Capt. Steve Says…
For starters, I’ve tested Regal boats before and found them to be pretty good handling boats. Of course wake jumping in a sportboat is one thing, but crashing through green square ones in a cruiser is quite another. This will be quite another. But if the intention is to buy a cruising boat, then one will have to face the fact that not every day is sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes it blows and the boater will still want to get moving. Even though it may not be overtly dangerous out, no boat stays still when the water underneath is boiling and confused.
Where Others Fear To Tread
The first indication confirming that this would be a rough ride was seeing other boats coming back in. We tested the Regal 42 Sport Coupe in Long Island Sound on the blustery Monday after the Norwalk Boat Show in September. That meant everyone was on a schedule of getting out of Dodge and on to the next show. One after another, boats would leave only to come back in. And we were still heading out. Once we rounded the end of the no-wake zone, I added power and we were off.
How’s Your Attitude?
The first thing I noticed is that the Regal 42 Sport Coupe appears to ride bow high. She’s an IPS powered boat and that means her engine weight is aft. All her cabin materials are solid cherry that is cored for lighter weight, so having weight aft will bring the bow up. But to be clear, it was only 4-degrees with tabs engaged. It just seems like more because the bow is so far forward of the helm. To give a comparison, the typical bowrider rides at 5 to 7-degrees bow up but it is not noticeable because the boater is right behind the bow.
Then the seas started to build. I was at about half throttle, low 20’s for speed, and figured that once it really started to pound I’d back off and find a speed that matched the timing of the seas. But I kept going, and going… and the pounding never came. Know that feeling when the water drops out from under the boat and then the next wave is rising to meet the descending bow? We got to that point and I announced to the crowd in the cockpit to hang on… and then… nothing. We met the oncoming wave, plunged through throwing a ton of water off to the sides, blowing back into the windshield, and then continued on to the next. It was like this over and over again. No pounding, just up and down, hang on and continue. I saw no reason that safety would dictate turning around and heading back to shelter. The Regal 42 is not a bad riding boat when the going gets tough.
Coming around to the beam, it was a more pleasant ride. Out to windward it looked like trouble was coming, but the ride said differently. I almost wished that we were operating in the dark so I couldn’t see what was coming. The boat didn’t respond badly, as my instincts said it should. A glance back at the passengers who were relying on me to keep them safe showed them joking and laughing and generally enjoying the ride. OK then.
Bringing the 5’ seas to the stern showed no tendency to push the stern off track. Here’s where the high riding bow comes in handy. I did slow to keep from stuffing the bow, and while I’m not sure if keeping the speed up would have driven us into the forward wave, I had no desire to find out. We were still going faster than the waves so coming down one wave had us throwing water as we penetrated into and over the next. Again, I saw nothing that set off alarms causing me to run to safety.
Through all of this, the 42 Sport Coupe was definitely getting tossed. I mean, it’s still a boat and the seas weren’t calm. The worst part was trying to videotape all of this. The cameraman was having a hard time getting a steady shot so after a while he abandoned his attempts. With no chance at getting test numbers, I turned towards the inlet to go back and get shots of the interior. Safety was not a factor, only the practicality of getting video for the boater to see. Through all of this I listened carefully for creaking decks, dishes falling out of cabinets, hatches popping open, doors slamming unexpectedly… I got nothing. No one was running to secure anything; nothing was falling out of place. The bulkheads weren’t groaning.For close quarters handling, it’s an IPS powered boat. Anyone can do it. If there were worries about whether one can handle this boat at the dock or not, rest assured, they can. But feel free to ask for a test ride and prove it oneself. (Hint, let the mate dock it, too.)
A week later our test crew flew to Northeast Maryland and got test numbers as well as video footage that was a lot steadier. Our Regal 42 Sport Coupe was powered by twin IPS400 300-hp diesels that gave us a top speed at 3500 rpm of 37.2 mph with a 30.3 gph fuel burn. At 3000 rpm we were running at 29.7 mph while burning 21.2 gph, getting 1.4 mpg. That gave us a range of 352 miles with a 10 percent reserve.
