Boat Buyer's Guide 2014
Author: Alan Jones
The Four Winns H290 is a 29-foot, 6-inch bowrider that’s ready for any activity you can dream up — from watersports to entertaining afloat. There are plenty of hidden surprises aboard the H290, such as the driver’s-side console that houses a changing room with a small berth, which will likely become the kids’ fort. To port is a huge head compartment with a vanity, a sink, a shower and a standard VacuFlush toilet. There’s plenty of bling factor and functionality. The electrically articulating sunpad backrest that scoots forward and backward to provide multiple lounging positions, for example. Even the doublewide driver’s seat is electronically controlled.
If you thought driving a near-30-footer was above your skill set, think again. Our test boat is equipped with Volvo Penta’s joystick for sterndrives, so putting the H290 into the trickiest slip at the marina is child’s play. Powered by a pair of Volvo Penta’s newest 6.0L 380 hp lightweight V-8s, the H290 reached 30 mph in only 6.2 seconds and hit a top speed of nearly 60 mph, which is outstanding considering its test weight is around four tons. And its turning ability will make you think you are driving a 23-footer. We cranked the stylish sport wheel hard over, and the boat carved a perfect doughnut, so you can pick up skiers while they are still trying regain their dignity after a faceplant. The huge swim platform sits just above the water for easy reentry.
The H290 is ideal for larger bodies of water thanks to its Stable-Vee Hull, which features 21-degrees of deadrise to cleave through waves. Helping the driver concentrate on steering the boat and operating the throttle is Trim Assist, which automatically trims the H290 to maintain the proper running attitude. It even levels lists caused by uneven passenger loads and helped our boat get on plane in only 3.1 seconds with little bowrise. Trim Assist allows you to select any speed in rough conditions. It easily maintained plane at 17 mph, so picking your way through the slop is easily controllable. For passenger safety, there’s plenty of freeboard, even in the huge bowriding section that allows four passengers to sit with their feet on deck. It’s yacht certified, so the party invite list is only limited by the captain’s best judgment.