Contender has added another big model to its impressive line of fishing boats with the introduction of the 39 ST. This two-step deep-V hull design adds another entry into the stepped-hull arena for Contender.
We ran the 39 ST out of Miami Beach, Florida, into a 15-knot easterly breeze and a two- to three-foot chop. Rigged with triple 300 hp V-6 Yamaha four-strokes, the 39 ST displayed a well-mannered ride. With a three-quarters load of fuel, the boat climbed onto plane with little effort, and we slipped through the outgoing tide rips of Government Cut into the slop and chop. I was impressed at how quiet and smooth the craft was quartering into the seas, where stepped hulls can hit hard.
At 4,500 rpm, it was running a solid 49 mph, burning 41 gallons per hour, making a bit over a mile to the gallon. However, in the conditions of the day, the 39 ST was very comfortable running 4,000 rpm, making just over 44 mph and burning 34 gph. I could sit at the leaning post without a death grip, and the boat felt as though it was loping along, yet we were making very good speed.
I liked the Uflex steering that Contender uses because the boat tracked true yet, when asked, carved turns at speed like a hot knife through butter, without the delay and looseness in the steering common on these large triple-rigged outboard boats. As we ran dead into the head sea, the 39 ST cut through the chop evenly and threw little spray to be carried onto the boat. It ran down-sea at speed with no stall when coming off a wave and tracked crisply. The boat also fished nicely, trolling a clean pattern and drifting evenly, with good lateral stability.
The 39 ST is nicely thought out, with a long list of standard features and an options package that takes care of pretty much anything you might need. On the foredeck, a large anchor locker comes with vertical anchor storage and plenty of room for all the rode you can store. The boat has a recessed handrail around the forward cockpit, and its forward cockpit deck features a fully lined 260-gallon in-deck storage or fish box. Our test boat had an optional coffin box with electrical hatch lift. Aft of the coffin, two full-length rod boxes outboard of the stringers hold an ample supply of tackle, and there’s also an in-deck 145-gallon lined and insulated fish box or optional livewell just forward of the console.
The 39 ST has two console options: Contender’s front-entrance console with molded-in rod holders on each side comes standard, but our test boat had the optional larger version with a portside entrance to the stand-up compartment that houses the head, the shower and a fully molded sink in its finished interior. An insulated drink box under the forward console seat keeps beverages cool, and a vertical rod rack on the starboard side keeps outfits handy.
The business end of the console has a helm pod with a center-mounted helm, with Yamaha gauges and a waterproof switch panel within easy view and reach. The electronics dash on our test boat featured a 15-inch screen and a clear plexiglass-covered storage compartment. The size of the console enables three guys to stand behind it with ease.
Our test boat came rigged with an optional molded fiberglass hardtop with rings cut out of it on the starboard side to accommodate the vertical rod storage while maintaining coverage and protection from the sun. It also had eight rod holders across the aft end and carries the radio and radar antennas. Contender makes its own Isinglass curtains to fit the hardtop and console, and they were designed well, something some builders struggle with.
Contender offers several seating choices, all good options depending on your needs. Our test boat had a unit that was comfortable to sit on, with deep storage under the seat and an integrated cooler. The leaning post had great handrails across the back, so three riders can stand behind it and hold on without fear of getting thrown around.
The spacious cockpit offers plenty of room to move around. In-deck, it has two 105-gallon lined and insulated fish boxes outboard of the stringers. Along the centerline aft of the leaning post, there’s a 68-gallon livewell and a large lazarette access. The transom has two 40-gallon wells to starboard and centerline, as well as a transom door to port. It has nice wide gunwales to walk around while carrying a cast net around to the back for unloading and offers a great walkaround fishing platform, with plenty of room between the console and gunwales for getting around the boat.
Contender builds the 39 ST as it does its other boats, using hand-laid multidirectional fiberglass throughout, along with a foam-core glassed stringer system and a cored hull with foam flotation throughout.
Few serious fish-boat builders have put all the elements together to make a great boat in this size range, but this is a market niche that Contender has helped create and define over the years. The company not only has done a fine job of incorporating the elements that make the 39 ST look and feel like a Contender, but the company has integrated practical and useful fishing features that make sense and are vital to success.
Contender 39 ST Specifications
Weight……15,400 lbs. (loaded)
Price……$313,315 for base 39 ST with triple Yamaha 300s
Contender / 800-645-2906 /www.contenderoffshore.com