The world’s largest bowrider-yacht has raised the bar on what a fun family minded vessel could be.
The Four Winns company slogan is “Life should be a beautiful ride.” As I climbed aboard their all-newfor- 2015 Horizon 440 at the Toronto Boat Show last month, I added a few more appropriate adjectives to that line: sweet, incredible and fun. The brochure says that the 440 is the largest bowrider in the world, designed specifically to provide the ultimate in comfortable living and gracious entertaining on the water.
Let’s set the ‘bowrider’ label aside for a moment. I’ll suggest that every cruiser-sized boat owner wants to have enough room to both live on board and also have the space to entertain guests and friends. Up until now those two goals have been at odds with one other. Previous versions of cruisers or yachts, from all manufacturers, have sacrificed living space for entertaining areas, or vice versa. By introducing the Horizon 440, Four Winns has certainly raised the bar and shown us a vision of what’s possible in the future. And it’s here now.
The 440’s specs also state that the capacity is ‘yacht-rated’. I’m not sure that the terms ‘bowrider’ and ‘yacht’ fit correctly into the same sentence in my experience – but then this is an all new boat aimed at an all new buyer.
I stepped aboard the swim platform, noting that it was on hydraulics (the specs say it’ll support up to a 1,000 pound dinghy or PWC). The part of the platform that’s inside the hull proper features an aft-facing ‘rumble- seat’ that converts with the flip-fold seatback into a sunlounger. There’s a small removable teak table for drinks or snacks, a washdown shower, stereo remote and steps up to the port sidewalk here as well. Walking through the transom door, set off to the port side of a thirteen-foot fourinch beam, my first reaction to the unique layout was “wow”.
A large u-shaped sofa doubles as a large outdoor dining room with a view when the double-pedestal cherry table is installed. The area is well protected from the sun with both a hardtop and an eyebrow bimini. (I obviously didn’t set up the full canvas at the boat show, but you’ll want to do this to ensure the entire aft bench seat is useable with the canvas up – or make appropriate modifications as required for our Canadian weather – and mosquitos.) Opposite the table is a handy entertainment centre complete with countertop, fridge and outdoor sink.
Think of it as your summer kitchen. Moving forward, there’s a walkway down the far port side, but still inside the cockpit, that leads to the cabin door. Up two steps to the raised helm station, a long bench seat to your left faces the doublewide helm chair. Between the bench and the helm console there’s a beautiful and wide set of stairs that lead up to the bow through the walk-through windshield. The view from the helm chair is stunning! Whether seated, or standing and leaning against the flip-up seat bolsters, there’s something new – we’ve seen this in layouts before many times. What is new is to have a full size queen berth right there in the main cabin. Confused, I headed straight for the three-panel frosted glass cherry-wood door to what you would think is the forward v-berth. Behind it, the H440 revealed an interesting surprise.
The correct term is forward berths. Plural. Two single beds lie on either side of a centerline wall that serves to support the footwell of the sunken bowrider area above. Headroom is obviously affected compared to a traditional v-berth forward cabin, but is still impressive. There’s a hanging locker to port and both berths feature an overhead reading light and larger than expected portholes that make the space very bright. There is room inside the door to stand to dress in the morning.
Back out in the main cabin, the other door leads to a full stand-up head complete with a beautiful skylight (that’s positioned just in front of the windshield base), a separate shower (which for me defines the ability to live aboard because cleaning an entire bathroom every day or so after I shower just isn’t on my ‘to do list’ when I’m on holidays), a head and a good sized sink and countertop. There’s a full sized couch to port that opens to a double sleeper-sofa. The well-equipped galley is to starboard.
Power is provided by Volvo IPS 500 or 600 with joystick. The Horizon 440 features Four-Winns now famous Stable-Vee hull – an industry innovation when it was introduced in 1993 and still as incredible a ride today as it was then. It’s the bow area that truly defines this yacht as different from anything else full visibility all around thanks to large side widows that reach all the way up to the hardtop. The helm itself features a full complement of Raymarine electronics, toggle switches within easy reach, and of course the Volvo IPS joystick. Overhead, twin opening hatches in the hard-top provide the ‘wind-in-your-hair’ feeling that express cruisers are famous for.
The port-side entry to the cabin isn’t on the market. It is four synthetic teak covered steps down from the windshield to the bow seating area that features an almost 360 degree luxurious wrap around high seatback. Sit down here and you may never get up it’s honestly that comfy and the view is spectacular! There are four-speakers and one subwoofer here and at least 10 cup holders. A hydraulic table lowers to the floor, or just to the level of the seat bases to create a massive sun pad with the filler cushion. Farther forward, the windlass is well hidden under a hatch, the foot-pedals are deck-mounted, and there’s a great diving platform right up at the bow. When it’s not in use, the entire bow area is protected with a zip-up canvas cover.
It was here in the bow, surrounded by the hustle and bustle of the Toronto Boat Show guests coming and going all around me, that I choose to sit and make my notes from my walk-through tour. The Horizon 440 is certainly a glimpse into the future of what a vessel could be. Her designers have raised the bar for sure. In terms of entertaining space – she can’t be beat, there are no less than five separate conversation areas: the bow, the helm, the aft lounge, the swim platform and the cabin. In terms of live-aboard, I am still slightly baffled by the island queen sized berth in the main part of the cabin. When I’m paying the monthly note on a yacht of this size I kind of expect a private berth. It’s different for sure – but every boat is a compromise and if this is the only thing I can wonder about on the Horizon 440 because everything else is so truly stunning, I guess that’s