Introduced at the 2021 Fort Lauderdale International Boat in late October, the 32NX is the latest—and smallest—addition to the Fountain Powerboats NX line of plush high-performance center consoles. But the first 32-footer, which is powered by a couple of Mercury Marine Verado 400 engines, was dressed in the kind of modest form that appeals more to a general boating audience than high-performance fanatics.
Though photos of the Fountain 32NX Sport Console the builder will display in Miami next month aren’t available, even the first plain-white model showcased in Fort Lauderdale in October was a beauty. Photo by Mark Spencer copyright Fountain Powerboats.
Now, imagine the same model dressed in the Washington, N.C., company’s Sport Console interior and exterior package and powered by triple Mercury Racing 300R outboard engines. That, plus 34- and 38-foot Fountain center consoles outside the NX line will greet visitors to the Mercury Marine/Mercury Racing docks at Sea Isle Marina and Yachting Center during the Miami International Boat Show, scheduled for February 16-20.
To say the Sport Console package has been popular with Fountain fans is a significant understatement.
“If we could double the amount of Sport Consoles we are building right now we could sell them all,” said Jeff Harris, the company’s chief operation’s officer. “Every third center console we build has a Sport Console package. But the special paint and interior take a lot more time to get done, so we just can’t do more at this time.”
Harris described the 32-footer as the “first clean-sheet, all-CAD designed” model in the NX center console series. The series was introduced at the 2018 Miami event with a 43-footer. A 39-foot offering followed.
Said Jeff Harris, “If we could double the amount of Sport Consoles we are building right now we could sell them all.” Photo by Mark Spencer copyright Fountain Powerboats.
“It is very much a component-designed boat, which makes for a lot of interior configuration options,” Harris explained. “The average center console in that size range would have 20 to 25 molds. The 32NX has 35 separate molded components—and it’s much easier to put together. Everything fits the way it was designed to fit. Our design team did such a great job.”
In releasing the 32-footer late last year, Fountain defied the center-console manufacturing trend toward larger and larger models. That doesn’t mean the company has ruled out offering larger center consoles at some point, but Harris and his marketing and sales teams saw an opportunity in the still-popular 32-foot center console segment. The 32NX is far from an entry-level product, but its manageable size does make it more appealing to boating newcomers.
And in 2020 and 2021, the powerboating world saw a slew of them.
“We thought long and hard about the 32-foot segment of the overall center console market, especially for newer buyers,” Harris said. “You might have a customer who could get into an 43NX or 39NX financially, but wants something he can haul around with a Ford F250, take it the sandbar, take it fishing for the day. We’re not looking for entry-level buyers with the 32NX and it’s not an entry-level boat. But it does give buyers who may eventually move up an immediate option in that size range.”
Flanked by speedonthewater.com’s Matt Trulio and Jason Johnson during the 2018 Miami International Boat Show, Fountain Powerboats owner Fred Ross continues to drive his team to develop new models and improve existing offerings. Photo by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
The 32NX offers yet another model to Fountain’s 22-dealer sales and service force. Among those dealers is Big Thunder Marine, which has multiple facilities at the Lake of the Ozarks in Central Missouri plus a Southeast Florida location and handles most of Fountain’s high-performance model sales. Big Thunder ordered the Sport Console-dressed, triple-300R-outboard equipped 32-footer that will be in the water during the Miami event.
The dealership’s general manager Jeremy Anderson, sales representative Ed Champion and other members will be in Miami next month. “As the local Fountain dealer in Southeast Florida we are heavily supporting the show,” Anderson said.
Absent from the show this year, though still offered, will be the Fountain and Donzi sportboats and catamarans. As they have for the better part of the past two decades, center consoles dominate Fountain sales and, as such, will command the Miami show’s pricey real estate. The company will have a trio of center consoles in its Miami Beach Convention Center exhibit in addition to those in the water at Sea Isle Marina.
Harris credited Fred Ross for much of the company’s ongoing success and direction. Ross has owned the Fountain brand, as well as Donzi and Baja, since 2016, and under the successful Kansas City-based entrepreneur’s continual push Fountain is thriving.
“Fred Ross is a very forward-thinking, aggressive owner,” Harris said. “He pushes me every day to expand our lines, increase performance and quality, add amenities. He expects a lot and we try to make it all happen.”
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