Fountain’s 34TE springs from one of the oldest and most prestigious names in powerboats: Reggie Fountain. Fountain dominated kingfish tournaments, which require speed, agility and stable fishability to win. The 34TE (Tournament Edition) is an outstanding blend of all those attributes and adds family comfort as the cherry on top. The style is classic Reggie Fountain but the fishability and construction techniques are New Millennium.
The double-stepped hull is efficient, gaining as much as 10 percent more speed and fuel efficiency over standard V-hulls with similar horsepower. A pad keel adds more lift where it matters, increasing speed as the boat steps on the gas. A notched transom makes sure the water hitting the outboards is solid for maximum torque and minimum slip. While some early stepped-hull designs had a mischievous habit of spinning out in turns, the Fountain sticks while executing 180s, with proper attention to down-trim and working the throttle to maintain turning speed.
You can rig the boat with up to 1,350 hp and attain speeds up to 86 mph with triple Mercury Racing 450Rs. But twin Mercury 400s provided ample speed with rewarding fuel economy. It’s capable of making 66 mph on a light load, but we made just under 65 carrying 100 gallons of gas and 450 pounds of crew.
We also ran Fountain’s 34SC similarly powered and got similar results.
While the SC is blinged-up for speed and show with cool touches like a carbon-fiber dash and an EVA Fountain-engraved hardtop graphic, the TE is serious about fishing. At rest, the hull drifted over waves with minimum roll, which would ease fatigue and discomfort in all-day tournaments.
The helm is wide, offering generous protection from spray and slipstream wind. A Fusion stereo source unit divided dual Garmin multifunction displays, and the VHF was mounted starboard. The layout left room for a VesselView gauge, though Mercury and most engine types can display on most multifunction displays. Yet Mercury’s VesselView offers both engine readouts and a backup sonar/GPS display.
Interior and Accessories
Fifty rod holders are spread out on deck, including transom shotgun holders, gunwale rod holders from bow to stern, and undergunwale rod hangers. Keeping refreshments in mind, Fountain strategically interspersed some Mate Series cup holder/rod holder units with the gleaming Gemlux rod holders.
The tackle-rigging station on the back of the console leaning post is a masterpiece. Fold down the seatback, and there’s a bench to set out tools in the plethora of compartments and drawers inside.
Livewells are just as impressive. Fed from sea chests with high-capacity pumps, they are sealed with acrylic lids. An optional transom seat can fit over them for day-cruising fun.
There’s a cooler under the leaning post. The coffin-box lounger ahead of the center console is insulated to carry fish, frozen chum or cold drinks too. For comfort, that coffin box is covered with luxurious seat cushions, and has backrests and armrests.
The 34TE’s profile is distinctive with its down-turned forepeak, a Fountain signature. Our tester had a windlass on board, with a polished stainless-steel anchor in the in-stem roller that only added to its aggressive look while offering convenience for the skipper. Reggie invented the distinctive brand logo. Part wheel, part gear, it’s formed by joining thunderbolts in circular fashion. Tournament competitors who challenge a Fountain might feel it’s a buzz saw.
There’s no doubt Reggie’s reputation for designing solid, swift boats gives Fountain Powerboats an edge in brand image backed up by a heritage of speed that is unassailable.
How We Tested
- Engine: Twin Mercury Verado 400
- Drive/Prop: Outboard/Mercury Rev 4 14.6″ x 22″ 4-blade stainless-steel
- Gear Ratio: 1.75:1 Fuel Load: 100 gal. Water on Board: 10 gal. Crew Weight: 450 lb.
- Black-colored dash and hardtop reduce eye fatigue by cutting glare.
- Coaming bolsters are thick and tall from top to bottom, adding comfort whether reaching for a fish or a dock line.
- Stepped hull handles easily at high speed.
- Pull-out Frigid Rigid cooler with seat cushion is handy for a clear cockpit but not so comfy.
The SeaVee 340 Z is a close competitor, and it boasts a Michael Peters SVVT hull. It’s à la carte priced with a base of $277,100 with a hardtop and dual 400 Verados. Similar captain’s seating adds $7,300 plus $2,900 for the mezzanine sliding cooler. We’d select the twin bow loungers with electrically actuated backrests for $7,200. The 340 Z makes 50 to 55 mph at 800 horsepower but its 10-foot beam calls for up to 1,350 horsepower for more speed.
Both boats have a single-level deck, which means crew doesn’t stumble going forward or aft, a peril in many boats.
Pricing and Specs
|Price:||$397,340 (as tested)|
|Displacement (approx.):||13,500 lb.|
|Transom Deadrise:||22.5 degrees|
|Fuel Capacity:||418 gal.|
|Available Power:||Mercury or Yamaha outboards up to 1,350 hp total|
Speed, Efficiency, Operation
Fountain PowerBoats – Washington, North Carolina; 252-975-2000; fountainpowerboats.com