Exclusive: Fountain 48 Express
Cruiser — By George L. Petrie —
|With a wide stance and generous accommodations, the newest Fountain delivers muscle with manners.|
To those who argue, “Two’s company, three’s a crowd,” I say, “What’s wrong with a crowd?” Particularly if the threesome is the trio of 440-hp Yanmars that power the Fountain 48 Express Cruiser. Teamed with three Arneson/Twin Disc surface drives, this muscular ensemble popped our 23,000-pound cruiser onto plane in less than five seconds and pushed her to better than 60 mph. Even more impressive, cruising at upwards of 55 mph, she achieves an extraordinary 1.1 mpg thanks in part to her stepped hull.
It’s the kind of scintillating performance you’d expect from Fountain’s new express cruiser. But what you might not expect is the copious interior, with 6'5" headroom in the saloon, a full galley, a dinette, two staterooms, and two heads with showers. Thanks to a generous 12-foot beam, the 48 Express delivers more than mere muscle, and she does so in style.
Interior joinery is cherry laminate with solid cherry moldings and accents, a durable, low-maintenance finish that should shine for years to come. The saloon of our test boat was fitted with an optional teak sole that added a touch of class, complementing a beautiful Ultraleather settee that seats four or more in comfort around an easily removable dinette table to port.
Truth be told, I think the guest stateroom is tight, barely larger in area than the athwartship double berth it houses. It’s great for youngsters, but adult guests would not be comfortable due to the limited headroom. The master stateroom in the bow more than compensates, though, offering nearly the same generous headroom as the saloon, along with a big centerline berth and a private head. Comfort and civility way beyond what one might expect from a cruiser with this performance.
That same refined demeanor is apparent in the layout of the cockpit and helm deck. Aft of the helm station, a comfortable U-shape settee big enough for five or six adults wraps around another removable dinette table, opposite the wet bar on the port side. Atop the engine hatch is a large sunpad, but when extra seating is needed, its aft portion converts to a benchseat.
Only at the helm does the Fountain 48 hint at the muscle that lurks beneath her deck, with an instrument panel boasting an array of gauges and controls that would make an airline pilot feel at home. More than two-dozen Gaffrig gauges monitor the health of her three Yanmar diesels, while gangs of aircraft-style control levers allow individual command of throttle, gear shift, and outdrive trim for each engine, plus port and starboard trim tabs. In comparison to a typical twin-engine inboard, the helm of the 48 Express is like a sports car with a stick shift compared to a sedan with an automatic transmission. I would soon find out that the comparison applies as much to handling as it does to helm layout.
This article originally appeared in the May 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.