Running and Gunning
Versatility is the name of the game as Regulator hits the big time with its 41 center console,a boat that’s built for fishing—and a lot more.
My eyelids fluttered as cloud shadows passed over the boat. I had just reclined on the forward chaise-sunpad of a Regulator 41 that was drifting and lulling me into a relaxed stupor. You see, when I test a boat I like to give everything a real-world test. It’s for you, the reader, that I go to these extremes.
We were fishing about 4 miles off Palm Beach in 140 feet of water while a breeze, combined with a bit of a swell, gave us some sporty movement. When I’d left them in the enormous cockpit a few moments before, the angling crew of Capt. Andy Morris and his mate, Capt. Matt Serafin, along with Von Skinner of Cozy Cove Marina, a Regulator dealer in Dania Beach, Florida, were chatting while watching our live goggle-eyes fin around at the end of our outrigger lines.
I’m a big believer that the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect different results. Since the bite hadn’t materialized as we’d trolled for a couple of hours, we had shifted strategies to get the game fish to comply, running a bit farther offshore to try live-baiting. When I’d seen those wriggly goggle-eyes rigged on Serafin’s two-hook setup—one wire-leader hook crosswise through the nose, with a treble-hook stinger near the anal vent—I knew our luck would change. But the adjustments we’d made hadn’t paid off so far, which is why I’d decided to shift my own personal angling strategy into high gear, and try to break the bite loose by playing possum.
The rods began to flex and the Shimano TLD 30s clicked a code of urgency as one, then two, then three rods joined the fun. Serafin had set up Skinner with rod number one, and by the time I got to the cockpit—for the record, I was not asleep, I was simply resting my eyes—he was ready to hand off the second rod to me. Little did I realize what I was in for as the line began to peel off the reel, slow and steady.
“This feels like a shark,” Skinner said, his voice trailing off, as I nodded in agreement. I braced my knees against the cockpit coaming pad and set to work, levering the drag forward to increase the pressure.
Serafin, meanwhile, began to play an acrobatic dolphin on rod number three, its silver-and-blue form leaping and flopping among our taut lines. But I was engrossed in my tug of war as the line trailed off the tip of my rod, over the quad Yamaha F350 outboards (each a V-8!) and off into the depths.
If Regulator was trying to do something different with this center console, then that plan worked too, but it wasn’t accomplished by lazing in the shade. The company has long built a line of handsome, rugged, rough-water-ready boats, with models ranging from a 23-footer, past the recent 25 (and the discontinued original 26), and on up to the 34-footer. The 41 seems a natural enough evolution, if a big jump up, and it’s best explained by dealer and customer demand.
“We had a product meeting down here in Edenton about 3½ years ago and we brought our dealers down,” Joan Maxwell, president of Regulator Marine, told me in a later conversation. “And we were showing them another model we were planning that was much smaller than the 41. They told us to build a larger boat, not specifically a 41 but in the 40s. We said, ‘That’s kind of out there for us,’ and they said, ‘This is where we see the outboard market going.’” Maxwell and Regulator have long shown that they know how and when to listen to the customer, and those dealers had learned the same lesson.
But the trick to succeeding, even when you’re building a boat larger than you ever thought you would, is to build the boat the way you know how. “I will tell you it was out of our wheelhouse, because there are a lot more systems on the boat than we’re putting on the other center consoles in the model range,” Maxwell says. “So there was a learning curve both from an engineering standpoint and then actually how to build it on the floor.” While the temptation to do things differently may have come up, Maxwell knows that Regulator customers are loyal to the company formula: solid fiberglass hulls reinforced with the proprietary grillage support system of stringers and transverse supports, powered by Yamaha outboards on an Armstrong bracket.
Regulator has been phasing out its Euro-transom models, and we can expect to see only boats with brackets from now on. The bracket lets the hull and the outboards do their jobs better by providing each with the kind of water flow with which they’re designed to perform best. On the 41, the two inboard center engines have aftermarket, extra-long, 35-inch shafts that allow the props to reach the clean water they need abaft the 24-degree deadrise transom. It all works, right down to the fact that the outboard cowlings all sit very near the same height—the aesthetic is part of the deal with a good-looking boat like this.
