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First Mercury Racing 1550 Engine-Powered Fountain Wows Test Team

Yesterday in Fond du Lac, Wis., a group of well-known marine industry professionals gathered for the first on-water testing of a 47-foot Fountain Powerboats sportboat with twin Mercury Racing 1550/1350 engines. The 47-footer is the first Fountain to be powered by the switchable-power-output engines, which were introduced at the 2015 Miami International Boat Show.

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While testing continues today, the estimated top speed for the Mercury 1550/1350 engine-powered 47-foot Fountain is 130 mph with the engines in 1,350-hp mode. All photos courtesy Scott Sjogren/Shogren Performance Marine.

Among the group yesterday was Alan Gordon of Gordon Performance in McHenry, Ill., which handled all the rerigging of the boat, Shogren Performance Marine’s Scott Sjogren, who shares a building with Gordon Performance and sold the boat to Mercury Racing as a test bed, Mercury Racing product manager Mike Griffiths and Mercury Racing general manager Erik Christiansen.

While an engine/drive trim calibration issue prevented the test team from trimming up the boat’s M8 drives to even a “neutral” setting, the boat reportedly ran 120 mph with its engines turning 6,100 rpm. Griffiths said he expects the boat to top 130 mph today—and that’s with the engines in their 1,350-hp mode.

In the first test run on Lake Winnebago this morning with the drive trim recalibrated, the boat reached 124 mph. “Overall, we are running great with excellent handling, acceleration and fuel economy,” Griffiths said. “I am going to try higher rake angle propellers to lift the bow a bit.”

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Alan Gordon (left) with Mercury Racing’s Mike Griffiths (click image for full frame).

Griffiths said Mercury CNC 17” x 35” six-blade propellers with a 17-degree rake angle put the power to the water.

“That thing is a beast—it’s like 17,000 pounds,” Griffiths said. “Our trim range wasn’t enough for this boat. We weren’t even able to get the prop shaft level yesterday. We’re going to end up at 130, 132 mph.

“Then we’re going to put in the fun gas and pump up the power,” he continued.

Added Shogren, “I wish these engines had been around when Reggie Fountain was building these boats.”

Built in 2008, the 47-footer originally was powered by a pair of Mercury Racing 700SCi engines and owned by retired NFL running back Jamal Lewis. Sjogren purchased the boat last year.

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Gordon estimated he has more than 170 hours into the project (click image for full frame).

For Gordon and his crew, the rerigging work was extensive. Before they installed the new engines, they completely gutted the engine compartment including pulling the engines, removing the generator, and taking out the original electrical and water systems. They refinished the bilge and filled all but a couple of holes in the boat’s transom, then installed the new powerplants and their support systems.

Gordon even converted the dash to a right-hand throttle setup. All original gauges and dash panels were removed and replaced with Mercury VesselView monitors in new panels at driver and copilot stations.

“All in, we have about 170 hours into it,” Gordon said.

“Alan is great—he did an awesome job,” Griffiths said. “The rigging is impeccable.”

Mercury Racing will keep the 47-foot Fountain in Fond du Lac as a test boat. Gordon is also rigging another test boat, a 29-foot Fountain with a Mercury Racing 565 engine, for the company.

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For more images from yesterday’s test session, check out the slideshow above.

“Including adjusting the water pickups, we probably spent five hours testing yesterday,” Sjogren said. “Erik Christiansen ran the boat and absolutely loved running around the lake at 120 mph.”

Editor’s note: Speedonthewater.com will provide updates to this story as they become available during testing today.

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