With the yesterday’s death of Louis Giancontieri—known fondly members of the Offshore Powerboat Association as “Louis The Rigger”—offshore racing lost one of its most beloved figures. Giancontieri was 67 when he died of an undisclosed illness. In addition to Louisa, his wife of 42 years, and daughters Christina Giacontieri Mendez and Marisa Smith, Giacontieri left behind a legion of friends and fans. (Giacontieri also had a son, Louis, Jr., who died in the early 2000s.)
A family man and fierce offshore racer, Louis “The Rigger” Giancontieri is survived by his wife, Louisa, and daughters Christina and Marisa. Photos by Tim Sharkey copyright Sharkey Images.
A private man when it came to personal matters, Giacontieri kept his health issues to himself.
“He put up the good fight—not many knew,” said Ed “Smitty” Smith, the Offshore Powerboat Association’s president and charismatic leader. “He was just that guy.”
Photographer Tim Sharkey got to know Giacontieri and his Strictly Business Fountain raceboat through decades of shooting OPA action. He was among the veteran shooter’s favorite people in the sport.
“He was the kindest person you would ever want to meet, and one with a strong work ethic,” said Sharkey. “He went through so much to put on that Battle of the Bay Race in Patchogue, New York, but he did it and the race drew huge crowds on and off the water
“Louis was a fierce competitor and I sure am going to miss him and his deck-to-deck battles with the Wazzup team,” he continued. “My heart breaks for his wife, Louisa, and his family.”
A multi-time offshore world champion with sons Jax and Chase in the sport, Jay Muller described Giacontieri as consistently up beat and positive.
“He was always in a good mood,” said Muller. “He was a great guy, for sure.”
A post that appeared within hours of Giacontieri’s death on the OPA Racing Facebook defined the beloved racer and original member of the extended OPA family.
“Today OPA mourns the loss of The Rigger, Louis Giancontieri,” the post read. “To say we lost a great man, would be an understatement. Louis was the lifeblood of OPA. He lived and breathed it. From our early beginnings in Camden NJ, to our greatest heights. Louis was there.
“He was a great friend. Anyone who met Louis would know. Louis had a special warmth. He’d tell you like it is, but only because he loved you.
Offshore racing was Giancontieri’s passion and the Offshore Powerboat Association faithful were his extended family.
“He was a great mentor. In the hardest of times, Louis was there to hold your hand. He always had your back, and would never steer you wrong. He was full of life lessons, and always had a story.
“He was a rock-star. And he wasn’t afraid to tell you. Who could ever forget the shows in Patchogue, or the countless times Friday night parties were hijacked by Louis’ rendition of Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo?
“He was a fearless competitor. One thing you could always count on was Strictly Business being called to the podium. From the Stugots Cup to the Hall of Champions, there isn’t a major trophy without his finger prints on it.
“But most of all Louis was a family man. Our hearts bleed for the Giancontieris. The second family is here, and our arms are wide open.
“We’ll miss you. It was an honor and a privilege. Race in Peace V-6, Louis “The Rigger” Giancontieri.
Close races against Wazzup in his Strictly Business raceboat is a part of Giacontieri’s legacy.
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