When we first saw the boat we were so blown away by the giant strides made in the express cruiser concept we called in our videographer and put him to work immediately at the boat show. We then rushed the video to our website and newsletter to bring this exciting design to our readers. At the end of the video we promised that we would be testing the boat soon, but the call to do that never came from the builder. As a result, we have never been able to put her through the normal sea trials, performance runs, and handling exercises we like to conduct with our trusty cameraman taping. So the following report is based on our taking another good look at this boat over two years after the first one. Done at the Miami Boat Show last month we were pleased to discover that our first impressions were right, and somewhat surprised to realize that its best new innovations had not yet been copied by its competitors. The new V435 takes another step forward in some of the details, but the basic boat is the same -- and still far ahead of the pack, in our opinion.What makes the Four Winns V435 so exceptional? Basically it is five major elements:
This is a big 43-footer. She is anywhere from 17% to 49% heavier than the Euro-styled express cruisers in her class. In fact, her displacement is about the same as traditional Downeast-style express cruisers of her length. That is an important revelation because it means that not only is she a sexy and fun day boat for entertaining, but she can also do some serious cruising.Both on the bridge deck and below in the salon, the V435 has remarkable headroom; in the salon it is 7' 1" (1.16 m). All of this is accomplished in 43' without the boat looking like a pregnant guppy or the Goodyear blimp.
2. Mid-Cabin Headroom.
She is the first express cruiser in this size range -- that we can think of -- that has successfully created standing headroom in most of the mid-cabin and in its en suite head. Four Winns has done this by departing from the traditional express cruiser bridge deck layout.
By bringing the foredeck back to the bridge, moving the port bench seat toward the center, and placing the companionway on the port side, Four Winns has created headroom below not only in the mid-cabin head like most other builders in class, but also in the mid-cabin along most of the side of the bed. In our book this is a huge advancement in cruising comfort.
3. Swim Platform as a Venue.
If this boat was not the first, it was certainly one of the first to turn the transom and swim platform into a new venue for boat usage by placing a cooking grill there along with a removable cafe table. This not only frees up space under the hardtop, but it also keeps the smoke from the grill from rising into the overhead and soiling it. By turning the aft-facing seat into a counter for condiments or into a bar, with the addition of the extended platform the boat now has an extra entertaining space.
4. Innovations Galore.
There are few new boats that we know of that incorporate so many clever, useful design ideas in one boat. The V435 is full of them, starting with the two round holes in the anchor locker for fender storage. The large circular atrium-like skylight around the forward round hatch literally brings the outside in to what is otherwise a dark, enclosed space. And mounting an optional washer/dryer in the mid-cabin head is a master stroke of inventiveness and a godsend for cruising folk.
The sunroof hatch that pulls back over the windshield walk-thru, taking the windshield frame with it, is a commendable feat of engineering. But perhaps the thing we like best about this yacht is that her designer discarded the droopy bow and hull-to-deck rub rail that swoops down to the swim platform that many Euro-styled boats have. Rather, the sheer line is almost straight, with just a slight break in it, courtesy of the Rybovich brothers. To our eye, that is more what a powerboat this size should look like.
5. Well Equipped.
Finally, the V435 is equipped with an abundance of standard items, many of which are typically expensive options on boats in this class. Builders do this to get the MSRP base price of the boat down so that when consumers are comparing boats they will be inclined to the one that is less money. Another sales variation on this theme is giving a big discount off the MSRP then adding it back by means of lots of "optional" equipment that most people would like to have. Taken together these standard items on the Four Winns V435 are worth about $100,000, if not more, according to our calculations on the back of an envelope. They include: a well-styled hardtop with hatches and powered extra large sunroof, a 10kW generator, 20000 BTU A/C system, camper canvas, engine room automatic fire extinguishing system (Bravo!), cablemaster, hydraulic trim tabs with indicators, central vac, plus a score of other things boaters usually like to have such as TVs, stereos, microwaves, coffee makers and the like. So perhaps now you can see why the staff at BoatTEST.com has been so excited about this boat, no matter what its designation, V408 or V435. But as the TV pitchman says -- But Wait! There's More! Indeed there is and that has to do with customizing and personalizing this boat to your own taste. Not only can you pick the hull's gel coat color and the fabrics inside, but you can also choose one of three different interior layouts.
Three Choices of Layout
Belowdecks, Four Winns offers three layouts, differing in the treatment of the mid-cabin. Otherwise, the arrangements are the same. As you'd expect, the V435 has a forward cabin with the ubiquitous island queen berth, and a salon with galley and dinette. But aft, where most builders habitually install a mid-cabin, Four Winns puts an open L-lounge; an enclosed cabin is optional, and can be furnished with either a convertible settee or a fixed berth. In both cases, an en suite head is included, and a washer/dryer stowed there is optional.
For occasional cruising a deux, or dayboating with friends, the standard arrangement is fine, in our opinion: It keeps the salon open, adds seating and can be used for sleeping when necessary. But we prefer a mid-cabin for serious cruising, since it's quieter and more roomy than a forward stateroom aboard a boat this size. And we like the en suite head, too.
