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Sunday Fun Day: Vern Gilbert

The speedonthewater.com Sunday Fun Day stories are usually written in the first person, but for Vern Gilbert, the man who installs, services and sets up drives on some of the fastest performance boats in the country, his Sunday Fun Day consists of one thing, and one thing only—going fast—and he doesn’t have too much else to say about it.

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Vern Gilbert and Gary Smith ran the fastest speed—176 mph—at the 2014 Texas Outlaw Challenge. Photo by Jay Nichols/Naples Image

“My ideal Sunday on the water would consist of running 170 or 180 mph down the lake at 7 a.m., and putting the boat away before it gets busy,” said Gilbert, who owns West Coast Drives in Lake Havasu City, Ariz. “That’s why my customers and I have these boats. We don’t take them out too often, we try to save our equipment for shootouts and such. To me, it’s about going fast. I’m not into fishing and I’m not dumb enough to destroy a set of forged 40”-pitch props just to go up river to Pirates Cove. I can drive there in my Cadillac CTS.”

Gilbert, who hauled his 1991 40-foot Skater Powerboats catamaran powered by twin 1,700-hp engines to the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout in Missouri at the end August, was the GPS Outlaw Challenge winner (read the story) at the 2014 Texas Outlaw Challenge after clocking a 176-mph top speed in his Predator Skater alongside his customer and friend, Gary Smith of Tucson, Ariz. Smith owns the second iteration of Predator, which he ran 184 mph at the 2015 Lake of the Ozarks Shootout. Smith also ran Gilbert’s boat at this year’s event and posted a 167-mph top speed.

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