The 43 NX is Fountain’s biggest center console to date. The 43 NX is a luxury, performance boat with an offshore hull design adapted from Fountain’s popular 38 Sport Fish Cruiser. She uses quad, Mercury Verado 350 or Mercury Racing’s 400R engines. The 43 NX is built by Fountain at the parent company’s Iconic Marine Group facility, in Washington, NC. There’s no doubt this boat can fish but she’s tailored more toward the luxury cruising market.
- Dash Carbon Panel with LED push button switches
- Triple wide helm seat with flip-up bolster and rear facing seat
- Dive door with integrated ladder
- 3 fishboxes with overboard discharge
|Length Overall||43' / 13.11 m|
Acceleration Times & Conditions
|Time to Plane||3.7 sec.|
|0 to 30||8.2 sec.|
|Props||24P Mercury Bravo1|
|Load||2 persons, 1/3 fuel, no water, 50 lbs. of gear|
|Climate||38 deg., 20 humid; wind: 20-25 mph; seas: 1 chop|
4 x 400-hp Mercury Racing
4 x 350-hp Mercury Verado
4 x 400-hp Mercury Verado
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Contents of Report
- Boat Inspection
- Power and Platforms
- 43 NX Fishing Options
- Standard Equipment Audio Entertainment
- Bow Area
- Ground Tackle
- Equipment Discussion
- Optional Equipment
Fountain’s racing heritage always focuses on performance. Their NX series is aimed at boaters who appreciate the functionality and offshore performance of a center console, but enjoy the refinements and features of a luxury sport boat.
In the early 1990s, Reggie Fountain introduced a new design for his high-performance boats: the Positive Lift Hull. The design claims increased acceleration, improved handling and cornering agility, and reduced fuel consumption. This hull form has been a signature element of Fountain boats since then.
The Fountain 43 NX has a resin-infused composite cored hull with a fiberglass stringer grid. The deck, hull, and grid are all bonded. The deck inner liner is designed to be self-bailing and has an anti-skid surface.
Copious attention to detail indicate the quality and brand loyalty the company is looking to achieve and maintain with this build.
Big performance-oriented center consoles are trending up in the boat building industry just now. At least eight builders have current designs combining luxury amenities, maximum horsepower, overnight/weekend accommodations, and offshore capabilities.
The Fountain 43 NX fits in this category of 41’ to 50’ (12.50 m to 15.24 m) center consoles that are stretching fundamental fishing boats into the luxury market. Go big, go fast, go in style, or go home seems to be the mantra and the market.
Power and Platforms
Our test boat was powered with the quad 400R option. The 2.6 liter, in-line 6-cylinder supercharged engine features Dual Overhead Cams [DOHC] and 24 valves to accommodate sequential, multi-port electronic fuel injection (EFI).
Verados Advanced Mid-Section (AMS) with perimeter mounts greatly dampens vibration in the boat. The progressive rate design stiffen on acceleration and reportedly reduce engine vibration effects to the boat by 50%.
Rigging tubes are positioned just about as close to the engines as possible for a neat installation. The hydraulic steering mechanisms are attached to the two outer engines and are fed individually by hydraulic lines mounted beside the rigging tubes. Steering for the two center engines is accomplished by using tie bars from the outer engines.
Gunnels on both sides slope down to small steps all the way aft beside both the outer engines. The steps are a few inches above the waterline and could be used to get into or out of the water. Each has non-skid surface material so there’s no doubt they’re meant to be stepped on with wet feet.
A catwalk runs along the span between the port and starboard gunnels. There’s a twist-open inspection port at each end. Rigging tubes and hydraulics are mounted along the aft section. Faux teak non-skid padding runs below the transom bulkhead.
There’s room to walk between that bulkhead and the engine service tubes. However, rocket launchers mounted on the aft edge of the bulkhead take up some of that valuable space. Don’t leave the stern area without seeing the light show courtesy of the standard RGB underwater light system.
The transom bulkhead has two walkthrough doors for stern platform access from the cockpit. Fountain makes up for the small swim steps with a dive door cut into the hull on the starboard side, just forward of the transom walkthrough. With the door open, a self-draining, hinged deck hatch with gas assist reveals the integrated, four-step retractable ladder.
A bench seat backs up to the transom bulkhead. At 7’2” (2.18 m) long, it will comfortably accommodate four adults.
The seat has a 10” (.25 m) deep storage below but the bench cannot be lifted and stowed to make extra cockpit room for wrestling in that big catch.
Rod holders built into the caprail. The padded knee bolster beside the dive door provides added comfort and leverage for working fish up to the boat. The bulwark bolsters begin at 13” (33 cm) above the cockpit sole and end at the 24” (61 cm) gunnel height – 11” (28 cm) of comfort.
