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Tuff Marine Targets Triple-Digit Speed with Verado 400R-Powered 28-Footer

In early 2015, Tuff Marine president Mark Weigl and a customer decided to build a Tuff 28 with twin Mercury Racing outboards. There were rumors of Mercury Racing coming out with what would be the new Verado 400R outboard engines, so the customer went down to the 2015 Miami International Boat Show to see the new motors.

“He knew he wanted the boat,” said Weigl. “It was going to be twin 300XS outboards and we were talking about the possibility of the 400s. “As the Miami Show got closer, the customer went down to order them right away.”

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This 28-footer is the first Tuff Marine sportboat to be equipped with Mercury Racing Verado 400R outboard engines.

Even with the added cost of the bigger engines, Weigl said he had a feeling his customer wanted them. He bought the first two Verado 400Rs in Canada, which is where Tuff Marine is based in Cambridge, Ontario.

Instead of a full-width transom bracket such as those made by Stainless Marine and other companies, Weigl and his customer decided to go with Porta Brackets for mounting the 400Rs. To support the bigger motors, the boat’s transom was reinforced with knees that interlocked into the stringers and laminate.

Weigl started out with Bravo One propellers on the boat that measures 28’4” with a 7’11” beam. It rides on a pad bottom and has an estimated weight of 3,500 to 4,000 pounds. During dialing-in rides, Weigl felt like the diffuser rings needed to be cut off the propellers. Once that modification is made, he hopes to see between 105 and 110 mph. He’s also curious about the new Lab-Finished MAX5 propellers that Mercury Racing introduced recently at the Desert Storm Poker run (read the story).

Tuff boats are built with resin-infusion. The company uses balsa coring in the hull bottom and foam in the hullsides and deck. Weigl said he puts a 60-gallon fuel tank in the boat because most people use it for day-boating and it’s so fuel efficient, he doesn’t see the point of adding more weight. The seating configuration for the Tuff 28 is two buckets up front with a bench across the stern. Instruments and controls are from Livorsi Marine.

For those who prefer stern drives, Tuff built a 28-footer with an Ilmor MV-10 725 hp engine and Indy drive. Weigl owns the boat and has seen 120 mph. He’s planning to take the boat to the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout later this year.

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An overview of the Verado 400R outboard-equipped 28-footer (click image for full frame).

Related story: Mercury Racing Unveils MAX5 Propellers at Desert Storm