On a sticky mid-June day, I found myself in the Fountain 38SC, bolstered next to pilot Jeff Harris (legendary offshore-performance driver and Iconic Marine Group’s COO) as we roared, fighter-jet-like, down the tight channel in the Pamlico River just outside the Fountain plant in North Carolina. My Stalker radar gun and handheld GPS agreed with the boat’s VesselView screen: 94.7 mph, which we repeated several times on subsequent up-and-downriver runs. While it’s not the century mark Fountain was hoping for, in this writer’s opinion, 100 mph is not out of the realm. After all, our test rig only had a few hours logged, with no time for engine break-in, or propeller, engine-height and weight-placement changes.
For many boaters, 95 mph is more than fast enough. But some folks want more, as in more luxury, more fishability, and more downright thrilling, bragging-rights top speed. If that’s you, to guarantee it, opt for four 450Rs and you’ll hit 100 for sure.
At speeds under 70 mph, the Fountain feels almost sedate, what with the big Mercs purring at 5,000 rpm and barely breathing hard. Hammer the throttles, and above 6,000 revs it starts to fly, the engines singing a harmonious howling tune. The big, stepped-pad V-hull really does its thing with this much oomph. While it’s available rigged with less power, don’t make the mistake of buying a lesser-powered iteration of this boat.
Fuel consumption? It burns 169 gallons per hour at full throttle. Best cruise speed in this warship is a brisk 54 mph, where 40 gph equals 1.4 miles per gallon. With a 418-gallon fuel supply, range is incredible—you could run over 500 miles at 54 mph and still have 40 gallons left in the tank.
Handling is tight and precise, as should be expected from a race-bred hull and high-performance powerplants with power hydraulic steering. Planing and acceleration both proved quick—zero to 30 mph took just 8.1 seconds, and ripping from 40 to 60 mph occurred in a quick 6.2 seconds. You can really feel the smooth but authoritative push from the Mercury Racing outboards; they have seemingly limitless power, all the way to 7,000-plus rpm.
Fountain’s Victor Hudson, director of sales and customer service, describes the 38SC’s mission: “After many months of study, we realized that the slice of the market reserved for go-fast enthusiasts who don’t have a million-plus dollars to spend on a boat is still there after the 2008 recession, and it’s coming back. That’s our focus; the Fountain name and legend is still very much in the minds of performance boaters, and they are receptive to our offering. Our goal is to produce a product on par with the best out there in terms of value, features and performance.”
We think they’ve nailed it. At just over $600,000 with quad 400Rs (compare with Mystic Powerboats M38, a 90 mph boat, at $599,423 with quad 400Rs), and about $700,000 with the custom paint and interior plus options, it’s clear the 38SC delivers performance-value galore. You get a race-proven, hand-laid, bonded grid hull, with composite-cored hull sides, deck and inner liner, built by industry veterans who know how to build boats to take punishment. You also get an attention-magnet paint job on the outside and sporty-but-plush interior on the inside. One of Fountain’s specialties is high-performance customer service, and with the 400R and 450R packages, this means a special blueprinted hull, performance propellers, and a setup/dial-in plus sea trial with Jeff Harris. That’s an essential service when you’re talking 90-plus mph speeds.
Interior and Accessories
Aboard, the bow section features an in-stem anchor chute/roller with a windlass and a roomy locker, plus a bow striker plate. Just aft, the forward seating section starts, with facing loungers and a double-wide, body-contoured lounge for two just forward of the center console. The upholstery is a diamond-quilted pattern that looks great, felt cool to touch, and proved quite comfortable.
The center console dominates the layout amidships. Surrounded by an aluminum powder-coated T-top with cored fiberglass lid and integrated electric sunshade ($12,800), the console gives plenty of protection from wind and sun, with a double-and-a-half bolster seat that proved roomy for two testers, plus space for someone smaller in between. Behind, there’s a second row of seating, just in front of the stern bench. This triple-row concert seating allows giving thrill rides to a crowd. For the performance-minded family, this Fountain delivers performance in rarified air, all the while providing a comfort-laden party platform equally at home pulling up to a lakeside eatery as it is hanging out on a sunny day at the cove.
How We Tested
- Engines: Quad Mercury Racing Verado 400R FourStroke six-cylinder
- Drive/Props: Outboard/Mercury Racing lab-finished MaxFive 15″ x 29″ 5-blade stainless steel
- Gear Ratio: 1.75:1 Fuel Load: 100 gal. Crew Weight: 500 lb.
- Fountain’s beaklike clipper bow promises speed and performance at a glance.
- Hand-laid, double-stepped hull, hotrod outboard pad and notch-setback transom give the 38SC a performance pedigree.
- Rigging is well-done and executed toward making servicing easier.
- Lack of a wiper made it tough to see during test-day rain. Order one for your boat.
- Underconsole head is tight quarters—it’s basically for emergencies only.
Pricing and Specs
|Displacement:||14,800 lb. (without engines)|
|Fuel Capacity:||418 gal.|
|Available Power:||Triple or quad Mercury Verado or Mercury Racing outboards to 1,600 hp total|
Speed, Efficiency, Operation
Iconic Marine Group – Washington, North Carolina; 252-975-2000; iconicmarinegroup.com