid-berth in a boat this size. Keeping the galley near the companionway makes the cook happy, and the head opposite enjoys a little privacy. The mid-berth is large enough for two adults; let the kids sleep on the converted dinette. Put more than a couple of folks down here and it’ll be crowded -- but that’s the way it is on a 26-footer, and this one is bigger than most below.

    All in all, the Four Winns V265 is an excellent example of a small express cruiser, one we would be happy to own – even if it means forgoing the Porsche for a couple of years. If you’re in the market for a pocket cruiser, do yourself a favor and check out this boat. It might be just the thing for curing your midlife crisis.

    Four Winns V265
    The Four Winns V265 is one of the largest 26-footers on the market.

    Standard and Optional Features

    Marine Electronics

    GPS/Chart Optional
    VHF Radio Optional


    Air Cond./Heat Optional
    Battery Charger/Converter Standard
    CD Stereo Standard
    Head: Fixed Standard
    Shore Power Standard
    Shore Power Optional
    Trim Tabs Standard
    TV/DVD Optional
    Water Heater Standard
    Windlass Optional


    Microwave Standard
    Refrigerator Standard
    Stove Standard

    Exterior Features

    Carpet: Cockpit Optional
    Outlet: 12-Volt Acc Standard
    Swim Ladder Standard
    Swim Platform Standard
    Tower: Watersports Optional
    Transom Door Standard
    Transom Shower Standard
    Wet bar Standard


    Camper Back Standard

    Boats More Than 30 Feet

    Generator Standard


    NMMA Certification Yes
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