Contender 39FA: 2018 Boat Buyers Guide

Big and fast, Contender’s 39FA is accommodating too.

January 1, 2018
Contender 39FA
LOA: 39′ | Beam: 10’8″ | Fuel Capacity: 460 gal. | Dry Weight: 15,000 lb. plus power | Max Horsepower: 1400 | Certifications: NMMA Courtesy of Contender Boats

Contender Boats’ tournament-focused goal across its 30 years is simple: to produce the world’s best fishing boat. Those with Contender experience say it hits the mark dead-on.

A Contender hull features the company’s deep-V 24.5-degree-deadrise design, with reverse radius chine for a dry ride in the surliest seas. Structural PVC core sandwich construction imparts lightness and superior strength. Good looks? Thank vinylester resins and specially formulated gelcoats.

The single-level Contender deck is clean and unobstructed, while within it are plenty of storage compartments. Polyurethane foam injected in cavities produces maximum flotation and minimal drumming in seas.


Standard features include transom livewells, an anchor locker and a walk-through transom. Options (which survey respondents also called generous) include custom leaning posts, ­offshore fishing towers, teak, power-actuated hatches and coolers, and several seating packages.

In our survey’s four main categories — Fishability, Performance, Design/Construction and Value — Contender was consistently among leaders, and its four scores are within a two-point span on a 50-point scale.

Specifically, respondents placed it in the top half-dozen brands in cockpit space, speed and range, adding strong marks for the on-water values of safety, construction and ride, plus customer service and resale — that last likely, it seems, for another Contender.



Big and fast, Contender’s 39FA (Fisharound) is accommodating too: It offers 360-degree fishability like a center console, plus a cozy cabin for multiday tournaments and other adventures.

That cabin, forward, below the console, has a fully enclosed head and stand-up shower; a galley with stove-top and storage, microwave, sink and cooler drawers; and even a flat-screen TV. A queen berth tops a storage area accessed by electric-motor lifts. Entry to the cabin is to the port side of the well-appointed helm.

The leaning post converts to plush three-across Llebroc helm seating on electrically actuated slides. A tackle station on its aft face contains a pair of handy drawers, plus an electrically movable Frigid Rigid cooler.


Forward of the cabin is a large in-deck bin that can become a livewell, storage compartment or nest for a power-lifted table. Two in-deck insulated fish boxes are housed within the cockpit, and the transom contains a pair of 50-gallon livewells.

Many anglers will opt for a custom tower and complete second station, and additional fish boxes and livewells can be added as options too.

The 39FA will handle up to three Yamaha 350s which pushes the stepped-hull speedster to 70 mph and beyond.




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