Another wide self-draining locker with the hatch supported by a gas assist strut provides access to systems and storage below the cockpit sole. The most prominent item in the compartment is the Fisher Panda 5 kW generator. It runs on diesel fuel and draws from a dedicated 10-gallon (38 L) tank. This is an important safety feature as CO danger is all but eliminated.
The hatch also conceals generator exhaust and cooling, fuel lines, and filters. Three 1500 GPH Rule-Mate bilge pumps are located in compartments below the cockpit sole. Notice the galvanized Fitworks manifold.
The adjacent, self-draining compartment is dedicated to storage.
A hefty powder-coated aluminum frame supports the sturdy hardtop. Another set of rocket launchers is fitted to a white powder-coated rail that has multiple handholds. The lift-top, waist-high compartment that makes up the rear portion of the helm seating could be mistaken for a cleaning and bait station. It’s actually an optional cockpit galley. A rear-facing seat comes standard.
The on-deck galley has everything the nautical chef needs to feed a hungry crew, including a refrigerated drawer, a freezer, an electric grill, and sink. The sink and grill are set in a solid surface countertop. A trash drawer rolls out of the middle of the galley, right where it’s needed.
For more fishing-centric use, there is an optional tackle center/bait station to replace the cockpit galley. Fountain offers lots of other fishing enhancements.
• 6 additional rod holders
• GS 280 outriggers
• Carbon 20' - GS 380 outriggers
• 2 electric reel outlets
• Dual livewell transom - in lieu of rear seat
• Starboard livewell/bow cooler
• Port livewell/bow cooler
• B175L transducer
• R599C transducer
The sturdy fiberglass hardtop with overhead storage box covers the whole console area including helm seating and optional cockpit galley. The top is wired with courtesy lights and bow and stern spreader lights.
Helm seating features triple flip-up bolster seats with adjustable arm rests.
Below the console, angled footrests make longer voyages easier on the feet and legs.
The carbon panel dash with LED push-button switches provides a next-generation look for the Triple Simrad - 16" NSS EVO3 displays that include radar and Broadband Sonar Module with Chirp Technology. 4G Broadband-capability comes standard. Notice how the electrical switches are spread across the console rather than being configured in a cluster.
The space below the multi-function displays holds a complete collection of controls and displays without appearing cluttered. VesselView 703 and Merc digital throttle and shift (DTS) are located adjacent to the Sea Star Steering Wheel that thoughtfully includes a steering knob. The RS35 autopilot, VHF radio controls, indicator and controls for the Merc 380 K Plane high performance trim tabs are all mounted in the same panel along with the audio system.
Standard Equipment Audio Entertainment
• Source Unit - MediaMaster MM100s
• Amplifier - 800 Watt, 8 channel marine class D
• Speakers - 10 - M-Series Coaxial, White with LED ring
• Subwoofer - 2 - M Series - 10" - White with LED ring
Moving forward along the starboard side, we see plenty of grab handles including sturdy handholds attached to the hardtop frame. One of the boat’s three fishboxes with overboard discharge is cut into the sole just outside of the cockpit.
The contour of the hull rises above the waterline moving forward. At 26” (66 cm), the bottom of the bolster adjacent to the console is twice as high above the sole as it was in the stern. It meets the top of the 12” (30 cm) wide caprail at 35” (89 cm) above the sole.
The fine upholstery work we’ve seen in the stern and in the bolsters that line the cockpit continues as we enter the bow area. Chaise seating in front of the console is nothing short of elegant, not to mention comfortable. The chaise has headrests, movable armrests, fixed footrests and cup holders.
More comfortable, plush wrap-around seating lines both sides of the bow, with storage below the cushions, and in the sole. Powder-coated bow rails behind the bolsters provide convenient handholds.
Bow seating can easily accommodate six adults. Add the removable table for food and drinks and the bow area becomes the party place for eight people seated comfortably and a few others if a crowd begins to gather.
The new breed of longer, more powerful, luxurious center consoles provides cabin space between the console and the bow. It’s important to remember, everything on deck takes room away from the cabin and everything in the cabin takes space away from the deck.
That said, Fountain did a commendable job, in our opinion, of designing the 43 NX to include a center console cabin with a separate head, shower, sink, and vanity.
There is storage below the sink along with a refrigerator. The main electrical panel takes up most of the bulkhead to the left, just inside the companionway. Also on the bottom of the uncovered electrical panel are switches for each of the four engines’ batteries, along with a fifth, house battery switch.
A door just beyond the electrical panel opens into the head. The head includes the toilet, sink, storage, and shower along with ample headroom.
A large berth makes up the forward part of the cabin. Side vent hatches provide light and ventilation.
The Fountain 43 NX has a 12’3” (3.73 m) beam and a dry weight of 15,800 lbs. (7,167 kg). With two people onboard and 178 gallons (674 L) of fuel in her 500 gallon (1,893 L) capacity tanks, the test weight of the boat was estimated at 17,288 lbs. (7,842 kg). She was powered by four Mercury Verado Racing engines developing 400-hp each and turning 24” x 15.25” Bravo1 FS, four blade props.
