Yamaha SR230

The SR230 looks like a quality stern-drive but it's powered with four-stroke Yamaha jets.

Step up to the dock. Board the SR230 and sweep your eyes from gunwale to gunwale, bow to stern. I know what you're asking yourself: "What's Yamaha doing in the stern-drive runabout business?" Sit at the helm with its captain's chair and flip-up bolster and ask yourself, "What are they doing in the performance stern-drive business?"

Now turn the key. Gone is the thrum of that V-8 engine. Instead, you'll be surprised to hear the turbine-like whine of Yamaha's MR-1, 140-horsepower, high-rpm jet-drive engine. Oh, turn the second key, too. You'll have more fun running both of these powerful, fuel-efficient monsters as they accelerate to 10,000 rpm and nearly 50 miles per hour. The sound? More like an Indy car than a recreational runabout.

Jet boats, huh? Aren't they gas hogs? Not according to the manufacturer. The MR-1 engines are four-stroke and according to their tests (we didn't confirm them) fuel economy is comparable and sometimes better than in typical competitive stern-drive boats.

It was in Destin, Florida, where we skimmed the first SR230 prototype over flats that snagged stern-drive boats. It zipped past powerful outboards and it snuck into quiet hideaways those deeper-draft boats would dare not explore. It jumped up on plane in less than three seconds, and that was hard to measure because the bow barely lifted when we punched the throttles. That was the prototype. We wanted to get our hands on the real thing. It promised to be slicker, quicker and lighter.

It was. We retested a production model on Lake Okeechobee, Florida, in May. We didn't ski behind the SR230, but the power and acceleration we noted below promised we could. Wakes at skiing speed were comfortable to cross, and at wakeboarding speeds of about 20 miles per hour they ramped up nicely, giving aerial exhibitionists something to work with.

But research -- and plenty of personal experience -- shows most boaters use their rigs as a place to hang out on the water. That's where the designers of the SR230 did their homework and embellished a great transom platform with creature comforts not found on other runabouts. Like the stowaway dinette table and the awesome upholstered lounges to give boaters an area to recline and relax -- sort of like couch potatoes with a lake view!

This boat handles like a boat and docks like a boat. That's partly due to the twin engines, which make steering the rig easier in close quarters.

You won't need to worry about it lasting, either. The 20-degree deadrise hull is constructed of multiple layers of glass with stiffening sandwich-core reinforcements. A full fiberglass liner incorporates the stringers and engine mounts, making construction elegantly simple -- and sturdy. The engine mounts are also equipped with aluminum plates to take the extra stress off the stringers. Yamaha believes in their build and offers a five-year warranty on it. The engines come with a one-year warranty. Both of those should be enough to back up their claim for durability -- and make this boat something you'll want to test fly ... er ... drive.

We Also Like ...

1. Standard trailer with brakes

2. Fourteen awesome storage compartments -- including a huge ski locker

3. Liner hull with diamond nonskid decking looks smart and washed down easily.

4. The JVC stereo CD with four speakers

5. Dual engine throttles for greater control in turns and around docks

Details:

Length Overall: 23' Centerline Length: 23' Beam: 8'6" Dry Weight: 2,900 lb. Seating/Weight Capacity: 10/1,800 lb. Fuel Capacity: 50 gal. Max Horsepower: 280 Deadrise: 20 degrees MSRP (test boat): $26,900

Contact

800-88Yamaha

Performance:

Test Engine: Twin MR-1, 140-hp jet drives

Test Load: Fuel (60 gal.); People (375 lb.)

Top Speed: 48.4 MPH @ 10,000 RPM

Time to Plane: 2.5 sec.

Time to 30 MPH: 6.3 sec.

Minimum Planing Speed: 16.3 MPH @ 6,500 RPM

Noise at 30 MPH: 97 db

Cruise Stats: 30 MPH @ 7,500 RPM

Power Curve:

RPM/MPH

2,000/2.6

2,500/4.8

3,000/5.1

3,500/5.8

4,000/6.3

4,500/7.0

5,000/7.6

5,500/8.5

6,000/10.2

6,500/16.3

7,000/22.1

7,500/29.7

8,000/32.8

8,500/32.4

9,000/41.8

9,500/45.8

10,000/48.4