Fountain Powerboats beautifully updates the timeless 47 Lightning.
By Gregg Mansfield
Years ago, a family friend was asking why the sandbar scene was so popular. After describing my few experiences on Arizona’s Lake Havasu and near Florida’s Key West, he began to understand the appeal.
“It’s just fun,” he said.
Whether the updated Fountain 47 Lightning is at the sandbar or running well past 120 mph, fun is the best word to describe the boat. Fountain kicked it up a notch, creating a custom sport boat that would make company founder Reggie Fountain proud.
Long proven on the offshore racing circuit, Fountain’s Super-Ventilated Positive Lift Hull gets the most out of the staggered Mercury Racing Dual Cal 1550/1350 engines. Running with the engines set for 1,350-hp apiece, the 47 Lightning hit a 125-mph top speed on the GPS. Crank up the horsepower and the boat will run significantly faster.
Putting the boat through a series of turns on the Pamlico River in Washington, North Carolina, the hull stayed connected and easily ran through river chop.
From the docks, it’s easy to spot some of the changes made to the cockpit on the 47 Lightning. Fountain went with a frameless tinted windshield, replacing the heavy-duty frame used on older models.
“A complaint we heard was that the frame was in the line of the sight,” said Brett Palaschak, design engineer for Iconic Marine Group. “The driver had to either look above or below it, so this fixes that issue.”
The 47 Lightning had tall custom bolsters that will make anyone in the 6-foot-or-taller club happy. Too often bolsters are tight and provide support in the wrong spot. Not with on the 47 Lightning, the four power drop-out bolsters were well padded and provided great back support. The bolsters had color-matched fiberglass backs with a screen to follow the speed and grab handles on the sides.
A rear bench had three molded seats and for passengers sitting on the outside seats, there were grab handles in the gunwale. SeaDek step pads provided access to the padded engine hatches, which carried over the graphics from the superb paint job from Visual Imagination.
The strong workmanship continued in the engine compartment, even though it’s rarely seen. Palaschak said workers spent a week sanding the engine compartment to a smooth finish. The staggered Mercury Racing engines had custom mounts and a custom exhaust. Garmin cameras in the compartment allow the driver to check out what is going on while underway.
The big-block engines gobble up lots of space, but Fountain still found room for a 3.5Kw generator and a 25-gallon freshwater tank. The generator can be used to power the Shadow-Caster LED lighting at the docks with color-changing zones for the cabin, cockpit, engine compartment and underwater. When it comes to audio, Fountain offers JL Marine hardware as standard equipment including a MM100s source unit, amplifiers, 10 speakers, two subwoofers and a remote on the transom.
The cabin features the best work we have seen from Fountain in years. A tinted acrylic door lets natural light in to showcase the expansive cabin, which features a large V-berth and facing benches. The 47 Lightning featured a full head with a porcelain toilet and freshwater shower to starboard. To port, there was a full galley with a refrigerator and a small freezer. A flatscreen TV was mounted to the starboard wall, providing entertainment for anyone looking to get out of the sun or rest.
Most owners won’t overnight in a sport boat—even one 47 feet—but this one could be the exception. The cabin can comfortably sleep two adults and Fountain offers a 6,000 BTU air conditioner for the cabin.
With the market shrinking for offshore boats in the 45-foot range, builders are having to step up their game to attract new customers. Fountain Powerboats does that with the updated 47 Lightning. The boat delivers the performance we’ve always expected from a Fountain hull. The workmanship and attention to detail on the 47 Lightning is even harder to beat.
Dry Weight 16,500
Fuel 340 gallons
Price w/Mercury Racing 1350-1550 engines XXXX