We recorded a top speed of 73.4 mph at 6650 rpm. Best cruise came in at 3500 rpm where she averaged 35.8 mph, burned 35.0 gph or 1.0 mile per gallon for a range of 460 statute miles while still holding back a 10% fuel reserve in her HD Aluminum - 500 gallon (1,893 L), Diurnal, EPA-compliant tank.
At speed, and up on step, she rides with the bow down slightly more than we might expect with four big outboards hung off the back and that gives her good wave penetration. We recorded 0 to 20 mph in 6.3 seconds, hitting 30 mph in 8.2 seconds.
These numbers are impressive, and remember, she’s 12’ (3.66 m) wide, has a generator and an interior, plus windage from her top. Comfort is always the enemy of speed and vice versa. Fountain seems to have found a pretty good balance with the 43 NX.
We tested the 43 NX on a cool, 38-degree day, with 1’, light chop and 20 to 25 knots of breeze. The Fountain’s exclusive Positive Lift, Double Step hull provided a stable, flat ride through the mushy surface. She was quick to respond to the throttle and there was no apparent strife or struggle revving up over 5000 rpm.
The four big Mercury Racing engines also account for nimble turning and maneuvering out in the open water. The overall stability and solid performance of this boat has a lot to do with how well the boat is constructed.
The 43 NX will certainly get noticed near the dock. Where some less maneuverable boats attempt to walk sideways with lots of grunting and groaning, Mercury Joystick Piloting makes it look as simple as moving forward at idle speed.
A white gelcoat hull is standard, and colored gelcoat and/or a painted Awlgrip are extra with multiple options for customizing, including metallic paint finishes, boot stripes, pin striping, painted underside for the hardtop, special console paint, and Fountain NX sport paint, among others.
Standard electronics include Simrad triple 16” NSS EVO3 displays – 4G broadband radar dome, broadband sonar module with chirp technology, autopilot with remote RS35 marine VHF radio with antenna and GoFree Wi-Fi, B175 H transducer. Autopilot can be deleted if Optimus joystick is selected.
Color choice of PlasTEAK flooring in gray, or teak and holly, along with upholstery finishes in pecan and Trexx, or white and Trexx with charcoal accents are no charge offerings.
Standard features are numerous and include Mercury K-plane trim tabs, a battery charging system, hydraulic steering, RGB underwater lights, rear-facing helm seat, anchor and windlass, navigation lights, bilge pumps, courtesy lights, horn, genset, dive door, gunnel bolsters, bow rails, shore cord, freshwater washdown, fishboxes with overboard discharge, a Garelick safety ladder, cabin outfitting (berth, head, mini-galley), hardtop, audio system, and helm and chaise seating.
• Quad, White, Mercury Verado 400s ($54,000)
• Engine paint accents ($3,700)
• Colored gelcoat hull sides ($1,700)
• Custom Awlgrip painted hull (see dealer)
• Optimus 360 Joystick with Sea Station ($25,400)
• 2 additional reel outlets ($500)
• 6 additional rod holders ($1,600)
• Air conditioning package ($11,000)
• Bow thruster ($15,400)
• Cockpit galley ILO rear facing seat ($15,400)
• Canvas covers for dash and helm seat ($2,000)
• Dual livewell transom ILO stern seat ($4,700)
• 2 electric reel outlets ($700)
• Garmin electronics package ($18,300)
• Garmin 424 XHD2 open array radar ($4,800)
• Livewells in forward bow coolers ($770)
• Outriggers GS 280 ($3,600)
• Outriggers GS 380 with 20’ carbon-fiber poles ($8,000)
• Simrad Halo 4 open array radar ($5,600)
• Tackle center/bait station ILO rear facing seat ($15,400)
• Transducer R599C ($12,200)
• XM Radio ready ($700)
• XM weather (includes XM radio ready) ($2,000)
$692,400 includes quad Verado 350s (in black).
We are impressed by the level of luxury and finish work put into this new Fountain 43 NX – and it is a big step up from the days when Reggie was at the helm. That is not to denigrate Reggie, for he was building boats in a different time when buyers’ focus was on speed, price, and sizzle. And on that he delivered, building a lot of boats fast. He single-handedly saved the high-performance market at the time, and dominated it until the economy turned south and he had to give up the company he loved.
But times have changed. Today, buyers are looking for beautifully-designed boats with sculptured fiberglass exteriors and Bentley-quality interiors cockpits. Speed as the main focus has been replaced by luxury and jaw-dropping amenities. We think the Fountain 43 NX delivers both on the old paradigm and the new one, and the word is that the man himself is pleased by the new boats that bear his name.