All in the Family
This boat can handle anything you and your shipmates dream up.
WSM: What makes this a skiable, wakeboardable boat?
Four Winns: First, the hull surface we use is called the ?stable-V-three.? It has to do with the variable dead rise from the bow to the stern. The most visible things on it are the integrated aft pods. As opposed to having your drive at the transom, ours is actually tucked forward. It almost looks like two large integrated trim tabs. The idea behind those is two-fold: it allows the boat to plane at slower speeds and, once at speed, it acts like a stepped hull to actually break free of the water. Since it maintains speed so well at 18 to 20 mph, it?s great for wakeboarding as opposed to a typical I/O, where it is hard to hold speed. It also keeps the bow down, enabling the driver to have great visibility.
The benefit of using a stern-drive as a boarding boat is the ability to adjust the attitude with the out-drive. The more you run the drive up, the more you bury the stern, producing a larger wake. Another aspect that makes this a good wakeboard and ski boat is our swim ladder, which is one of the deepest in the business. It?s angled much like a step ladder – you can almost get in the boat without using your hands.
<b<who are you aiming this boat at?
This is for the upscale recreational boater. It?s designed to be a multi-use boat. It has an onboard cooler, a ski tow, and a wakeboard tower option for the boarding people. It?s designed to fit the family?s needs for whatever the day on the water entails.
What are the most outstanding features of this boat?
That depends on the buyer. To generalize, there are four things. First, is the hull running surface, which is extremely forgiving. You do not lose sight of the horizon even coming on to a plane. It is a stable unit because of the hull design at rest or running, so you can load it up with three people on one side and one on the other and not have any balancing issues. Second, is the instrumentation, which is automotive. There?s a multi-function gauge readout that gives depth, trip hours, trip miles, water temp, engine hours and a clock. Third, is the Armourcoat premium gelcoat that retains its luster much longer than the industry standard. Fourth, is the swim ladder. Another benefit is that Four Winns manufacturers its own all-welded tubular steel trailer custom-designed to fit the boat. It has a unique folding tongue, so you can store your boat in the garage without a three-foot tongue getting in the way.
Length: 18 ft. 6 in.
Beam 97 in.
Fuel capacity 38 gal.
Seating capacity 8
Volvo 14.5 x 21 L
Test engine 5.0 GI/SX Volvo 250 hp
MSRP on test boat $23,357
On the Water
Top speed 52.6 mph4,800 rpm
Accel. to 22 5.35 sec.
Accel. to 36 9.1 sec.
Accel. 30 to 36 3.13 sec.
Noise levels (db)
Idle 64 D, 64 R
22 mph 82 D, 84 R
36 mph 86 D, 88 R
Recreational skiing behind this boat is a pleasure. The engine provides enough power to pull the average skier up with ease. The wakes were fairly small and easy to carve through. This model would best be described as a family ski/runabout with all the creature comforts you could want for a fun day on the water.
Wakeboarding is possible behind this boat, but due to the nature of a stern-drive, the ability to hold speed was still difficult compared to direct-drives. The wake size is better suited for recreational riders, but once the trim was adjusted the lip improved for more advanced recreational moves. Added passengers and/or ballast greatly improved wake size.
The Four Winns 180 is a roomy, wide-body vessel for its length. The width of this boat carries from the stern all the way up past the windshield in order to give the cockpit a comfortable feel. The abundance of space in the open bow is a great feature for a boat of this length. This boat handled well in rough water as well as in the turns.
If you?re looking for a sporty, manageable stern-drive runabout that?s capable of providing you skiability and rideability as well as room for eight, look no further. This 18-footer?s got gusto. The open bow is spacious and comfortable with a wide walkthrough. The cockpit provides great visibility, tons of legroom, a tilt steering wheel, removable carpet and adjustable seating. Our test team was also surprised at the handling capabilities of the Four Winns 180. Tracking and stability were above expectations, and the Volvo 250-hp engine has more than enough power for pulling a variety of water sports. The combination of comfort, space, sufficient power and affordability will be sure to open a few unsuspecting eyes to this versatile I/O.
925 Frisbie Street
Cadillac, MI 49601
Categories: Ski Boats