Regal 42 Sport Coupe

All in the Family

Regal keeps alive the family tradition with a versatile 42-footer.

Boating appeals to people for many different reasons. Some may be in it for the speed and sizzle of a high-performance go-fast, while others enjoy the ego boost gained when pulling into a harbor with the longest LOA at the docks. Utility plays a role for some, and retirees often go for long-range cruisers that pull gently from both their fuel tanks and their savings accounts. But one of the most common reasons I hear from our readers for owning a boat is that it’s a great way to get the family together in one place. A boat offers respite from the stresses of jobs, taxes, school, and neighbors and gives us a chance to remember what’s really important in life. Boats are also ideal places to pass down hard-earned nautical knowledge from one generation to the next, fortifying important bonds and traditions in the process. Oh, and I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it’s pretty easy to create a bundle of good memories out on the water too.

The familial aspect of boating was prominent in my mind as I tested the Regal 42 Sport Coupe recently in Abaco, Bahamas, while enjoying the pleasant company of the Kuck family, the first family of Regal Boats. Founded nearly 40 years ago by Carol and Paul Kuck in Orlando, Florida, Regal has now been passed on to a second generation of Kucks (CEO Duane and his brother, COO Tim), with a third generation ostensibly waiting in the wings.

The day I was down Abaco way presented the perfect chance to test the Kuck’s reputation for building fun, family-friendly boats, since it was a special one—August 1, start of Caribbean spiny lobster season. We pulled away from the docks in the darkness just before dawn and let the optional pair of easy-to-read Garmin GPSMAP 7212s guide us through the shoals to the first lobster “trap” i.e. the hood of a car plopped down in an otherwise unremarkable plot of water. I, along with a gaggle of the Kuck kids, strapped on masks and flippers, grabbed Bahamian slings, and jumped into the crystalline water off the beefy fixed swim platform. On the ocean floor, brothers Paul and Jake flipped over the hood and the rest of us took turns spearing the tasty crustaceans that shot out from underneath looking for fresh cover. Once we cleared out the area, we kicked back up to the boat, climbed aboard, and were on our merry way to the next spot. We drove from trap to trap all morning long, finally pulling up to the docks at Man-O-War Cay for a lunch break.

It was here that I got the full tour of the boat. Highlights were plentiful, including that swim platform, which had no problem accommodating six people, a large cooler full of lobster, and a stack of pointy spears. The 42 is highly attuned to her purpose as a daytime cruiser. An aft removable settee provides a second entrance to the platform, which was extremely useful for all those dives off the boat, while an adjacent convertible sunpad provided an excellent place for the ladies onboard to work on their tans as the day drew on. Also, it’s worth noting that the cockpit and saloon soles are flush—no small feat on a 42-footer—making the boat’s main entertainment space easy to navigate even at speed.

The foredeck is accessible by way of the easily maneuverable side decks and through a convenient walk-through panel in the middle of the windshield. The foredeck is particularly recessed and flat and girded by a waist-high railing so a mate can always feel secure when working lines. Three deep storage compartments are below the deck, one of which holds a handy, standard 25-foot hose for easy cleaning of the boat’s forward section.

The 42’s accommodations deck was turned out mostly in cherry and granite (both cored to keep weight down) and had a very homey, comfortable feel to it. A master in the bow is appointed with a queen-size berth, which is laid slightly askew to make for more walkaround space, and a standard 22-inch Sharp TV. However what I found most impressive was the VIP stateroom aft, which featured athwartships twin berths that can be connected via inserts to make one large berth. Really large. Large enough that when I saw it I couldn’t help but think “I might rather sleep here than the master.”

After lunch we went back out on the water to check out the 42’s joystick maneuverability at low speed and also to see what she could do underway. I’ve driven more than a few boats with IPS joystick controls, and I have to say, the one on my 42 was probably the most dialed-in I’ve come across. With my test boat’s twin Volvo Penta IPS400s churning below, I had the boat stopping, starting, and turning on a dime. It reminded me of something Duane Kuck had mentioned to me about boating with his wife earlier in the day. “We used to have a boat that didn’t have a joystick,” he said, “and I had to dock it. But with this boat, my wife can stand at the helm and give directions while I’m hoofin’ it all over with the lines.” There’s a metaphor somewhere in that statement I think. Either way, I’m sure Duane appreciates that well-thought-out foredeck.

Out on the water running through our tests was a bit of a different ballgame as far as maneuverability was concerned however. While the boat achieved a respectable two-way-average top-speed of 36.1 mph, and cut convincingly through every wake I drove her through, when I turned her hardover it was a bit disappointing. At about 30 mph she approached five boat lengths to turn about. This was particularly surprising when juxtaposed with the exceptional athleticism her little sister, a 37 Sport Coupe rigged with twin Volvo 5.7 Gi gasoline inboards, evinced later on in the day. That boat turned hardover at WOT in less than two boat lengths, and actually stuck the turn so hard it caught me by surprise, almost making me lose my footing.

When we finished running the 42 through her numbers we took her out to the deeper water surrounding the reefs to find some more, ostensibly bigger, lobster. Once there, we trolled along slowly with Duane Kuck’s father-in-law, Inglis Albury—a man known to some as “Bahamas Dundee” for both his resemblance to the actor Paul Hogan and his knowledge of the natural Bahamian world—manning the helm from atop the dashboard and steering with his foot while looking for potential lobster beds. The rest of us dove repeatedly, harvesting a diverse—if somewhat modest—bounty from the sea, including spiny lobster, conch, ocean turbot, a grouper, and one unlucky Spanish lobster. I even shot a lionfish, square through its invasive, ecosystem-destroying eyeball. Good times!

Up on the surface a soundtrack of good-ol’-boy country music blasted out of the boat’s excellent Fusion sound system while Paul’s girlfriend and one of his sisters lounged on the sunpad. As the cooler slowly filled up with lobster, my ears began to take offense at all the water pressure, and I took a break from diving to lounge on the saloon’s portside settee. With grandpa at the wheel, the boys still free-diving, and the girls bronzing in the sun, everybody was enjoying themselves to the hilt. And it seemed to me that the 42 Sport Coupe had fulfilled her day’s work to the very same extent.

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This article originally appeared in the November 2011 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.