Flash back to 2004: I was in Washington, North Carolina when Reggie Fountain and Ben Robertson delivered a mesmerizing performance that shattered the offshore world and set the standard for vee-hull performance with an APBA Kilo World Record at 171.880 mph aboard a 42′ Fountain.
Fast forward to 2018: Reclaiming its place at the top of the speed charts has been on the drawing board for Fountain’s parent company Iconic Marine Group (IMG) for several months. So when I met with Reggie Fountain at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show last fall, he enthusiastically started to talk about the latest chapter in his return as a consultant to Fountain Powerboats and dynamic role as leader of the kilo speed record project.
However, as the industry learned this week, more critical test time is needed before the highly anticipated effort takes to the waters. In a press release, IMG stated a delay in its original date of February 3rd as continued in-depth testing of powertrain components from Sterling Performance prior to installation have pushed out the on-the-water testing schedule.
“This event and process [are] good for the Fountain brand,” company representatives stated. “We would like to go into Miami Boat Show with a new kilo record, but the most important thing is safety. IMG will not sacrifice safety in testing by our suppliers or by us just to make a date for a boat show, as advantageous as that could be for marketing. Safety, performance and the record are the keys to the success of this event. Timing is secondary.” IMG plans to announce new dates when they are determined.
The current APBA Unlimited V-bottom kilo record, set in 2014 on the Pamlico River by an Outerlimits SV 43 powered by twin Mercury Racing 1650 hp engines, stands at 180.464 mph. And the monumental task of topping those numbers per APBA requirements — average speeds are established running in both directions over a one kilometer surveyed course — has generated a unique Fountain V-hull, as Reggie Fountain explained. “The faster you go, you got to have the boat sensitive to the aerodynamic effects as you’re going forward, as well as the hydrodynamic effect. So, we’ve taken a lot of the flair out of the front of the first boat that we ran in 2004 because it was having a tendency to get real light at 170 – 180 mph.”
Ben Robertson, who is now on deck to single-handily run the boat elaborated on the piloting tools on board this specially-designed speed machine. “I’ll be using a foot throttle and unique steering system from Latham Marine (trim tab and drive controls on the wheel), while Mike Clesceri of Marine Design Corporation is building the synchronization of drives and tab. It’s a great system.”
Of the Fountain 40′ canopied v-bottom outfitted with twin turbocharged 1,900 hp Sterling Performance engines, Robertson had this to say: “We’re relying on the expertise of Reggie Fountain; Crew Chief James Bass and Joel Kenny, who built the boat, to make this a reality. This is probably one of the best we have ever built and I’m looking forward to running it.”
Although the mega-project to return the World Speed Record back to the Fountain stables has flipped its calendar pages back, Reggie summed it up like this in a promotional video released earlier this week. “Every time you run a kilo, you learn more about what to do the next time you do it.” And his career record-setting stats speak volumes. “Whatever kind of boat we build — fish boats, sport boats, cruiser — we will build the fastest, safest, smoothest, best handling boats in the world.”
Bobbye Miller Kenyon is an award-winning journalist whose high performance articles appeared in Hot Boat Magazine, along with fast-paced marine industry news in her Hot Sheet Column, from 1997-2008 and Powerboat Magazine from 2009-2012. She received a special award from the State of Kentucky in 2014 as she was commissioned a Kentucky Colonel by Governor Steven L. Beshear for her writing efforts that showcased the diverse boating locales throughout the Bluegrass State. Her company, Offshore Public Relations, is a multi-faceted firm that has represented marine industry leaders and champions in the offshore racing arena. A native Miamian, she enjoys boating off the Florida Keys waters of Key Largo to Islamorada and the lakes of the Kentucky countryside.