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Review: Four Winns S215

Four Winns celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, and in the course of five decades, the Michigan-based manufacturer has become one of the most familiar names in boating. While the company has amassed a loyal following with its line of mid-sized express cruisers, many of us think of Four Winns as a go-to brand for smaller sport models. After all, this is the builder that brought us the Horizon, Sundowner, Vista and Freedom series, each an American classic among trailerable day boats.

For its anniversary year, the company is executing an aggressive product launchm with a number of new sport boat models, including one that’s captured international attention. The Four Winns S215 has garnered the European Powerboat of the Year award, and has also been named Croatian Boat of the Year. This smallest model in the company’s line of cuddy cabin boats is proof that Four Winns is still very much on the cutting-edge of design in one of the most competitive segments of the market.

As a Four Winns designer, it must be a head-scratching, pencil-tapping challenge to continually dream up new ways to improve upon the day boat concept. But change things up, it does.

The S215 shares its hull and cockpit with the Four Winns H210 bowrider. There’s a bench seat aft, a pair of bucket seats at the console, and a sun pad over the engine that can be propped up to create a lounge. The vinyl upholstery has a modern matte finish and some nice stitching — details that look worthy of a boat priced at about $50,000 on the low end.

The cuddy is unique to this model. Now, not all owners of a boat this size will actually sleep aboard, but if a one-nighter is on your float plan, it’s doable in this space. The berth is just over six feet long at its maximum length. It has a cushion that folds back to reveal a pair of facing jump seats at the bulkhead. In many cuddy cabins, unpacking the berth requires you to lift out cushions and separate bulky base pieces that then clutter the cabin. Four Winns solved that headache with a clever bi-fold berth that just folds out of the way to uncover the portable head. Flip it again for access to a stowage compartment below the berth’s center section.

We like the cabin’s clever entry: a lockable aluminum tambour door slides into the overhead when opened, and it’s designed this way to eliminate rattle and take up less space than a sliding fiberglass door.

The S215 can be powered by a Volvo Penta or MerCruiser sterndrive, with a maximum-rated horsepower of 300. The boat runs on the builder’s established Stable-Vee hull. This bottom design features a stepped surface that’s engineered to reduce friction and drag while under way. Pads aft help the boat plane quickly and chines increase stability. But those who have driven the Stable-Vee often say the real advantage of this hull comes in tight turns, as the running surface really clings to the water and gives the driver that much more confidence.  

As with all the boats in the Four Winns family, this one comes with a solid list of standard equipment. In addition to a Sure-Load tandem-axle trailer, there’s an extended swim platform, cooler and a Sony stereo. If there’s some wiggle room in the finances, consider trading up to one of two special packages, which offer features such as a bimini top with boot, cockpit carpet, deck sun pads and a premium sound system with speaker upgrade and stereo remote at the helm and transom.

SPECIFICATIONS
Length Overall: 21 feet, 4 inches
Beam: 8 feet, 5 inches
Draft (drive down): 2 feet, 9 inches
Fuel Capacity: 40 gallons
Dry Weight: 3,380 pounds
Maximum Horsepower: 300 hp
Base Price: $50,154

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