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Brief Summary

The R is for racing. The racecourse inspired this quick, nimble machine and the racecourse is where it is making its reputation. This machine has all of the features that Yamaha PWCs are known for, but with a special emphasis on performance.

Key Features

  • 1 to 3 persons seating capacity
  • Supercharged 4-cylinder, 4-stroke, Super Vortex High Output Yamaha Marine Engine
  • NANOXCEL®2 ultra-lightweight hull and deck
  • RIDE™ by YAMAHA, dual throttle control
  • Reverse in RiDE™ with Traction Control
  • Electric trim system
  • Watertight storage


Length Overall 131.9'' / 3.35 m
Beam 48''
1.22 m
Dry Weight 769 lbs.
349 kg
Draft N/A
Deadrise/Transom N/A
Max Headroom open
Bridge Clearance N/A
Weight Capacity N/A
Person Capacity 3
Fuel Capacity 18.5 gal.
70 L
Water Capacity N/A


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Engine Options

Tested Engine Currently no test numbers
Std. Power 1 x 1812cc 4-cylinder, 4-stroke SVHO Yamaha Marine Engine
Opt. Power Not Available

Captain's Report

Contents of Report

Yamaha GP1800R running


The GP1800R was made to race, something it does quite well. It is undefeated in its class, according to the builder. Yamaha also made sure performance-minded, non-racers could enjoy its maneuverability and creature comforts.

Distinguishing Features

    The Engine. The SVHO® engine features a high-performance intercooler, increased supercharger air intake capacity and boost, and a modified fuel injection system for increased fuel flow.

    The Jet Nozzle. Below the waterline, the SVHO engine is matched with a 160MM, eight-vane jet pump stator for maximum thrust volume.

    The Intake Grate. For 2019, the GP1800R has a new dual intake grate with a foil in between that directs water to the impeller to maximize traction.

    Dual-Throttle Handle Bar Control. Yamaha is the only PWC maker that offers this. Pull the right handle to go forward, and the left one to go in reverse.

Yamaha GP1800R pwc

Major Features

    • Available in Azure Blue with White or Black with Torch Red Metallic

    • 160mm high-pressure pump

    • RiDE™ with Traction Control; dual throttle control enhances maneuverability, stopping, and reverse

    • Security/Low-RPM Mode with Remote Transmitter; two remotes activate fuel-saving, low-RPM mode, and security against unauthorized usage

    • Racing inspired, 2-piece seat

    • Dual mirrors

    • Glove box with dual cup holders

    • Retractable boarding step

    • Two-tone, custom cut deck mats

    • Automatic, de-watering bilge pump

Yamaha GP1800R running

Here we see the rounded bottom of the GP1800R which is designed to soften the ride when going through chop. The strakes give lift and help with directional stability.


The 2019 GP1800R features a new intake grate and ride plate proven to deliver peak performance on the closed course. The new intake grate features a foil that feeds water to the top end of the impeller to improve traction and keep the pump hooked up to maintain maximum thrust when turning, and in rough water. It also creates more downforce to keep the GP1800R planted in the water and stable when turning.

Hull Construction

The NanoXcel® 2 hull and deck is 18% lighter than the generation it replaced. The result is a favorable power-to-weight ratio for faster acceleration and an agile ride. Yamaha has been using and evolving its NanoXcel hull material for a number of years to reduce weight without sacrificing strength. The composite hull is composed of glass micro bubbles in exfoliated clay encapsulated in resin.

The mixture is molded in high-pressure compression steel molds. Robotic routers drill holes. The result is a hull and deck lighter than conventional fiberglass and resin, and apparently just as strong, or stronger. We have received no complaints about Yamaha hull failure.

Once an inner liner is inserted and fixed into place, expandable PVC foam is poured in so that all of the voids are filled to provide positive flotation. After all internal components, including the engine, are in place, the deck is mated to the hull with chemical adhesive that is stronger than fiberglass.

Be sure to see the BoatTEST video and full Captain’s Report on the SVHO engine. Click here…

Yamaha GP1800R running

The GP1800R’s new race-inspired seat holds three people and is in two parts.

