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Ilmor-Powered Tuff 28 Pushing 120 mph

Tuff 28 powered by Ilmor MV10 725 proves to be a quick craft.

November 30, 2015
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Tuff Marine
Tuff 28 Tuff Marine
Tuff Marine
Tuff 28 Tuff Marine
Tuff Marine
Tuff 28 Tuff Marine

Tuff Marine President Mark Weigl finished the 2015 boating season on a high note, completing a Tuff 28 powered by an Ilmor 725 hp V-10 with an Ilmor Indy surfacing drive. On a cool, dry day with the engine hitting the limiter, the boat hit a top speed of 119.5 mph.

“I’ll be satisfied with that for now,” Weigl said after the run. “I thought, ‘Darn, I don’t have another six grand for a propeller.’”

Weigl is a former world- and national-champion throttleman in offshore racing with his wife, Dana. They raced a 32-foot Skater catamaran, Tuff Enuff, in the Pro Stock class, which was powered by triple Mercury Racing 2.5 EFI Offshore outboards. He went on to start Tuff Marine, which builds nonstepped high-performance V-bottoms.

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In 2015, he built a 28-footer with twin outboards and then repowered the boat with a Mercury Racing 525 EFI. “The results were terrible, but I knew there was more there,” he says. He explained that he had the drive too deep, but he still saw enough to move forward with the Ilmor project.

The Tuff 28 is 28 feet 4 inches long with a 7-foot-11-inch beam and a flat transom so that the length is the running surface. Weigl builds the boats with carbon reinforcement and vacuum infusion to arrive at a weight of 3,500 pounds.

It has a 22½-degree deadrise at the transom, and there is a pad that’s 11½ inches wide in the aft section of the running surface. He uses a Mercury Racing cleaver-style propeller with the maximum 21-degree rake angle to help carry the bow at high speed.

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In addition to being fast, the boat is efficient; so much so, that Weigl says it’s “silly.” He explains, “We take an afternoon ride, running for an hour or so on 20 gallons of gas at cruise at 55 or 60. We pull the trigger to 100 once in a while and then back down to cruise.”

The customer that he’d been trying to get to buy the boat hinted that he’d like to build a Tuff 28 with a Mercury Racing 1350. He’s a bit on the extreme side. Weigl has done the calculations and estimates top speed with the 1350 at 152 mph.

“People don’t need to be doing that,” he says. “It accelerates incredibly strong with a 725.”

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He admitted that he wanted to take one last trip with the 725, hoping to see a straight up 120 mph speed. “Really, there’s just a little wee bit left at 119,” he says. “I’m good with that.” Check out the boat at www.tuffmarine.com.

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