A Clean, Well-Equipped Cockpit
Above decks, the Four Winns V435 looks like a comfortable boat for two couples to cruise, or many more to enjoy on dayboating excursions. She has a big cockpit fitted out with a split refreshment center (island sink near the centerline and fridge and icemaker under a narrow counter along the port side), an electric grill, a U-lounge aft that converts into aft-facing jump seats or a sunpad, twin helm seats and a companion lounge forward.
The standard fiberglass hardtop – two skylights and a powered sunroof are standard – encloses the cockpit well enough that some V435 buyers will want the optional cockpit air conditioning, a 16,000-BTU system that we recommend for folks in warmer climates: There's a lot of glass in the windshield, and it could get hot here. (You'll need a back canvas with Isinglass.)
Standard power is twin 370-hp Volvo Penta IPS500 diesels with joystick controls; 435-hp IPS600s are available. We haven't tested a V435, so can't comment on speed, other than to report some independent testers claim a top speed in the mid-30 range with the IPS500s. We can't vouch for that number, but pass it along for what it's worth.Four Winns installs a 10-kW genset as standard, along with 20,000-BTU of cabin A/C. A fire-extinguishing system and a galvanic isolator are both standard, too. The only option in the engine room is an oil-change system.
Fitting Her Out -- The Options
In our opinion, the Four Winns V435 is good example of the mid-40-something express cruiser. Her base price of $640,636 is competitive, and comparable to other boats of similar size.
Should you go for the twin IPS500s (370-hp each) or the twin IPS600s (435-hp each) which sell for $42,620 more, bringing the base MSRP price to $683,256? Our experience is cruising at 20 knots is comfortable and fine and the V435 should do that with either engine option. Our guess is -- we haven't tested the boat -- that she will go about five knots faster with the bigger engines. You be the judge of how you want to spend your money.
Hull and Deck:
You have to have a plow anchor and the SST anchor is standard. You must have a flag holder ($214), and as we have mentioned, we like real teak on the swim platform ($7,131). You can save $500 with Flexiteek which looks good but it can get very hot. We like the real thing because it is a good no-skid surface, feels great under bare feet, and looks classy -- and it is not that hard to take care of.
You must spring for the $951 teak table unless you will use this area only as a bunny pad. You could go for real teak or Flexiteek on the cockpit deck (about $8k either way) or stick with the non-skid fiberglass deck and the standard lay-in carpeting. As much as we like real teak, we would go with the standard glass deck here because soda, orange juice, red wine and about everything else will be dropped on this deck sooner or later and we would rather not have angst about spots on our teak deck. However, we would want teak treads on the steps going up to the foredeck at the walk-thru because if they get wet they are very slippery. Your boatyard can install them.
Four Winns offers a nice navigation package for $21,538 which includes GPS/chartplotter, depth sounder, 4kW radar open array, VHF, and Sirius hook-up. If you want to do serious cruising then you should have all of this equipment. If you are in an area that never has fog and you never plan to boat at night, perhaps you can do without the radar. You might find that your local electronics shop can sell and install all of this stuff cheaper and you can select your favorite brands. We like the ability to simply lean on the boat dealer when something goes wrong with the electronics so we'd buy the package. The autopilot is $4,615 and is a must in our book. Again, you may want to use your own man.
Having cruised extensively with a KVH satellite system we wouldn't be without one on a boat. We love getting news, weather ,business reports, and watching bowl games -- and there are times when it can get kids out of your hair. ($9,231.)
We like the beauty and rich look of hardwood on the cabin sole below. It makes the boat look like a true yacht, which it is. Go for a dark wood because everything will get spilled on it, just as on the deck above. ($4,595.) Everything else in the salon and galley, such as refer, sofa bed, etc., comes standard.
Gray and Black Water Handling:
We would have separate holding tanks for both grey and black water and overboard discharge capabilities for when we are cruising offshore. ($1,808.)
We love the V435's ability to have such a great mid-cabin that could even be a master. Certainly we would have no embarrassment in giving this cabin to a couple cruising along with us -- and that is one of the big reasons we like this boat so much. Very few boats this size and price have second cabins that are suitable for gracious cruising with another adult couple. Four Winns charges $6,338 for this option. For another $2,520 you can have the washer/dryer combo in the head. This is most used for towels and swim suits, but on a longer cruises it will be used just like the washer at home.
Options Cost Read-Out from the Four Winns Website--Four Winns has terrific "Build and Price" functionality on its website where we got all of the costs above. We recommend that you use it. So now you know what the MSRP price plus options that we would ask for would be on the V435.
When considering boats in this size and type be sure to compare more than just their stated length and price. As I think we have seen in this discussion of the V435, there is a lot more to consider than just those two aspects.If our mail is any indication, yacht buyers these days are viewing their new boat purchase quite differently than they did before the financial meltdown. Whereas people used to trade in their boat every four to six years, they are now planning on holding on to them. Some even plan on passing them on to their children, which for Baby Boomers means their "children" who are already adults. The Four Winns V435 is, in our opinion, the real article: practical, functional, easily adaptable for entertaining, day cruising, or long distance trips with another couple or family, and we think this design will stand the test of time. It is also priced competitively.It is for those reasons that we like this boat.
Standard and Optional Features
|Washdown: Raw Water||Standard|
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
Boats More Than 30 Feet
|Oil Change System||Optional|
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
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