Captain's Report by Capt. Steve
Cool Your Jets
I would be remiss if I didn't start out with the primary difference between Yamaha sportboats and…, well "normal", i.e. sterndrive-powered, sportboats. That main difference is, of course, the jet drives. In the 212 series you also get two engines and drive systems, compared to a single sterndrive engine in this size range. For Yamaha, jet drives are the goose that laid the golden egg. With each passing year they seem to be getting more and more popular as the boating public becomes acclimated to a different kind of drive system.
If you intend to sit behind the wheel and slam the throttle home, you better take a look at your passengers to be sure they're all hanging on, because the thrill ride is about to begin. I did it and launched to planing speed in just over 2 seconds. As I continued to accelerate, the 212 and I flew through 30 mph in only 4 seconds. This boat is a rocketship!Top speed came in at 7650 rpm and 56 miles per hour. At that speed we were burning a combined 25.1 gph and getting 2.23 miles per gallon for range of 100 miles with a 10% reserve. Pulled back to 5000 rpm revealed our best cruise speed of 27.2 miles per hour and an 8.5 gallon per hour fuel burn. Now we were getting 3.19 miles per gallon for range of 144 miles.Therein lays the feature that more than offsets the brief learning curve one has to take when transitioning to a jet drive boat.
As we climb aboard the 212 let's start our tour up to the bow. An anchor locker conceals a four step beach reboarding ladder that is housed in the same place as the anchor and rode. The anchor is secured by brackets to either side of the compartment with latches that turn to secure the arms of the typical Danforth anchor in place. The forward part of the hatch has cutouts molded into the hull that not only accommodate the ladder, but your anchor rode as well. This means the hatch can be closed while anchor is deployed.
Just behind is a non-skid step, so you have two non skid areas before you enter either the water or the beach from the bow. The bow has two lounge seats, much as you would find in any bow rider, but again there is a Yamaha difference. The 212 carries its 8'6" (2.6 m) beam well forward which allows for a large amount of space at the bow. I measured 76" (193 cm) between the bolsters at the seat backs. Now what does that mean for someone like you and me? It means that you can utilize this bow without having to stay facing forward in the lounging position. In fact, four people can comfortably sit at this bow while sitting back and facing each other for an intimate conversation without knocking knees together.
The 212 also has some interchangeable bow configurations. Both loungers have removable forward cushions, and once taken out you create rumble seats that will likely be the most popular spot with the kids while underway because this location gives the best feeling of speed. Put the two forward cushions back and then pull two more out of storage to create a forward sun pad. And as if that weren't enough, take the forward sun pad cushion and move it back in the middle of the walkthrough to create three across forward facing seating.
The windshield walkthrough closes off in the usual manner with the windshield and console storage door blocking any breeze on chilly mornings. The port console has roomy storage that goes out to the hull side, and forward underneath the port bow seating. The entire compartment is big enough to hold skis and wake boards but once you put the sun pad cushions inside you'll stick to storing the boards in the sole storage locker.The walkthrough's 26" (66 cm) width is put to good use with the sole storage. The sole storage hatch goes almost all the way to the sides of the consoles giving you a wide open entry to a spacious compartment.
Yamaha created a very orderly helm layout by utilizing only three gauges in the upper panel. The two tachometer's lie to either side of a center mounted speedometer. Embedded and the bottom of both tachometer's are multi function gauges that allow you to scroll through up to 18 different parameters, and with two of these gauges you can pretty much customize it to suit your desires.I was happy to see a stereo at the helm as opposed to a remote control. The dual engine controls are mounted at a roughly 45° angle which is comfortable enough when sitting down on the seat, but when up on the bolster I found it easier to advance the controls with my palm up first, and then once engaged rotate my hand to the normal palm down grip to advance normally. The captain gets a comfortable wrap around bucket seat, open in the back for improved ventilation, flip up bolster, and it swivels and slides.
