Formula designed the 290 Sun Sport for serious dayboating. Her aft-facing seat converts to a doublewide sun pad, and in the cockpit, there’s a wet bar plus wraparound lounges that can convert to a big playpen. Below decks, there’s a dinette that can turn into a V-berth, plus a private head. Owners can choose between single and twin engines.
Formula was one of the first manufacturers to utilize an aft-facing lounge, and the 290 Sun Sport has one that converts to a flat sun pad. It has fender (two fenders come standard) storage in the base of the seat. The boat comes with an integrated swim platform that has a concealed boarding ladder, LED lights and shorepower and dockside utility connections to starboard. There are pull-up cleats on each side of the stern positioned well for cross-tying in a slip.
To port, a passageway that closes with a stainless-steel gate leads from the stern into the 290 Sun Sport’s cockpit. The primary seating in the cockpit is in a lounge that wraps around to starboard. Outboard to starboard, there are storage trays plus stainless steel cup holders and grabrails. There’s a socket in the deck for a portable table that turns this area into a booth or lowers, so the area can be filled with a cushion. Formula provides storage and dedicated space for an Igloo 17 ½-quart (17-L) in the base of the seats. Across from the lounge, the color-coordinated wet bar comes with a sink, Corian countertop, 30-quart (28-L) Igloo cooler, and a trash container.
Just ahead of the wet bar to port is a lounge where a single passenger can recline while facing aft, or two people can sit facing inboard. Two of the on-board 12 stainless-steel cup holders are forward to port, and there’s storage in the base of the seat. Between this seat and the helm, there’s an in-floor ski locker as well.
At the 290 Sun Sport’s helm, the captain and a companion sit side-by-side on seats that adjust individually and have fold-up bolsters. The dash is available in two dark finishes that help reduce glare. The boat comes standard with a Ritchie compass, a digital depthsounder and instruments and controls from Livorsi Marine. The leather-wrapped steering wheel tilts, and accessory switches are positioned on each side of it. Just ahead of the shifts and throttles, the Bennett trim tab switches have built-in position indicators. For entertainment, there’s a remote control for the stereo, which has an iPod/MP3 port, plus a 12-volt plug and two USB charging ports.
Stairs adjacent to the helm lead up to the 290 Sun Sport’s stainless-steel-framed walkthrough windshield. On the bow, there are rails on each side, plus two pull-up cleats and an anchor locker. An optional windlass is available.
A sliding hatch opens the 290 Sun Sport’s cabin. Below decks there is a V-shaped Ultraleather dinette lounge around a table that lowers to convert the area into a berth. There are two overhead deck hatches, and the entertainment center is equipped with a Clarion AM/FM/CD stereo with iPod and USB port, Bluetooth, two speakers, and a hanging locker.
The cabin sole
can be finished in Light Cherry or Baltic Birch flooring and owners can choose among Bourbon Cherry, Ash, or Wenge for the table and entertainment center. The countertop is Corian. The molded private head compartment comes with a porcelain toilet, a vanity with a sink in a Corian counter and a mirror.
While most manufacturers finish their boats in gelcoat, Formula has always taken the extra step of doing their boats’ graphics in paint. Formula personnel then buff the boat numerous times before it’s approved for shipping. Additionally, Formula builds all its tooling (plugs and molds) in-house. This takes more time, but the results speak for themselves. Formula boats consistently have some of the best finishes in the industry.
Behind the Beauty.
Formula builds the 290 Sun Sport with a structural stringer and bulkhead matrix made with pressure-treated Perma Panels composites and filled with flotation foam. The hull-to-deck joint is chemically bonded, and the cockpit and cabin are one-piece finished liners. The boat comes with six stainless-steel pull-up cleats. Engines are installed on through-bolted race-style mounts, and there are two batteries in heavy-duty boxes.
The 290 Sun Sport rides on a V-bottom with 22-degrees of deadrise at the stern. We haven’t tested the boat, but Formula has some numbers. She can be powered by twin small-block stern drives or a single big-block from MerCruiser or Volvo Penta.
Estimated top speed
with a 380-hp MerCruiser 8.2 MAG ECT Bravo Three X is 43 to 46 mph. Add two mph for the 430-hp version.
With twin 300-hp
sterndrives from MerCruiser or Volvo Penta, the top speed is 50 to 54 mph. Boost the power to twin 320s, and the top number goes up to 56 or 57 mph. With the twin 320-hp MerCruiser 377 MAG ECT Bravo III sterndrives, best cruise came at 3500 rpm where the boat ran 36 mph and burned 21 gph, according to Formula. That translates into 1.7 mpg, which gives her a range of 157 miles with 90% of the boat’s 112-gallon (424 L) fuel tank in reserve.
Options to Consider
The 290 Sun Sport carries on the tradition of versatile day boats that Formula started with its award-winning 400SS years ago. With her open layout in the cockpit, she offers a variety of seating options, all of which deliver the luxury for which the longtime manufacturer is known. From the performance side, we would probably opt for the twin-engine package for redundancy and to ease the load that an 8,950-pound (4,060 kg) boat would put on a single drive. Remember, Formula’s test numbers were with only two people aboard. With a 9’ (2.74 m) beam, she’s a little wider than legal limits in some states without a special permit, but experienced boaters with a big truck would consider her tow-able.
Standard and Optional Features
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
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