Two Enclosed “Cabins”
-- The helm console has a door allowing entry from the walkthrough passage. Inside there’s a berth, shelving with solid-surface countertop and a hull-side window with curtains. In this regard it’s certainly classified as a cabin, but the size of this compartment only lends itself to a single person being able to utilize it at a time. This makes it suitable as a place to take a nap, or possibly a place for the captain to sleep over night on a delivery. (Bring a sleeping bag.)It also can be a good retreat for a young child who has had too much sun or needs a nap. It is certainly large enough to swallow up a load of gear so it could also be used for large water toys, ones too big to fit under a seat.
To port in the companion seat console is the head compartment. Because of the 9'5" (2.87 m) beam, it is wider with more elbow room than we often see in this size boat. See below for more info.
Stable Vee Hull
– The Stable Vee hull is a proprietary design by Four Winns and it offers a unique twist on the concept of a stepped hull. We found the boat's handling to be excellent so the hull design is more than hype. See below.
Creative Bow Seating.
The H290 has creative bow seating that is both different and versatile. For example, two people can sit in the "pointed end" and face aft. But there is more. See below.
Impressive Standard Equipment.
We found many items of standard equipment on the H290 that we often must pay extra for on other boats. See below under "Major Features."
Four Winns offers a choice of three (Deep Navy, Crimson Red, and Jet Black) gel coat hull colors at no extra cost.
The H290 not only has a windshield that is curved port to starboard, but also bottom to top. It is the ladder curvature that catches our eye, along with the fact that the windshield has a standard stainless steel header.
Large Hull Windows.
We have come to expect large hull windows on motoryachts and even on big express cruisers. But to find them on a 29-footer is unusual.
Electric Adjustable Seats.
Both the helm seat and the seat back for the aft cockpit seat are electrically adjustable.
Four Winns’ proprietary "Stable Vee" hull is quite unusual. Normally we see a stepped hull allowing air to enter from the sides at about the midships area. On the H290 the entry is well aft at the stern quarters. Additionally, the step takes on a more elongated shape with a curve downward as the hull surface moves aft. Further, to the outboard sides there’s a wide reversed chine with buoyancy that adds to the stability while at rest and better turning performance when at speed. During our tests we found her to have docile performance showing no tendencies toward any adverse characteristics such as chine walk or pounding. And she had what was among the more maneuverable handling characteristics we’ve experienced.
Extended Running Surface.
Another aspect of the Stable Vee Hull is an extended running surface that comes out well past the transom, where the outdrive is mounted. This should provide quicker times to plane as well as lower planing speeds along with a minimal bow rise upon acceleration. Our tests validated all of this. We had the H290 reaching planing speed in 3.4 seconds and staying on plane well down into the mid to upper teens for speed. The bow came up less than 9-degrees on acceleration and she entered her cruising attitude almost instantly.
The Four Winns H290 has a LOA of 30'1” (9.17 m), a beam of 9’5” (2.87 m) and a draft down of 39” (0.99 m). With an empty weight of 8,500 lbs. (3,855 kg), 90 gallons (341 L) of fuel and two people onboard, we had an estimated test weight of 9,660 lbs. (4,382 kg). With a pair of 300-hp Volvo Penta V8 engines turning DP outdrives with FH5 propsets, we reached a top speed of 51.9 mph at 5100 rpm. At that speed we were burning 44 gph, giving us a range of 127 miles. Her most economical cruise was found to be at 3000 rpm and 28.4 mph. That speed reduced the fuel burn to 15.8 gph, which translates to a range of 194 miles while still holding back a 10% reserve. We reached planing speed in 3.4 seconds, accelerated to 20 mph in 4.3 seconds, and continued past 30 mph in 6.4 seconds.
Not only is this a good looking boat but she’s also a sweet handling boat. Yes, we had another calm testing area, but wake crossing shows an important aspect of how a boat handles waves, and it is here that we were quite impressed. When approaching a wave, we braced for an impact that simply never manifested itself. The H290 simply sliced right through the wave with little more than a feel of driving over a speed bump. Further evidence of this was how little spray was generated during the transition. She just sliced cleanly through and continued on.
Turns were another area where she showed her stuff. No matter now heavy handed we got with the helm she just refused to show any discomfort. She carved through the turns with just enough slide to prevent that feeling of being shoved to the outside of the turn. Her 13-degree lean into the turns also helped keep things comfortable.
