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Building A Performance-Boat Stable: An Inside Look

Few high-performance powerboat owners of late have enjoyed a more robust and eclectic collection of custom rides than Michigan’s Todd Fountain. Fountain and his wife, Danielle, currently own Tom Cat, a legendary 2001-built Skater Powerboats catamaran. But for the rare moment, at least, they’re down to one boat.

Before purchasing Todd Fountain’s Cigarette 41 GTR center console this month, Ron Szolack got familiar with it during the 2020 Cigarette Owners Rendezvous on the Lake of the Ozarks in Central Missouri. Photos by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

They currently have a Skater 368 catamaran, which will be powered by Mercury Racing 450R outboard engines, being built at the Skater facility in Douglas, Mich. The 36-footer will be painted in-house to match another Cigarette 41 GTR center console they plan to buy. Grant Bruggemann of Grant’s Signature Racing in Bradenton, Fla., will rig the cat. Jamie Borg of Florida-based Cutting Edge Interiors will handle its soft-scapes.

To make space, so to speak, for their new Skater catamaran, the Fountains sold their 2020 Skater 28 cat powered by Mercury Racing 300R engines last May. A significant go-fast boat horse-trader, Szolack nabbed the 41-footer when a deal of his own felt apart before this week’s Florida Powerboat Club Miami Boat Show Poker Run.

“I wanted to get a new center console for the winter season in Florida,” said Szolack, who owns a second home in Fort Lauderdale. “I made a deal on one over the phone and met the captain at Haulover Marine Center after the Key West Poker Run last November. All checked out and I sent a wire transfer the next day. The following day the owner sent back the wire transfer and ghosted me. I have never had that happen before—I’m sure someone back-doored me on the deal—but no biggie.

Flanked by brothers Greg and Ron Szolack, Todd Fountain sold his Cigarette 41 GTR to Ron (right) but has already replaced it with a newer version.

“After the Key West run last year, Todd left his boat at Grove Harbour Marina (in Coconut Grove, Fla.),” he continued. “I asked him to sign up for the Miami Boat Show Poker Run so we could go with him, and he said, ‘Of course.’ Long story short, something came up and he couldn’t come so he told me I could just use his boat.”

Szolack paused, then laughed.

“Well, I don’t like to use stuff that is not mine so Todd said, ‘Well, just buy it,’” Szolack explained. “The boat had impressed me when Todd invited on me on it or the (2020) Cigarette Owners Rendezvous at the Lake of the Ozarks. It is absolutely perfect. So the deal was done in 10 minutes.”

Eager to run his latest prize this week, Szolack is making no promises about its future.

“Ron had been looking for a nice center console for a while, so I told him to just buy mine,” Fountain said. “Done deal.”

As for Szolack, he’s looking forward to running the Cigarette 41 GTR formerly owned by the Fountains later this week. That’s his most immediate plan for the boat. Beyond that, he’s not making any guarantees about how long it will remain in his stable.

“I’m sure it will be for sale at some point,” he said, then chuckled again.

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