By Captain Steve Larivee
There’s a new kid on the block for 2010 and BoatTEST.com got a first look. It’s the all new Regal 2300, but don’t let the name fool you…she’s really 24’ (7.4 m) of good looks with a trailerable 8’6” beam (2.6 m)and a loaded weight of just over 4,300 lbs. (1,935 kg). Come aboard for our -- and your -- first look at the 2015 Regal 2300, and don’t bother going to their website to check it out, it’s not even there yet.
I love a big bowrider. If one is not going to be spending the night onboard then why settle for a cuddy just because one wants to go up in size? Larger bowriders give the comfort and functionality that is desired in a day boat with room for the owner and all their friends. And one can still have watersports to boot. To me, it’s a perfect sportboat package. She has a stepped hull, which is clearly visible at the chines. In Regal parlance, it’s called a FasTrac hull. My past experience with stepped hulls shows that high speed handling has been uneven, with some being fine and others having poor turning performance. So my antennae is always up when I see a stepped hull. We’ll address how the 2300 handles a bit later in the report.
Cockpit and Features...
The boat was so loaded with cool features that I lost track of some. The bow seats had armrests that can be deployed or folded away, and the pedestal table had a mount both at the bow and in the cockpit. The swim platform was large enough to completely cover the outdrive, which prevents injury when jumping in. This is an important attribute and no matter what brand boat you buy, you should make sure the boat is built this way.Another plus… the “Aux” position on the ignition. Just like in your car, it allows you to listen to the stereo without having the ignition add an unnecessary drain on the batteries. Nice touch!
Storage R Us…
One important sign of a well-designed boat is the use of “dead” space for storage. No boat – including 150-footers – has enough storage space for its mission. On the Regal 2300 the designers have carefully made every nook and cranny accessible. As a result, there was enough storage to pack anything and everything onboard this boat that a person might reasonably need. For example, if one runs out of room in the cockpit sole ski/wakeboard storage compartment, then lift the back of the passenger lounger. Under there is a compartment that goes all the way to the bow. I mean someone could sleep in there! I also like the storage under the seats that hold everything, and I mean everything, including the removable cooler, table, filler cushions, and trash basket, with room to spare for life jackets, boat hook, first aid kit, kitchen sink, and anything else you need for bowrider envy. I also liked the gull- wing storage compartments on either side of the sunpad, with gas-assisted struts. There just didn’t seem to be any wasted space aboard this boat.
The Regal 2300 has a large cockpit with innovative transom seating. For the 2014 model, Regal upgraded the 2300 from traditional static seating to its innovative UltraLounge design originally made popular on their deck boats. The backrests are adjustable to allow for multi position lounging as well as forward and aft facing seating. This was a great upgrade over the earlier models.
Our Test Boat
She was nicely equipped with the highest horsepower choice, the Volvo Penta V8-320-hp with dual SS props. I know... why walk when there is an option to run? This option added only 73 lbs. (32.9 kg) over the standard V8-270.
So now to the nuts and bolts of the boat. What’s the Regal 2300 like in the water? In a word… fantastic. But basics first -- she had a top end speed of 52.5 mph (84 kmph) at a rev-limited WOT of 5275 rpm. At that speed she burned 21.1 gph (80.2 lph) and was willing to do it for 121 miles (193.6 km). Pull her back to a 4000 rpm best cruise and she went 38 mph (61.1 kmph), burning a respectable 9.9 gph (37.5 lph); that gives her a range of 187 miles (301 km) with a 10% reserve. She went from 0-30 mph (48 kmph) in 6.7 seconds and reached planing speed in 4.4 seconds. The Regal 2300 has an empty weight of 3,980 lbs. (1,805 kg), and a loaded weight of 4,322 lbs. (1,944.9 kg) with the 56 gallon (205 L) tank filled and the 11 gallon (41.8 l) water tank topped off. Add two people, equipment, and our upgraded test engine and we tipped the scales at 4,552 lbs. (2,048 kg) on test day.
She handles like a dreamboat thanks to the power assist steering. It’s finger tips on the wheel throughout the entire performance envelope, and that is both very comfortable and very deceiving. Without feedback, it’s not hard to get caught up in the easy handling and really crank the wheel hard over at high speed. Since we’re trained to handle this sort of performance test, I gave it “what for”… and she gave it right back to me.
Now pay attention...because now is when I get into the handling of this stepped hull. This is important because several of Regal’s competitors have been saying for years that stepped hulls don’t handle well. I’m going to tell exactly how she handles in a turn:At speeds approaching 50 mph (80 kmph), the Regal 2300 turns as easily as when she’s at 30 mph (48 kmph). At high speed, she grabs the water and cranks around with a vengeance, on rails, no sliding or slipping. In order to test this boat to its maximum – something you should never do – I put the wheel hard over until the centrifugal force was so strong I could hardly hold on and started to lose my grip on the windshield. That’s when I eased off on the steering. But through it all the Regal 2300 carved a beautiful, and very tight, turn without the slightest handling problems. She is a high performer. Let me break the turn down into three parts: First, there’s the entry into the turn that is predictable and has a slight roll with it. Then, one feels her start to slide just a bit. The boater expects that slide to maintain throughout the turn and be manageable, and that’s when it says, “hope you’re strapped in” and suddenly she’s like being on rails. The slide checks and she really takes hold of the water. Any car would be smoking the tires and spinning out, but not this boat.
So What Didn’t I Like?
Very little, actually. The swim platform is 8” above the water surface but the boarding ladder is only a 3 rung-er. Fellas, please, one more rung. The handrails for the bow seats are low to your side, right by the drink holders. I’d like to see them up higher, atop the gunwales, especially with her performance capabilities. And I’d like to see the dash panel moved forward just a tad to allow for a flat recessed area with a non skid surface between the wheel and the gauges just to put “stuff” in. (Okay, so maybe that’s not so important.) The bracket for the curved pedestal which holds the table is mounted on the vertical bulkhead below the seat cushions. I don’t think it’s up to heavy loads, like using the table as a support when standing, but to be fair, I didn’t try it either. The reason that Regal did it this way is to add leg room under the table. That’s it! I know it sounds a bit as if I have gone in the tank for this boat, but she was hard to pick apart and sure easy to love… oops, didn’t mean to use the “L” word so early in the relationship… I meant “like”… really, really like!
If someone is a day boater or spend their time on large enclosed bodies of water, have a lot of friends, and love entertaining as much as watersports, then a larger bowrider is just the ticket for them. She is an attractive boat, fun to be in, and a great performer. You may just want to get in touch with Regal now and secure your spot before the line gets too long, because production is limited. Maybe even camp out at Regal’s door! That’ll teach ‘em. Base price for the Regal 2300 is $66,853.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Regal 2300 (2014-) is 52.5 mph (84.5 kph), burning 21.1 gallons per hour (gph) or 79.86 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Regal 2300 (2014-) is 26.8 mph (43.1 kph), and the boat gets 3.64 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.55 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 177 miles (284.85 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 320-hp Volvo Penta 5.7 GXi.
Standard and Optional Features
|CD Stereo||Standard Fusion AM/FM stereo with iPod dock|
|Swim Platform||Standard Optional Flexiteek finish|
|NMMA Certification Other Certification||Yes Meets applicable USCG and CE requirements|