Yamaha has gone back to the drawing board and redesigned it 21’ (6.40 m) series of boats, formerly known as the 210 Series. Now, as the 212 Series, these boats have more in common with the larger 24’ (7.32 m) models than the predecessor models. The 212 Series consists of three models, the 212 Limited for luxury, the limited S with the watersports tower, and the tricked-out-for-watersports 212 X that we tested. Let’s see how this new models shapes up.
|Length Overall||21' 3'' / 6.48 m|
Acceleration Times & Conditions
|Time to Plane||N/A|
|0 to 30||6.3 sec.|
|Props||22.9 deg SS 3 blade|
|Load||2 persons, full fuel, no water, 50 lbs. of gear|
|Climate||93 deg., 66 humid.; wind: 0-5 mph; seas: calm|
2 x 1812cc Yamaha 1.8L HO
2 x 1812cc Yamaha 1.8 Liter, High Output
Yamaha has recently redesigned, and reimagined, its entire 21’ (6.4m) boat line from the keel up. As result, these boats have more in common with the larger flagship models. The three boat lineup includes the 212 Limited S with its forward swept tower, the luxury 212 Limited and the water sports themed 212X.
The model we tested, the 212X has specific features that target the watersports action. It comes equipped with 1,100 lbs. (498.95 kg) of total ballast in three tanks, a billet aluminum rear view mirror, a premium watersports tower, a premium sound system that includes a tower mounted sound bar, subwoofer, 500 W amplifier, and six Polk audio midrange speakers.
Power to Play
When we tested the Yamaha 212X, the first thing we noticed was that this was a powerful boat. That’s a good thing for a boat that is intended to not only carry a lot of friends, but do so while towing someone at the end of the line.
A simple lift of the latch at the rear seat hatch allows the engine cover to lift effortlessly on twin assist struts secured to heavy-duty brackets. These twin 1812cc HO engines are purpose built by Yamaha, which carries two significant benefits. First, there’s no third-party to deal with if warranty issues come up. Whatever happens owners will be dealing with Yamaha, and Yamaha alone. Secondly, these are not stock engines that were pulled off a motorcycle and then modified for use on the water. They were designed and built for Yamaha’s marine market and as such are up to the rigors that boating puts on its powerplants.
The engines take up plenty of available space in the engine compartment but there’s still room to get to all the major components, and certainly enough to perform the daily checks and regular maintenance. We can also see the two Water Puppy pumps for filling the triple ballast tanks and it’s hard to miss the white hose running down the center of the two engines for channeling the cockpit drains overboard.
Yamaha boats used to scream when hitting the throttle… literally. They were loud and Yamaha knew it. Now it has done something about it. From the keel up there is sound dampening that creates a much quieter ride, and we noticed it immediately. More the point, we were able to talk about it… at cruise speed.
Clean Out Ports
Under the hatch at the transom lounge area there are access ports to reach down into the impellers from. At the bottom of these ports are large plugs that release with a quarter twist. Once out we can get to the impellers to remove any debris, or plastic bags that some careless boater dropped into the lake that we inadvertently ran over.
Naturally, no one in their right mind would reach down into a spinning impeller, and whenever the engine is running, the blades are turning. So Yamaha put in a safety feature that kills the engines when the hatch is open. Safe, and foolproof!
At the bow the 212X has a hatch over the anchor locker that opens with a lift and lock latch. The compartment is large enough for the anchor to share space with the forward reboarding ladder. The locker is held in place by wedge mounts to secure the stocks of the anchor and to keep it from bouncing out of these wedges. Yamaha set aside the traditional twist-type anchor keepers and instead added clever brackets under the hatch that rest atop the anchor to keep it secure when closed.
Yamaha did a great job making a classy helm for the 212X. It includes dark tones that reduce strain on the eyes on sunny days. Front and center are two tachometers that give the primary information but most of the time drivers will be getting data from the most significant feature… the Connext controller.
The Connext controller is a 7” (17.78 cm) touchscreen that includes intuitive menus to give full control of the towing parameters, boat data, and sound system. It can be controlled by either the joystick knob, which we first came to appreciate on the 24’ (7.32 m) models, or touch. And towing data can be saved for individual riders and recalled easily.
