Yamaha’s 275SD brings to the water a commanding length and a 9-foot beam, plus a dominating 500 hp to rocket across the waves. This twin-engine jet boat resides at the apex of Yamaha product design, featuring systems integration that makes it a pleasure to own, exciting to drive, easy to maintain, and reliable year after year.
Let’s start with the DRiVE system. Yamaha took the process of docking, one of the hardest parts of piloting a jet boat, and made it simple and easy. Paddles on the steering wheel provide the ultimate in precision speed control and the ability to instantly shift from forward to reverse. The paddles fall under your fingertips on the wheel, the right paddle activating forward propulsion to 3,000 rpm, and the left triggering reverse propulsion to 3,000 rpm. With this system, Yamaha capitalized on its jet system’s hyper-maneuverability, but tamed it for precision docking.
DRiVE is selected on the Connext display panel by pressing the throttle icon on the screen. One touch gives you dual-throttle-lever control. Another touch gives single-lever control of both SVHO supercharged engines. Yet another touch activates the DRiVE paddles on the wheel. You can use paddles while seated, or looking into a ski mirror or over your shoulder, but we discovered you could flip up the seat bolster to make standing room in front of the helm, then turn your back to the wheel, steering into a slip with the paddles.
The Connext panel is a head-up display on the dash that looks like the screen of an Audi. Icons on the touchscreen give access to mapping, engine information, speed-control features for water-sports, lights, electrical-systems control and audio. If you don’t want to reach for the touchscreen, there’s a toggle to the right of the helm that allows you to jog between functions, and select and operate them.
At speed, the 275SD is a wave-crushing blast. We tested it in Florida’s Biscayne Bay and enjoyed a smooth ride in bumpy water. Speed and acceleration were exhilarating—a hallmark of Yamaha jets. Adding to the control is Yamaha’s patented articulating keel. Think of tiny rudders that assist the jet pumps’ directional control while also enhancing tracking.
That may be a long-winded discussion about the controls, but they represent the pinnacle of Yamaha’s engineering. Yet the company doesn’t forget comfort and fun.
The cockpit is surrounded in comfortable seating. An entertainment galley behind the skipper’s seat houses a slide-out cooler and a prep station for snacks. The aft couch is divided in the center, providing a convenient walkway from the cockpit to the transom platform. It’s far more convenient than having to clamber the seats to the platform.
On each side of the walkway are forward-facing seats with movable backrests that convert the platform seats to chaise-style lounges. Bow seating is spacious too, and the forward seats can be configured to give kids a fun, forward-facing ride while keeping them safely inside the boat.
The entire cockpit is shaded by a hardtop that matches the sleek lines of the hull. Side windows on the 275SD are curved, with frames that blend into the fiberglass, eliminating that bolt-on look.
For a comparable jet boat, you’d have to look at Scarab and decide between its 255 or 285 ID ($134,321 with comparable power, tower and trailer). Scarab offers INR (Intelligent Neutral and Reverse), which keeps the boat sitting still in true neutral when properly adjusted for the load and conditions. And it boasts a docking mode, which limits throttle speeds for steadier low-speed maneuvers. It lacks Yamaha’s track-enhancing articulating keel, but makes more aggressive turns at speed.
Yamaha’s patented jet-pump cleanouts on the platform allow the boater to remove ingested weeds from inside the boat—a feature no other jet-driven vessel can boast. Also convenient are the flushing ports for rinsing salt water from the cooling passages in the motor—a feature that makes it easy to perform that life-extending process. Battery switches are easy to access, so the boat can be made completely dormant during storage, sparing the batteries from frustrating parasitic drain. Also making the vessel easier to maintain is the spacious engine compartment that allows unfettered access to the inboard four-stroke engines when needed.
Big crews will want the convenience of a portable head compartment on board, and the 275SD has it. It features stonelike countertops, with a freshwater sink, and a roomy interior lit by an LED light or portlight.
The 275SD is apt to change the way people look at big dayboats. We’ve been around enough of them to know.
- DRiVE paddles on the wheel make shifting and throttle control easy for safe docking.
- Stainless-steel cup holders are LED-backlit.
- LED courtesy and underwater lights are accessible via the Connext screen.
- Articulating keel requires larger-radius recovery turns for watersports, but adds tracking control for smoother towed sports.
Price: $131,249 (with test power)
Available Power: Jet drives
How We Tested
Engines: Dual Yamaha 250 hp SVHO supercharged four-stroke inboards
Drive/Prop: Jet drives/stainless-steel impellers
Gear Ratio: 1.00:1
Fuel Load: 75 gal
Water on Board: 0 gal.
Crew Weight: 450 lb.
Yamaha Boats – Kennesaw, Georgia; 800-962-7926; yamahaboats.com
Yamaha Jet Boat Manufacturing – Vonore, Tennessee; yamahaboats.com