Capt. Wenz Takes a Riding Adventure Around Bermuda
A PWC that delivers total cruising comfort, added security with its new seat design, and top-notch performance.
By Captain John B. Wenz
Up until recently, it had been many years since I was on a personal watercraft. I was pleasantly surprised when testing Yamaha’s Waverunner products two years ago. The experience was nothing like I remembered from the past, nor did it bear much resemblance to the common perception of what a PWC is all about. After all, I am the target market- an active family guy in his forties. Yamaha focuses on that demographic and so far, their success continues to grow as they respond to the needs and desires of their customers.
The VX Cruiser is the most affordable Cruiser in the Yamaha lineup. It incorporates features of their flagship FX Cruiser with the value-targeted VX line. The result is a sharp-looking, four-stroke three-seater with a price tag under $8,400.
The people at Yamaha’s boat and watercraft division are the kind of people you like to hang out with. They’re active adults and they participate in the lifestyle that they sell. They listen to the input of their end-users and they know what works and why.
I was reminded that this is the Yamaha Motor Corporation, with an emphasis on “Motor”. The company has a reputation for building good engines, and the marine engine at the heart of Yamaha recreational products is no exception. It’s quiet, economical, and has a record for reliability that’s legendary amongst PWC rental firms. They build the boat around their own engine, and the net result seems to be a perfect match.
The attractive, rugged hull is manufactured using the latest in robotics and automated manufacturing procedures. The compression molded hull is color matched to the paint finish which makes the VX Cruiser very forgiving when it comes to dings and scratches. The VX Cruiser comes in your choice of two color and graphics schemes- Eclipse Black or Carbon Bronze.
This PWC is 127 inches long, 46 inches wide and weighs 712 pounds dry. Standard features include a 15.9 gallon fuel tank, 18.7 gallons of storage, and she features the only wireless remote security system in the industry. This system can also be used to control a low rpm mode, which will restrict the operating speed for the novice user. The helm console houses a multi-function instrumentation panel and dual mirrors to keep an eye on the waterskier or wakeboarder that the VX Cruiser is capable of towing. In addition, the 110 hp, four cylinder-four stroke engine features off throttle steering for safety and is both fuel efficient and environmentally friendly.
One of the most important features of the VX Cruiser is Yamaha’s Cruiser seat. Its shape allows the rider on back to enjoy his or her own experience without hanging on to the driver’s waist. This is a big selling point and something I wanted to check-out firsthand.
My appointment with Yamaha not only afforded me the opportunity to test the boat for the performance numbers, but I also had a day to use the boat exactly as it is intended to be used. Picture this- we set out with a handful of Waverunners, including a couple of VX Cruisers, and a couple of Yamaha’s boats to tour Bermuda. We did some sightseeing, cruised along two-up, and did some high-speed running for excitement. We took photos of some interesting caves and rock formations and then paid a visit to a local shipwreck. After we got a look at the local sea life, we fed the fish, and then pulled-up at a beachfront restaurant for lunch. Afterwards, we anchored out for some swimming, snorkeling and cliff-diving, and then did a little relaxing. On the way back to the dock we cruised through Hamilton harbor to check out a couple of cruise ships. A fun time was had by all. Along the way I took the opportunity to ask one of the more aggressive male riders in our group to drive while I rode on back, two-up. I was skeptical, and I really wasn’t looking forward to cruising along with my arms wrapped around a man’s waist while pressing myself against his back (“Not that there’s anything wrong with that!” to quote Seinfeld.) Once we got underway, I realized that there’s a comfortable distance between driver and rider, and that I didn’t have to worry about burying my face in his back when we came of a wave. I held on to the base of my seat, and I could relax. The one thing I did have to learn was the importance of leaning forward during the accelerations. Once you figure that out, you realize that the shape of the seat eliminates the sensation of falling off the back and the stability of the boat adds to the feeling of security. I can easily see my wife and me riding this way with one of our young sons between us.
On the test runs, the VX Cruiser took me from zero to thirty in just over 2 ¾ seconds. Now that’s exhilarating! We reached a top speed of 53.7 mph, and that was on a day which was a little choppy- not exactly the ideal condition for setting speed records.
Now I realize that not everybody will get the chance to tour around Bermuda by Waverunner. My point is that what we did that day is a far cry from buzzing around in circles and jumping wakes. This is active boating and something I thoroughly enjoyed. There was something in it for everyone in my family and, more than likely, your family too. My experience tells me that anyone can enjoy this kind of fun on their own home waters, no matter where you go boating.
The men and women at Yamaha are doing a fine job of responding to the needs of boating families. If you’re looking for a great value in a personal watercraft with the features of a high-end machine at a value price, the VX Cruiser from Yamaha is worth your consideration. If you’re skeptical, I recommend trying one out for the day. You’ll find out what all the excitement is about.