The tour of the bow area starts with a look at the operational aspect of anchoring the H290. Since this is a boat that will likely spend a lot of time at anchor letting her guests simply relax, it stands to reason that an anchor windlass will be one of the more popular options ($2,538). This will make short work of the anchoring procedure but others may not mind simply hauling the anchor by hand. We would argue that on a boat featuring this level of class, that the windlass is probably a must-have item.
features a lot of versatility. An L-shaped seat is to starboard that allows for the traditional lounge seating typically seen in bowriders. Forward, that seating wraps across the bow allowing two-across seating while facing aft -- again something we don't often sea in this size boat. To the port side is a wide single seat facing forward. Both of the forward facing seats feature an interesting addition that we haven’t seen before. The tops of the seatbacks actually lift to form headrests. At first glance we thought this might be just a gimmick, but after sitting in the seats and trying it out, it actually does make a significant improvement on the comfort level of the seats.
Even with the seating being creative as it is, leaving it in this manner simply won’t do, so conversions are built in to the design. For starters, a filler cushion can be added to the port side seating to create a chaise lounge much like the one to starboard. An additional seat back and seat cushion can be added to the entrance to the walkthrough, which will allow for three to four-across, forward-facing seating. And then the entire area can be filled in with additional cushions ($615) that will turn the entire bow into a large sun pad/lounge. The addition of an optional side-mount pedestal table ($585) turns the area into a welcoming spot for cocktails and snacks.
Padded bolsters wrap around nearly the entire bow. Recessed areas allow placement of beverages without interfering with the comfort of these bolsters. Grab rails are placed well outside the area that we would rest our arms. And the cushions all have extra padding under the legs that adds just a little more comfort to the already cushy seats. As we said, this is a premium-level boat.
is also paramount to Four Winns and that is already self-evident in this bow area. There is no one spot that one would quickly place an arm or hand that is in an area that might cause discomfort. Occasionally, on competing models, we’ve put an arm up on the bow caprail and smacked the funny bone, or quickly reached for a grab handle and jammed a thumb…. None of which occurred, or will occur, on the H290.
Fine Upholstery Work.
There’s also a noticeable amount of multiple tones to the upholstery, all of which takes additional work. We see custom embroidery throughout. And even the recessed areas in the bulwarks get quilted stitching. All indications that this is a premium-level boat.
As we move aft, there is an optional walkthrough door ($692) that serves as an air dam for operating on chilly mornings. To Four Winns credit, though, these are pretty classy versions. They actually are aluminum-framed acrylic so they’re see-through, but from the seated positions at either console it simply provides a view of the forward deck.
The helm console
looks upscale with the gauges mounted to a carbon fiber panel. A standard Garmin 741 GPS is mounted to the cabin door to the left of the panel. Switches are all the toggle type and mounted to billet aluminum. Twin Volvo Penta EVC displays are to the right giving selectable information, and this keeps the panel clutter to a minimum. Above is a soft-touch vinyl brow with contrast stitching.
The Twin Cabins
Inside the helm console is a cabin, and to be clear, we use that term loosely. It’s really a place for only one person to occupy as it’s rather cramped. It certainly lends itself well to a roomy storage compartment, and parents of infant children will appreciate it as naptimes often coincide with the middle of the day. Older kids will love it as a place to escape from crabby parents.
We measured headroom in the cabin at 3’10” (1.2 m) with the berth coming in at 7’6” (2.3 m) from head to toe. There’s a solid surface counter to the side, just below the large hull side window.
To the port side is the head console. The door has a few notable features that include an open storage space, a lockable glove box and a double-latched door. All too often we see the handle latches come out of alignment on sportboat head doors and then refuse to stay closed. While we haven’t seen that happen on a Four Winns, should it happen, the secondary latch will hold the door closed. It’s a belt-and-suspenders approach that we like. The stereo is just to the left of the door and an upgraded sound system is available ($3692). There’s an open storage compartment with the same quilted stitching we saw at the bow. A lockable glove box is just below.
Inside the head
compartment there’s 4’11” (1.50 m) of overhead clearance. Four Winns remains consistent with the upscale nature of the boat as a whole and provided a solid surface counter with sink, plenty of storage and the added advantage of the hull side window providing natural light. A VacuFlush head with holding tank is a standard feature in the head compartment.
