Yamaha is set to provide fresh options at both ends of its 2017 personal watercraft range. In addition to a revamped version of the venerable stand-up Superjet race ski, they have also introduced an entry-level EX model in three variants and a new race-ready flagship known as the GP1800.

Yamaha Personal Watercraft: new EX line

The EX line is Yamaha's answer to Sea-Doo's ultra affordable Spark.

Entry level Yamaha EX

At the entry point to the Yamaha fleet, we have what appears to be a direct riposte to the radically affordable Sea-Doo Spark. When that boat arrived three years ago, it neatly sidestepped the headlong crusade for greater speeds, increased power and more complex technologies with a platform that was smaller, lighter and cheaper than any comparable craft in the world. It reinvigorated the market’s enthusiasm for the simple pleasures of jet-powered recreation so it was inevitable that Yamaha would introduce something to challenge its wholesale dominance and their answer is the EX.

Available in EX, EX Sport and EX Deluxe variants, it is an entirely new boat from the ground up. It features a soft, stable, novice-friendly hull and the new three-cylinder TR-1 marine engine, which is 40 per cent smaller, 20 per cent lighter and also reportedly more frugal than the previous four-cylinder Yamaha MR-1. On the water, that translates into 46-knot performance and the kind of pick-up that may well have the beating of the Spark. Whether the rest of its qualities will be enough to live with the ultra-versatile, easily upgradable Sea-Doo Spark has yet to be seen, but it’s wholly positive that the budget boater now has a second option to tempt him.

Yamaha GP1800

The Yamaha GP1800 is a race-ready package straight off the shelf.

The new Yamaha GP1800

At the other end of the performance spectrum, Yamaha is also set to introduce a new exponent of the hallowed ‘GP’ racing line – and while the company refuses to talk about specific power outputs (a long-established policy that is apparently not open for discussion), there is little doubt that the GP1800’s combination of the fearsome SVHO engine and lightweight ‘NanoXcel2’ construction will see it excel on the race circuit in exactly the same fashion as its forbears. However, it also looks set to add refinement to dynamic aggression, with a five-point trim switch, a low-RPM mode for improved safety and the award-winning RiDE system for intuitive gear selection without having to remove your hands from the bars. To find out more about this and the other 13 models in Yamaha’s upgraded 2017 fleet, visit Yamaha's website.

Written by: Alex Smith
Alex Smith is a journalist, copywriter and magazine editor with a long history in boating and a happy addiction to the water. He’s worked on boats, lived on boats, bought boats, sold boats and – when he’s not actually on board a boat – he can generally be found in his Folkestone office, tapping away at the computer and gazing out to sea.