For Mark Kent, the first test earlier this week in the final 26 Redline catamaran built by Revolution Performance Marine, was as bittersweet as it comes. Kent, who was riding alongside RPM owner and founder Steve Tripp during a testing session in February in which the boat rolled and Tripp was killed, has been working at RPM since the accident and recently put the finishing touches on the final boat from the Harpersville, Ala., company.
The final 26-foot catamaran from RPM was tested earlier this week on the Coosa River in Alabama. Photos courtesy Robert Woods
Powered by a Mercury Racing 700SCi engine, the orange 26-footer was built for Tripp’s best friend and adopted brother, Robert Woods. Kent said he and Woods tested the boat together at the same place along the Coosa River where the accident happened.
“I was a nervous wreck out there, that’s for sure, but the boat ran great—like every RPM has,” Kent said over the phone on Tuesday. “We had the top on the bottom of the boat with the motor in it when Steve died. Of course things were on hold for a little while, but since then me, Robert and Wayne—Steve’s older brother—finished up all of the rigging and everything else on the boat. It looks great now. All I have left to install is the rubrail.
“My last day at RPM is a week from Friday, and then I think I’m going to work for Ron Sporl Performance in Bessemer (Ala.), which is much closer to my house,” Kent added. “I have mixed emotions—one part of me needs to get going with my life and another part doesn’t want to let this go.”
Kent said the RPM molds and tooling are actively up for sale.
See the slideshow above for even more images of the last 26 Redline from RPM.
“Robert, who has been our brother for 30-plus years, helped finish this last boat,” said Steve’s sister, Lisa Marie Tripp-Alford. “I believe it has been healing therapy for Robert. Without Steve, Robert would not be in our family for all of these years and he is cherished dearly.
“It a bittersweet moment to see Steve’s last boat built that he started before his fatal accident,” she continued. “I know Steve was sitting in the passenger seat looking at the speedometer with a big grin on his face, completely proud of Robert and Mark for finishing what he started.”
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