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Fountain 38LS (2022-)

3 x 400-hp Mercury Outboards



Brief Summary

Few boats can carry a crossover mission of speed and offshore performance like a Fountain. The brand held the world record for the fastest offshore V-bottom boat and has claimed more checkered flags in the sport than any other, so it seems to know what it's doing. Add that street cred to a center console and watch what happens. It’s a head-turning combo of fishing and offshore elegance that will have every battlewagon running for cover. It’s as if the two categories of boats shouldn’t even be in the same water.

Test Results

RPM MPH Knots GPH MPG NMPG STAT. MILE NM dBa
600 4.4 3.8 2.1 2.1 1.8 779 677.6 61.9
1000 6.9 6 3.7 1.9 1.6 702 610.1 66.9
1500 9.5 8.2 6.7 1.4 1.2 531 461.4 70
2000 11.5 10 12.4 0.9 0.8 347 302.1 75
2500 17.2 15 17.4 1 0.9 372 323.4 87.8
3000 23.2 20.1 21.3 1.1 0.9 410 356.4 83.2
4000 41.8 36.3 31.3 1.3 1.2 503 437.6 86.6
4500 46.2 40.1 35.3 1.3 1.1 492 427.7 86.4
5000 53.8 46.7 44.5 1.2 1.1 454 395.1 87.5
5500 60.6 52.7 55.4 1.1 1 412 357.9 88.8
6000 75.7 65.8 110 0.7 0.6 259 225.1 88.9

Specifications

Length Overall 38'4"
11.68 m
Beam 10'6"
3.2 m
Dry Weight 15,600 lbs.
7,076.04 kg
Tested Weight 16,919 lbs.
7,674.33 kg
Draft 31"
12.2 cm
Bridge Clearance 98"
248.92 cm
Fuel Capacity 418 gallons
1,582.3 L
Total Weight 16,919 lbs.
7,674.33 kg

Acceleration Times & Conditions

Time to Plane 3.3 seconds
0 to 30 8.1 seconds
Props 22.5
Load 3 persons; 119 gal. fuel; 50 lbs. gear
Climate 78 deg.; 59 humid.; winds: 0-5; seas: 0

Engine Options

Tested Engine 3 x 400-hp Mercury Outboards

Captain's Report

With the triple 400-hp Verados powering our test boat, we reached just under 76 MPH.  The Fountain 38LS can be powered with up to four 450-hp racing engines. 

Mission

The mission of the Fountain 38LS is to take a center console fishing machine and inject it with steroids, adrenaline and whatever other performance-enhancing go-juice Fountain can muster to create the ultimate combination of speed, fishing, performance, safety and handling like none other. 

Major Features (Including Distinguishing Features)

  • NMMA Certified
  • Positive Lift Hull – Double Step, Pad Keel, Notch Transom
  • Three-Piece Construction – Hull, Liner, Deck
  • Stringer Grid and Transom – High-Density Composite, Fiberglass Reinforced
  • Cored Inner Liner – Fiberglass, Self-Bailing, Anti-Skid Deck
  • Bonded – Glued Through Bolted and Tabbed (Deck, Stringer Grid, Hull, Liner) 
  • High-Density Cored – Hull Sides, Deck, and Liner 
  • Huge amounts of storage
  • Standard fiberglass T-Top
  • Standard dual 16” (40.64 cm) Garmin displays at the helm
  • Standard Underwater lights

Performance

The Fountain 38LS has an LOA of 38’4” (11.66 m), a beam of 10’6” (3.2 m) and a draft of 31” (78.74 cm).  With an empty weight of 15,600 lbs. (7,076 kg), 28% fuel and 3 people on board, we had an estimated test weight of 16,919 lbs. (7,674 kg).

With the triple 400-hp Mercury Verados turning 22.5 pitch propellers and wound up to 6000 RPM, our speed topped out at 75.7 MPH.  Best cruise was reached at 4000 RPM and 41.8 MPH.  It was at that speed that the 31.3 GPH fuel burn translated into 1.3 MPG and a range of 503 statute miles.  All while still holding back a 10% reserve of the boat’s 418-gallon (1,582.3 L) total fuel capacity. 

Handling

With the throttles shoved to the stops, she reached planing speed in 3.3 seconds and she’ll hold plane right on down to 12.3 MPH.  Left to continue to accelerate, she’ll pass through 20 MPH in 5.6 seconds, 30 in 8.1 and 40 in 11.1 seconds. 

