In the boating world, Yamaha has staked a lot on jet-drive power, both for their PWCs and their runabout models. It allows them to mate their well-engineered, proven engines to impeller-jet drives and mount those systems in a big bunch of hull forms. And they’ve been very successful.
However, one problem that has somewhat undercut the success of jet drives for all companies that build them has been the generally poor steering attributes of the drives at low and idling speeds. They just don’t behave the way traditional propeller and rudder combinations do.
Well, low-speed steering must have been at the center of quite a few Yamaha meetings in the recent past, because it’s something the company decided to wrestle into control for 2015.
Recently we talked about the efforts of Yamaha engineers to improve low-speed steering in their new jet-driven 240 Series runabouts. While that solution has to do with keel configuration and the addition of an articulating keel extension/rudder that works in concert with the twin jet nozzles, on the PWC end of things they’ve taken a different approach for their new VX- and FX-Series WaveRunner models – something they call RiDE system, which puts throttle controls on both handlebars. The right-hand pull-lever throttles the boat in forward, while the new left-hand pull-lever engages and throttles power through a patented reverse bucket that also redirects thrust out the sides to act as a sort of liquid rudder.
Yamaha’s people claim that the RiDE system is a game-changer in the PWC world. Well, if RiDE always works as well, and as intuitively, as it seems to in Charles Plueddeman’s quick demo of the VX Cruiser for boats.com, then Yamaha’s people may be right. For more information, visit Yamaha WaveRunners.