If your idea of a day out on the high seas is a gentle sail around the harbor, a few cold beers and perhaps a spot of fishing, then theMinx Model 18V Powerboat is not for you. We’ve already seen PWCs like the Samba
hit 65mph but the Minx 18V, described as a ‘supercar for the water’, can reach speeds of up to 80mph (75mph without modification) and claims to be 15-20mph faster than any stock PWC or mainstream jet boat.
The PWC is evolving rapidly with the new Sea-Doo GTX Limited iS 255 and RXT iS 255 which introduce the industry's first suspension and braking and a new production-ready design which looks capable of defining a whole new class of PWC. The Samba
looks like a stingray and is ridden in a motorcycle-like, crouch. Evolved over five years and four prototypes, it is so small and light, an 80 bhp motor can offer the power-to-weight and the same 65 mph top speed of the fastest 250 bhp sit-downs, with extreme agility, control and acrobatic capabilities far beyond those of a stand-up. Above all, the Samba is easy-to-ride, and extreme tricking is relatively easily attainable for even beginners, such is the degree of “body english” control offered to the rider by the design which puts the centre of gravity of the whole package between the rider's wrists and shoulders.
UPDATED IMAGE LIBRARY - The Personal Watercraft (PWC) market is in the grip of a horsepower “arms race” with a rash of new machinery announcements including a 342 bhp 2.2 litre V6-engined PWC from Austrian company HSR-Benelli and a 308 bhp 2.2 litre V8-engined PWC from the famous Italian MV Agusta motorcycle company. It all appears to have been catalyzed late last year when Kawasaki announced its 250 bhp Ultra 250X into a market where Seadoo’s 215 bhp RXP was previously the fastest of the bunch. Subsequently, SeaDoo has announced 255 bhp RXP-X and RXT-X models, Honda has announced a turbocharged 1500cc Aquatrax and Yamaha has announced a new lightweight purpose-built, turbocharged and intercooled 1812cc Super High Output (SHO) motor in its 2008 range. Given the radical upsurge in power outputs, one wonders what might be available a year or two from now. Read on …
August 21, 2007 Inflatable watercraft are now available for dozens of different recreational purposes, from basic loungers through to purpose-built inflatables that come in every imaginable size and shape. A new product from Icontech, the Electric Inflatable Watercraft, is a battery powered, sit-down jetski
-like product, that has a maximum speed of 10kmh and is an affordable alternative for the beginner or novice water enthusiast.
August 2, 2008 Unless you happen to be shooting a raging white-water rapid the prospect of reaching speeds anywhere near 25mph is not something normally associated with kayaking – but swap paddle power for a 9.5hp engine and the whole game changes. We’ve covered a menagerie of fun watersports machines
recently, from the amphibious Quadski
to the Aquajet Jetbike
, all aimed at injecting a serious dose of thrills into aquatic activities and the latest to catch our attention - Surfango’s PowerKayak - is no exception. The PowerKayak mates the body of a kayak with a fun little 4-stroke engine to deliver a 25mph top speed and the ability to explore lakes and rivers with no regard for what the wind and current are doing.
July 31, 2007 Any jet-ski
boasting a stroked-out, 1500cc motor straight from the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-12R should be treated with extreme caution – but since the 250-horsepower Jet Ski Ultra 250X
was released, owners of the STX-15F have been feeling a little left behind. Not to worry – nothing succeeds like excess in the petrol head world - and the aftermarket has stepped in with a bolt-on supercharger capable of turning the STX-15F into a 330-horsepower aquatic widow-maker that can launch you and a horrified passenger to 60mph nearly as fast as a road-going superbike, leaving your 250X-riding buddies gasping in your wake.
May 3, 2007 It's taken more than 30 years, but exclusive italian motorcycle marque MV Agusta has finally announced its intention to return to top-level racing in the World Superbike Championship in 2008, providing factory support to Carl Fogarty's WSBK team. Team Foggy Racing will be given some very desirable tackle as they take on the world's best superbike teams, but the job won't be easy - and it comes with some very weighty expectations.