The new race-inspired seat is textured with new sticky vinyl for grip and comfort when charging into turns. The reboarding step makes it easier to reboard after a swim, and it tucks conveniently away when it isn’t in use.


The GP18000R may look familiar because Yamaha’s predecessor, the GP1800, was the same machine in many ways. Someone at Yamaha decided they got a lot of things right with the GP1800 so rather than start over from scratch; they changed a few important fundamental elements: the engine, thrust nozzle, new top-loader intake grate, and the new ride plate to reduce bow rise when accelerating.

Yamaha GP1800R supercharger

This CAD image shows the new supercharger on the forward end of the SVHO engine running off the main crank shaft, forcing compressed air through the intercooler.

The Engine

Yamaha’s supercharged 1812 CC Super Vortex High Output is a 1.8L 4-stroke, 4-cylinder intercooled engine. Yamaha says it is the “most technically-advanced” engine it has ever designed for a personal watercraft. Makers of PWC engines, typically don’t reveal the horsepower of their engines, and Yamaha is no exception.

Yamaha has added more speed, acceleration and maneuverability, which enabled the GP1800R to gain racecourse notoriety in a hurry. While all recreational PWCs are built to USCG guidelines, which means they are not supposed to go faster than 65 mph, WOT, acceleration is not governed. So, it is here that we can expect the GP1800R to noticeably excel.

The 1.8L engine has “open loop cooling” which means that it uses raw water to cool the engine as opposed to “closed loop cooling” used by some of the competition. Yamaha says open loop is better. Yamaha recommends premium unleaded gasoline.


At 131.9” (3.35 m) long and 48” (1.22 m) wide, the GP1800R is not the biggest or smallest boat in its category. The key number that may have the most influence on performance of our test boat is the empty weight of 769 lbs. (349 kg). That’s about 90 lbs. (41 kg) lighter than other, comparable watercraft.

Yamaha GP1800R running

Fast, tight turns equal fun on the GP1800R.

Our test captain found the 1.8L SVHO Yamaha Marine engine, the three-blade stainless impellor, top-loader intake grate, and race-designed ride plate, combined to produce some impressive performance numbers.

As regular readers know, our test captain cannot operate a PWC and take performance numbers at the same time, so we rely on the honesty of Yamaha to give us their performance numbers that are taken with computer-aided devices. At idle, 1200 rpm, the GP1800R has a speed of 3.4 mph.

The best cruise speed is found at 4000 rpm where the machine goes 25.5 mph, resulting in 7.8 mpg and endurance of 5.1 hours. Jump the rpm just a thousand to 5000 and the speed increases 47% to 37.6 mph and mpg drops to 5.9 and endurance drops to 2.6 hours.

Yamaha GP1800R running

Cranking and banking with the new GP1800R is a test of skill vs. nerve for most amateur PWC enthusiasts.

The top speed that Yamaha reported was at 7600 rpm and at near hurricane force, 68.5 mph. Sitting on a little rocket a few inches above the water’s surface, traveling at a speed that would earn a hefty speeding ticket on many interstates is not for the faint hearted. Riders should be mindful that hitting the water at that speed is not fun.


The GP1800R turns in its own length at idle speed in both forward and reverse. At speed, the boat turns about as tightly as the operator believes he or she can safely turn it.

Yamaha GP1800R running

Tight turns at idle speed make close quarters maneuvering easily manageable.

Claims that this PWC is designed for closed course racing are not exaggerated. It’s made for racing around buoys so it accelerates like a rocket and turns on a dime. Performance is the key word.

The only way to reconcile the raw speed with the precise turning is to put the boat into a lean first, then crank it into the turn. If you manage not to get thrown off, you succeeded. It’s time to hit the throttle and dry your hair.

Inexperienced riders and those moving up to a Race/Performance Runabout should be warned. Don’t try to find the starting, stopping and turning limits of the GP1800R on the first ride. This machine is all about performance and it packs a punch.


The deck, forward of the handlebars, is made up of sharp angles and smooth surfaces that allow air to flow into and around the boat. The graphics package accentuates the structural collection of planes that look more like something you’d find on a stealth aircraft than a personal watercraft.

