By Go Boating
Four Winns 245 Sundowner: Performance Test
Four Winns 245 Sundowner is more fun to ride than a roller coaster.
There must be some Rorschachian reasoning behind this, but whenever we see the Four Winns logo, we’re reminded of the Six Flags theme parks. In our defense, each of the companies does have a number in its name, and the Four Winns logo has a very flag-like look to it, but we always wondered if there was something else behind this psychological compulsion of ours.
It wasn’t until we tested the new 245 Sundowner that we realized the connection: The boat’s many thrills and adrenaline-inducing ride make it a miniature on-the-water theme park. Let the fun begin.
We started our tour of the boat at the back, in a place we like to call Ski World. The 245′s swim platform is huge, offering plenty of space for skiers and wakeboarders to prep for a run. A three-step boarding ladder and a small stowage space are built into the platform.
A ski locker is just forward of the platform. Although this long, thin stowage space is the perfect size for skis, it isn’t deep enough to hold any wakeboards; however, that shouldn’t be a problem, because the in-floor locker at the center of the boat has plenty of room for larger items like wakeboards.
No trip to Ski World would be complete without the obligatory ski tow eye, which is standard. An aft shower with pressurized water is included, and you’ll find two wet lockers on each side of the walk-through transom.
We then moved forward to the wondrous Cockpit Land, where a U-shaped settee wraps along the inside of the transom. A removable cooler is tucked under one of the stern seats. This is nothing new, but the way that it has been seamlessly incorporated into the design is a sight to behold.
The engine is hidden under the center of the settee, which lifts with the push of a switch at the helm. The electric hatch isn’t the only thing that makes the engine easy to get to, though. The designers have left plenty of room around the engine, making it very accessible for maintenance — even up front.
A standard pedestal table serves the settee, but it can be removed when not in use. A starboard Corian-topped refreshment center is forward of the settee. The refreshment center includes a sink with pressurized water, two cup holders and a covered trash receptacle. Removable carpet covers the entire deck.
Moving forward, we found a swivel bucket seat at the starboard helm console, along with a matching chair to starboard. Both chairs have a flip-up bolster built into the cushions.
Optional faux burled wood accent panels adorn the helm, as does a full selection of Faria gauges. A Sony AM/FM CD player with removable faceplate and remote is standard. (The radio on our test boat was XM radio-compatible.)
Just forward of the port bucket chair is the entrance to the Funhouse, which is also known as a cuddy cabin in some circles. The L-shaped doors to the cuddy are removable.
The backrests that run along the cabin’s seating area can be removed and then used as fill-in cushions to create a V-berth. With these cushions always in use, in some form or another, they’ll never suck up stowage space.
The portable head to starboard is standard, and you can upgrade to an enclosed head if you desire. A mirror looks back at you from the forward bulkhead. The translucent deck hatch and the two positional lights that flank each side of the mirror provide lighting in the space.
Ticket to Ride
This miniature amusement park has only one ride — but it’s a doozy. We tested the 245 Sundowner on the warm waters off Tampa Bay, Florida.
Our test boat was equipped with a 320 hp Volvo Penta 5.7 GXI Duoprop engine. We had two adults and 3/4 of a tank of fuel on board during our trial.
When we threw the throttle forward, the boat was able to hit plane in 6 seconds. Continuing the pace, we saw the boat go from 0 to 30 mph in 13 seconds.
We experienced no blowout at all; however, the ride was a bit hard in the light chop we encountered that day. The boat provided good visibility during bank turns, and it went to plane as quickly as a light bowrider.
During our test run, the 245 Sundowner was able to hit a top speed of 43.5 mph, but Four Winns gives the boat a top speed of close to 50 mph. When we were at top speed, the engine was only running at 4,500 rpm, so a smaller prop might have given us the additional rpm needed to reach that top speed. Cruising speed for the boat is 30 mph (at 3,200 rpm).
New owners of the 245 Sundowner receive free enrollment in the Genmar FirstMate program for the first year. This exclusive service offers instant access to live information and assistance — and it is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. (For more information on Genmar’s FirstMate program, check our story on page TK.)
After riding the 245 Sundowner, we’re happy to have finally put together the pieces of the psychological puzzle. Four Winns has become Genmar’s premium boat line by creating such on-the-water amusement parks as the 245. However, we would suggest that Four Winns send all of its dealers the proper signage, paraphrasing with the statement: “You must be this cool to ride.”
Four Winns 245 Sundowner Specifications
|Length (w/swim platform||28’1″|
|Dry weight||4600 pounds|
|Fuel capacity||65 gallons|
|Maximum power||375 hp|
|Base price (w/trailer)||$51,978|
|Price as tested (w/trailer)||$55,908|
|Model||Volvo Penta 5.7 GXI DP|
|Bore and stroke||102mm x 88 mm|
|Maximum engine speed||4600-5000 rpm|
|Top speed||50 mph|
|Cruising speed||30 mph|
|Miles per gallon at 20-mph cruising speed||3.33|
|Estimated fuel cost for 100 miles||$45.05|
|Range at 20-mph cruising speed||190 miles|
(Estimated fuel cost based on a fuel price of $1.50 per gallon.)
Canvas Bimini top with a windshield connector, snap-in cockpit carpet, compass, depth sounder, electric engine hatch, fiberglass liner, portable head, refreshment center with sink and trash receptacle, tilt steering wheel, aft shower, Sure-Load custom-matched trailer, starboard windshield wiper, Genmar FirstMate.
Enclosed head, fire extinguishing system, hourmeter, hydraulic trim tabs, woodgrain steering wheel, aft fill-in seat cushion, dockside power, dual batteries with a switch.
For More Information
Four Winns Boats
Cadillac, MI 49601