Boat Review by: Matt Spencer
With boats in its line up like the award winning 242 Limited S, you think Yamaha Sport Boats would be content with simply sitting back on their award winning stern lounge and relaxing for a while. But then again you also don’t come up with award winning boats by being satisfied with a few accolades. Constantly analyzing, investigating and improving is what keeps Yamaha a leader in a boat segment that saw a popular brand exit and new competitors emerge.
New for 2015 Yamaha introduces the AR240 HO, a new addition to not only their 24 foot boat segment, but their AR line as well. This really is a true introduction as this is a brand new boat from the keel up. For starters the boat is now 6-inches longer and includes higher freeboard and bow profiles. Having first sat in the AR240 HO at the Toronto Boat Show I had a refresher at a recent Yamaha Media event. Something about sitting in a boat at the dock that allows you to truly appreciate it.
Sitting in the AR240 HO, it is clear that the boat has more room inside of it. I mean right from the start Yamaha jets have always had plenty of room in the cockpit thanks to the low profile of the twin Yamaha 1.8L High Output engines. Additionally they have a direct output allowing the already low profile engines to sit even lower in the hull. So what you get in the cockpit is a large U-shaped lounge with a helm and companion chair. Each of these are bolstered, and the companion chair pulls a nifty trick as you turn it 180 degrees to face the rear and the cushion lines up flush with the lounger giving you an impromptu chaise lounge.
There’s plenty of storage under the U Shaped lounge seats and they hinge up in a way that allows you full access to the compartments without having to put the cushion somewhere or use one hand to hold it up. You will find similar hinging cushions up in the bow but perhaps the most impressive storage unit is the in floor locker. Once opened I thought “I bet I could get in that” so I did and I even had room to spare!
Continuing with its list of innovations for 2015 Yamaha is also following suit with the automobile industry and introduces its new “Connext” touch screen info center with joystick control. Here you have full access to your gauges and system info, GPS options and stereo controls. There is, as I mentioned, touch screen controls but there is also a large articulating joystick for when you can’t move your hand far or don’t want to take your eyes off of what is in front of you - a great safety feature.
I’ve been talking a lot about what’s new on this boat but Yamaha is very smart in that they still included some of their most popular features from their previous models. These include the forward facing jump seats in the bow. Basically at the very front of the bow loungers the cushion removes allowing you to sit forward facing right at the edge of the action. They like to say kids love this spot but I think some adults don’t mind it either.
Then at the other end of the boat there is their award winning stern lounge. Again, having the benefit of no outdrive and low profile drive system means they can put their molded in swim platform just inches above the water. This is perfect for days at the sandbar, the dock or putting on wakeboards. There is a spot for a table, drink holders and cushioned backrests. You will also find wet storage along with access to the clean out ports should you suck in some seaweed or fishing line.
When idling out I got to test out the other new feature on the AR240 HO and that is the Advanced Handling Technology including the new articulating keel. Lets be honest, jet boats can be tricky to handle at low speeds because they rely on water flow for not only propulsion but for steering as well. So when you cut power, you cut control, but not anymore. I must say the AR240 really does have enhanced steering responsiveness. In the past if you turned the wheel on a jet it would have about a 3 second delay before anything would happen. Now it’s just over a second, if not instant depending on your idle speed. Additionally it doesn’t over steer and over correct either. I was able to bring the big 24 foot boat away and back to the dock without worry or scratching the new gel coat.
At speed and full lock turns the AR240 holds its line as well as its speed without washing out where it used to in the past. Yes the “tossability” factor used to be cool with jet boats - the ability to turn the wheel sharp and have the back end kick out like a PWC - but not anymore. I feel like jet boats are maturing and getting away from that and the AR240 certainly has.
As you can see in the performance numbers this is also a very well performing boat. Both of us on board were blown away with the torque of the twin jet engines and how when the throttles were put down we were pushed back in our seats as the boat sprung to life. Even at one point during the 0-40 test my co-worker Chris said “there isn’t enough room to get to 40 here” I snickered with an evil grin and put the throttle down and we were at 40 mph in over 5 seconds with plenty of room to turn around.
All in all it isn’t very often that a leader will come out with a brand new boat form the keep up. Usually it’s small changes here and there as the model evolves. But when you’re onto something good it’s worth taking the risk. However knowing the Yamaha philosophy they’re not big on taking risks, they introduce a product when they know it’s right and believe me the AR240 HO is very right.
|Length:||24'||7' 3" m|
|Beam:||8' 6"||2.62 m|
|Dry weight:||3,660 lbs||1,660 kg|
|Fuel Capacity:||50 US gals||190 L|
|Base Engine / Drive:||Yamaha Jet|