By Capt. Rob Smith
I have heard SS used for a number of different things on boats and cars, but were it not for knowing Owen Maxwell and his wife Joan, I probably would have just laughed at finding out it stood for Starboard Seating, especially on a center console offshore fishing machine from Regulator. This unique new design from Lou Codega and produced by Regulator really has a future. I meet quite a few families on the docks and ramps packing up for a day of serious angling. It is rivaling NASCAR in its allure as a family activity. So, I guess in reality, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise to find Regulator producing a new angle on a boat that is just as comfortable taking the family and neighbors out for a sunset cruise as it will be taking the family or a boat load of eager fishing friends out to the Middle Grounds or the Canyons.
Owen tells everyone this new boat has the largest cockpit in its class. I haven’t measured them all, but he probably is right. Regulator moved the engines about three feet off the stern on an Armstrong bracket freeing up the entire cockpit for the anglers. Most in her class have the engines mounted securely in the stern with a well in front of them that eats up 32” or so. This new arrangement gives you about the same cockpit room as a 35’ Sportfish inboard.
Regulator builds each boat by hand using some of the finest gel coats and composites available. The exterior layer of the hull is very thick (looks like about ½”) and has multiple layers of glass roving and mat. Regulator sands between each layer insuring a solid bond between the layers. Divinicel composites add strength to the hull and decks. Rather than using aluminum plates for reinforcement material, Regulator uses an ABS material that will never corrode and deteriorate. The strakes begin with two layers of glass and resin followed by a polybond in the angles. This is then glassed in with the succeeding layers of the hull creating a super strong piece ready to take the off-shore abuse. All this along with a grillage system that is made of fiberglass and then glassed into the hull before taking the hull out of the mold adds weight.
Regulator uses that added weight along with a Deep-V design to achieve the “Regulator Ride” that is talked about on the circuit. Small stainless screws that often leave a rust trail on other boats have additional chrome plating eliminating that on a Regulator. Stainless steel thru-hulls have a silicone gasket between the outer lip and the hull that eliminates the adhesive that usually turns color over time. You still use an adhesive on the interior hull side. Deck cleats have a unique gasket that when bolted down to the hull activates material in it to form an almost unbreakable bond, once again eliminating a need for adhesive caulking topside.
The Regulator 34SS has a handy fold-away rear bench seat that is very easy to open and stow. Combing pads continue 360 degrees around the gunwales of the boat. Large scuppers are in the corners of the stern with another scupper in the bow seating area. Any water that finds a way to enter the boat quickly exits through these scuppers which are large enough to keep most leaves and pieces of bait from stopping them up.
The test boat I ran had several optional pieces onboard, so be sure and verify what is standard and what is optional. The optional T-top is ready for extra gear. Flats are reinforced and designed to make plumbing the wiring simple with a removable panel in the front of the overhead box on the forward edge. You can have custom colors on the hull and even on the underside of the optional top. The leaning post/seat system has two independently adjustable seats with bolsters large enough to be a decent backrest when standing and leaning.
This system had a baitwell, sink and cutting board behind the seat, tackle box storage on the port side and room to stow brushes and other items in the starboard side. The console has two electronics panel sections molded into one. The large upper section is tilted back about 25 degrees and large enough for multiple full-sized displays. Below this panel is another section angled at 45 degrees for engine electronics. This arrangement keeps the readouts and screens in good view whether standing, leaning or seated at the helm.
Here is where this becomes a not-so-typical center console. To the right of the console is another cabinet with a covered sink in the top and two draws behind a hatch below. The console is shifted slightly to port so there is a better view from the seating forward to what is going on aft. Going to the port side, I found about 24” of space between the console and the gunwale. Inside, I was shocked to find so much room in a center console boat that is 34’ long! I had more than stand-up room and a nice wide entry door. This model had a refrigerator, microwave, VacuFlush toilet, vanity with sink and shower wand and even optional air conditioning that Owen swears will run about six hours on batteries and indefinitely with the engines running. The 81” double bed extends under the bow deck, and that doesn’t include the floor space in the stand up portion.
Back topside going forward, the port and starboard boxes are positioned farther forward, adding more weight forward to help with the ride and get up on plane faster. These insulated boxes can be used for stowing rods and other gear. The center has a large locker for stowing oversized items. Without the cushions, you have a high, yet still protected casting deck or observation deck to work from. The bench seats wrap from just forward of the console on the port side all the way around the bow, down the starboard side and back across the front of the console. I believe you can have the capacity of the boat setting up front and have room to add a few more! The portion of the bench across the front of the console was well thought-out. Usually, the backrests or headrests are thin and once you add the T-top structure, not thick enough to lean back without have a memorable knot in the back of your head. These are thick and well placed, and are as comfortable as the seat cushions themselves.
The 34SS from Regulator measures 33’10” length overall without a bracket and 38’6” with the Armstrong bracket included. The beam measures 10’11” and her fuel capacity is 380 gallons. Dry weight with engines comes in at approximately 11,115 lbs. The huge double opening transom box has a 340 qt. capacity and freshwater capacity is 35 gallons. This model is designed for up to 350-hp twin outboards strapped to her stern.
I tested the 34SS in the Intracoastal Waterway near the Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show. We took a couple of interested clients just outside of the cut into some six to seven footers, then turned back to do testing in more calm conditions. The only water I got hit with was in the big rolling seas that were twisting around like a washing machine as we spun around in a tight turn. I had been out there last year in conditions not quite as big, yet couldn’t stay out at all in some of the other fishing boats or a 35’ cruising boat I was testing. The Regulator shook off the water like a hound dog and gladly made its way back. The weight, bow deadrise and Carolina flare combined to provide a softer ride than just about anything I have taken out.
Even in the Intracoastal Waterway, we found some moderate chop and large wakes from passing boats. The no-wake zones, water patrols and occupants of homes along the way had a limiting effect, but I did get a top speed of 48.9 mph at 6000 rpm. Yamaha, earlier in the week and in smoother conditions with a lighter load, got 53 mph at 6000 rpm and topped out at 58.8 mph at 6050 rpm. The 34SS was on top in 5.1 seconds and making 30 mph in 7.1. The most economical speed was around 3500 rpm and 28.3 mph for a full tank range of 426 miles. At 3500 rpm she burned about 22.7 gph registering 1.25 mpg and at top speed she burned 65.9 gph for .74 mpg.
The 34 Starboard Seating may sound a little strange and hard-core fishing crews may scoff at the thought, but in reality, it works quite well. With optional bow thrusters, this boat is nearly as maneuverable as a joystick drive. The captain can keep the boat pointed toward the fish relieving you of having to chase it around the gunwales when it runs. I feel Regulator has hit another one out of the park, but you should check it out to see how it fits your needs.