Reggie Fountain, the founder of the legendary high-performance powerboat company in Washington, N.C., that bears his name, is at an age—and accomplished enough—where he has nothing left to prove. And yet at 77 years old, the endlessly charismatic industry great has the energy and enthusiasm for the go-fast boating world of a man half his age.
Reggie Fountain (with fiance Linda Foreman today in Key West) remains as charming—and ambitious—as ever.
Rejoining Fountain Powerboats, one of three performance boat brands under the Iconic Marine Group umbrella, has him particularly inspired these days. Whatever acrimony existed between Fountain and the previous owners of the company vanished when businessman/entrepreneur Fred Ross took over and formed Iconic.
Fountain, who is in Key West, Fla., this week for the Super Boat International Offshore World Championships, stopped by the SBI broadcast/media area on the outer mole between races today. So we couldn’t resist asking him a few questions about the 40-foot Fountain being built to attempt to break the V-bottom kilometer speed record and a few other projects he’s working on.
How does it feel to be back full time in the performance-boating industry?
(Laughs) I never really left. I was trying to get too big. In 2016, a pretty upstanding guy—Fred Ross from Kansas City, Mo.—bought the business and he brought me back on board. He said, ‘The first thing I want to do is bring the speed record back to Fountain where it belongs.’
Your son, Reggie III, told us that Benny Robertson will throttle the boat and that you or he might drive. Any decisions on that?
Once we put the 2,000-hp Sterling Performance motors in it, Benny and I will go test it, but I realize that at 77 years I’m not as good at making split-second decisions as I used to be. Benny ran our boats with Mike Seebold, and they never lost a race. So Mike is going to run the boat with Benny.
We don’t think there will be any problem breaking the record and running 185, 190 mph. If it feels good enough, they’ll go for 200 mph.
We know you’re working on new 42- and 47-foot Fountain sportboats. Any other projects you want to talk about?
We’re working on a 48-foot cruiser. With 480-hp Cummins diesel engines, that boat would run 64 mph. It was one of the most efficient hulls we ever built. With three Mercury Racing 700s, it ran 88 mph. Now we have a customer who wants us to build one with Mercury Racing 1100s. That should run 100-plus mph—that’s a 48-foot cruiser running 100 mph.
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