The Best of the Best 2003: Speedboats - Fountain Powerboats 48 Express Cruiser

  • Eric Colby

For years, Fountain Powerboats has built machines that specialize in performance. The company acknowledges, however, that its models usually did not feature similar excellence in amenities and accommodations, emphasizing speed and power instead. “The performance was always there, but we knew the customer for a boat of this caliber would have high expectations for the cockpit layout and the amenities and fit and finish of the cabin,” says Gary Balz, Fountain’s executive vice president of sales and marketing.

A 200-mile round-trip cruise aboard the new 48 Express Cruiser, from Fountain’s facility in Washington, N.C., down the state’s coast to Morehead City, demonstrated that Fountain has indeed changed its philosophy. “We focused on improving the two areas of amenities and fit and finish,” says Balz, “and when we combined that with the ultimate performance of a Fountain, no one else can even come close.”

The cockpit of the $850,000 Express Cruiser offers ample space, including a large, padded sun lounge that doubles as the boat’s engine-compartment hatch. The lounge can seat at least six passengers on thickly padded cushions, and at the wet bar/ entertainment center you can enjoy snacks and drinks.

Belowdecks, the 48 Express, which has a 12-foot beam, features richly varnished woods, leather upholstery, Corian countertops, and a spacious, centrally located galley/dinette that has a TV and DVD player. The guest cabin is located aft, while the forward mas-ter stateroom includes a king berth and a walk-in cedar-lined closet. Both staterooms have private bathrooms with stand-up showers, making the Express Cruiser a capable weekend craft for two couples to enjoy during an offshore escape.


While Fountain has placed a new emphasis on comfort, it remains true to its performance roots. During test runs on the Pamlico River near the Fountain factory, the Express Cruiser hit 65 mph, thanks to its trio of Yanmar 440-hp diesels mated to Twin Disc Arneson surface drives. The 48 cruises at 55 mph, faster than most express cruisers’ top speeds.

It is also efficient: Its triple diesels average more than one mile per gallon at 55 mph, giving the boat a range of nearly 500 miles. And it runs quietly enough at high speeds to allow for conversations in the cockpit—yet another indication of Fountain’s new refined approach to boatbuilding.

Fountain Powerboats, 252.975.2000, www.fountainpowerboats.com

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