Louisiana performance boater Jeff Ford was as close to Steve Tripp, the late owner of Revolution Performance Marine (RPM Powerboats), as some members of his family. Not only did Ford own a 2008 26 Redline catamaran from the Harpersville, Ala., builder, but he took his boat to several events across the country with Tripp over the years and even spent some of his personal vacation time lending a hand at the RPM shop.
So to call his latest step in the life of his 26-foot cat bittersweet would be an understatement. Ford recently enlisted the talents of Stephen Wayne Miles and the crew at Stephen Miles Design in Evansville, Ind., to give his boat a fresh look—and that’s exactly what he got when he picked up his boat last weekend.
While it’s difficult not to see the same boat he created so many memories in, Ford believes Tripp would have been all in favor of the update and quite proud of how it turned out.
“It took about three weeks for Stephen Miles Design to finish the amazing transformation and wow is it spectacular,” said Ford, who plans to run the boat at the upcoming Tickfaw 200 Poker Run (May 1-2) at Blood River Marina. “I know everyone says this, but the boat really does look so much better in person. It looks three feet longer to me with the new design. Stephen and his crew knocked it out of the park.”
For more photos of the 26 Redline paint job in progress as well as the older look of the boat, check out the slideshow.
Ford said there are probably a half-dozen small things that need to be complete before the boat hits the water, including installing the interior, the engine hatch, sun pad and scoop, as well as the glove box cover, which Miles still has in his possession. In a tribute to Tripp, Ford said the black carbon-fiber cover will feature a lime green Steve Tripp ghosted into it.
Ford said he originally approached Miles to paint his engine’s valve covers after seeing his work on a variety of RC boats a few years ago. He was impressed with Miles and his paintwork and said that one day he would reach out to give his boat a facelift. That day came earlier this year as Ford and Miles went back and forth on a few designs and finally settled on the white, gray, blue and lime green graphics that tied in nicely with the boat’s engine compartment that was already painted blue.
“The boat has like seven coats of clear on it—it’s flawless,” said Ford, who also changed the faces and bezels of his Livorsi Marine gauges to match the new design and added a black carbon-fiber dash panel and a chartplotter while he was at it. “The detail that went into this paint job is incredible. The surface is just amazing—it looks like you could just walk right into it.”
Steve Tripp Remembered