Length Overall: 39 feet
Beam: 10 feet, 8 inches
Weight: 14,000 lbs
Draft: 24 inches (engine drives up)
Deadrise Aft: 24.5 degrees
Freshwater Capacity: 13 gallons
Fuel Capacity: 500 gallons
Max Horsepower: 1,400 HP (multi-configuration outboards)
One of Contender’s hottest new rides is their 39 FA, which signifies that this is a true “fisharound” design. This layout is perfect for anglers, crews and fishing families that like to run fast and fish hard with the 360-degree fishability of a center console, but also appreciate the softer side of some basic creature comforts, courtesy of a modest cabin down below. Center console cabin designs have been around since the ’70s, with some of the early pioneers of this creative layout coming to mind like the SeaCraft 23, Aquasport 24 and Wahoo 26. Problem was, there wasn’t enough room onboard these mini battlewagons to make everything work and they all faded into the sunset. Fast forward to 2017 and Contender has taken their proven 39-foot, 24.5-degree aft deadrise, killa’ deep-vee twin-stepped hull and married it to a very creative “fisharound” deck layout that offers the benefits of a center console, with the comforts of a small cabin down under. With 39 feet of overall length and a 10-foot 8-inch beam, there is more than enough cockpit acreage to blend all of the requisite features together into a go-fast fishing platform that has the range to reach the 100-fathom line and the speed to get there in a blink.
If there ever was a boat brand that epitomizes the run-and-gun, fish-hard mentality, Contender is certainly on the short list, and they have enough SKA and tournament wins to prove it. If I had a dollar for every Contender that breezed by my transom tooling along at 40 knots either going to or coming back from the faraway fishing grounds, I’d probably have enough money to buy (a smaller) one! I have run a variety of Contenders for my charter customers and have field-tested more than a few in my four decades of being a boat reviewer and they are typically constructed well, with roomy layouts and plenty of rod-bending space onboard. If you need to be one of the first to the fishing grounds, or maximize your fishing time versus travel time when heading offshore, Contenders will do the job.
The 39 FA brings some style and substance to the party, with the roominess of a functional center console, but with a helm, leaning post layout and cabin arrangement that will separate her from the plain-Jane center console fleet. This Contender proves that there is no reason to sacrifice comfort for fishability and the fisharound design offers both. Stepping down below, the well-appointed center cabin offers standing headroom, a queen-sized berth, functional galley and an enclosed head with stand-up shower. The cabin appointments include a microwave, TV, refrigerator, fresh water sink, plus plenty of dry storage and creature comforts that make overnight stays at the 100-fathom a tolerable pleasure.
Other notable standard features on this Florida girl include a full tower that folds down for trailering; a matte black buggy top and console helm face to reduce glare; a foam-cored fiberglass stringer system with added foam floatation; an integral dive platform with full-height transom to keep out following seas with a convenient transom door; self-bailing cockpit with non-skid sole and deck; plus the owner’s choice of hull and deck gelcoat colors. Unlike some mass production boat builders, Contender prides itself on the personal boat buying experience and offers a “hands-on” boat building process. You can choose to customize each component of the vessel from the electronics package and power options, to the livewell rigging, the fishing accessories like rodholders and riggers, the type of stitching on the upholstery and much more.
Contenders typically trade-off unnecessary bulk and weight for speed and the 39 FA continues this legacy. She is heavy enough to handle offshore seas, with a 14,000-pound displacement and shaves off hundreds of pounds of “fat” with high-tech composite construction and a foam-core stringer grid. Her relatively narrow 10-foot 8-inch beam, gives her a knife-like 3.6:1 length-to-beam ratio, that when powered by a trio of Yamaha’s F350 four-stroke outboards, enables her to achieve a top speed that approaches 70-mph. That is definitely go-fast!! Dialing it back to more sedate throttle settings, the triple big block V8s should generate fuel-efficient cruising speeds of 40-mph at 3500 rpm, 47-mph at 4000 revs and over 53-mph at 4500 rpm, all while netting 1.1-to-1.3 mpg in the process. Combine that with the 39 FA’s generous 500-gallon fuel capacity and the distant canyons are definitely calling your name. With a transom rating of 1400 sea ponies, you can get very creative with your personal powerplant setup. For more information, visit www.contenderboats.com.