This boat feels like it's two different boats to drive.  When you're in the performance cruise mode, say around the high 50s, the stepped hull gives her a nice steady  feel and tracks well through her maneuvers so she feels like she wants to do so much more. And actually, she can do so much more. But you want to keep it comfortable for everybody on board so keep it in that mid-50s range. When it’s time to run, go ahead and hit those throttles. She'll get into the low 70s and because the boat is so responsive, it takes a little bit of skill and experience. At higher speeds, she's riding on the pad and the sensation is one of the ride feeling a little lighter. To keep the ride settled without losing speed, just apply a little negative tab. Once you get the hang of it, she really wants to run.   

Engines/Engine Room

Our test boat was powered with the triple 400-hp four-stroke Mercury Verados. The center and starboard engines are connected with a tie bar.  We can drop down to triple 300s and go up to quad 450 racing engines. 

The engine installation is clean and allows for plenty of room to move about for servicing the engines.  Notice to the port bulwarks there’s a freshwater flush quick connect. 

Engine Options

TRIPLE:

Mercury 300M

Mercury 400M: test power.

Mercury 400R

Mercury 450R

QUAD:

Mercury 400M

Mercury 400R

Mercury 450R 

Boat Inspection

We can enter the cockpit from over the caprails or by coming in through the inward-opening transom gate.  It’s held open by a magnetic catch.  Immediately at the stern, we have seating on our test boat as part of the optional “Luxury Seating Package” that replaces the standard aft livewell.  It’s 66” (167.64 cm) across and includes flip armrests to the outboard sides plus diamond stitching and variable thickness to the padding for added comfort.  Underneath is self-draining storage.

Three-across transom seating makes for a comfortable ride offshore.  Storage is underneath and flip armrests are to the outboard sides. 

Aft-facing seating is 35” (88.9 cm) ahead.  It’s 48” (121.92 cm) wide and makes for opposing seating in the cockpit.  As with the forward-facing seating, there are flip-down armrests to the outboard sides and five stainless-steel beverage holders are above the seatback.  Underneath is a pressurized livewell.  If the sun gets to be too much, we can bring out an optional extendable awning from the trailing edge of the hardtop.  We can also add a starboard hull side dive door, but only if we get a triple engine installation.  It’s not available with quads. 

The aft-facing seating allows for a more comfortable social zone as people can now face each other while gathering in the cockpit. 
Never forgetting the fishing roots of a center console, a livewell is under the forward seating. 

In the center of the cockpit deck and between the forward and aft seating is a hatch over a mechanical compartment that gives easy access to the bilge pumps, pickups for the livewell, the water tank and the fuel manifolds. 

Side Decks

To the side decks, there’s a minimum of 19” (48.26 cm) between the supports for the T-top and the padded bolsters.  There are four combination rod holder/beverage holders in the caprails to each side.  The padded bolsters start at the stern and wrap all the way around the boat to the opposite side.  Underneath the gunwales, there are three horizontal rod holders and there are snap-in mats to protect the reels from the bulwarks. There’s a freshwater washdown to port and a raw water washdown to starboard.  In-deck storage is to both sides and there's tackle storage to both sides of the aft-facing seat.

There is padding against the bulwarks to protect rods and reels. It’s rare that we see this matting being snap-in so it’s easy to clean. 
To both sides of the cockpit seating, there’s in-deck storage and tackle storage. 

Bow

As we continue to the bow, there are two more self-draining in-deck storage compartments and yet another is ahead of the forward chaise lounge seating.  There’s additional dry storage under the chaise and under the two bow seats. 

Basically, if you were to fill all the wet storage compartments on this boat, you’d be over your limit. 

Just ahead of the console is a chaise lounge and at first glance, I thought that the seatback was much too upright to be comfortable.  I thought it should be in more of a reclined position.  Then I sat in it and those thoughts were put to rest.  It’s actually a remarkably comfortable lounge.  I think if it were to be reclined, it would have me sliding down as the boat went through waves, so this was a workable solution.  Lengthy rails are running down the uprights to both sides.  More of the diamond stitch pattern upholstery and multi-density foam adds to the comfort level. 

The chaise ahead of the console is comfortable and functional. Storage is underneath. 

The dual lounge seats at the bow have seatbacks that can be swiveled. They can also be removed, which would allow the sockets to be used as rod holders. That’s a clever feature on Fountain’s part and it’s not by accident.

The bow lounge seats have seatbacks that can be swiveled or removed.  Naturally, storage is under the seats.  Notice the in-deck storage. 
The seating does not continue across the bow, but the padded bolster does.  Instead, there’s a 16” (40.64 cm) high step that can be used to access the foredeck to use that as a casting platform. 

