When I powered Formula's 290 Sun Sport to 40 mph on a boisterous sea, it lifted easily, clove the crests and landed softly on the other side. The ability to maintain speed in sloppy conditions also means water thrown upon re-entry is behind you before it can blow across the boat. In flat water, twin 320 hp MerCruiser 377 MAG Bravo Threes zoomed us to more than 57 mph. I heard not a squeak, rattle or creak.
You'd expect that from a boat aboard which the hull-to-deck joint is bolted and glued, the cockpit liner is a single molded piece, and in which the engines are bolted to their bearers. But smaller details also contribute to the hushed experience. Batteries are restrained in raceboat brackets, rails are fastened with studs and nuts, and even the choice of refrigerator (drawer types use gravity to better advantage than cabinet-style refrigerators) relegates sound to that produced by engines and water. You don't hear the boat.
The 290 Sun Sport is best for those seeking to entertain a crew of six or less for the afternoon — in luxury, and regardless of whether the wind is piping. Its cockpit is large — two-thirds of its overall length — and fitted with a transom bench that converts from fore and aft seating to a two-person sun lounge with just a tug. The dual-height cockpit table drops to convert the starboard lounge to a sun pad too. The wet bar boasts a Corian top, plus a sink, trash can and carry-on cooler. There's no standing headroom in the designer-decor cabin. None is needed. With its simple berth, mini-galley and enclosed head, it allows for overnights, but it is intended to enhance comfort while day-tripping. Mission fulfillment may be the 290 Sun Sport's best feature.
• There's a sliding screen in the companionway to provide bug-free ventilation.
• Burled wood and chrome stainless steel accent trim isn't relegated to the helm: You'll find it throughout the cockpit.
• It has one of only two convertible aft lounges I've seen that retains lazarette stowage.
• A contact switch protects the boarding door, preventing the electric engine hatch from opening if the door is closed.
- Test Drive
- Test Engine: Twin 320 HP MerCruiser 377 MAG HO Bravo Three stern-drives
- Test Prop: Bravo Three 26 pitch, stainless, dual-prop propsets
- Test Load: People (510 LB.) Fuel (110 GAL.)
- Top Speed: 57.3 MPH @ 5,250 RPM
- Minimum Planing Speed: 16.8 MPH @ 2,700 RPM(w/ full tabs)
- Most Economical Cruise Speed: 30.8 MPH AT 3,500 RPM, 21.3 GPH
- Vital Stats
- Length Overall: 29'0"
- Beam: 9'0"
- Dry Weight: 8,950 LB.
- Seating/Weight Capacity: Yacht Certified
- Fuel Capacity: 110 GAL.
- Max HP: 640
- MSRP: $188,230 (as tested)
- NMMA Certified: Yes