FOUNTAIN 38 CC 252/975-2000 www.fountainpowerboats.com
Powered by a trio of 275-hp Mercury Verados, this Fountain hit a top end of 72.5 mph and would be the first of our fleet to arrive at the fishing grounds. Even more amazing is its fuel economy. Set the throttles to 4500 rpm and you'll be running at a speedy 49.1 mph while burning 33.6 gph. That's 1.5 mpg, which would be considered good for a twin-screw boat running 10 mph slower. Credit goes to a tricked-out hull with twin steps, a V-pad, transom setback, and notch. Looking at our test archives, this boat gives an 8 to 15 percent increase in speed and efficiency over a stock-issue V-hull.
The hull is supported by a foam-cored, molded-grid stringer system. Fountain intelligently designed the stringers to butt up against the sides of the fishboxes, where they can act as insulators. Cleats lift up to eliminate line snags, the T-top is powder coated, the hull-to-deck joint is fiberglassed, and the keel, strakes, and hullsides are cored to maximize rigidity. Fabric and hull colors are coordinated, and finish work is excellent.
Coaming bolsters, a raw-water washdown, under-gunwale rodracks, T-top rocket launchers and spreader lights, a livewell, and four large integrated fishboxes all come standard. The 10'6" beam is on the wide side for a boat with so much focus on speed, but it works. Plus, it has an advantage when the lines go over the side-wider multi-line spreads are easier to deploy, and double- or triple-header hook-ups will be easier to fight, but as usual, there's little chance of working fish around the engines and transom.
HIGHS & LOWS
Runs faster and burns less fuel than competitors. Helm coaming bolsters keep the captain comfy. Anchor locker is well thought out, with a large rack and enough room to hold hundreds of feet of line.
Some wires running under the gunwales weren't chafe protected. Spring struts on the electronics box should be upgraded to gas-assist struts. When open, the livewell hatch rests against the hinges, which could bend if someone leans against it.
$272,009 (w/triple 275-hp Mercury Verado outboards) Hydraulic steering; raw-water washdown; T-top w/spreader lights and electronics box; gunwale and T-top rodholders; under-gunwale gaff/mop/rodracks; circulating livewell; hydraulic trim tabs w/indicators; 3 batteries w/switches; 25-qt. forward console cooler; lift-up cleats; 4 integrated fishboxes; locking rodbox; glovebox; locking electronics flat cover.