Boat Review by: Mark Rotharmel
Bowriders in the under 20-foot range have long been, and will continue to be, hugely popular with both seasoned and new boaters alike. Why is that?
Well for one thing, they’re sized right – not too big, not too small. They’re practical, economical to operate and comfortable from bow to stern. Take this AR195 model from Yamaha Boats for example. Inside and out, this boat was engineered to turn heads, featuring a wide array of multi–generational features and technology.
One of four 19-foot models in the company’s respected and trending Sport Boat series, the AR195 benefits from a significant makeover this year. First came a size adjustment – A completely new hull that measures three inches longer, and two inches wider, than the previous model. While that may not sound like much, a few inches here and there makes a big difference in personal comfort, not to mention additional storage space and the placement of amenities.
Of course with a platform change came Yamaha’s opportunity to improve performance, particularly acceleration. Their designers altered the hull, made changes to the strakes and softened the boat’s entry. The result was a faster hole shot, quicker mid-range acceleration and a higher top speed.
Yet another revision to the previous hull was the premium upholstery upgrade, a notable change to the look and feel of this model. Speaking of feelings, we were impressed with Yamaha’s redesigned driver’s bucket seat. Featuring a flip-up bolster, cutout back and curved side panel, it’s been narrowed down - definitely cooler and more comfortable than before.
Density of padding, water-resistance and texture all play into one’s perception of quality. Recognizing this, Yamaha designed an interior to match the hull’s striking and sporty exterior, enhanced this year by its forward-sweeping bright-red tower.
Looks aside, the 195’s layout is excellent - forward, center and aft. Passengers can either choose to sit upright, or stretch out on any of the lounge seats - all of which have seat pads that open wide to store gear and water toys. There’s an impressive 1,580 liters of storage available, including an exceptionally large in-floor cockpit locker and moulded-in anchor locker forward.
Of course when your eyes shift to the water, a boat’s helm becomes a driver’s priority. Less is usually better when focusing on what’s important - Yamaha gets this. The necessary instruments, switches, buttons and electronics are well-positioned and intuitive to use. We also liked the 195’s highly protective curved windshield that by design takes nothing away from the boat’s exterior lines.
Moving aft, the 195’s two-tier swim platform was designed for comfort and convenience. It also had to be safe. Typically… swim platforms incorporate moulded-in fiberglass non-skid surfaces, however Yamaha took an additional step by adhering rubberized non-skid matting to both tiers. Safety grab handles have also been attached to the bottom deck, located immediately above the stainless steel telescopic reboarding ladder.
Note too the wet-storage hatch located on the top deck that lifts to reveal Yamaha’s very own clean-out port. The Achilles heel on jet boats lies with water-flow; lots of water flowing is good, little water flowing is bad. Since Jets suck up water and pass it through a pump, any weeds that happen to block that water from flowing freely means the pump can’t do it’s job.
Competitive Jet boats have grates under the hull that collect weeds and debris, but unfortunately, when the grate clogs up, weeds are difficult to clear and sometimes a swim is required. Not so nice when the water is cold!
Yamaha’s system makes more sense, I believe. A round, fist-sized port directs one’s hand down to where debris gathers at the impeller – which incidentally, keeps spinning until the engine is turned off. So, as not to take any chances here, and to ensure the engine always turns off, an ignition cut-off switch, located under the hatch, automatically kills the engine when the hatch door is lifted. While the engine can’t be restarted when the hatch is up, I’d personally pull the key out of the ignition too - just to be absolutely sure that all systems are rendered inoperable.
Now… on to why power boats are actually called power boats; Yamaha’s 1.8L Super Vortex High Output (SVHO), EFI engine matched with a 160 mm High Pressure Axial Flow pump and 3-blade, 15.1 degree Stainless Steel Impeller.
Through engineering improvements and utilizing Yamaha’s articulating keel system, the hull performed beyond expectations. Supercharging an engine boosts horsepower and speed, so I wasn’t surprised by the power output.
The improvement in low and mid-range acceleration was instantly obvious. Planing in 2.7 seconds, we hit 30 mph in under 8 seconds and 40 mph in 11. We ultimately recorded a top speed of 50 mph at 7550 rpm.
Those who appreciate extra punch and top-end speed will enjoy what the 195 delivers. During mid-range acceleration tests, we traveled from 20 to 40 mph in 8.6 seconds and 30 to 45 mph in 11 seconds. Compare that with a similarly sized Yamaha 190 series hull wherein we accelerated from 20 to 35 mph, close to the 190’s maximum speed, in 8.3 seconds. Interestingly, the SVHO engine revved just 150 rpm higher than Yamaha’s non-supercharged HO powerplant.
As for handling, the AR195 rode flatter and softer, yet just as clean as the previous hull – another positive outcome for Yamaha’s design team. Driving quickly into a turn, the bow carved tight while the rpm remained high. Frankly, I was having more fun than I probably should have during that particular test, and extended my time on the water considerably. It was one of those, “Better to beg for forgiveness than to ask for permission” kind of days… Well worth it, I’d say!
That the AR195 runs so well is a testament to the engineering team who understands that today’s performance-oriented boaters are not about to settle for anything less than great handling at all speeds.
Any way you look at it, Yamaha builds a beautiful and highly versatile boat, and it comes as no surprise that in doing so, they are setting themselves apart from other production boat builders - That’s what leaders do.
|Dry weight:||2,500 lbs||1,134 kg|
|Fuel Capacity:||40 US gals||152 L|
|Base Engine / Drive:||Yamaha Jet 1.8L SVHO|