Boat Review by: Matt Spencer
It seems like every time Yamaha introduces a new Sport Boat to the market it is soon flooded with awards and accolades. For good reason too! Their SX190 was a groundbreaking single engine sport boat with an attractive price. Their 242 LS blew the industry away with smart features, impressive performance and the best cockpit space of its class. So as you can see their brand new 242X E-Series has a lot to live up to, but having spent the day with it I think this new Wake Sports dedicated boat is up for the challenge.
Yamaha has introduced watersports inspired boats before, but it was more along the lines of “we added a tower to an existing model” or “this one comes with ballast.” For 2016 they have wiped the slate clean and started fresh with a boat that has 100% focus on watersports and is taking direct aim at those expensive inboards that are dominating the market.
Like with any high end tow sports boat it starts with bold styling and graphics. The 242X is available in two colour choices including Black and Space Blue. Both of which have a white deck and black hull sides but then the accent colours are changed. Our tester was the eye catching and appealing Space Blue option which featured grey and blue accents with a blue hull.
Second to catch the eye is the brand-new watersports tower with the oversized custom aluminum bimini top. These are both an absolute must if you’re even going to think about entering this market. The tower is a forward facing design with swivelling board racks, the aforementioned bimini that provides shade for 90% of the cockpit and hidden underneath this bimini is part of the 1,000-watt stereo. To rock the wake behind you there are two 6-inch can speakers mounted to the tower along with a 10-speaker sound bar. Your rider will be able to hear the tunes behind you no matter how long of a line they ride. On the top side of this bimini you will find twin solar panels for charging the batteries at rest. This is such a brilliant idea. This part faces direct sunlight 95% of the time and it’s basically unusable space so why not put something useful up there. Yamaha claims these panels can restore the battery by 30% with the boat at rest.
Sticking with the electronics theme we move to the second major feature for this boat and that’s Yamaha’s upgraded Connext System. You can think of this as the brains of the boat that has command central where it belongs - at the helm. Located to the right of the steering wheel you will find the touch screen with auxiliary joystick control. At first glance you may think this is just a glorified touch screen radio but believe me this Connext system is so much more. First and foremost to tow sports enthusiasts it has a dual redundancy speed control system. Whether you’re surfing, slaloming or wakeboarding precise speed control is essential. Connext uses GPS headings along with engine RPM to give you laser lock speed control. But that is just the beginning. Say you’re towing someone who is a little lighter and doesn’t need a full throttle acceleration. You can create a rider profile for them that includes acceleration settings, speed preference and even ballast preference.
It gets even better. Along with displaying crucial engine data such as miles per gallon, gallons per hour along with engine temperature and trip odometer, when you stop, the boat automatically goes into “float mode” displaying your depth but most importantly your battery voltage. Say you have been listening to your favourite song on repeat and the batter gets a little low, an alarm will sound indicating it’s time to fire up and get a charge going again.
When it comes to wake making ability the new 242X E-Series features 1,400 lbs of wake boosting ballast located in the center storage along with under the two bench seats in the cockpit. What’s even better is that through the Connext system you can fill and empty these bags individually to allow you to dial in your wake perfectly. This will come in extra handy for surfing when you want to load up one side.
What you will be able to do is load up the 242X with 12 of your closest friends and family. Thanks to the low-profile design of the Yamaha engine and jet drive propulsion the 242X boasts the best interior cockpit space of any boat in its class. The layout features a large U-shaped wrap around bench seat. There are twin high-back captain’s chairs with armrests and up in the bow you will find the cavernous lounge. Two people can lay out in the sun up here but you can also remove the two front cushions to reveal Yamaha’s famous front jump seats that the kids love. This gets them right up close to the water with the wind in their hair and the action right there.
Space abound in this boat, creature comforts include the day-head found in the port side console, storage under every seat that hinges up to give you full access and you will find a large ski locker in the floor as well.
Of course a tow sports boat isn’t anything unless you have a spot to put on your boards or to chill out between sets and the 242X has exactly that with its incredible swim platform. Brought in and modified from other Yamaha Boats the platform on the 242X is the ideal staging area for putting on your board or to just chill out for the afternoon. Thanks to the low profile of the jet drive you get a platform that is almost exactly water level. It features a two-tier layout with cushioned backrests that double as wet storage along with 4 drink holders, speakers and stereo controls. There are two spots to mount either a table or an after market bbq. The step-able areas are covered in Seadek matting for soft touch on the bare feet and there is access to your clean out ports should accidents happen and you suck up a ski line.
Unfortunately when I finally got my hands on this model tow sports were completely out of the question with it being the middle of October and all. Normally that wouldn’t stop me but the high winds and low temps did. This did however provide an excellent opportunity to see how the 242X would handle some rougher conditions. Any boat can perform well when the lake is flat and calm, like you would experience when heading out for a tow but what happens when things kick up and get a little nasty?
Unlike most inboard towboats the 242X has a sharp point of entry and 20 degree deadrise so that is going to make it handle the rougher water a little better than its flat bottom counterparts. This came in handy as we had gusty conditions on test day as we had almost 2 foot waves to deal with. The 242X handled them with ease as we settled into a comfortable cruising speed of 30 mph at 6000 rpm. It’s important to remember that the twin jet engines powering the 242X are low-displacement, high revving, high output motors so the RPM will be drastically different than their larger displacement counterparts.
And high output they were! These two little firecrackers got the over 4000 pound boat on plane in under 3 seconds and to 20 mph in about the same time. The power hook up is instant and when you put the throttle down the 242X goes! This is important for tow sports, you may not need that quick of acceleration or your rider will have longer arms than when they started, but you want instant power hook up and feed back between the throttle back to the rider. When they say “Go!” The boat should be ready to move and the 242X proved it was. Top speed was an impressive 46 mph in these less than favourable conditions and its mid level cruising speeds were respectable.
Turns were sharp and precise thanks to Yamaha’s award winning Articulating Keel as part of their Advanced Handling System. In a nutshell they extended the keel of the boat to what’s essentially a rutter. This provided pinpoint precision at higher speeds and dramatically improved handling at slower speeds and docking.
Like I said earlier I was disappointed I couldn’t get behind the boat to see how the wake was with the ballast loaded up but that can give me an excuse to spend another day with this awesome wake machine.
It was mentioned earlier that this isn’t Yamaha’s first wakeboard capable Sport Boat but this is the first time they have focused their attention towards this ultra competitive scene. They have filled the boat with the high tech gadgets that are going to draw the attention in that they will be looking for and their features and hallmarks are going to keep them there.
|Beam:||8' 6"||2.59 m|
|Dry weight:||4,032 lbs||1,829 kg|
|Fuel Capacity:||50 US gals||190 L|
|Base Engine / Drive:||Twin 1.8L High Output|