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VIDEO: Yamaha Marine Group president talks technology

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More of today’s boat buyers are looking for the best of the best — vessels with all of the latest technological bells and whistles. And, of course, a huge part of the purchase is the propulsion package, so Yamaha Motor Corp. is making sure its engines offer the highest levels of performance, reliability, technology and reliability.

“What we’re seeing is that when a guy buys a new boat he is not barely buying a new boat,” Yamaha Marine Group president Ben Speciale told Trade Only Today on Friday in a sit-down interview at the engine company’s test center in Bridgeport, Ala.

“What he wants to do is buy a full-featured product. The new boat buyer is an experienced boater, so he knows what he wants in the product. He wants to have the nice interiors; he wants a wider boat; he wants a longer boat; he wants it full-featured with an electronics package; and he wants the best propulsion with the boat. He doesn’t just want to barely get into it, he wants to make sure it runs properly and up to high standards and has all the accouterments he likes to give him and his family a great experience on the water.”

The media had a chance to test Yamaha’s latest engines during a two-day press event last week. The company last Thursday at the Chattanoogan Hotel in Chattanooga, Tenn., introduced four new models in its Super High Output lineup, which targets the freshwater market: the V MAX SHO 115 and V MAX SHO 175 and the 150X and 250X V MAX SHO.

The 150 and 250 are 25-inch shaft versions of the current V MAX SHO engines of the same horsepower. The new models, which begin to hit the market in the spring, are engineered for high-speed performance.

“You’ll really get a kick in the pants when you go and operate this engine,” Yamaha marine product information manager David Meeler said as he referred to the new V MAX SHO 115 during a technical presentation on Friday prior to engine testing.

And I did receive that kick when I drove a 20-foot bass boat with the 115. I easily eclipsed the 40-mph mark while traveling against the wind and current on the Tennessee River. The boat jumps from 4,500 to 5,000 rpm with jerk-you-back-in-your-seat acceleration.

The company also said it will have updated versions of its F150, its best-selling outboard, and F8. Yamaha also introduced its Helm Master (a helm control system with joystick and other technologies) for quad applications. A monster center console, a 42-footer from Hydra-Sports, was in the water to demonstrate the Helm Master.

I got a chance to man the joystick. The system moved the boat around responsively, but this was a large boat, so it did take a few seconds to change directions. Yamaha regional application engineer Bill Craft was on board to show journalists how Helm Master works. Craft said the best way to operate the joystick on a boat this large is to engage the joystick in a steady, consistent manner, moving the boat slowly.

That was good to hear. After running around at 60 mph in a high-performance bass boat, I was ready to go slow and steady.

This article was updated to reflect the correct speed at which the author traveled against the wind and current on the Tennessee River.



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