“Some of the things that make the 41 run so nice also help with rolling on the drift,” says Lou Codega, the naval architect who has designed every Regulator produced so far (including one in the pipeline). “The real sharp angles that we use on the chines, on the spray strakes, and in the keel all help, so most people would probably tell you that a Regulator drifts better than the average boat. The weight also helps and gives us a good ride, while the bracket seems to give good, clean water behind the boat for people dragging baits—it’s a cleaner, smoother wake.”
And she can fish. Morris told me she sits really well in a swell, and I saw it myself in a good bit of roll coming through on the day we were out. She ran around at 30 knots through the 5-knot breeze with very little spray (we had the one forward panel of the enclosure up in front of the curving lexan windshield). In short, this is a big, fast center console that devours the waves and sea miles while providing anglers with loads of onboard space in the cockpit. The unencumbered transom gave us more fishing room in the cockpit with all-around coaming pads that allowed us to work over and around the outboards with ease and comfort (and confidence). The cockpit also has a folding transom seat, by the way, a transom live well at each corner, outboard of a split-lid transom fishbox. There’s also a hullside dive door, and a large tackle station in a cabinet built into the leaning post.
The deck is all one level, all the way forward. Situated behind the cockpit, the helm deck is an 8½-inch step inboard to the platform situated behind the substantial console. Stand against the centerline helm seat or flanking companion seats, all of which fold into padded, hip-gripping bolsters, and you can see better over both the console and the bow. Three 16-inch Raymarine gS Series units, as well as the Yamaha engine displays and the boat’s system switches, are all within easy reach, as is the Yamaha Helm Master joystick system to starboard, outboard of the binnacle, that Morris and I never used.
Overhead is a beautifully finished hardtop mounted on a white-powdercoated tubular frame. The tower on our test boat was something of a squeeze when approached up the aft ladder, both getting in and once you’re in position, but the layout is being reworked a bit on boats in build to ease access and provide more ergonomic comfort.
Beneath the console is a cabin with what would be best described as a convertible dinette forward (the 34-footer has a berth that extends beneath the foredeck, taking up valuable stowage, and Regulator didn’t do that here) with a hilo table and fill cushion that turns it into a full-size berth. The air-conditioned space also has a full galley that offers stowage, a fridge, a microwave, a single-burner cooktop, and a sink. There’s a separate wet head with a stylish glass bowl sink.
“What we were looking to do down there was to make the interior more livable,” Maxwell says. “There were some other boats out there that had an under-console arrangement, but it wasn’t very plush or appealing. We like to use wood, but only when it’s in the cabin and not in the hull or in the stringer system!”
The bow has both the chaise-sunpad on the forward end of the console and bench seating forward with lockers beneath, and a recessed bow rail. A hilo table can convert the space to a large sunpad. There’s also a large locker in the deck with rod stowage.
One thing about the 41 that Regulator didn’t change: the proportions. This is a large boat all around. On the plus side, I’m 5 feet, 10 inches tall and 200 pounds, and I could walk past either side of the console without turning my shoulders. There’s room to fish or walk around with no problem, and if you want to bring a bunch of people out fishing, there’s room for everyone and their gear.
On the flipside, the proportions are consistent, so that hardtop is very tall. As we were running, I reached up to grab a t-top frame tube overhead to steady myself and, even though I was on the helm deck, my arm was fully extended. No, you’re not going to bump your head on this hardtop, but then again, your wife or kid may not be able to reach the handholds if they want to.
And holding on is of course the name of the game, at least when you’re tied into a shark; even when it becomes apparent that you’ll never lay eyes on it. As I watched the last of my line turn its way off the spool, Serafin advised I push the drag lever forward, immediately parting the leader. While the sailfish didn’t cooperate that day, the 41 was ready for anything we could throw at her, and then some. And if that, and reeling in 500 yards of mono, doesn’t help you relax, nothing will.
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Generator: Fischer Panda, 8-kW, Warranty: 1 year limited warranty stem to stern; 5 year structural limited warranty (transferrable)
Conditions During Boat Test
Air temperature: 80ºF; humidity: 80%; seas: 2-3'; wind: 5 knots.
Load During Boat Test
300 gal. fuel, 60 gal. water, four persons, 400 lb. gear.
Test Boat Specifications
- Test Engine: 4/350-hp Yamaha F350 outboards
- Transmission/Ratio: Yamaha, 1.73:1 gear ratio
- Props: 15¼ x 21 Yamaha Saltwater Series XL, polished stainless steel
- Price as Tested: $793,325
This article originally appeared in the July 2016 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.