In a testing session earlier this week at Lake X, Mercury Marine’s fabled facility in St. Cloud, Fla., a Velocity Powerboats 290 Sport Cruiser powered by twin Mercury Racing 400R outboard engines with 28-inch-pitch Mercury Max 5 propellers reached 104.1 mph. According to Velocity company owner Scott McCormick, who piloted the approximately 5,200-pound full-cabin V-bottom, the supercharged 400-hp outboards were “bone stock”—and the boat would be faster with more dial-in time.
Tapping a pair Mercury Racing 400R outboards for power, Velocity’s Scott McCormick ran this 290 SC to an impressive top-speed this week.
“It’s probably a 105-, 107-mph boat,” he said.
At present, the Sanford, Fla., company has three 29-footers on its showroom floor and four more—two with Mercury Racing 450R outboards—are coming. The model, currently Velocity’s hottest seller, is available in two versions that run on the same hull. The aforementioned SC model has a raised deck. The VR-1 has a flat deck. McCormick said he plans to offer all Velocity sportboat models—22-footer to the 42-footer—in raised- and flat-deck dress.
Though Velocity does have four Mercury Racing 565 engine-equipped stern-drive models in production, outboards have become the much-preferred propulsion choice among the company’s customers as they have through much of the go-fast boating world. Even McCormick, a former offshore racer and devout inboard/stern-drive fan, has been mostly converted to outboard thinking.
“Everybody has biases, right?” he said. “A lot of us older boaters, we were big-block babies. We love the noise. We love the roar. We love building up big power. So I wasn’t an outboard fan.
“But once we built our first boat with a pair of 300s, moved the cockpit back a foot-and-a-half, got all that room and solid performance, I got it,” he continued. “The turnkey performance, the fuel economy, the warranty—why would anyone want to be doing something else? You are still going to always have stern-drive buyers, but I absolutely love the outboard stuff now.”