Fit a Bit of Rev in Your Day
Published: Thursday, November 2, 2017
By: Ken Quant, Broad Reach Marketing
Some work days are better than others. Testing Yamaha outboards on a stunningly beautiful mid-September day on Wisconsin’s Lake Geneva would qualify as a good one. With just a hint of color in the trees, we put all of Yamaha’s latest offerings through the paces aboard a wide range of boats. Everything from a tiny 2.5 hp inflatable, to a stunning fast 600 hp pontoon boat, were all available for our testing. Three new outboard models and a joystick-controlled pontoon were offered during the event and we were sure to take them all for a ride.
F300XCA with Helm Master Joystick Control
The highlight of the day was a 30 foot Bennington Tri-hulled pontoon boat outfitted with two of Yamaha’s silky smooth F300XCA motors and their amazing Helm Master joystick control system. This is not your father’s pontoon boat. With 600 total hp split between the two outboard hulls, this boat had sports car acceleration and control. With the push of a button, the driver can decide to use either a traditional wheel and twin-handle throttle control system, or the highly-advanced Helm Master joystick system. More than an easy way to dock the boat, the Helm Master system gives the skipper full control with the simple turn of the wrist by automatically shifting and revving each motor as needed. One of the most interesting features was the ability to push a button and have the boat stay on station within a 10-foot radius without dropping an anchor. Amazing! Truly a unique setup, Yamaha is the first company to adapt joystick control to a pontoon boat.
The most powerful of the new models is the completely new 1.8 liter, F90 four stroke motor. This four-cylinder powerhouse has larger displacement than its 1.5 liter predecessor, yet is 13 pounds lighter. Based on the F115B power unit, it uses their award winning single overhead cam shaft (SOHC) design to help deliver a first-in-class power to weight ratio. Available for testing on several different boats ranging from an open-bow fiberglass runabout, to a well outfitted aluminum fishing boat, this new motor proved to be quiet, efficient, and fast across the range. If you’re looking for a mid-range outboard, the new F90 should certainly be on your short list.
Also available for testing was the brand new F25 four-stroke outboard. A huge departure from Yamaha’s original 25 hp two-stroke offering, this new model offers all the quiet and clean advantages of a four-stroke design in an unbelievably lightweight package. A full 25% lighter than the old two-stroke model, the clever engineers at Yamaha reduced the weight by optimizing the powerhead, transom bracket, and lower drive unit. Depending on the exact model, the F25 also incorporates many advanced features previously reserved for larger motors including battery-less fuel injection, NMEA 2000 compatibility, electronic starting, and remote YCOP immobilizer for theft prevention.
If you’re a cruising boater, you are probably already aware of the popularity of Yamaha’s inflatable motors because of their renowned reliability and ease of starting. The brand new 2.5 hp promises to further this reputation. Designed to be easily lifted on and off the transom, this tiny 37-pound motor even features forward and neutral transmission control and an internal fuel tank not often available on motors of this size.