The History of Steve Stepp and
Velocity Powerboats

By: Amanda V. Stepp


Velocity Powerboats developed from the skills, dreams, and ambitions of a young man who started racing powerboats over forty- two years ago. Steve Stepp’s first taste of speed on the water was in a 14-foot Speedliner with a Scott Atwater outboard when he was only 14 years old.

He was raised, with his older brother Dwain, by their loving, down-to-earth, hardworking parents, Malcolm and Eloise Stepp in South Point, Ohio. There his family belonged to a boat club on the Ohio River. It was at that club, Steve met Milt Freeman, who hired Steve as a crewman when he raced his 14’ Crosby. At the young age of 18, Steve graduated from high school and began racing his own Crosby in that summer of 1962. During this summer, Steve and partner, Jim Lester, bought a boat dealership on the Ohio River.
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Steve’s life during this period was rather hectic. A normal week would consist of: working construction during the day, tend to the boat dealership at night, and traveling all over the country to boat race every weekend- not your typical 19 year old man.

Steve raced in the National Outboard Association with Grastrons, Critchfield tunnels, and Allison Craft runabouts. Quickly he began developing a solid reputation. It only got better from then on. In 1965, at the age of 21, Steve set the course record at Dayton in a Critchfield; and in the same year, set two straightaway speed records in JJ, J class and Family J class, both in one day! He continued to race through the 1970’s, setting 5 OPC World Records by the time he retired from that class in 1976.

Tired of the cold, boat-less winters of Ohio, Steve sold his business and purchased a house in Pompano, Florida. For a while he bought boats, refurbished and sold them. However, like so many entrepreneurs, that was not enough for Steve; he knew he could develop a better product for the boating world. By applying lessons he had learned from racing small boats, Steve developed and built by hand the first Velocity prototype. In only two years, he had built and tested various hull and transom designs, and once his product was perfected, Steve introduced the first 30-foot Velocity to the world in mid February of 1978 at the world’s largest boat show, the Miami International Boat Show. From then on the offshore boating industry would never be the same.

The Stepp Transom and Pad Bottom Steve developed proved to be the biggest change in offshore boat design since the first deep V introduced in 1964 by Ray Hunt. The boat’s superiority was apparent from the beginning- it ran 10 to 15 mph faster than its competitors. The first Velocity was purchased at the Miami Show, as orders rapidly began to roll in for more boats.

One order came from a man named Gene Whipp of Gulf Wind Marine in Sarasota, Florida. Before long, the two men became fast friends and started racing together. In 1981, two very significant events in Steve’s life occurred and the history of offshore boating was changed forever.  In that year, Steve and Gene were the first men to break the 100 mph barrier in a V-bottom boat at the annual kilo trials with a 30-foot Velocity. And secondly, in that year, Steve and Gene finished production on the first 41-foot Velocity named “Big Red,” ironically named after Steve’s favorite color. The two men raced the boat successfully for years.

During this time, Steve was reacquainted with an old family friend, a Miss Kimberly Ann Click. The pair quickly fell in love and were married in May of 1983. Two years later their one and only daughter, Amanda Vel-Anne, was born; and she was daddy’s little girl.

In 1986, Steve leased the Velocity name and the 22 and 30- foot molds to Regal Marine; and they were built as Regal Velocity models. A year later Steve closed his plant in Pompano and moved his family north to Orlando so he could work for Regal. He was disappointed with the way Regal used the Velocity name and the quality of the boats produced. He felt they did not live up to the reputation Steve had worked so hard to build for the Velocity name.

In 1989, Steve started Thoroughbred Powerboats, which consisted of 3 models: 26- foot Summer Squall, 35- foot Majestic Prince, and 41- foot Bold Ruler; it was Kim’s idea to name the boats after legendary thoroughbred horses. Four years later, Steve regained control of what he started years ago- Velocity.

By 1996, Thoroughbreds were phased out and Velocity was bigger and stronger than ever. After 35 years of racing, Steve decided to retire, focusing his attention on racing through customers with race boats in factory classes. His only racing regret was that he unable to race with his world famous cousin, Hurley Stepp before his unexpected and devastating death in 2000.

Today, Velocity stays ahead of its competition through its innovative hull and boat designs. As evidence of the remarkable innovation of the Stepp design, every major race and pleasure boat manufacturer is now using some part of Steve’s original design. Today’s Velocitys use a modified design that continues to make them the most advanced on the market. A base model Velocity runs 10% faster and gets 10% better gas mileage than similar boats produced by the competition. Throughout offshore racing history, Velocitys have set 10 to 11 world speed records and continue to do so even to this day. Velocity Powerboats is located just off Interstate 4 in Sanford, Florida with an office manager Libby Kinnaird, CFO Kim Stepp, general manager David Weiss, public relations/ marketing manager Clay Ratcliffe, assistant PR/marketing and webmaster Amanda Stepp, a full line of sportswear and accessories, and a name and reputation built on ethics, values, hard work, and determination- brought to you by Steve Stepp.

Works Consulted
Powerboat Magazine May 1998 “Stepp and Swing” by: Eric Colby

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