Head

The head compartment is in the console and accessed from a bi-fold door to the starboard side. Inside is an electric flush toilet and sink.  At the aft bulkhead, there’s a zippered cover to access the batteries.  Above that are the battery switches, the ignitions and the main breaker panel. 

Helm

The helm starts with a Lexan windscreen.  There’s just a touch of distortion in the corners but not so much that it's going to interfere with our visibility.  A compass is directly in line with the wheel.  There are two storage compartments with lids on tension hinges and two 16” (40.64 cm) Garmin MFDs with the fusion stereo right in between.  Two rows of push-button electrical switches are just beneath.   

The helm is well thought out and logically arranged.  Obviously, race-inspired. 

There are dual race-inspired helm seats and each has a contoured flip bolster, flip armrests and flip-down footrests.  Large speakers are behind the footrests. 

Up above is a rather remarkable hardtop.  It includes integrated speakers, LED lighting, spreader lights fore and aft, a large light bar fully forward and there's even a remote control for bringing the all-around NAV light up and down.  Above the operator, there’s a storage box. The supports also include integrated grab handles.  There's really a lot going on with this hardtop and Fountain did a great job on it.

As T-tops go, Fountain certainly hit this one out of the park.  Just by looking at the many lines and contours, it’s easy to see that it took several molds just to make it. 

Options to Consider

  • Chaise Lounge Console Seat
  • Full-Width Rear Bench (Replaces STD CC Livewells)
  • LUXURY SEATING PACKAGE (LS)
    • Combined Chaise Lounge Console Seat & Full-Width Rear Bench (Replaces STD CC Livewells)
  • Blueprint Hull – 38
  • Bow Seat – Integrated Backrest with Cup Holders (Replaces STD Removable Backrest Seating)
  • Bow Thruster
  • Canvas – Dash and Helm Seat Cover - Black, Light Gray
  • Dive Door – Starboard, Cockpit with Fold-Out Ladder, (N/A on Quads)
  • Electric Reel Outlets – (2) Aft, (2) Forward, (2) Amidships
  • Engine Flushing System – Reverso, Automatic Outboard, Triple or Quad Engine
  • Flooring – EVA Foam, Dealer Installed
  • Fresh Water Tank – 20 Additional Gallons
  • Livewell – Under Rear Facing Seat
  • Portlight – In Center Console, Opening Window, Screened
  • Rod Holders – Additional, Gunwales
  • Rod Holders – (8) Additional, Bow
  • Rod Holders – (6) Additional, T-Top
  • Rod Holder Delete – Transom
  • Rod Holder Delete – T-Top
  • SeaChest Livewell System Upgrade (N/A with 20-gallon (75.71 L) Auxiliary Water Tank)
  • SeaStar Optimus Hydraulic Steering (Replaces STD Mercury Steering)
  • SeaStar Optimus Joystick and SeaStation
  • SureShade – Electric, Aft of T-Top with Black, Light Gray or Linen Fabric
  • Transducer B175L – Additional
  • Transducer R599C – Additional
  • Transom Seat – On Top of Livewells, Curved or Flat Backrest, Removable, Seat Bottom Cushions
  • USB Outlet in Dash – Additional
  • Windlass Kit – Thru Hull, Striker Plate, Polished Stainless Steel Plow Anchor, 15' of 5/16" Galvanized Chain, 150' of 5/8" 8-Strand Braided Rode, (1) Herreshoff Cleat
  • XM Radio Ready Option
  • XM Weather Option – Includes XM Radio Ready Option

Garmin Options

  • Autopilot – Hydraulic, Full Function (Controlled from Garmin 8616 Screens)
  • Autopilot Controller – GHC20
  • Dome Radar Upgrade – GMR Fantom 24"
  • Open Array Radar – 424 xHD2
  • Open Array Radar Upgrade – GRM Fantom 54-4’
  • Stereo Remote – Fusion, MS-ARX70B(W)

Outriggers  (Outrigger Kits Only Available in Pairs)

  • Gemlux – BA-12 Base, 16’ Deluxe Internally Rigged Hybrid Carbon Fiber Poles
  • Gemlux – BA-12 Base 18' Deluxe Collapsible Hybrid Carbon Fiber Poles
  • Taco – GS 280 Base, 18' Aluminum Poles
  • Taco – GS 390 Base, 20' Carbon Fiber Poles

Observations

This was one of those tests that I just didn’t want to end because it was so much fun driving this boat. No matter how much I pushed it, it just shrugged it off as if to say “is that all you got, who’s next?” I wasn’t even coming close to the edge of her limits. But it was fun trying to get there.  The only thing missing from the equation was waves.  I needed some wind. Maybe next time my pretty…. Next time.


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Currently no test numbers