YAMAHA 232 LIMITED S
By Captain John B. Wenz
When I was younger, about the only thing anybody ever towed behind a boat, besides a dinghy, was “Gidget” on a pair of waterskis. That changed a few years back. Now there are all manner of tubes and floats and, most significantly, wakeboards strung out behind the transom of boats all over the place. Without having studied this phenomenon, I’d say it came along about the same time as the snowboard craze. And what was once an outlet for young rebels “going for it” has matured into an activity for the whole family.
The outdoor types at Yamaha, in an ongoing effort to respond to the market, have embraced the idea of a family wakeboard boat. They already had a good, versatile family boat in their 232 series. What they’ve done now is to add a forward-swept aluminum tower to the 232 Limited, add a couple of other little extras, and call it the 232 Limited S. Now, this boat isn’t going to be used as a tow boat for the next wakeboard competition; there aren’t any ballast tanks or trim tabs to enhance the 232’s wake. The intention here is to provide an elevated towing point without compromising what impresses me as a pretty nice family bowrider.
I don’t think that Yamaha’s boats get the attention they deserve. They’re quality craft, loaded with features and value. The early two-stroke jet-drive boats created a certain impression which has yet to be shaken, and as a result the inherent advantages in the waterjet propulsion system are still somewhat unknown. Consequently, potential buyers don’t often compare these boats to I/O runabouts and bowriders in this size range. That’s shortsighted, as I see it, and anyone who is in the market who doesn’t give these boats a look is making a mistake. Therefore, let’s take a closer look, specifically, at the 232 Limited S.
First of all, this boat is a complete package minus stuff like fenders and boathooks; Yamaha leaves the “Coast Guard Package” for the dealer to provide. What Yamaha does include, among the long list of standard features, is equipment like twin engines and a swim platform. Those are frequently unavailable, even as an option, on a boat of this size.
The 232 Limited S is built on Yamaha’s 23 foot hull. The “Yacht Blue” color is a classic, and the “S” package sports a pair of built-in docking lights. It’s got an 8’6” beam, a 20 degree deadrise, and the draft is only 16”, less when on plane. That’s great news for those who like to anchor off of their favorite beach. In addition, the internal water-jet propulsion system means that there are no exposed propellers. Carefully consider that last statement when you think about wakeboards, tubing, and other water sports. As the father of three active boys, it’s what I call peace of mind.
A family outing usually means a crowd. The 232 Limited S offers really comfortable seating for ten on some nicely finished upholstery. The bow seats offer room to stretch out or sit comfortably, either underway or at anchor. In the main cockpit area, you can gather around a removable dinette table. There’s lots of storage underneath the seats, so you can bring everything you need for a day out on the water and it won’t be lying around the deck. There are stainless handrails in handy places, as well as stainless cup holders.
For the skipper, they’ve installed a captain’s chair with an adjustable bolster. Frankly, I’m not in love with this chair. It’s functional, but it just doesn’t measure up to the thought put into the rest of the boat. Granted, I’m an old school, stand-up-to-steer-a-boat kind of guy, so I’ve got issues with most of the helm seats on boats this size. This one looks like it never made it out of the prototype stage, and it doesn’t spin around completely. Eventually the lower corners of the upholstery will wear through where it hits on the bottom. I’d love to see this one little issue resolved.
On the console, the instrument layout is efficient and logical; dual tachs on either side of a speedometer, with a compass, a depth finder, and a row of rocker switches. It’s all standard, so nothing looks like an after thought. Since you need to have a soundtrack for your boating adventures, Yamaha has included a Sony stereo with CD player, Sirius, and an MP3 input. On the 232 Limited S, the sound system is enhanced by the addition of integral speakers in the tower.
Speaking of the wakeboard tower, it’s an attractive, well-made aluminum affair with LED cockpit lighting built right in. Other creature comforts are much appreciated, such as the bimini top, a cockpit table, and a nicely finished head compartment. Don’t look for a factory installed toilet, though. Yamaha has left it up to the dealer to include that as an aftermarket option.
The finish work on the entire boat is excellent. The quality is consistent throughout with classy little details like the wood-grain dash, the snap-in Berber carpeting, the finished head compartment and the color-matched gel coat in the engine compartment. In fact, Yamaha’s fine execution of the 232 Limited S will force you take a second look at the price tag.
The Stern Lounge Area - One of My Favorites
The best part of this boat, for my money, is the swim platform or “stern lounge area.” It’s the center of activity on the 232 Limited S when you’re anchored at your favorite beach or cove, and rightly so. The deck surfaces are covered in what they call Hydro-Turf mats, and backrest cushions are integrated in the design. There’s a mount for the cockpit table, so you can enjoy refreshments at the water’s edge. A freshwater shower and a remote for the stereo complete the details, and the platform lifts to provide storage underneath. Whether you’re anchored or underway, the design offers a smooth transition between being in the water and being in the cockpit.
I ran the 232 Limited S on a large Georgia lake. Although time didn’t allow us to tow a wakeboard, in terms of performance data I was impressed by what I saw. As I’ve already said, this boat isn’t a specialized, competition-oriented wakeboard boat, but I have no doubt that it’s suitable for all but the most hardcore riders. We rocketed up out of the hole in 3.4 seconds, and reached 30 mph in 5.6 seconds. Our top speed was 48.5 mph, and we figured that we could cruise at 7000 rpm for about 156 miles at just under 25 mph on a full tank of gas.
Versatility and Value
The 232 Limited S is attractive, functional, and durable. At an MSRP of $43,199, this boat is certainly a good value. It will serve your whole family well for a long, active day on the water. When the day ends, this is a classy ride for an evening harbor cruise. If you’re interested in a well-finished, versatile boat for your active family that comes complete with everything but lunch and the cold drinks, take a look at the 232 Limited S from Yamaha.