March 21, 2007 The concept of a powered watercraft for personal use is roughly 100 years old this year and the earliest we can trace came about early when the remarkable polymath Frederick William Lanchester came up with the idea of putting a powerful motor in a small boat. The personal watercraft (PWC) concept took shape in the 1960s
, combining the elements of self-power, small size and quick steering and though there were several viable efforts, notably by Bombardier, it was Kawasaki ‘s standup JET SKI watercraft of the early seventies which kickstarted the market. Unlike snowmobiles, motorcycles , quads and all other forms of personal powered recreational vehicle, the Jet Ski offered a thrilling experience with significant less likelihood of serious physical damage (water is a lot softer than mother earth) and a workout so physical that it promotes extreme health. Since then the PWC market
has evolved into four major manufacturers with two main forms of ski – stand-up and sit-down – with the larger sit-down versions easily serving as three-person craft. I have watched it happen, as I attended the launch of the original Kawasaki Jet Ski way back in the seventies. It had a 400 cc motor so it seemed like an ideal time to reflect on how far the PWC has come in such a short time when I recently attended the launch of the Kawasaki’s latest Jet Ski, the Ultra 250X
. As they have done several times in motorcycle history (the Kawasaki 500 H1, the Kawasaki 750 H2, the Kawasaki Z1, the Kawasaki Z1300, and most recently the Kawasaki ZX14
), Kawasaki has gazumped all those who came before it with a single product. Kawasaki Heavy Industries prides itself on producing the biggest, the fastest, the most powerful and every few years you can count on them delivering it. The Kawasaki’s Ultra 250X model designation refers to its horsepower output. That’s 250 horsepower – capable of pushing the Ultra 250X along at around 68 mph. That’s not the biggest strength of the machine though – awesome power is available pretty much from the get-go, and simply hanging on to a machine with 250 horsepower flinging you at the horizon is a feeling like no other. The Ultra 250X hauls butt like no other off-the-shelf PWC and we can’t wait to see what the aftermarket dreams up for it and what competitors respond with. In the meantime, it’s the king of the heap. We guarantee that if you can wrestle the Ultra 250X into submission, then grizzly bears won’t pose a problem and runaway locomotives will be simply backhanded away.
March 17, 2007 The concept of using a jetski to power a larger watercraft was pioneered back in the early nineties and has yielded a stunning array of versatile PWC-dockable watercraft such as the Shuttlecraft
, but the idea has been taken in a different direction with this inventive PWC-dockable Rigid Inflatable Boat. Instead of going with fibreglass structures driven by one and quite ingeniously two synchronised jet skis
, the Dockitjet
utilises an unsinkable RIB for a fast, lightweight, very stable and incredibly practical watercraft capable of carrying six people plus all their gear quite comfortably. Available in two sizes (5.0 meters and 5.6 meters), you can dock and undock the PWC of your choice in minutes and have the best of both worlds. Videos here
and licensing enquiries here
March 10, 2007 A hydrofoil
is a boat with wing-like foils mounted on struts below the hull. As the craft increases its speed the hydrofoils develop enough lift for the boat to become foilborne - i.e. to raise the hull up and out of the water. This results in a great reduction in drag and a corresponding increase in speed and has resulted in some of man’s more interesting water conveyances
. The advent of the world’s first human powered hydrofoil
catalysed a lot of activity in the area and one of several new manufacturers of human-powered hydrofoils, inventist, took the knowledge it had gained in developing the Aquaskipper
and developed the Hydroglide
, a surfboard with quick-charge, high-torque electric motor and a hydrofoil underneath. It’s still in the development stages but showing remarkable prowess with a top speed of 25 mph. That’s faster than the human-powered hydrofoil record
, so it’s no slouch. The Ni-MH rechargeable battery has an average run time of two hours and takes just an hour to charge. Steering of the Hydroglide is accomplished with a steering bar and as the videos show, you can lie down or stand up.