Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Sea-Doo Speedster Review

The 2005 Speedster 200 features two twin Rotax 4-TEC four-stroke engine options that place up to 370 supercharged horses under your fingertips and a lump in your throat. Its aerodynamic design also features aluminum rails that allow you to attach both the bimini top and optional wakeboard tower at the same time. It also has an exclusive Inlet Clearance System to help conveniently remove weeds at the touch of a button. With the highest horsepower on the market and the best acceleration in its class, this boat is guaranteed to give the hairs on your neck a workout.

Boat Test: Sea Doo Speedster 200 (adrenaline inducer)
By Duncan McIntosh

The new Sea-Doo Speedster 200 is a beautifully and boldly designed boat that’s sure to get a reaction from boaters. You can’t help but notice the Speedster 200’s unique rear sundeck, which has a raised, wing-like profile that looks like a variation on an automobile spoiler.

With its Rotax 4-TEC four-stroke engine, the Speedster has some of the most horsepower available on a jet boat. In fact, with its twin 185 hp jet drives, the boat boasts a massive 370 hp. We took our test boat out in two waves. We got our performance numbers during the first run, with two people and a full tank of fuel on board. Idle was at around 1,800 rpm, at which the throttle was running a little faster than it should. We took the boat up to plane, which we hit at around 4,500 rpm. Our next step was to bring the boat to a stop, so we could time it from 0 to 30 mph. The Speedster 200 made it to 30 mph in 9 seconds, and as serendipity would have it, 30 mph also made for a great cruising speed.

One of the things we can always count on with a Sea-Doo boat is that turns will be sublime -- and the Speedster 200 continues the tradition. The only other time we’ve used the clich├ęd expression of “turns on a dime” was during our test of the Sea-Doo Sportster 4-TEC in 2002, but that description is just as appropriate for the Speedster 200. We can’t help but marvel when the boat literally turns around in place. That’s the power that only comes with a jet drive -- or two of them, in this case.

The Speedster 200 also gets high marks for its quietness. At wide-open throttle, there was very little vibration, and the sound in the cockpit was only 93 dB. Moreover, the boat has a great exhaust sound to it, so the small amount of noise present is not displeasing.

With the business of performance numbers out of the way, we were free to take a pleasure ride. For our second run in the Speedster 200, we had seven people on board, but even with a loaded-down boat, we were able to hit 48.8 mph at 7,000 rpm. Not too shabby.

Lookin’ Good:
Whereas most bowriders have a V-berth that takes up the entire bow section, the Speedster has a large storage locker at the tip of the bow with two small mini-settees/seats flanking each side.

Instead of a walkthrough windshield, the boat has two separate windscreens – one on the helm console and one on the port console. One of the boat’s most striking features is the set of “multi-function” aluminum rails that run along each side of the boat. The rails’ sweeping lines add to the boat’s aerodynamic feel.

All of the upholstery on the boat is top-notch. The bucket seats at the helm console and the companion console are particularly well done, both in design and execution.The helm has a way-cool futuristic look that we loved, with the gauges aligned in a double-V formation. Rocker switches are located right below the gauges, within easy reach.The portside companion console houses an AM/FM CD stereo system, which includes four speakers, and a built-in ice chest is hidden under that console’s windscreen. A ski storage locker is built into the deck space between the two consoles. A long, straight settee runs along the back side of the cockpit. Behind the settee is the spoiler-like sunpad, which has storage underneath. The two cushions on the sunpad flip up like French doors, making the space a great spot for hiding extra gear and life jackets. A ski pylon is placed at the intersection of the sunpad’s two cushions and the straight settee, but sadly, we didn’t have a chance to put the pylon to the test that day.

The Sea-Doo Speedster 200 is sure to appeal to younger boaters who are buying their first boat and want something that looks as wonderful as it rides. The sharp turns afforded by the boat’s twin jet drives are a pleasure to behold, and the bold splashes of color on both the hull and the upholstery make the boat a true eye-catcher.

Length: 19 ft., 9 in.
Beam: 8 ft.
Draft: 1 ft.
Weight (dry): 2,770 lbs.
Fuel capacity: 40 gals.
Maximum power: 370 hp

Engine Package:
Twin 185 hp Rotax 4-TEC four-stroke jet drives

Standard Features:
One-touch inlet clearance system, padded/bolstered seating, glove compartment, custom-matched trailer, full instrumentation, non-skid decking, 12v jack, non-slip grab handles, navigational lights, auto bilge pump/switch, six stainless steel cleats.

Optional Features:
Bimini top
cockpit carpet.

Top speed: 58.4 mph
RPM @ top speed: 7,000
Cruising speed: 35.6 mph
RPM @ cruising speed: 5,500
MPG @ cruising speed: 7.12~
Range @ cruising speed: 140 miles~~ estimated

Loaded with 370 hp and the ability to corner like crazy.

WHAT IT ISN’T: For pure classicists, since the rear sun deck has an ultra-modern look sure to get a love-it or hate-it reaction.

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