Fred Ross, the owner of the Fountain, Donzi and Baja powerboat lines, doesn’t like to toot his own horn. He prefers to trumpet his passion for the brands and the “incredible team” built by Fountain chief operating officer Jeff Harris and company. But when asked about the white-hot Fountain Sport Console series last Friday during a media event at the company’Washington, N.C., home-base, he made a rare admission.
“That was my idea,” he said, then quickly returned to praising his employees. “But we couldn’t do any of it without our team. I am so proud of them.”
Dressed in the Fountain Sport Console package and powered by quad 450-hp outboard engines, the 43 NX looks and performs like a hot rod.
Applying the fiery Sport Console interior and exterior package to the stately 43 NX center console and powering it with quad Mercury Racing 450R outboard engines may turn out to be an even better idea. A 43-footer decked out with an SC package impressed most of the media types on hand to check it out, including this one.
In my highly subjective view, if the 43 NX, which was introduced during the 2018 Miami International Boat Show, lacked anything it was Fountain character. The doesn’t mean it needed a beak or more spinning propeller logos on its hullsides and interior. (Fun fact: That’s what the Fountain logo was designed to signify.) But it did need something, and for my money—such as it is—the Sport Console package is it.
When I spied Big Thunder Marine’s Ed Champion, who was in town from the Osage Beach, Mo., Fountain and Donzi dealership to help with media demo rides for the day, taking out a couple of potential customers in the 43-foot stunner I hopped on board. Sunset Boat Sales principle Martin Sanborn, a former Fountain man now living in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., who still bleeds Fountain blood, joined me for the ride on the Pamlico River.
Though the boat will run faster, Champion didn’t take it past 75 mph. But getting there was the best part of the experience. When he nailed the throttle, the boat jumped. There was no “time to plane” to speak of. One moment were sitting still at near-silent idle, the next we were on top of the water and gone. The boat pulled hard all the way to our top speed for the day.
Sanborn, a longtime friend who isn’t afraid to express himself, was speechless save for one word.
“Wow,” he mouthed just after Champion hit the throttles.
Champion, who glanced my way, just grinned. For him, it was just another day at the office.
And why not? He has another Sport Console-dressed model to sell. And this one, from looks to performance, is pure Fountain.
With four Mercury 450R outboards providing the pop, the 43-footer delivered remarkable acceleration.
Fountain Of Youth
Catching Up With Fountain Powerboats’ Jeff Harris