As you move aft you come to a well laid out cockpit that is unlike many boats in this class. The most notable feature is that the seating wraps all the way around to form a "J." Yamaha is able to do this thanks to their low profile engines which virtually eliminate the need for an engine box at the aft end of the cockpit. There is storage under the two seats to port and starboard and a side mounted base for the pedestal table.
What would be the aft facing observer's position isn't really aft facing after all. The port seat carries well forward so when facing aft your head will be up against the windshield causing you to be leaning forward. Additionally a grab handle will be hitting your lower back. Better to utilize this seat facing the captain and now you have a panoramic view from the bow ahead to the end of the towline astern. I find that being able to easily glance forward to see when we approach the end of a run allows me to let the person under tow know that we will be turning. There is 36.5" (92.7 cm) of space between the seats. That's very roomy and I notice it helps that the caprails are so narrow in the cockpit.
If you've ever had a hassle opening an engine box, then you're going to love the Yamaha 212's. Just squeeze the release mechanism at the bottom, give an easy lift and the hatch will continue to rise by itself. Inside are two low-profile, 1812 cc four–stroke, four cylinder, high output Yamaha marine engines. These engines are purpose-built for marine applications by Yamaha. This means two things… they're not marinized car engines, and the same company that stands behind the boat will stand behind the engines.
I found the layout in the engine compartment to be more than adequate for doing regular maintenance. The top of the oil dipsticks are yellow and directly in front of you. The oil change filters are forward and to port on each engine and both are within easy reach. The air filters are mounted on the forward bulkhead also within easy reach. The equipment you don't need to get to is further away and out of reach. These are items like the engine control linkages on the outer bulkheads, and the computer control modules for the engines which are relegated to the aft bulkhead.
A Stern Like No Other
Without a doubt the most attractive feature on all Yamaha boats has to be the aft transom stadium-style swim platform, a signature element of all Yamaha watercraft. It consists of two platforms separated from each other by a 9" (22.9 cm) riser. The upper platform has comfortable seat backs and you're sitting in a very natural position with your feet on the lower platform. Three people can do it but two are more comfortable. There's another side mounted pedestal base for the removable table, and there is a stereo remote. Here you can enjoy cocktails at sunset with your favorite tunes.
As jet drives take large amounts of water through their intakes, there are those rare occasions where running through grass or seaweed could clog the intake ports. This used to mean shutting down and going in the water to clear out the drives. Yamaha has built access ports into the upper level of the stern which allow you to clean out the pumps without having to go in the water. For safety, cutoff switches will render each engine inoperable once this hatch is open.
Here is another area where Yamaha differs dramatically from the rest of the industry: every boat it sells comes to you complete, without any options. If you want a different feature, then you go to with different model boat. The 212 series represents a perfect example. The 212 SS comes complete with bow filler cushions, dual captain’s chairs, a Bimini top, snap in carpeting, pedestal tables, multi-function helm displays, and a color-matched dual axle trailer with swing away tongue all as standard features.So what if you want a wakeboard tower? No problem, you just have to get it attached to the 212X. That is virtually the same boat, but with a different color scheme, J shaped bench seating instead of dual captain’s chairs, ballast sacks, and a collapsible wakeboard tower. Yamaha even includes swivel board racks on both sides of the tower. And rest assured we're not talking about just a simple welded aluminum pipe tower. This is a purpose-built, very strong and very cool tower that folds down for easy storage.
Some may find the practice of switching boats to switch options to be a little unusual, but it's one of the ways Yamaha works in your best interest to keep the price down. And since we're talking about boats that are typically many thousands of dollars below the nearest competitor, I say they can do what they want with the options.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Yamaha 212SS (2012-2013) is 56.0 mph (90.1 kph), burning 25.1 gallons per hour (gph) or 95 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Yamaha 212SS (2012-2013) is 27.2 mph (43.8 kph), and the boat gets 3.19 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.36 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 144 miles (231.75 kilometers).
- Tested power is 2 x 1812 cc High Output Yamaha Marine Engine.
Standard and Optional Features
|Carpet: Cockpit||Standard Snap-in|
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
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