Lightning Strikes Twice

Fountain Powerboats refines the legendary 42 Lightning for 2022

Fountain Powerboats has spent the past couple of years updating tooling throughout its lineup. The latest model to get a makeover is Fountain’s legendary 42 Lightning.

Fountain replaced the deck on the 42-footer but kept the same race-proven bottom that makes the boat one the fastest V-bottoms in its class. The remake didn’t stop there for the 2022 model and included the cockpit, cabin and transom.

All upholstery work is done in-house at Fountain so buyers can customize the 42 Lightning’s cockpit.

“The boat is an exceptionally good, no nobody’s 40-, 42-foot boat runs anywhere near the way this boat runs. It handles absolutely superbly, the performance of the tracking, the turning.” said Fountain’s Chief Operating Officer Jeff Harris. “It’s the same hull we race offshore. I’ve been as fast as 184 mph in a 42 Lightning race boat. It’s absolutely the best design ever. It was refined over and over again, and tweaked to absolute perfection. As we always say, Fountain didn’t create the stepped bottom, but perfected it.”

The dash on the 42 Lightning is available in a traditional style with gauges or with a single screen and minimal gauges.

Longtime fans of Fountain Powerboats will notice immediately the modern refinements to the cockpit. The dash features flatscreens instead of the multiple round gauges that had been a hallmark of the company’s offshore boats. (Buyers can still go the gauge route.) Fountain also updated the windshield, which provides better access to the deck.

Fountain kept the same race-proven hull on the 42 Lightning but refined the deck on the offshore boat.

The bolsters, which are molded in fiberglass, have mechanical drop-down seat bottoms. Fountain also raised the engine hatch to accommodate twin Mercury Racing Dual Cal 1,100/1,350 hp sterndrives. The builder offers customers up to six color changes on the upholstery from piping to stitching because the upholstery work is done in-house at the Washington, North Carolina, builder.  

“The boat has a lot of the similar lines of the 42 Lightning,” Harris said. “We smoothed out some areas and raised some hatches.”

Fountain Powerboats had to raise the engine hatch to accommodate the big horsepower from Mercury Racing.

Harris likes the cabin updates that now includes a finished glass liner. Buyers can do slight modifications to the cabin but most buyers opt for a enclosed head and a wet bar that features dual sinks and a pull-out refrigerator. The wraparound cabin seating has a center table that converts to a bed. Optional air conditioning is available.

Fountain didn’t change anything on the bottom design, rather it’s part of a multimillion-dollar investment by Iconic Marine owner Fred Ross to keep raising the quality of boats coming from the factory.

“Back in the old Fountain tooling days, everything was done with plywood and measured by hand,” said, Harris, who helped lay up hull No. 1 in 1979 with company founder Reggie Fountain by hand. “We just brought it into a digital age. We digitized the bottom and just made it symmetrical from one side to the other.”

The 42 Lightning is laid up using a composite and fiber-reinforced poly grid system, so there is no wood in the boat. High-density composite coring is added to the hullsides and deck for added strength. The hull, deck and liner system are bonded to deliver a boat that weighs 13,400 pounds.

As you would expect from a Fountain, the 42 Lightning with a pair of Mercury Racing Dual Cal 1,100/1,350 hp sterndrives is a rocket ship. Fountain has run the boat 138 mph at 6,250 rpm on the Pamlico River just outside the factory. The V-bottom can cruise comfortably all day long at 90 mph with the Mercury Racing engines with the engines turning 4,500 rpm.

Fountain offers the 42 Lightning with engine packages from twin staggered Mercury Racing 565 EFI sterndrives up to the Mercury Racing Dual Cal 1,100/1,350 hp sterndrives package. Regardless of the power on the transom, the offshore hull still delivers.

Champion Racer and President Jeff Harris states!

“I’m really proud of the quality of boats that leave here on a daily basis,” Harris said. “It’s second to none in the industry and I would stack our stuff up against anybody’s finish quality.”    

2022 Fountain 42’ Lightning

Length: 42’

Beam: 8’4”

Dry weight: 13,400 pounds

Fuel Tank: 250 gallons

Max Horsepower: 2,700 hp

Price w/ Mercury Racing 1,100/1,350: $1,108,006 

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