All About the People

Easily the part about finalizing the ready-for-press files and the order list for the Speed On The Water 2017 Year In Review magazine—this time around the third annual Year In Review, which you can order here, is a gigantic 196 pages—is shutting down my Adobe applications, closing up my MacBook Pro and shaking up the biggest, coldest deadline martini I can make. The only thing better would be to be drinking one alongside my speedonthewater.com colleague, Matt Trulio, but that will have to wait for another day as he won’t be at my house this evening.

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Brandon Purkiss loves his gorgeous Eliminator Boats 27 Speedster powered by twin Mercury Racing Verado 400R engines that is featured in the Speed On The Water 2017 Year In Review magazine. Photo by Tom Leigh/Tommy Gun Images

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Commentary: Speedonthewater.com Surpasses 5,000-Article Milestone

When you produce news seven days a week—365 days a year—not all of the stories will be homeruns in terms of reader interest. Speedonthewater.com story No. 4,994 about Mercury Marine Canada’s impeccable employee safety record, for example, was read just 1,067 times. Speedonthewater.com story No. 4,996 about marine industry pioneer Fred Kiekhaefer’s new variable propeller pitch surface drive, on the other hand, got 33,377 reads. So far.

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Without loyal readers, speedonthewater.com is nothing. Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix (click image to enlarge).

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Commentary: A Star Is Reborn

Here is proof positive that age is just a number: Reggie Fountain, Jr., the man who built Fountain Powerboats in Washington, N.C., the once the dominant force in the high-performance powerboat industry, will be 78 years old in April. And while you won’t find him running offshore raceboats solo anymore—as was his custom back in the 1980s and 1990s—this true Southern gentleman is as mentally sharp, ambitious, charming and flat-out entertaining as he ever was.

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With Fountain Powerboats gearing up for a V-bottom speed-record attempt with a purpose-built 40-footer (above), the company’s namesake is back in the spotlight. And that’s great news for the industry.

Now employed by the company he founded, Fountain is leading the outfit’s V-bottom kilometer speed-record attempt project. Reportedly a longtime admirer of the man, Iconic Marine Group—the parent company of the Fountain, Donzi and Baja brands—owner Fred Ross knew that no Fountain record attempt would be close to complete without Reggie Fountain Jr., involved.

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Shown here at the Super Boat International Offshore World Championships in Key West Fla., with fiancé Linda Foreman, Reggie Fountain, Jr., is leading the Fountain Powerboats kilo boat project. Photo by Jason Johnson/Speedonthewater.com.

“I’m delighted to be back,” Fountain said in a brief telephone interview. “I want to help bring excitement back to all the Fountain boats, from sportboats to center consoles.”

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Related Stories
Fountain Shooting For Early February Kilo Record Attempt
‘Stream of Dignitaries’ At Fountain This Week For Kilo Boat Project

Commentary: Why Print Rocks

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There’s still special something about paper magazines (click image to enlarge). Photo courtesy/copyright Carl McBride.

Despite the stupid hours Jason Johnson and I will put in during the next six days getting the 2017 Speed On The Water Year In Review print edition ready for press, I still love everything about the magazine-building process. We produce a digital magazine every other month and—don’t get me wrong—we’re proud of that product. It’s a lot work, but it’s also a lot of fun. But while I have every issue of our active PDF magazine on my laptop, I can’t stack any of them on my coffee table.

And that kind of sucks.

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But in less than a month, I’ll have a third oversized Speed On The Water Year in review issue—a 196-page whopper— to stack atop the 132-page 2015 edition and 164-page 2016 issue on that table. So while the work ahead is formidable, the joy that comes with holding the finished product is more than worth it.

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Euro Poker On The Water

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European performance-boat enthusiasts are getting deeper and deeper into the poker-run game. The 27-foot Checkmate above is Dutchman Helmich Hillen's poker run ride.

Did you know that Scandinavia has a vibrant poker run scene? Neither did I, at least until Helmich Hillen, who lives in the Netherlands and owns a 27-foot Checkmate V-bottom, reached out to me via Facebook during the holidays. Seems my “Is Boyne Thunder The World’s Best Poker Run?” column in December got his attention.

“My response to that is if you have time, check out some European poker runs,” Hillen wrote. “I know that is also in the same months as the U.S.A. poker runs, but maybe it can be a great article. Let me know what you think. The Scandinavian countries are quite big for poker runs. I go every year to Sweden for the poker runs over there.”

While Hillen’s English isn’t perfect, it’s better than a lot I’ve heard and read from native speakers in this country—and way better than my Dutch—so we had no trouble communicating. And I was surprised to learn that Europe’s hottest poker runs aren’t in the sexy Mediterranean, but in its harsher northern environs.

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