An unassuming day in Melbourne, Florida, spent with Sea-Doos 325 horsepower Rotax ACE engine changed my perception of speed and went as far as to make question my life choices.

So, I'm not surprised that the engine just won NMA's Innovation Award at the Miami International Boat Show, especially considering the part it plays in making the most powerful, fastest accelerating jet ski in the world, in the form of the RXP-X 325.

But any manufacturer can make something fast. How they do it and how reliable the vehicle is after, are the most important points to consider when talking about innovation. So here's what Sea-Doo did.

Competition Performance, Production Value

The RXP-X 325 that houses the 325 HP Rotax engine starts at $19,199 and will do 0-62 mph in 3.4 seconds. That puts a high-speed stock jet ski in reach of owners for a relatively reasonable price compared to its competitors.

Combine this class-leading power and acceleration with an excellent off-shore racing hull, and Sea-Doo has opened up the world of jet ski racing to more consumers than any other manufacturer.

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But How?

The engineers at Sea-Doo essentially redesigned the 1.6-liter supercharged three-cylinder Rotax engine from the ground up. The team paid particular attention to making the engine more durable and increasing the performance of the supercharger. The latter is how they achieved record-setting speed and performance figures.

Sea-Doo engineers paid special attention to improving the air intake system, which allowed even more airflow. This, combined with a new supercharger that reaches speeds of up to 100,000 rpm, enables more cool air to reach the engine and sustain the higher HP output.

Apart from the supercharger, Sea-Doo's award-winning engine features a planetary gearbox that uses a spring-loaded cam clutch drive and upgrades to the crankshaft, valve train, lube oil circuit, and piston package. These features improve the power output and mean the latest Rotax engine requires even less maintenance than before.

The head of Sea-Doo's PR team explained to me that the upgrades relating to durability and lower maintenance more than counteract the extra stress put on the engine due to the higher output. 

Bottom line: more power, less maintenance, more durability. That's how you win innovation awards. Who amongst us has experienced acceleration like this on water? And did it rewire your brain like it did mine?

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