Contents of Report
- Distinguishing Features
- The Hull Story
Year after year, Yamaha has been leading the charge on the recreational jet boat market, so little wonder that it has dominated the class. But the builder has not been sitting on its laurels, and for 2015 is introducing new products that are full of up-grades and innovation. An all-new 24’ (7.32 m) platform is in production and the sportiest version of them all is the AR240. This performance based water activity machine features an evolutionary hull design, advanced vessel management system and copious amounts of seating and storage. Yamaha designed this boat for a family that was looking for a twin engine jet boat with performance and all the features they would need to spend a comfortable day on the water, whether watersports, or hanging out.
- Top speed for the Yamaha AR240 (2019-) is 51.8 mph (83.4 kph), burning 22.85 gallons per hour (gph) or 86.49 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Yamaha AR240 (2019-) is 27.9 mph (44.9 kph), and the boat gets 2.95 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.25 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 133 miles (214.04 kilometers).
- Tested power is 2 x 1.8L High Output Yamaha Marine Engines.
• Articulating Keel. This new design feature is unique among jet boats and opens a new chapter in their development and controllability.
• The Connext Helm. It runs all of the boat’s systems, lights, music, pumps, and provides all of the operating data, such as fuel flow and engine functions. See below.
• Propulsion. Only Yamaha Watercraft has 4-cylinder 4-stroke engines specifically designed for marine use to drive jet pumps.
• Clear-Out Ports. Only Yamaha jet boats have ports through which grass and debris can be cleared out of the pump housing.
• Painted Trailer. Each boat is sold standard with a painted, tandem-axle trainer with chrome wheels and swing away tongue.
The Hull Story
The longer a jet boat gets, the greater its displacement and ultimately, its problem with handling at certain speeds. Additionally, jet boats typically have very shallow draft hull bottoms and no protruding rudder, so steering control is an issue since there is very little of the boat in the water. In order to mitigate these things, Yamaha designed its new boat with a running surface that uses a shallow keel. The molded keel runs the length of the boat’s bottom and helps the vessel with stability and tracking control.
That’s not all; Yamaha has also fitted the AR240 with a simple, yet clever, mechanism that puts the driver in better control at all speeds. Yamaha calls it an "Articulating Keel" and it dramatically changes the way the boat handles, especially in off-power maneuvers.
"Steering Paddle". The system is comprised of a "steering paddle" that measures some 11” (.28 m) long, 6.5” (.17 m) tall, and is 1/2” (.01 m) thick, and is located between the two pump nozzles. The starboard side steering nozzle controls and guides the paddle via a connecting rod that’s actuated by the helm's steering wheel.
An Important Development. In order to maintain the boat’s shallow water advantage, the paddle device does not extend below the lowest surface of the fixed keel. This physical extension of the hull and steering system vertically into the water, dramatically improves the boat's tracking and turning abilities. It eliminates much of the wondering and tracking that these types of jet boats have historically had at slow speed. This configuration may also significantly reduce the learning curve for new boat owners by building confidence in the pilot right from the beginning.
The AR240 features twin Yamaha 1.8 liter 4-stroke marine engines that use special high output engine mapping for their electronic fuel injection system. Known for their dependability, these power plants are direct coupled to a pair of all-metal jet pumps neatly tucked under an easy access hatch.
The acceleration of the AR240 is thrilling and instantaneous. Getting on plane takes only 2.3 seconds and 30 mph is achieved in just 4.3 seconds. Wide-open throttle spins the 4-cylinder blocks to 7500 rpm, resulting in a top speed of 51.8 mph. Fuel economy for the AR240 is fairly average for boats in this class -- both jet boats and conventional sterndrives; almost 3 miles to a gallon at a brisk cruise speed of 27.9 mph.
Skinny Water Friendly. One big advantage of jet-drive boats is that they can navigate in shallow water better than propeller-driven vessels of the same size and displacement. The new AR240 is only 1/4" deeper than the 240 Yamahas that have come before, even though it now has more of a keel. Compared to sterndrive-powered sportboats this length, for example, the new AR240 is still something on the order of 16" less deep. That’s because all of the propulsion components are situated in the hull of the boat and not hanging below the keel. The pumps’ water intake are flush mounted to the hull bottom and use specially designed grates to control and funnel water into the pump housing to feed the stainless steel impeller and create thrust.