This is truly a boat built with people in mind. At every turn there is another example that Regal actually gets onboard their boats and touches and feels their products with a mindset towards continual change to maximize practicality.
Regal is big on allowing access to their cockpits from both the port and starboard sides of the swim platform. This is a welcome change from a single cockpit entry. If more seating is desired, then the starboard side can be filled in with seating easily enough; all the filler cushions have dedicated storage. I prefer the cushions stowed but for a large crowd coming aboard, it’s a welcome solution.
Moving forward, there is the requisite seating opposite the helm, but since this is a Sport Coupe, the area is enclosed and everyone is in earshot. The glass enclosure is welcome and provides ample visibility. I would like to see the side windows open for no other reason than to stick my head out when docking.
OK, I can’t walk away from any boat without at least one gripe, and on the 42 Sport Coupe, I can come up with only one. While this is one of the best laid out helms I’ve seen, I take issue with the placement of the switches. At the right hand are the engine controls. Behind them are the trim switches, then the IPS joystick, and then abaft that are the electrical rocker switches which included the horn switch. I would much rather see these switches forward, and there’s room to the right of the wheel. It would take a different switch panel, but it can be done. Some of these switches are important enough to be in one's face rather than out of sight (horn, nav lights, electrical master…).
Some of the more notable standouts in this area are the electrically operated side vents that open forward to scoop air into the cockpit, and the massive opening sunroof. This is a boat that can convert from warm weather operations to closed cool weather ops with the flip of a few switches and no fumbling with canvas.
Entry below is via a flying stairway that conceals the subwoofer to the salon surround sound. To port is the galley with the usual appliances, and a surprisingly large work area. Most often builders are quick to sacrifice galley space, but even with this large counter, the head on the other side of the bulkhead has an average depth of 32" (80 cm). All cabinetry is cherry, cored for light weight. The sole on our test boat was a contrasting maple. Options include maple and holly, and cherry.
To starboard is a salon featuring a comfortable settee with double stitched upholstery. The aft seat has a flip-up footrest, and converting the settee to a berth couldn’t be easier. Lift the sofa cushion, flip out the base underneath, and replace the cushion. Done. Three portlights allow natural light in, and there are not only LED lights under the valance, but indirect mood lighting above.
The forward cabin is accessed via a pocket door that slides effortlessly and latches in both the open and closed positions. Inside is an offset berth that adds a touch more room while still allowing access to either side. The head is split, to starboard the shower, to port the toilet and sink.
The mid cabin also features a pocket door and separate twin berths that accommodate a filler for making a queen. To my mind, this aft space would serve as the master as it lacks the claustrophobic atmosphere of most mid cabins and has the split head arrangement I prefer. There is even standing room for getting dressed easily. As is typical on this size of express cruiser, one can’t stand up between the beds.
I’m looking forward to getting back onboard the 42 Sport Coupe. It seemed that everywhere I turned there was something new to discover, and I was only able to scratch the surface of what this yacht has to offer on my first run. Frankly, I was more focused on the handling, but it’s hard not to notice the fine job Regal has done on the interior.
With an introductory price of $715,000 with the IPS400 the Regal 42 Sport Coupe is a compelling option. Regal tells us that this is “introductory pricing.” We can think of boats this length and longer which don’t have this much room below and cost a lot more. When comparing boats be sure to check their displacement as the Regal 42 at 20,500 lbs. (9,298 kg) will probably be on the lighter side. Nevertheless, the ability to handle the nasty stuff we encountered speaks well of her seakeeping abilities. And light weight means better fuel economy.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Regal 42 Sport Coupe (2014-) is 37.2 mph (59.9 kph), burning 30.3 gallons per hour (gph) or 114.69 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Regal 42 Sport Coupe (2014-) is 29.7 mph (47.8 kph), and the boat gets 1.40 miles per gallon (mpg) or 0.6 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 352 miles (566.49 kilometers).
- Tested power is 2 x 300-hp Volvo Penta IPS400.
Standard and Optional Features
|Washdown: Raw Water||Optional|
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
Boats More Than 30 Feet
|Oil Change System||Optional|