The popular Velocity 290 SC with Mercury Racing 450R outboards tops 100 mph.
By Mike Burns
At the Miami Boat Show in 1978, Velocity Powerboats unveiled the world’s first pad bottom, notched transom hull design in offshore powerboating. The 30-foot hull at the time was running significantly faster than anything else in its class. In fact, in 1981 at Lake X, the Velocity 30 reportedly became the first offshore boat to run over 100 mph.
Fast forward to today, the same hull design concept is still utilized in all Velocity boats. There have been some changes, however. In 2018, ownership of the company changed, and Scott McCormick took over the helm of Velocity Powerboats, and set forth to redesign and improve the construction methods of several models, including the popular Velocity 290 SC.
The 290 SC is offered with both sterndrive and outboard power options from Mercury Marine and Mercury Racing. Our test boat was rigged with a pair of Mercury Racing 400R outboards with Sport Master gearcases. The Sport Master gearcases offer heavy-duty durability for boats that run in excess of 85 mph, and feature low-water pickups and a crescent leading edge design that maximizes speed and efficiency.
One of the advantages of the outboard version of the 290 SC, is the increased room in the cockpit. Up front, there are a pair of sturdy power bolster seats, and the bench seat has been moved further aft to allow passengers to move around the cockpit freely. The bench seat can accommodate three passengers comfortably, and a couple of grab straps are located below the seat.
The addition of a couple of grab handles on either side of the cockpit would be a welcome addition, especially when cornering. On future models, Velocity plans on offering a bench with individually molded seating positions, or the bench seat can be eliminated and replaced with two additional bolster seats.
Behind the bench seat, a small power hatch unveils the mechanical compartment that houses the batteries, charger, and other mechanical components. The rigging of the compartment is impressive with all of the hardware laid out and secured in a quality fashion.
At the transom, Velocity included a well thought out design feature and incorporated small ‘swim platforms’, that extend out on either side of the outboards. The starboard extension features a retractable step ladder for ease of boarding when anchored at the sand bar.
The helm is equipped with standard full hydraulic steering with power assist, Livorsi Marine Carbon Monster gauges, steering wheel, and digital drive/trim tab indicators. Our test boat was fitted with Mercury Racing engine controls, and an optional 7” Simrad display with nav and depth finder. Future models will be offered with a 12” Simrad, which would help increase the visibility of the display, especially at higher speeds.
Down below, the cabin features a large V-berth, enclosed head with sink and shower, and a portable toilet with pumpout, a Norcold refrigerator.An impressive standard feature for added comfort, is a reverse cycle air-conditioner that operates off of a 12V inverter.
Our test boat was located at Gateway, a state of the art 200 boat dry storage facility located in Hypoluxo, Fla., just a quarter mile north of the Boynton Beach inlet. Casting off the lines, we set off to the Intercoastal Waterway to put the 290 SC through its paces.
With tabs fully in the down position, and engines tucked in, the 290 SC jumped quickly onto plane with some slight ventilation and brief feathering of the throttles required. In under 10 seconds, we settled into a comfortable cruising speed. The sweet spot for cruising seemed to be in the 4,300- to 4,500-rpm range, which will move you along at 45 to 48 mph. The ride was extremely comfortable and cornering felt very secure, even at higher speeds.
Pushing the throttles to the stops, and with some tweaking of the trim, we reached a top speed of 92 mph. Our test boat was propped somewhat conservatively during the day of our test run. During previous test runs on Lake X, and rigged with Mercury Racing 33.5” props, our test boat reached a top speed of 102 mph. A version of the 290 SC rigged with twin Mercury Racing 450R outboards hit top speeds in excess of 114 mph. What a rocket!
Other standard features include a Porta Jack plate, and a top-of-the-line stereo system. A wide variety of graphic choices from mild to wild are available, and no two models will ever look alike. The 290 SC we tested is an absolute head turner that performed exceptionally well, and it’s no wonder that this is one of the best-selling models of the Velocity brand.
Velocity 290 SC
LOA: 28’ 6”
Beam: 8’ 2
Fuel: 100 gal
Florida ICW – 50% fuel – 3 persons on board.
RPM MPH GPH (per engine)
3000 25.1 7
4000 48.1 11.2
5000 55.0 14.5
6500 81.4 35.1
7000 92.5 37
n/a* Manufacturer’s test on Lake X with Mercury Racing 33.5” Props
For more information: velocityboats.com