When the Superboat Vee class gets the green flag on the Hudson River tomorrow for the Super Boat International New York City Grand Prix, the field will include a new Fountain raceboat, Absolutely Not, owned and driven by Mark Gibbons. Powered by a class-specified Mercury Racing 525 EFI, the stepped hull 30-footer is the first raceboat out the Washington, N.C., boat builder since Watch Your Back, another Superboat Vee-class 30-footer built for Michael “Doc” Jansen that once dominated its competition on the offshore racecourse.
“She came out better than I ever dreamed,” said Gibbons, who lives in Long Island, N.Y., in a press release from the company. “We are super-pleased with how she did in the testing. I’m looking forward to racing her in the New York Super Boat Grand Prix—this is our home race.”
Gibbons, who started racing in 2006 with Peter Meyer on the 40′ Fountain Superboat Extreme Instigator team, has spent the last few years campaigning his own 27′ Activator Absolutely Not in the Suberboat Vee Class with Tommy Palasciano as throttle man and chief mechanic. After flipping that boat, rebuilding it and upgrading its equipment with the help of noted raceboat rigger Jerry Haney, Gibbons began thinking about building a custom Fountain race boat. “I felt that Fountain was the safest and fastest thing out there,” he said in the release.
Members of the Fountain custom race boat design and construction team who contributed to the Absolutely Not project include chief engineer David Hardison; lamination manager Reggie Ross; upholstery and woodshop manager Guy Woolard; graphics designer Clint Garant; technician Joel Kinney, who did the layup; Tommy Respass, manager of the plex and metal shop, and James Bass, service technician, who helped to complete and run the boat during the sea trials. According to the press information, most of the people involved with the project have been with Fountain for more than 20 years.
“Despite the gossip and the rumors, we have a team of people here who know how to build a raceboat and make it perform,” said Johnny Walker, the chief executive officer of Baja Marine (Fountain’s parent company, in the release. “I’m proud of our team and what they’ve accomplished with the new Absolutely Not. It has been a real pleasure working with Mark and Jerry on this project. I will be at the race in New York to cheer them on.”