With its stereo functions the Connext system also serves at the entertainment hub of the 212X. Not only can we listen to radio, but also Bluetooth and USB connectivity allows us to hear our Smartphones, weather radio and Sirius satellite radio.
The joystick provides two buttons for the incremental changes to Cruise Assist and No Wake modes. When anchored, the unit goes into “float mode” and the display changes to show a voltage meter and water depth. If there’s a significant drop in voltage, such as when sitting all day with the tunes cranking, an audible alarm will sound to alert the captain that it’s time to start the engines and charge up the battery.
The premium steering wheel is mounted to a tilt base and controls not only the jet exhaust nozzles but also the Articulating Keel that gives more precise steering at both low and high speeds. More important is that we now have off-throttle steering.
Previously, the only way to steer a jet boat was by directing the thrust from the exhaust nozzle. If there was no thrust, such as when the throttles were at idle or neutral, there was no steering. This created a rather disconcerting feeling at times. Imagine heading towards an obstacle, pulling back the throttle and turning away only to have the boat continue on its original course. Now, with the articulating keel, even with no thrust, we still have steering.
Tracking is Also Much Improved. With only thrust to maintain a straight track the stern would get pulled slightly when a skier zigged back and forth. Also, following seas were problematic. Both of these issues are now eliminated thanks to the articulating keel. Acting much as a rudder, we have straight tracking when towing and more control authority when operating in choppy water is following the boat.
The Yamaha 212X has a LOA of 21’3” (6.48 m), a beam of 8’5” (2.57 m) and with no outdrive she has a depth of 16” (40.6 cm). With an empty weight of 3,605 lbs. (1,635 kg), full fuel, and two people onboard, we estimated our test weight at 4,325 lbs. (1,962 kg).
With the twin 1.8L 1812 HO Yamaha marine engines powering our test boat, we reached a top speed of 50.8 mph at 7400 rpm. Best economic cruise was reached at 5500 rpm and 30.3 mph. It was at that speed where the fuel burn was 10.75 gph that translated into 2.81 mpg and a range of 127 miles, all while holding back a 10% reserve of the boats 50-gallon (189 L) fuel total fuel capacity.
As for her handling, the 212X is an exhilarating boat to drive. Hitting the throttles had us accelerating through 30 mph in just over 6 seconds. She’s quick to respond to the helm which provides the exciting ride. Crossing wakes showed more of that responsiveness and she also kept spray under control, which kept the windshield dry. She bleeds off very little speed when cranking but is she’s held to the turn long enough she’ll do that fun spin-out that jet boats have come to be associated with.
For towing, we used the Connnext system to fill the tanks. This gave a visual indicator of which tanks were being filled and how far along they were in the process. One topped off we were ready. We noticed straight tracking thanks to the articulating keel system, even when towing a boarder who was dishing out heavy pulling loads to the sides. We were also able to easily produce a wake that allowed a transition from wakeboarding to surfing.
Given that this is a dedicated watersports platform, we need to take a look at the features specific to that discipline.
In the cockpit, of course there’s storage under both side seats, but in this location Yamaha has a different take on the ballast system. Rather than use inflatable sacks, here the tanks are solid, and mounted across the stern. They include sight windows to visually check the levels, and most importantly, they don’t impede on the available storage like we usually see. They’re filled by way of bronze commercial grade Water Puppy pumps by Jabsco. These two tanks, along with the sole storage sack, add up to 1,100 lbs. (499 kg) total ballast.
The 212X comes standard with a forward raked watersports tower that’s powder coated black to match the topsides and customized at the bottom to match the model. It includes a bimini for shade and an elevated tow point. Swivel board racks are not included by Yamaha but instead are purchased after-market. This allows the owner to mount the racks of choice since there are so many models to choose from.
To the top of the tower there’s a sound bar connected to the high end Polk audio system with a subwoofer and amplifier mounted under the cockpit seating. Over the helm, there’s a convex rear view mirror mounted to the windshield frame. It’s fabricated from billet aluminum and completely adjustable.