A second advantage to having the propulsion system internal is that it is impervious to damage if an object is struck at high speed.
Metal Pump Housing. Because of the tremendous pressure created by the jet pump's impeller, strength is paramount so Yamaha uses only an all-metal housing with a steel alloy sleeve for maximizing durability and longevity. We also like the beefier size and multiple mounting points of the Yamaha unit compared to what the competition has to offer.
Clearing Ports. Yamaha has a unique means of clearing out debris such as grass from the pump. The AR240 has two cylindrical clean-out ports located just under the aft platform’s deck lid. A safety kill switch automatically stops the engine when the plugs are withdrawn.
We found the handling of the AR240 to be responsive and exact at all open throttle positions. Since the 155mm jet nozzle vectors the thrust, steering response is immediate. The drifting or wondering that is typical with jet boats is significantly reduced thanks to the "articulating keel" system. We also found it helped in cutting through the chop or when crossing wakes and generally helped the boat to track.
Slow speed maneuverability is the biggest improvement we found with the AR 240, thanks to her new "articulating keel" paddle. Trying to move around objects in the marina or getting into close quarters has always been a challenge for jet-drive craft, particularly for beginners. Now, the new steering set-up and computer controlled “No Wake Mode” for the engines give the pilot better slow speed control and larger margins of safety.
Yamaha pioneered the two-tiered activity platform at the stern. Since this boat was designed for serious towing sports, the large stern area is functional for launching all sorts of activities. The beam width, aft facing bench seats have padded seat backs to allow comfortable lounging.
A centerline transom walkthrough joins the aft deck with the cockpit and it’s wrap-around entertainment area. The U-shaped seating is good for up to 5 adults and supplies a table mount. The front bow area features dual chaise lounges and seating for up to four people. Installing the removable filler cushions converts the space into a large sun pad. Completing this spot is a large bow hatch that makes getting off the boat easy at the front and conceals a recessed anchor storage and beach-boarding ladder.
The captain and companion sit on swiveling pedestal seats that we found to be comfortable. The seats offer flip-up armrests and a recline feature that works best when joining the party in the cockpit.
The Connext Feature. Most impressive is the helm on the AR240. It features a fully integrated boat command center called Connext. All of the boat’s electrical accessories and information can be monitored and controlled by using a joystick or the touch screen panel controls. The engine controls work smoothly and the electronic cruise assist is a big help when towing. The operator can use it as a touch screen, or by buttons on the display and joystick base, or by using the joystick as a mouse. One can Bluetooth their music from a phone and other cool stuff.
Throughout the boat we were impressed with the quality of materials and attention to detail. The upholstery is finished in a modern, contrasting two-tone scheme with various textures. Additionally, the decks are covered in durable SeaDek, this soft-to-the-touch neoprene offers great traction and won’t get hot on bare feet.
Ample storage is another box checked by the AR240. At the front, is a pair of storage compartments situated under the lounges as well as a wakeboard locker in the sole. The companion side console features a small compartment that is good for larger gear and compliments the two separate glove boxes located in front of the passenger’s seat. This seat also has access to the recessed coaming insert with drink holders, a grab handle, and various storage nooks.
The cockpit seats are hinged for access to storage compartments below. On the starboard side is a dedicated beverage cooler within, while the port side, gives additional access to the battery and main power switches. The activity platform gets treated to a couple of jumbo-sized wet lockers that are intended for deflated water toys or fenders and dock lines.
Yamaha’s pricing structure eliminates options as they are baked into each model depending on function. This gives the consumer better leverage, and allows Yamaha to build more cost-efficiently. The AR240 is priced at $57,199 and includes a painted trailer and a folding wake tower.
There is no doubt that the popularity of jet boats stems from the huge safety factor of not having an exposed propeller at the swim platform. Yamaha's jet boats have always had thrilling acceleration and the design of her stern was definitely a step forward in sportboat architecture. These factor's, together with reasonable pricing and the durability of Yamaha’s products and two engines for the price of one in sterndrives made its boats compelling.
It's a New Day. But now Yamaha’s ability to improve the slow speed and off-power handling capabilities makes its jet boats even more attractive by diminishing some of the negative traits of conventionally-powered jet boats. Before there was a definite learning curve for new jet boat owners, and that should be largely eliminated with Yamaha's new "articulating keel".
Test Result Highlights
Standard and Optional Features
|Carpet: Cockpit||Standard Snap-in|
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
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