The all-new Four Winns Horizon H4 OB proves that even with a boat design that’s been tweaked for decades, innovative thinking is not only possible, it can also result in a better boat. Despite the fact that there are a million and one bowriders out there on the market, the H4 OB still manages to break new ground.

four winns horizon h4 ob
The Four Winns Horizon H$ OB is a next gen. bowrider. Photos courtesy of Four Winns

At first glance you might not even notice some of the biggest changes. Sure, the cockpit has a helm sea and passenger’s seat forward and U-shaped seating aft. But why does it seem so large for a 24-footer? And why does the bow cockpit seem similarly oversized considering the boat’s overall footprint? Look a bit closer, and you’ll notice that the passenger’s console is quite svelte, maybe half the size of what one might expect. That’s because it doesn’t house a head compartment, which is the norm for today’s bowriders in this class. And while most boaters would consider the bloated console a fair trade-off to get a head, Four Winns finds a different way to accomplish the task. Step back to the stern of the boat, swing up the center sunpad and transom housing, and a pop-up head compartment with a privacy curtain appears out of nowhere.

That’s a slick use of the space that’s often no more than a bulk stowage compartment, and you still get a pair of stowage compartments to either side of the pop-up head plus bulk stowage below. When we popped it open while seeing the boat at the Miami International Boat Show, we discovered it was roomy enough to house a pair of life jacket bags, extra cushions, and the canvass cover for the boat. Plus, when it’s closed up, this arrangement maintains the aft sunpad so many boaters enjoy stretching out on. The side cushions rise up and are supported by folding legs, so you can convert the sunpad into a lounger. They also fold completely over onto the center section, eliminating the need to step on a cushion when entering the cockpit from the swim platform.

A bit less surprising but certainly keeping pace with the latest tech trends, this boat comes with touch-screen instrumentation display, a cell phone holder/wireless charger, USB charging ports, and LED-lighted switches at the helm. Also included in the stock gear is a four-speaker Bluetooth stereo, courtesy lighting, and a depth sounder.

four winns horizon h4 ob
The cockpit has a helm sea and passenger’s seat forward and U-shaped seating aft.

Four Winns displays some new thinking in the styling department, too. The bow is far more plumb than commonly seen on U.S.-built bowriders, and the full-height curved glass windshield is one of a kind. Opt to get the wakeboard tower and its matching curvature swoops forward as it supports board racks on the sides and an elevated tow point. Note that the boat can be equipped with the tower and still kept in a garage or pass under low bridges, as this is an electrically assisted hinged version that folds down.

Sometimes, of course, it’s the simplest why-didn’t-I-think-of-that things that display new ways of thinking. And while sitting in the cockpit, we discovered one that will have other boatbuilders doing a face-palm. Put your hand on the little hatch in the side pocket, flip it up, and drop in your empties and trash. Then at the end of the day remove a seat cushion, lift up the seat bottom, and pull out the wastebasket that sits underneath. Voilà: easy garbage containment with no more hard-to-access wastebasket compartments or trash-bags cluttering the cockpit.

Since bowriders began shifting to outboard power a few years back, it’s seemed that most builders just didn’t know what to do with their stern-drive-centric transom arrangements. In most cases they didn’t do a thing at all beyond finishing off the interior of the former motor box and slapping an outboard onto the swim platform. On the Four Winns H4, however, we see a completely fresh new way of utilizing this space. And that—among other perks and pleasures—earns this boat the rare privilege of being called ground-breaking.

Four Winns Horizon H4 OB Specifications: 

LOA: 23’11”
Beam: 8’5”
Draft (min.): 1’6”
Displacement: 4200 lbs.
Transom deadrise: 18-degrees
Max HP: 300
Fuel Capacity: 52 gal.
Price (base MSRP): $102,060

By Lenny Rudow