Commentary: A Star Is Reborn

Here is proof positive that age is just a number: Reggie Fountain, Jr., the man who built Fountain Powerboats in Washington, N.C., the once the dominant force in the high-performance powerboat industry, will be 78 years old in April. And while you won’t find him running offshore raceboats solo anymore—as was his custom back in the 1980s and 1990s—this true Southern gentleman is as mentally sharp, ambitious, charming and flat-out entertaining as he ever was.

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With Fountain Powerboats gearing up for a V-bottom speed-record attempt with a purpose-built 40-footer (above), the company’s namesake is back in the spotlight. And that’s great news for the industry.

Now employed by the company he founded, Fountain is leading the outfit’s V-bottom kilometer speed-record attempt project. Reportedly a longtime admirer of the man, Iconic Marine Group—the parent company of the Fountain, Donzi and Baja brands—owner Fred Ross knew that no Fountain record attempt would be close to complete without Reggie Fountain Jr., involved.

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Shown here at the Super Boat International Offshore World Championships in Key West Fla., with fiancé Linda Foreman, Reggie Fountain, Jr., is leading the Fountain Powerboats kilo boat project. Photo by Jason Johnson/

“I’m delighted to be back,” Fountain said in a brief telephone interview. “I want to help bring excitement back to all the Fountain boats, from sportboats to center consoles.”

Read More: A Star Is Reborn

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Commentary: Why Print Rocks

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There’s still special something about paper magazines (click image to enlarge). Photo courtesy/copyright Carl McBride.

Despite the stupid hours Jason Johnson and I will put in during the next six days getting the 2017 Speed On The Water Year In Review print edition ready for press, I still love everything about the magazine-building process. We produce a digital magazine every other month and—don’t get me wrong—we’re proud of that product. It’s a lot work, but it’s also a lot of fun. But while I have every issue of our active PDF magazine on my laptop, I can’t stack any of them on my coffee table.

And that kind of sucks.

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But in less than a month, I’ll have a third oversized Speed On The Water Year in review issue—a 196-page whopper— to stack atop the 132-page 2015 edition and 164-page 2016 issue on that table. So while the work ahead is formidable, the joy that comes with holding the finished product is more than worth it.

Read More: Commentary—Why Print Rocks

Euro Poker On The Water


European performance-boat enthusiasts are getting deeper and deeper into the poker-run game. The 27-foot Checkmate above is Dutchman Helmich Hillen's poker run ride.

Did you know that Scandinavia has a vibrant poker run scene? Neither did I, at least until Helmich Hillen, who lives in the Netherlands and owns a 27-foot Checkmate V-bottom, reached out to me via Facebook during the holidays. Seems my “Is Boyne Thunder The World’s Best Poker Run?” column in December got his attention.

“My response to that is if you have time, check out some European poker runs,” Hillen wrote. “I know that is also in the same months as the U.S.A. poker runs, but maybe it can be a great article. Let me know what you think. The Scandinavian countries are quite big for poker runs. I go every year to Sweden for the poker runs over there.”

While Hillen’s English isn’t perfect, it’s better than a lot I’ve heard and read from native speakers in this country—and way better than my Dutch—so we had no trouble communicating. And I was surprised to learn that Europe’s hottest poker runs aren’t in the sexy Mediterranean, but in its harsher northern environs.

Read More: Euro Poker On The Water

Thankful for Another Great Year

Being that the New Year is approaching and that Matt Trulio and I just covered our top stories of 2017 earlier this week, I figured now would be as good a time as any to reflect on the past 365 days and highlight a few of the things I’m thankful for following a year of ups and downs.

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Read all about DCB's latest M44 Widebody in the new Speed On The Water digital magazine. Photo by Tom Leigh/Tommy Gun Images

Read more: Thankful for Another Great Year

Commentary: Is Boyne Thunder The World’s Best Poker Run?

That the New Year is less than a week away has me in a reflective state of mind. It’s either that or the 15-year-old single-malt scotch I’ve been enjoying of late—I can’t quite tell and I reckon it doesn’t much matter. Reflection, nostalgia and, OK, sometimes purely meandering thoughts come with the territory of being a twice-weekly columnist. Your job, as said columnist, is subtraction. Find one clean thought, hone it down and go with it.


There’s a strong case to be made for the annual event in the wilds of Northern Michigan. Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

So here’s what I woke up with this morning: Boyne Thunder is the world’s best poker run.

And as hard as I tried to shake that dangerous notion from my head—for I know that expanding on it in this column will only bring trouble—I couldn’t. In fact, the more I turn it over in my head, the more I believe it to be true. So here goes.

Read More: Commentary— Is Boyne Thunder The World’s Best Poker Run?

Related Story: Inside SOTW Mag—Boyne’s Thunderous Applause