So we’re on the Broadwater, it’s a near-perfect, mid-winter Gold Coast day and all is right with the world. But there’s more. I’m at the helm of a gleaming new sports cruiser with a pair of large, growling V8s in the rear, someone else is paying for the fuel and the water is doing a perfect impression of a mirror. Obviously, the only thing to do is grab a handful of throttle and head for the horizon.
I am with Chris Jones, sales manager for Game & Leisure Boats, Gold Coast agents for US brand Regal, and we are coming to grips with the Regal 35 Sport Coupe, which, it has to be said, seemed designed specifically for us to make the most of this day.
From its large swimdeck to its elongated foredeck, the Regal 35 really is designed to exploit those pristine days on the water when the sun shines, the wind purrs and the sea gently massages the hull.
Earlier, Chris had led me on a tour of the boat, pointing out such things as an extra-large rear storage area under the sunpad, the telescopic ladder under a cover in the middle of the swimplatform, pop-up cleats on either corner, a hot/cold shower and a small compartment for shore-power connections.
Access to the helm deck is via stairs on the starboard side of the platform. Seating and reclining options abound in the cockpit, beginning with the near full-beam sunpad, which has a folding backrest so that guests can enjoy the view rearward. On the flipside, the backrest forms the upright portion of the forward-facing cockpit lounge. A nice touch here is a small upholstered extension to the sunpad with twin drinkholders and a recess for a mobile phone within easy reach.
Cleverly, the whole sunpad/rear cockpit seat unit is on rails and can be electrically moved aft to create more space in the cockpit. It also folds up and forward electrically to provide access to the engine bay, which is pretty much packed with a pair of MerCruiser’s new-gen 300hp, 6.2lt V8s and a 220V diesel generator.
Immediately to starboard is a wetbar, complete with Corian benchtop inlaid with a Kenyon electric grill, a compact fridge and an icemaker beneath and a cleverly concealed fold-down TV overhead in the hardtop.
Directly in front of the convertible rear sunpad/ transom lounge is a two-person seat to port, which also has a convertible backrest so it can be forward or rearward facing. A stowed table can be slotted into the floor for al fresco dining.
Also portside is a fore-aft lounge, which can seat three, but is even better for simply lounging back for a spot of wake watching.
Skippers will feel right at home at the helm on the 35, which is very well thought- and laid-out – plus, it’s air-conditioned to counter those sweltering summer days. There’s room for two here, with a host of instrumentation and switch gear to monitor and control all vital functions. The dash is dominated by a 12in Garmin touchscreen plotter/sounder, plus a Mercury VesselView 4 unit and Merc’s SmartCraft gauges.
Throttle controls are easy to reach and use and there’s also an Axius joystick for manoeuvring in tight spots. It also has the patented Skyhook feature for holding station when needed.
Visibility is pretty much 360-degree, which can be enhanced by a foldout foot rest to elevate the skipper enough to enjoy the view over the windscreen. The retractable sunroof is ideal for letting a little more air circulate.
Entertainment is provided by a Fusion stereo system.
Steps moulded into the dash bulkhead give access to the bow via a hinged window in the windscreen. There is also walkaround bow access, with plenty of good handholds for the passage forward. That large foredeck, which features a non-skid surface for security, beckons guests who are likely to spend some quality sunbaking time up front.
There is plenty of space for the all-chain ground tackle at the pointy end, with foot controls for the winch.
While the Regal is aimed at taking advantage of the great outdoors, it does pretty well at pampering indoors, too.
Access to the accommodation is through a central stairwell via a tinted glass hatch and flyscreen.
Immediately to port is the compact, though functional, galley boasting a large sink, electric twin-element stove, plus microwave and fridge. There’s also plenty of storage for food and kitchenware.
A large L-shaped lounge completes the saloon area, that also leads straight into the master V-berth, which transforms into a queen-sized berth by means of a fold-up extension that doubles as a seat back for the lounge. A folding curtain provides privacy. A flip-out table is concealed under the starboard lounge seat, turning the interior into a cozy dining area. The lounge also folds out to form another double berth.
Performing a U-turn reveals the aft cabin, which could be used as a kid’s bed or for another couple who don’t mind the low cabin ceiling.
The combined head/shower is well appointed and as roomy as you’d expect in a 35-footer.
As with the upper deck, the interior is air-conditioned.
Underway, the 35 delivers the kind of performance you’d expect from a twin-V8-powered cruiser. It rises to plane with ease and its cruising sweet spot is around 3500rpm, at which point it’s doing around 20 knots (37km/h) and consuming around 87lt/hr. With throttles pegged, we managed 38 knots (70km/h) at 5400rpm.
The Regal leans markedly, but effortlessly into turns, rides fairly flat and, at least over the small wake we encountered on the day, takes lumps into its stride, delivering a firm, though comfortable ride.
There is certainly a lot to like about this boat, including detail touches like handholds and cupholders everywhere they need to be, and moulded drainage channels all over the boat leading directly back to the bilge.
All surfaces have a quality feel about them and all stainless fittings look and feel premium quality – plus there’s plenty of storage for longer cruises.
Options on our test craft included the diesel generator, all-chain windlass, Axius system, cockpit fridge, air-con, carpets, TV and Garmin electronics.
The price of our test craft was an ‘on special’ $479,000, but Chris estimated a typical 35 built to the same spec would retail at close to $550,000.
In this category of power cruiser, looks count for a lot and the Regal 35 Sport Coupe has it in spades, from its needle-sharp bowlines to its dramatically sloping rear quarters and sweeping hardtop. While the 35 is the baby of the Sport Coupe range, which also includes a 42, 46 and 53, it’s still a very roomy boat and gives the impression there’s a lot more of it than there actually is.
The 35 is a boat ideally able to comfortably accommodate a couple with two or more kids, or two couples enjoying a weekend on the water. It’s a crew-friendly boat and one that I’d find hard to improve on as the designers have fine-tuned the concept to the point where it delivers on all fronts.
REGAL 35 SPORT COUPE
Length overall: 11.23m
Capacity: 6 persons
Fuel capacity: 598lt
Water capacity: 189lt
Power (as tested): 2 x 300hp MerCruiser
Price (special test-boat price): $479,000
More information: Game & Leisure Boats, tel (07) 5577 5811. Web: GandLB.com.au.