Yamaha pioneered the concept of making the stern into a more functional gathering area, thanks to the company’s low profile engines providing so much more roominess. The transom on Yamaha boats has therefore come to identify the brand as a whole. Here, it consists of two levels that project 19” (48.3 cm) and 16” (40.6 cm) from the transom. The area is made even more inviting with the addition of a standard removable pedestal table that inserts into a bracket to starboard and the stereo remote to port. The upper deck has backrests that curve around for added comfort. Speakers and beverage holders are also to both sides.
For watersports, the stern makes an ideal staging area for putting boards on and entering the water and non-skid matting is included. For reboarding, there’s a concealed swim ladder under the center of the lower deck and two grab handles aid in the reboarding.
The cockpit is entered from a centerline walkthrough and a filler cushion completes the U-shaped seating that wraps around the entire stern and comes ahead to meet the twin bucket seats. The Polk Audio speakers are recessed into the padded bulwarks adjacent to expandable storage pouches. Beverage holders are corner mounted.
The same pedestal table from the transom can be relocated to this position and the quality of the table bears mention. Yamaha utilizes a high-end version with non-skid matching the transom decking. Two drink holders are mounted in the corners.
Forward Cockpit Bucket Seats
Ahead of the U-shaped seating are a pair of bucket seats. Both of these forward seats are on pedestals allowing them to slide and swivel. The port side seat swings around 180-degrees to allow it to serve as an observer’s seat when towing. The helm seat swings around roughly 45-degrees so as to not come into inadvertent contact with the throttles when swiveling. Both, however, have flip up armrests and while the port includes a reclining feature with the armrests self-leveling. Cargo net storage is secured to the backs. Beverage holders and a grab handle are to the side.
Port Side Entertainment Center
Ahead of the port seat there are two storage compartments, one over the other. When the upper one is opened the lid, which flips downward, creates a tray for making a convenient snack center. Atop the console Yamaha included a recessed area for putting quick grab items.
Of course there’s the usual storage under the cockpit seating. Inside the helm console is additional storage and both this, and the port console storage are accessed from the center walkthrough to the bow. The port console storage is occupied by a 38-quart (36 L) carry-on cooler. In the deck is sole storage under a hatch released by a turn and lock latch and held open with a single support strut.
As expected, we continue forward through the centerline walkthrough that can be closed off by both the windshield and a lower air dam if the cruising gets too chilly.
The bow is quite roomy, largely due to Yamaha carrying the 212X beam so far forward. We measured 6’4” (1.93 m) between the rear bolsters and 4’6” (1.37 m) as the bolsters run forward. To the sides are inserts with courtesy lights al-a company’s 24-footers.
Among the 212X’s many premium features are the stainless steel handrails, chromed cup holders, and upgraded marine vinyl seating. Two speakers bring the music to the front and billet aluminum grab rails add to the security.
There’s the added comfort of backrests that have a slight wraparound to help hold the occupants secure a little more comfortably than if they were just holding on to the grab rails. Even more comfort is had from the 20” (51 cm) width of the seats. There’s the usual storage under each of the side seats, but Yamaha utilizes scissor-style hinges attached to the rear of the cushions allowing them to be opened from the front for better access to the storage.
We can also reconfigure the bow seating in several different ways. First, we can remove the two forward cushions and sit with our feet on the deck. We’d like to see a grab handle or strap for making this more comfortable. Filler cushions convert the area into a sunpad. And we can reposition those same filler cushions to create three-across seating.
Fully forward there’s a step up to the foredeck and with its non-skid surface this makes a safe launching off point for diving into the water as well as a boarding surface for bow in docking. Under the hatch is a reboarding ladder.
It’s always interesting when we see a builder develop an upgrade to an existing model. Here, Yamaha seems to have given the 210 Series enough of a kick to justify the new numbering nomenclature, and moved it up to compete with the larger models. As for the 212X, we now not only have a comfortable boat for the family to show off to the friends and neighbors, we also have a capable watersports platform that even our pro wakeboarder was impressed with.