Joe Ferrer and Jackie Piper have owned the 40-foot Fountain raceboat, Freedom, for a few years. The boat has made sporadic appearances on the Superboat International circuit in the Superboat Extreme class, but hasn’t lived up to the hopes its owners and fans had for the boat.
About two years ago, Ferrer went to his friend Jason Ventura at Brand X Hi-Performance Marine in Pompano Beach, Fla., and asked, “Can you help me?”
Ventura will be in the cockpit of Freedom for all three races at the SBI Key West Worlds. Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
Although he’s been in Florida for a few years, Ventura’s New-England-bred direct approach came through. He pointed out what was wrong and what needed to be changed. Ferrer, who had been told similar things by other riggers, decided to give Ventura’s recommendations a shot. Ventura moved some equipment and replaced some other pieces, all with Ferrer’s—and more importantly Piper’s—approval.
“When I tested the boat, I was like, man this guy’s right,” said Feffer. “That’s when I decided to open our hearts to Jason.”
Ventura had spent years working with the late Mike Fiore at Outerlimits Offshore Powerboats, including testing and refining the factory-backed raceboats campaigned domestically and overseas. When an Outerlimits raceboat went out to test, you can bet that Ventura was on board.
Freedom is the last purpose-built raceboat built by Reggie Fountain II when he was still president at Fountain Powerboats. Ferrer and Piper worked with other engine builders and crew chiefs, but it wasn’t until Ferrer called Billy Glueck, owner of the 40-foot Fountain, Twisted Metal/Cooper Standard, threatening to quit the sport that change took place.
Glueck gave Ferrer the phone number for his engine builder, who is known only by his first name, Uva. Ferrer put Ventura and Uva together. The engines were rebuilt and the boat was prepared for this past October’s SBI National Championships in Clearwater, Fla.
Freedom put on a solid performance, hanging with Peter Meyer’s national champion 40-foot Fountain, AMH-Construction/Instigator and the 37-foot Fountain, Cooper Standard/Twisted Metal, that is considered the fastest boat in the class. “If I would have gone with Jason the first day, I would have saved a lot of money,” said Herrer.
Ferrer and Piper have recently added another team member, their daughter, Savannah, who is four months old. Heading into Key West for the world championships, they don’t want to be in the boat together so Ventura will throttle while Piper drives on Wednesday and Friday at the worlds. On Sunday, Ventura will drive and Ferrer will throttle.
“We’re going to let Instigator and Twisted Metal do what they do,” said Ventura. “They can bang off each other the whole race on Wednesday and then Joe and I want to win on Sunday.”
While the other boats in the Superboat Extreme class have aerodynamically designed decks and engine hatches, Ferrer is keeping the higher profile hatches with Harwood scoops in case he decides to put in larger-displacement supercharged motors so he and Piper can go poker running.
“The main thing is, we want to have fun,” said Ferrer. But winning wouldn’t hurt, either.