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.
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.
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,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Powerboat Magazine May 1998 “Stepp and Swing” by: Eric Colby