The two console seats are premium level and both include flip-up bolsters. They’re not so much double-wide but certainly wider than a single seat would normally be. This allows for plenty of room for sitting in various positions, an important factor on a long day on the water. Distance between the two seats is 26” (66 cm).
The cockpit shares equal billing with the bow as a focal point for social gathering. Our test boat was fitted with the optional refreshment center ($3,154) that added 2’ (.61 m) of open counter space for food prep, a stainless steel single basin sink, a cockpit refrigerator and a trash receptacle.
L-shaped seating is over to the port side, wrapping across the aft end of the cockpit. The same level of fit-and-finish that we’ve come to see elsewhere in the boat is repeated throughout the cockpit.
Battery Access Terminals.
Under the side seat is both storage, and standard battery access terminals. Why are these convenient? For two reasons. First, they are great for attaching power to the inflators for water toys. Second, should the batteries run down, this provides external jumper connectivity directly to the batteries. Otherwise there’d be no accessing the engine compartment through the inoperative electric lift hatch.
The aft seat has an electrically adjustable seatback, controlled at the helm, which allows it to be utilized as both cockpit seating and an aft facing seat at the swim platform. It also allows for the open space for the aft sun pad, measuring 5’10” (1.8 m) across. Of course there’s an added advantage to creating a sun pad inside the cockpit that can be utilized while the boat is underway. With the seat back fully aft, the space measures 2’10” (.86 m), providing plenty of room for two to lay out. While this movable seatback is a great idea, we’d just like to see the control at the seat instead of at the helm.
We had the tan platform mat ($631). Four Winns utilizes a bolt-on swim platform rather than a molded platform and it extends well beyond the running gear thanks in part to the outdrive being recessed inside the extended running surface.
With the electrically actuated seatback, the seating can be used either as traditional aft-facing seating or, with the seatback fully forward, a sun pad that can be used at anytime that the H290 isn’t underway. Further evidence of how far the swim platform extends past the running gear is the center mounted concealed reboarding ladder. Requirements call for this to be mounted “as far as practicable from the propellers” and with the platform so far from the running gear, center mounting the ladder is not a factor. This is also a deep ladder, having four steps, and the treads are widened for added comfort against bare feet.
Pricing and Engines
The H290 has a starting price of $135,100 with the standard single 380-hp MerCruiser 8.2L sterndrive engine. There are 21 engine options offered world-wide, so consumers can match the horsepower not only to their application but also to their country's emission standards. The horsepower options range from a single 380 to twin 380s. With our twin 300s with joystick we’d be looking at $179,538. At the top of the food chain is the twin Volvo Penta V8-380s with joystick at $204,769. Including the convenience of “joystick” technology added $11,230 to the twin Volvo Penta 300-hp engine package.
Options to Consider
There are two packages that group some of the more popular options together in one lump. Firstly, there’s the LX package ($2,077) that includes the Bimini top, cockpit carpet and pull-up cleats. The SLX package ($3,538) requires the LX purchase and then adds bow filler cushions, cockpit and bow covers, the side mount pedestal table, swim platform mat, and walkthrough doors. We also had the docking lights ($277) among the other items mentioned in this report. What our test boat lacked, that some owners might like to have, include the cockpit grill ($708), underwater lighting ($608), and a hinged wakeboard tower ($8,692) with tower speakers ($1,923). Since we’re not exactly going to be living in the cabin and watching the optional TV ($1,377), we’re going to leave off the dockside power ($2,385).
We had not tested a Four Winns boat in over 6 years until recently and we have been mightily impressed with the five new boats we have both tested and reviewed. The level of creative styling, ergonomic design, attention to detail, upholstery work, items of standard equipment, and perhaps most importantly -- a high degree of quality control -- is definitely now in the premium category. This is the big take-away from our test.For those connoisseurs of sportboats looking for something that is an excellent performing boat as well as being executed as well as anything in class, in our opinion, they should take a look at the Four Winns H290.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Four Winns H290 (2017-) is 51.9 mph (83.5 kph), burning 44.0 gallons per hour (gph) or 166.54 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Four Winns H290 (2017-) is 28.4 mph (45.7 kph), and the boat gets 1.8 miles per gallon (mpg) or 0.77 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 194 miles (312.21 kilometers).
- Tested power is 2 x 300-hp Volvo Penta V8-300 CE.
Standard and Optional Features
|CD Stereo||Standard AM/FM/Bluetooth, USB/MP3 Port|
|Carpet: Cockpit||Optional Snap-in|
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
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