Boat Test: 2014 Glastron GTS 187

Boat Tested2014 Glastron GTS 187
Price As Tested$33,000 CAD
Category Jet Boat
Manufacturer Glastron
Length19ft 6in / 5.94 m
Beam7ft 5in / 2.26 m
Max HP250
Drive TypeJet Drive
Engine MakeRotax
Fuel Capacity27
By Mike MilneIt's a bit ironic, but the disappearance of Sea-Doo's boat division about a year and a half ago turned out to be a good thing for fans of water-jet propelled sport boats. I had the opportunity to on-water test the all-new Glastron GTS 187 in early November and it is very good news indeed. Powered by a 250-hp supercharged and intercooled version of the 1503, it's fast, fun and sure to be a hit.
When BRP bowed out of the boat market, it made its Rotax 1503 engine and water-jet power packs available to other interested and qualified boat builders. BRP may have been facing steep re-tooling costs in their boat factory or simply disliked the thin margins of its boat-building division. Whatever the reason, the availability of the well-proven four-cylinder Rotax engines, ranging from 155 to 250 hp, has rejuvenated the jet boat sector.
By last fall, Rec Boat Holdings in Cadillac, Mich., had the Glastron GT 187 and GTS 187 in production, along with versions of the Scarab 195. The Glastron GT 187 is the base model with power starting at 155 hp, while the base Rotax in the GTS is a 200-hp engine. The boat I tested was a tricked-out GTS 187, with the 250-hp Rotax, a flashy two-tone colour scheme and a wake tower with built-in Bimini. Equipped with the XL package, it also featured a tilt steering wheel, depth sounder, bolster seats, stainless steel grab handles and a premium sound system. 
The boat looked hot with a yellow and white hull accented by black and gray graphics, outlining the traditional Glastron "spear" design, and Glastron's signature roadster-style windshield. The boat's performance matched its appearance. Glastron's well-known Super Stable Vee hull design has a 20-degree deadrise for good handling in waves, but wide reverse chines and well-placed strakes for quick planing and tight cornering. The hull has been adapted for the jet drive but maintains the best of those performance attributes.
Add the inherent manoeuvrability of waterjet propulsion, multiply by 250 hp and the equation equals fast fun on the water. Top speed was 47 mph at 8000 rpm, with cruising speeds of 21.3 mph at 5500 rpm, 27.2 mph at 6000 rpm and 30.7 mph at 6500 rpm. Acceleration was strong with the boat reaching 20 mph in just over four seconds and 30 mph in about five seconds. 
Pulling wakeboarders, water-skiers or tubes will be no problem. Keeping everyone on board comfortable and happy during a long afternoon on the water will be even easier. Despite its size, the GTS 187 has three distinct lounging zones: the bow cockpit, main cockpit and aft seating area. 
The twin seats ahead of the extended swim platform will be the most popular place on board when the action stops. Glastron also makes the swim deck a better watersports staging area.
In the main cockpit, there’s a full-width aft bench seat and a pair of adjusting bolster-equipped buckets at the helm and companion positions. The kids will love the bow cockpit. 
For storage, there's a spacious in-floor cockpit locker that widens aft, as well as carpeted lockers under bow seats and the aft bench. 
The helm is comfortable, with all controls within easy reach. But it also has design details that add panache, including retro-style round analog gauge casings and manual push-pull switches. As if to ensure skippers that there’s plenty of advanced technology on board, there are also digital readouts indicating direction, air temperature, depth and other information. 
The GTS 187 seems to be telegraphing the fact that Glastron dips into a deep well of performance experience, but is still committed to using the latest technology. If that includes the Rotax in the engine compartment, so much the better.
TEST BOAT ENGINERotax 1503 HO 4-TEC, 1494 cc/91 cid, 250-hp four-stroke, three-cylinder inboard, turbocharged and intercooled, with catalyst, pushing a water-jet driveACCELERATION (mph/sec)
0-20 / 4.1 ; 0-30 / 5.2
TOP SPEED (rpm/mph)6000 / 48
5500 / 21.3 ; 6000 / 27.2 ; 6500 / 30.7 ; 7000 / 34.5
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