Speedster 200 — By Capt. Ken Kreisler —
|If speed under control is your thing, give this fast little boat a whirl.|
If you’re like me, you can still remember that unbridled feeling of freedom when you finally made it down a triple-black-diamond ski slope without falling or first sat mouth agape in the front car of a roller coaster as it took its initial drop into free fall. Rating high marks on my own personal excite-o-meter, and coming in somewhere between all of the above and hanging ten off the edge of a surfboard on the mother of all waves, is driving the Speedster 200, Sea-Doo’s latest addition to its Sport Boat line.
I laid the groundwork for breaking the 55-plus-mph, face-flapping barrier in a 20-foot boat at this year’s Miami International Boat Show, where I met up with Jay Wadzinski, Bombardier’s director of North American sales. In case you didn’t know it, the Sea-Doo line of Sport Boats, which numbers 11, is brought to you by Bombardier, whose other products include Ski-Doo snowmobiles, ATVs, Johnson and Evinrude outboards, and those shiny new subway cars rumbling beneath the streets of New York City and other metropolitan areas.
“Ken, I know you’re used to driving around all those big cruising and sportfishing boats, but how about trying out one of these babies?” Wadzinski asked me. I read a hint of challenge in his voice as he leaned against the flashy red and white Speedster on display in the convention center, sensing my impending acquiescence. “Come on,” he began as he opened up the aft engine cover, revealing the twin powerplants, a pair of 155-hp, three-cylinder Rotax 4-TEC four-stroke engines displacing 1,498 cc each. There was also a closed cooling system and axial-flow, single-stage jet pumps with stainless steel, progressive-pitch impellers... He paused just long enough to catch me admiring the neat configuration and engineering of the engine package. “Slide the throttles to 7300 rpm, and I bet you hit 55 mph,” he said confidently.
I left the display area knowing I could fit something like this in my upcoming schedule. Sure enough, another boat test brought me back to South Florida a week later and, after spending a day driving around a cushy 68-footer, I was on my way up from Fort Lauderdale the next morning to Bombardier’s Grant, Florida, testing location.
Before I boarded this plucky little speedboat, Wadzinski gave me some background information. “While we wanted the 200, like all our Sport Boats, to have a performance edge, there was also a lifestyle that had to be considered so that we could target several areas of the consumer market,” he said, referring not to just the hot-dogging, wake-boarding, and ski enthusiasts, but to anyone with a larger vessel looking for a different spin on a tender.
Next page > Part 2: The Speedster virtually ignored the conditions and handled the water with aplomb. > Page 1, 2, 3, 4
This article originally appeared in the May 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.