Fountain's speedy new 38 Tournament Edition is built to get you to the fish first.
Base Price (w/test power): $193,980
There's nothing like departing through an inlet with a tight, six-foot sea running to help you make an instant appraisal of the seaworthiness of a particular hull. I was on board the new Fountain 38 Tournament Edition with Clayton Kirby, southern regional sales manager for Fountain. This was my first ride on a Fountain-built boat, and as I discovered, the ventilated step design of the running bottom is not only fast, it can also take on rough seas.
What type of boater would want to endure long runs in the kind of slop I encountered on the day of our sea trial while cruising at 55 mph? A member of the Southern Kingfish Association (SKA) like Kirby. These highly competitive tournament anglers rely on fast, stable boats with precise handling. To bring back the winning smokers, they've got to get to where the fish are and never mind the weather. Sometimes I think the open fisherman layout has been extended beyond its practical limits, but the Fountain 38 certainly changed my mind.
It busted through a heavy sea and stayed dry; it tracked straight and ran hard without loosening my eyeteeth. If things had gotten wet (rain or windblown seas, for instance), we could have made use of the optional three-piece T-top enclosure. The boat I tested was powered with triple Mercury OptiMax 225-hp outboards.
With those engines and a fuel capacity of 360 gallons, the 38 delivers a range of 500 miles cruising at 55 mph. That's better fuel economy than many twin-engine rigs I've run. Fountain will add another 100 gallons of fuel to extend your range even more, if you need it. Fuel-management computers on each engine are standard equipment. We didn't fish during my test, but I did observe that it would be easy to work the entire boat from stem to stern without grabbing a rail.
There are even integrated steps that lead to the deck above the cuddy cabin; they're designed to be wide so you can keep your footing while fighting a fish. According to Kirby, some anglers even mount a fighting chair on the foredeck for ultimate maneuverability. A 50-gallon circulating live well at the transom puts the bait where you need it and keeps it alive. There are four fish boxes in the cockpit sole, each with a macerator and overboard drain, providing a total capacity of 706 quarts.
Rod storage is available under the gunwales as well as in the cuddy cabin. The cuddy itself is Spartan, as one might expect for the dedicated SKA competitor; there's just a V-berth and storage. The head is located in the center console and has an ample side door that a full-sized fisherman can enter without being a contortionist. Whether you're a regular on the SKA tournament trail or an avid angler with a taste for fast boats and finicky fish, the Fountain 38 can meet your angling needs.
Standard Equipment: Anchor locker; walk-in head at center console w/VacuFlush toilet, shower and sink; 25-quart cooler; pop-up cleats; compass; cuddy cabin w/V-berth and rod storage; four fish boxes w/macerators and overboard drains; leaning post w/backrest and rod holders; electric horn; 50-gal. live well at transom; six rod holders in gunwales; sink w/pressurized water system; hydraulic steering w/tilt wheel; T-top w/electronics box, canvas and rod holders; hydraulic high performance trim tabs w/indicators; helm station w/full instrumentation, molded footrest, cup holders, grabrail and glove box; self-bailing fiberglass innerliner; welded 316L stainless steel bowrails.
Speeds measured in two-mph winds and calm, slick water. Performance data supplied by Fountain Powerboats.
This review/article originally appeared in Motorboating & Yachting Magazine, March 2002 and is written by Jim Daly. For more great boat reviews, visit their website and subscribe at: https://www.mby.com/subscriptions/motorboat-yachting-subscriptions
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