What incredible belly aching:All Jet drives are noisy. The thing won't ever work right. It needs side thrusters. Comments like these made from the comfort of an armchair! Just think before you write, and please consider if your opinion really holds water. Thrust steering for a boat takes practice, and yet is very effective once one gets the idea and develops some working habits. My $.02
I aslo have Ymaha jet boat and I had never tried it out and was shocked at how bad it handled at low speeds. Last year I added the fins that attach to each jet and it made a huge difference. I think they are called Cobra Fins.
However, monkeys struck again. The engines are 2 cycle and individually fed oil from pumps attached to the front of the engine. I found out the hard way that the oil lines shrink over time and all that Yamaha uses to hold these tiny lines are tie wraps. One line shrunk enough to pull itself off the pump fitting and within seconds I had a destroyed engine.
Word of advice, if you ever buy anything do a little research on the Internet because both the steering problem and this oil line problem are well known.
Not sure where the price of steering mods you quoted came from but I have been selling patented steering modifications for yamaha sea doo and sugarsand boats for over 8 years.
To modify a Yamaha twin engine with steering runs just over $300 and that does both nozzles. for the price you not only get low speed and reverse steering but mid range and high speed assistance plus something jet boats are also lacking "driver feedback" plus instant response to the helm.
Basically there may be some small difference from one hull design to another, from one manufacturer to another,, but jets have common voids in the steering be it a "p w c" or a boat, obviously the bigger the craft the more of a void.
...Regardless of various issues here with noise and pullution....I'd be interested in what Sea-do has done that is different than Yamaha to give the better control at low speeds.
Looking at commercial tugboats...both 'jet' drive and propellors...most now have thrusters that can rotate 360 degrees...often one in front, one-two at rear, a couple at mid-ships...tugs now can rotate on their center axis...
In my 50 or so years of dealing with Yamaha products..including pianos my parents started selling in the 1950's....I've always been very impressed with their quality and standards of engineering...
I think that jmiller is probably correct in the analysis. Considering that the sole means of steering is the force vector produced by the jet of water, that would indeed be a problem at low speeds. One "jet" solution would be a much smaller, but higher velocity, jet that would be available when the engine is at low speed. This jet could be turned on whenever the steering was not set for sraight ahaed. Of course, this would add a bit to the cost of the boat, no doubt. The fact that many jet boats also lack anything that would tend to serve as a means to keep them going in the direction that they are pointed does have an effect that many describe as "squirrley steering", at both low and high speeds.
OF course, some of the driving that I have seen with jet boats, and nearly all of the operation of jet skis that I have seen, would say that low speed handling was not a requirement, since they seem to only be driven at full throttle. Of course, that is a from a limited observation at one lake, over an interval of ten years. Others may have had differing observations.
As a power boat owner of similar size (21' Runabout with I/O drive) I am curious if the buyer had a chance to test drive the boat? Boats aren't cheap and sales people will go out of their way to close a deal. Maybe this can be food for thought next time.
I guess the main thing I got out of the original post was the difference in handling between the Yamaha boat and his earlier Seadoo boats. Rather than going on about how to manuever at low speed, perhaps the discussion should be why one brand seems to be able to handle the low speed while the other is lacking.
As to noise of jet boats, we've had a lake lot for 40 years and it is always evident when the jet boats show up! Maybe it's just my Wisconsin sensitivity but most of the jet boat owners are the out of staters that seem to believe the lake is theirs and theirs alone and damm the rules of the lake.
I'm sure none of you are like this but I just couldn't pass up the chance to comment on our somewhat dispised out of state breathern.
As a 2007 Yamaha SX210 owner I can offer an informed reply to your complaints about low speed handling. My first outing was in a light chop with a nice breeze blowing and I had a similar experience. It handled like a Frisbee. I was used to the "fin" of an I/O prop controlling the boat's lateral movement, so moving to a jet boat was a bit unnerving. But we managed to get back on the trailer and learn the feel of the propulsion system. To characterize jet boats as unsafe is a bit melodramatic. They offer maneuverability and speed that other designs don't. Of course there are trade-offs. But as another post says, the ability to turn on a dime helps at low speeds. Just hang in there and enjoy the learning process. The Yamaha's are a very solid design and highly rated by knowledgable reviewers.
As for Doug's remark "Jet boats create noise, water and air pollution, and now we discover they are unsafe at slow speeds." I think that is hardly fair. Jet boats are more fuel efficient than most I/O's, less noisy, are 4 cycle with high tech ignition and fuel delivery systems, so they don't pollute any more than any other watercraft. No monkeys here, Doug.
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