We recently met up with Waterworld Outdoor's Glenn Willmott at the well-known River Resort along the Vaal River to check out the 2012 Sea-Doo Speedster 150. In no shy fashion, she was delivered to the water by a super cool Can-Am which is a versatile, utility, side-by-side vehicle. Imagine a Nissan Champ bakkie styled for the futuristic 90's movie Judge Dredd, and you'll get the Can-Am Commander XT picture.
The Sea-Doo still claimed the most attention though, being a really small craft (4.67 m) with a whole lot of power. Add to that the look of the menacing tower, the cool buttons and levers on board, and the almost jet-style bucket seats and you know this won't be an ordinary boat ride.
The All-American Muscle Craft Sea-Doo Speedster 150 Pictures by Dean Castle and Anton Pretorius Words by Dean Castle Deck layout There’s actually quite a bit to point out in this otherwise small looking interior, which is actually adequate enough to have more than two passengers. Unlike a Porsche’s rear seats for example, where your kids have to be near legless in order to fit the entire family, the Sea-Doo Speedster 150 can accommodate four leg-stretching family members quite comfortably. When you’re going to drive meek and mild, you can take three friends and have an absolute jol on the water.
I wouldn’t recommend taking the rear-facing passenger if you’re going to drive the Speedster like you just stole it – not from a handling point of view, but because they’re just simply not likely to appreciate the lively performance of the craft while facing backwards.
On board, three-seats are to be found side-by-side, and you feel like you’re getting ready on the fastest ride at the local fun park. Cup holders, Silver Jensen speakers and of course grab handles separate the seats – so you can listen to your favourite beats when you rip up the waterway and not spill a cold drink when you aren’t.
The skipper is really lucky on this craft, because it’s just so different. This is of course a jet boat, which works on the same methods and principles as jetski’s – so things work a little differently than found in in- and outboards. In front of the wheel, there’s a full digital information centre with 21 functions, including a fuel consumption meter, cruise control, ECO™ mode and docking mode. This, set inside a futuristic, aggressive looking carbon-fibre backing which is possibly one of the reasons you can never get behind the wheel and just take it easy.
Built into the binnacle, you can either use the Jensen audio control mount to bust a beat, or flip up the console lid on the front of the binnacle to access the full Jensen stereo system and a dry storage bin for a few items. These are new on the 2012 model.
There’s a ski locker in the middle of the craft which provides storage too – and although I didn’t try it, I think you might battle to fit a ski inside. Nonetheless, still a nice little area to have for those other boating necessities. Also new for this year’s craft is a sun pad at the stern which covers the rear storage area, which was bigger than I would’ve expected. This bin can be lifted to allow you access to the craft’s muscle.
Giving this craft its go is the optional, powerful 1.5-litre, supercharged high-output Rotax 4-TEC jet propulsion engine. Which has a very long title since it is probably one of the most advanced performance-based engines available in production jet boats to date.
Driving isn’t easy if it’s your first time, but you adjust quickly once you get to know the controls. There’s one lever on top of the gunwale to control the engine speed (and you’ll use this to hold on to when skippering!), and a second lever to control forwards and reverse. As we have all done at some stage in our life with an on/off switch, you can stop midway between reverse and gung ho to be at nearly stand still. While you can drive this craft nice and neatly and appreciate the ease of the low 30.5 cm draft, it’s not really what it’s about. While I can’t condone it, you do have to drive pretty irresponsibly to feel what she’s all about. And perhaps it’s not too much of a problem, provided you do it with the necessary checks in place.
This craft is unbelievably fast, and I imagine someone like radio DJ Gareth Cliff would appreciate the speed, having recently been busted during his quick racing career.
While at altitude, I gave the craft the full hammer and tongs and she accelerated onto the plane in a little over two seconds. At full tilt, she was clocking 88 km/h with 7 800 rpm on the gauge! This craft really can handle the speed too. I gave it a try and she was pleasantly calm and performed like a nimble jetski. Glenn was showing us how it’s done and really tore it up on the water. While she does have some roll in her, due to the height of the optional wake tower, she rights herself pretty quickly.
This craft is smart too, since you can change modes and even optimize fuel efficiency via the ITC ™ (Intelligent Throttle Control) technology. This sporty boat delivers a jolt of adrenaline as you experience its ultra-responsive handling. Since the craft works via a pump, you have continuous thrust in any corner – meaning no cavitation or loss of speed. Ever. I’m not sure how they did it, but they’ve managed to fit a huge 76-litre fuel tank somewhere on this craft, to ensure you get to blow off as much stress as you can! If you like your toys, then the Sea-Doo Speedster 150 supercharged is the one that will really rock your socks.
You just don’t get a performance like this anywhere else! She’s fun to be on, even when you’re taking it easy, and she’s just completely bonkers when you want to be lively. It’s one of the very few boats which I sit behind the wheel and feel like a rebel teenager again – wowing at all there is and over how cool she looks.
The Sea-Doo Speedster 150 is definitely a contender for one of the hottest muscle crafts produced. And I like it! Pricing as standard starts at R345 000. For more info, contact Waterworld JHB on (011) 462 4390 or Cape Town on (021) 511 0220.
Full article in the April 2012 issue of Leisure Boating Magazine.