Most "Signature Edition" products don't capture the essence or tastes of the signator. A domestic sport utility vehicle, for example, might be offered with a famous clothing designer's "package"—colors, fabrics and accents—at a premium price. Meanwhile, the designer probably tools around in a German luxury car. Sport Utility? Please.
That's what makes the Fountain 42' Reggie Fountain Special Edition so refreshing. The 42"-long, 8'6"-wide stepped-V-bottom truly captures the essence of Reggie Fountain, the man whom, in the words of Mercury Racing President Fred Kiekhaefer, "... has done more for performance boating than any individual in recent history."
A standard 42' Lightning with base power, twin MerCruiser 496 Mag HO engines, costs $303,531. The Reggie Fountain package version, which includes a pair of Mercury Racing HP900SC motors, No. 6 dry-sump drives, a photosensitive paint job and more will run you $595,899.
The 42' Lightning runs on Fountain's Super Ventilated Positive lift bottom, not to be confused with the 38-footer's Ultra Ventilated bottom, which has taller and more aggressive steps. The manufacturer saw no need to retool the 42-footer's hull for 2002.
The 42' Lightning's hull had two steps and a modified V-pad keel. Chines were flat and approximately four inches wide. Only the boat's outer strakes continued through all three running surfaces. To handle our test boat's combined 1,700 hp, the builder went with the previously noted No. 6 drives from Mercury Racing with 1.5:1 ratios and Mercury Cleaver 18" x 32" four-blade propellers turning inward.
Leaving well enough alone, in terms of bottom design, proved to be a good thing for the 42' Lightning. Top speed for the boat was 112 mph at 6,000 rpm, and it's worth mentioning that the boat's windshield, redesigned last year, actually kept our Test Team from getting blasted at that speed. Time to plane with the boat's 280-S K-planes down was a smoking 3.9 seconds. And 16 seconds later, it hit 77 mph.
The best was yet to come. The boat's midrange wallop had our lead test driver grinning and nodding. The boat shot from 30 to 50 mph in 4.5 seconds, 40 to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds (we had to repeat that one to believe it) and 40 to 70 mph in 7.1 seconds.
Our test boat wasn't just nimble for a 42-footer—it was nimble, period. "You can just whip this boat around," said our lead test driver, who gave the 42' Lightning straight As in slalom and circle turns.
The 3- to 5-footers we encountered offshore were no match for the 42' Lightning. Head-on, quartering or following, the boat knifed through the swells with quiet authority, and never landed hard.
Our only gripe concerned the Mercury Racing motors—the tall gears and big props made it difficult to keep them idling at the docks.
The 42' Lightning Reggie Fountain Special Edition's paint work put a new spin on hot rod. The boat's hull sides blended ghosted black checkered-flag graphics and the Fountain name into a red background. Depending on the angle of sunlight, the flag/Fountain graphics would appear or disappear into the red panels. A tapering band of red also ran from the boat's windshield to its nose.
The builder protected the handlaid boat's fancy paint job and glitch-free mold work with a plastic rubrail that had a rubber insert. The material muscle behind the beauty included vinylester resin, multidirectional knitted fiberglass, high-density foam coring and a grid stringer system.
Hardware consisted of a nav light on the nose, followed by a single cleat and anchor locker. A rail down each side of the deck, which had two hatches, and terminated into the cowling ahead of the windshield. There was a cleat on each side of the windshield, and the engine hatches were surrounded aft, port and starboard by stainless-steel handrails.
Each hatch sported a Harwood-style scoop and opened outward. Installed in a staggered configuration, engines were held fast on offshore mounts and L-angles through-bolted to the stringers. Wiring was generally well-supported with cushion clamps and the bilge had a smooth gelcoat finish. Working space in the compartment, however, was somewhat limited.
Separated from the cockpit by a three-piece acrylic door, the cabin of the 42' Lightning Reggie Fountain Special Edition was comfortable but not overwrought. Aft of the immense V-berth was a U-shape lounge. To starboard, the head locker had a porcelain head, a sink and cabinetry. Opposite the head compartment, the galley featured a top-loading refrigerator/freezer, a stainless-steel sink, counter space and cabinets. Two deck hatches were installed without creating a wrinkle, wave or seam in the suspended headliner.
Built in-house by Fountain, twin bolsters with power dropout bottoms were installed in the cockpit for the driver and co-pilot. The only amenity at the co-pilot's station, which was on the port side of the boat, was a grab handle.
The helm station to starboard was classic Fountain, meaning the Gaffrig throttles and shifters, privately labeled for the boatbuilder, were on the left side of the dash and the gauges (again Gaffrig privately labeled for Fountain) were arranged on the dash in a pyramid configuration.
Three passengers could sit on the deep bucket-style rear bench.
Commanding performance, tough construction, over-the-top looks. What else can you say about the 42' Lightning Reggie Fountain Special Edition? Only this: It's the kind of boat its namesake would drive.
Hull and Propulsion Information
|Deadrise at transom||23 degrees|
|Hull weight||9,400 pounds|
|Engines||(2) Mercury Racing HP900SC|
|Lower-unit gear ratio||1.5:1|
|Propellers||Mercury Cleaver 18" x 32"|
|Price as tested||$595,899|
Twin MerCruiser 496 Mag HO engines, anchor locker recessed in foredeck, anchor with mounting bracket in locker, twin batteries with switches, bilge pumps, Bimini top, bolster seats, cockpit carpeting, motorized hatch, fire extinguisher, galley with sink and cold water pressure system, Porta Potti in head, hour meter, built-in ice chest, hour meter, Gaffrig instrumentation, propellers, AM/FM stereo CD stereo with four speakers, sun deck, swim ladder, external tie bar, trim indicators, trim switch on throttles, trim tabs and wraparound windshield.
Options on Test Boat
Upgrade to twin Mercury Racing HP900SC engines with No. 6 drives ($269,864), Reggie Fountain Special Edition ($9,703), race fairing ($4,182), sea strainers ($2,340), mirrored engine hatch ($1,277), red dash ($891), seat back embroidery ($800), freshwater flush ($700), prop stows ($688), white Formica in galley ($625), depth gauge ($505), fuel vapor detector ($428), embroidered pillows ($191) and additional hour meter ($174).
|5 seconds||22 mph|
|10 seconds||40 mph|
|15 seconds||60 mph|
|20 seconds 77 mph|
|30-50 mph||4.5 seconds|
|40-60 mph||4.6 seconds|
|40-70 mph||7.1 seconds|
Rpm vs. Mph
|Radar||112 mph at 6000 rpm|
|Speedometer||110 mph at 6000 rpm|
|Nordskog Performance Products GPS||110 mph at 6000 rpm|
|Time to plane||3.9 seconds|
|Minimum planing speed||20 mph|
For More Information
1653 Whichards Beach Road
Washington, NC 27889