The personal watercraft industry, and the sport as a whole, has always had its detractors, but it has come a very long way to improve its image. Today, new PWCs have vastly improved sound dampening systems and extremely low emission levels. Most are now more efficient and quieter than many modern outboard engines. They certainly make a mockery of Premier Bob Carr’s misinformed ban on all PWCs on Sydney Harbour.
SeaDoo is at the forefront of these changes and is one of the most forward-thinking companies in the market. Its RXP model is a product that will appeal to those who love the exhilaration that comes from riding a PWC at speed.
The RXP is a two-seater PWC powered by a supercharged four-stroke, three-cylinder Rotax, SOHC, intercooled engine. Being a four-stroke, this is a relatively quiet beast, which belies the 215 horses this PWC has pushing its little more than 350kg dry weight. She takes regular unleaded fuel, but can be filled with premium blend, which will enhance her performance even more. Regardless of your preferred choice of fuel, this PWC has blinding acceleration. So much so in fact, that if you aren’t holding on tight when you hit the tit, you will probably be thrown off the back.
The direct-drive transmission gives only forward and neutral. Reverse is achieved by lowering a cover over the jet nozzle, which changes the direction of the water, forcing it backwards to create forward thrust. The RXP also comes standard with the Off Power Assisted Steering, which helps control the vessel without power to the jet. But, as with all PWCs, it is easiest to steer when you maintain some forward movement. It is also easy to clean out the engine once you have finished for the day. Simply fit a standard garden hose to the flush attachment, start the motor and you’re finished in a matter of minutes.
The RXP is a little more than 3m in length and 1.2m wide and, combined with her semivee fibreglass reinforced hull, is very stable at rest ‘ the rider can easily stand on one side of the RXP and it won’t tilt overly ‘ and extremely manoeuvrable at speed. As far as colour goes the RXP’s topsides are either metallic apple green, or yellow. She looks and feel as sharp as she goes. Sit on the RXP and the console, with its 16-function info centre (digital) and an analog speedometer and tachometer are at your fingertips. The buttons to change the readouts are simple to get at with one hand, so you can still hold on securely when underway.
The seating position is comfortable and enables you to control the ski at all speeds. It comes with a removable rear seat cowling, which, when fitted, improves a single rider’s seating position. There’s a 40lt-waterproof storage bin located at the front of the RXP, with enough room to handle a small picnic set, a newspaper and a couple of drinks ‘ perfect for that day out on your preferred waterway.
On the performance side of the fence, this vessel really stands out with a top-end speed in excess of 100kph. She’s a true thoroughbred on the PWC market. On the test day we rode the RXP in flat, overcast conditions and the team was amazed by the speed out of the hole and manoeuvrability the RXP offered. Within an instant of a finger press on the trigger throttle control, you are up on the plane and hurtling along at a speed. I imagine it would be a bit like the feeling you’d get being fired from a cannon ‘ the acceleration is almost instantaneous.
The Modern Boating team also recommend that if you are riding at speed to wear goggles, because we were unable to see past the tears streaming not down, but along the sides of our faces. During a tight turn the power out of the middle of the corner was also astonishing. The RXP never gets bogged down mid-turn. The hull is ease to control and bites hard in a corner, but still allows you to slip the RXP’s tail out if you wish to. All it takes is a little change in your seating position and you can spin 360 degrees in an instant. On the test day, we only rode the SeaDoo RXP muscle craft one up, but from what we saw, two people would pose absolutely no problems whatsoever.
One very useful innovation from SeaDoo is the SeaDoo Learning Key. This allows the RXP to be ridden by riders with varying levels of riding skills. The Learning Key can be set to limit engine rpm and top speed depending on the skill level of the rider. Some children, and or siblings, will deem this a little unfair, but it’s an added safety feature and gives you some idea of the thought that goes into each and every SeaDoo product. However, these days PWCs are more than just personal watercraft. The RXP also comes with an optional ski pole so don’t be too surprised when you start seeing people waterskiing and wakeboarding behind these vessels. The PWC has evolved into a true consummate allrounder.