Yamaha GP1800R sleek

Today, the Yamaha WaveRunners are as sleek as any personal watercraft on the market.

Moving down toward the waterline, the GP1800R has soft bow chines, which combined with its defined hull strakes and race-infused keel shape, help account for the boat’s fast and easy movement through the water.

A spring-loaded, step up enables swimmers to mount the GP1800R easily from the water. It folds away when not in use. Sturdy, comfortable hand grabs attached to the back of the seat offer stability for swimmers when they mount the boat and passengers on-board who might need to stand and balance on the ample aft deck.

Yamaha GP1800R step

Step up in the up position.

The skid-resistant surface helps ensure safe and stable footing. The non-skid surface extends up beside both seats to the foot wells, protecting passengers from slipping anywhere they might stand on the boat. The sturdy tow hook is tucked away up high between the back of the seat and the aft deck, where passengers cannot trip or bump into it.

Yamaha GP1800R nmma

The seal with the big “3” on it, indicates that the Yamaha GP1800R has been certified as meeting the NMMA standards for personal watercraft. Note the tow hook is high and out of the knee-strike zone.

An NMMA certification/capacity sticker indicating three persons with a combined weight of no more than 485 lbs. (220 kg) is clearly displayed on the hull. The race-inspired seat offers plenty of padding for comfort with a special gripping surface to keep riders from sliding. The seat narrows toward the front to allow the driver to grip the craft with his or her legs.

Yamaha GP1800R observers seat

A passenger in the furthest aft seat can comfortably turn to face backward to watch someone being towed. The hand grabs are placed ergonomically to allow the passenger to hold on with both hands.

Yamaha GP1800R handle bars

The handlebars provide padded and ergonomically molded hand grips to make a long day of riding easy on the hands. The driver controls speed with the dead-man, spring-loaded throttle on the right side.

Yamaha GP1800R hand controls

The left hand controls trim and stopping. The start and emergency cut off switches and neutral/reverse lever are located on the left handlebar.

Yamaha GP1800R mirrors

The driver looks down on the multifunction information center, flanked by panoramic mirrors on either side.

Yamaha GP1800R data

The LCD read out provides a variety of data including fuel, trim, and speed.

Yamaha GP1800R back seat

The back seat pops up for safe and easy fuel filling.

Yamaha GP1800R bow seating

The fiberglass bow housing tilts up to provide dry storage for items such as towels and clothing.

Yamaha GP1800R compartment

A water-tight compartment for valuables such as wallets and cell phones sits right between the seat and handlebars for easy access.

Yamaha GP1800R drivers seat

The driver’s seat lifts entirely off the boat, providing easy access to the engine and drive mechanism.

Yamaha GP1800R hull strakes

Roll the GP1800R up on its side for a closer look at the innovative hull strakes and keel shape. The real secret sauce is the new high-performance top-loader intake grate and race-designed ride plate.

Yamaha GP1800R sponsons

The exotic looking sponsons come stock on the GP1800R. They add stability.

Yamaha GP1800R bold graphics

The bold graphics package that accentuates the angular bow shapes continues all the way to the boarding step, making this fast and agile watercraft as much fun to look at as it is to ride.


The lower GP1800R weight noted earlier can be attributed in large part to hull and deck construction using NanoXcel 2 technology. Yamaha engineers developed an innovative new way to increase resin strength while considerably reducing weight. This favorable strength to weight ratio is unequalled in comparable Race/Performance Runabouts on the market, according to the company.

Optional Equipment/Price

Yamaha has made buying a GP1800R pretty easy. There are two colors to choose from and aside from a life jacket and bathing attire, there isn’t much else needed.

The manufacturer’s list price for the GP1800R is $14,199.

Yamaha GP1800R running

Captain Steve is 54 and game for most anything on the water, including the challenge of the new Yamaha GP1800R stallion rearing and raring to go.


This boat has so much power it might intimidate operators who are not experienced and ready for a challenge. The GP1800R is probably best suited for the veteran rider who wants to hone his or her racing skills or just reach the next level of performance riding.

On the other hand, all that power will come in handy for pulling skiers and other towed devices. Because it can handle three people, the GP1800R has “family” written all over it, in spite of its awesome power and agility.

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