Four Winns HD 200 OB Freedom

Experience the lifestyles of the rich and the famous at an attainable price.

by David A. Rose
In the 1980s and ’90s, Robin Leach hosted “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,” a TV show telling tales of, well, the lifestyles of the rich and famous.

Specifications

  • LOA: 20’1”
  • Beam: 8’3”
  • Draft: 18”/35”
  • Weight: 3,200 lbs.
  • Fuel Capacity: 40 gals.
  • Water Capacity:
  • Power:
  • Price: $32,073

fourwinns.com

Many episodes ended with a scene of the well-to-do on their appointed vessel as a summer sunset fades into the horizon. And the host’s signature catch phrase at the end of the show? “Champagne wishes and caviar dreams.” 

There’s no doubt that at some point in our lives, we’ve all yearned for a taste of the good life. Maybe not a life of sipping bubbly and nibbling on salted eggs from some rare sturgeon every day, but one of at least motoring along on a picturesque lake or anchored up along the edge of a sandbar in the comfort of a stylish, well-built boat. 

When I stepped onto Four Winns’ new HD 200 OB Freedom this past fall, the latter is what first came to my mind. But I must admit, it took a little imagination. 
It wasn’t a lack of comfort; it wasn’t an absence of craftsmanship; it was more the weather on that particular day I put the vessel through the ringer. It was cold. It was windy. And, every so often, it rained. It was the kind of day you’d look out at the lake and say, “Maybe we’ll go boating tomorrow, instead.” But the impending cold front conditions were ideal for a test ride and really allowed me to put the HD 200 OB Freedom through her paces. 

“Four Winns — the name has always been recognized with producing only the highest-quality boats,” says Doyle VanderPol, marketing manager for Groupe Beneteau Americas. “The HD 200 and HD 200 OB Freedom surprise a lot of people; once they see the price tag, their response is usually ‘I’m able to get into a Four Winns for only how much?’”
To put it simply, the Freedom line is the champagne of boats that even those with a beer budget are still able to enjoy.

Creature features

This Four Winns deckboat series consists of two models, one sterndrive and the other rigged for an outboard motor. The HD 200 Freedom has two inboard engine offerings, from a 4.5-liter 200-EC/Alpha 200-hp MerCruiser to a V6-200C/DI/SX 200-hp Volvo. The HD 200 OB Freedom — which is the model I tested — comes standard with a 115-hp Four-Stroke Mercury or F155XB Yamaha outboard. Both models have loads of power to pull any waterskier or tuber, and to get you and your guests back to the dock should an impending storm suddenly appear. 

Speaking of guests, the Freedom’s 20-foot, 1-inch length and 8-foot, 3-inch beam allows up to 11 people to be on-board when powered by an outboard, and 10 people can be on-board with the sterndrive. The amount of family, friends and water toys that can come along to enjoy the good life is impressive, indeed.

The Freedom’s interior is comfortable for everyone. Massive cushioned seating wraps around the HD’s classic round bow, each cushion flipping up easily to reveal cavernous amounts of storage space. Toward the aft, a hinged L-shaped lounge seat allows for an easy sit or sprawl, and the storage space underneath has enough room for a large cooler and so much more. An optional porta-potti can be installed under the port bench seating to make all-day excursions more pleasurable. The Bimini includes a large privacy curtain. In-floor storage between the dashboards allows even more gear to be packed under foot yet out from under your feet. 

Cushioned captain’s chairs provide a stable ride for the pilot and copilot; both have flip-up fronts to create a well-padded bench-like sitting platform to bolster the occupant and raise one’s line of sight up and over the windshield. Four Winns’ signature low-profile windshield encompasses the cockpit of the HD 200 Freedom line, and finishes off the boat with a sporty, classic look. I can vouch from the undesirable day I powered her around the lake that despite its sleek design, the windshield offers more than adequate protection from the elements. 

A curved dashboard and stainless gauges, toggles and switches are just a few things that add to the aesthetics of the interior. There is also thoughtful placement of cup holders and power ports to fulfill everyone’s needs. 

The ins and outs

Personally, the most important consideration of any vessel is whether you can get in and out of the craft without worrying about taking a nosedive into the drink. The HD 200 OB Freedom passed that test with flying colors, as the integrated rear deck allowed for effortless entry. 

While there’s plenty of room on the swim platform for watersports prep, there’s an optional extension that can be added for even more space. When the wet ones climb back into the boat from the swim platform or optional bow ladder, the Freedom’s Water Intrusion Management System (WIMS) has water draining from its floor in seconds. 

The Freedom’s 20-foot, 10-inch frame allows it to be launched and loaded easily at most any boat launch. Options are endless when it comes to the waterways you can explore. The vessel has a 40-gallon capacity for fuel to boot, so no matter where you go there will be no worry of refueling. 

Sip and nibble

Even in such inclement weather, my test drive was pleasurable. While my lifestyle may never make it on one of the episodes of “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,” spending a day within the gunwales of the HD 200 and HD 200 OB Freedom had me feeling as if it should be. As for the champagne wishes and caviar dreams, I’ll leave the sipping of sweet bubbly and nibbling of gooey fish eggs up to others.


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