Mission of the Regal 46 Sport Coupe
The Regal 44 Sport Coupe has been one of the most successful hardtop express cruisers in class for the last several years. This year the builder decided to give the boat a slight facelift and changed its designation to "46 Sport Coupe" in order to stay in step with an industry that is now counting everything hanging off the bow and stern to make the boat seem as long as possible. But her mission remains the same -- to be a versatile sport cruiser for entertaining and modest cruising at a competitive price, and look good in the process.
Deciding What is Important
When we compared the Regal 46 Sport Coupe to 14 other hardtop/coupe express cruisers in class it became immediately apparent that they are not all as similar as one might think. We discovered that there are about 12 basic design, layout, and equipment considerations that are important to most consumers -- price notwithstanding. Since most consumers dwell on these details we shall examine them and explain where the Regal 46 Sport Coupe falls in the mix. When buying a boat in this class and paying anywhere from $375,000 to $900,000, there are no fewer than 12 major decisions consumers must make. Here they are--
A boat should be a thing of beauty to the owner, otherwise pride-of-ownership is greatly diminished. There is no one “right” style. We would break down the styling of the 14 boats in class into three broad groups—a) Variations on Euro-styling from exaggerated to modest, from curvy, rounded lines to angular, wedge-shaped ones; b) Downeast or a commercial workboat look; c) A more conservative, generalized style (non-geographical) that is modern but still nautical. The Regal 46 is definitely in the first category, and was designed with the “angular” styling in keeping with the design theme used in its 42 and 53 Sport Coupes. Regal is conscious of how important it is to have ample headroom both on the bridge deck and below – as well as to keep the length/height profile in a pleasing aesthetic ratio. For that reason the "positive wedge" style, and horizontal hull treatments tend to make the hull look longer and lower than it really is. It is an old boatbuilder technique.
Colored Hull or Not?
White has been the traditional fiberglass boat color since the beginning of this material in the boat industry and it is still prominent today because it nearly always comes standard. Further, colored gel coats show UV degradation much faster than does white (which has it, too, but it does not show as much). But the last decade or so colored gel coats have improved and owners have learned that colored hulls simply look much better and with diligent compounding and waxing several times a year can be kept looking good longer. Plus builders and dealers have finally learned that if they put a colored hull in the boat show or on their showroom floor it will be 100% better than the competitors' white ones.
Also, today several builders in class are offering polyurethane paint on their boats’ topsides. This is the best solution of all as this paint oxidizes at a far slower rate than does gel coat, and typically looks as good as new after 10 years or so. But of course it is more expensive.
Stand-Up Helm or Sitting Only?
Some coupes and hardtops in class have an overhead above the helm that is so low that the skipper cannot stand at the helm and steer as well as sit and steer. In some of these boats the skipper can open the sun roof and poke his head out and thereby stand. We call these “sitting-only” helms. Exterior styling bears heavily on this aspect of a boat’s function and some builders choose to favor low, sleek exterior looks over steering practicality. The skipper of the Regal 46 can sit or stand and have excellent visibility.
Companion Seating for Piloting or None?
Some boats, such as the Regal 46, have a double wide helm bench seat large enough for two. Other boats in class have two individual seats next to each other at the helm, or a helm seat to one side and a companion seat on the opposite side, but facing forward and in a position to help the skipper with piloting and navigation. Some boats have only a helm seat and no dedicated companion seat. Most boats in class are designed to go fast and often navigation decisions must be made requiring the captain or the companion to consult a chartplotter, paper chart or put glasses on a navigation aid. That is why it is good to have two people piloting the boat.
A Cockpit or Not?
Some boats in class have an outside cockpit that is about at the level of the swim platform, then a second seating area – the afterdeck -- that is usually behind or adjacent to the helm. Other boats in class have no aft cockpit and often have a bench seat to port adjacent to the helm and an afterdeck that almost always has a table and is surrounded by seating. The Regal 46 SC has both a conventional cockpit and a small afterdeck with table.
Enclosed Afterdeck or Open?
When the coupes and hardtops were first introduced a few years ago virtually all of them were open in this size range, but now some are built with a permanent bulkhead and door, or by sliding doors. The geographic location of the boat and its intended use usually determine what owners prefer. Both modes have their advantages.The Regal 46 has an option for sliding doors which eliminates the need for a canvas and isinglass enclosure. By having two sliding doors that move outboard Regal has tried to minimize both the visual and physical obstruction of doors. Even with the sliding doors, the cockpit itself can still have a cruising canvas added.
Windshield Walkthrough or Side Decks Only?
During the last decade several boat builders in class began adding walkthrough windshield access to the foredeck. This was done in an attempt to add a measure of security to going forward. The second benefit was the ability to minimize the width of the side decks in order to add a few more inches of width to the cabin. The concept is really only comfortable for a tall person if there is no windshield header above the opening, otherwise a low crouch is required. It also requires water-tight gaskets on the opening windshield frame. There is also an extra windshield mullion that takes some getting used to. Finally, while going forward can be managed fairly easily, on the return there is little to hold onto when descending the inside steps which can be narrow.
Galley Up or Down?
There are pros and cons to eitherarrangement so consumers must figure out which one suits them best. Typically, boats with large afterdecks have the room for a galley up, allowing more room below for accommodations. Some of them have it up and others have it down. Boats such as the Regal 46 with a cockpit and small afterdeck usually don’t have room for a proper galley up and that is why the 46’s galley is down. Regal has tried to mitigate this situation by building in a standard “refreshment center” that has a sink and optional fridge, plus there is an optional grill and icemaker in the cockpit.
One Head or Two?
All 14 boats we looked at in class have two staterooms below, although in a couple the second cabin was quite small. But more of a difference appeared in the number of heads – 5 of the 14 had only one head. The advantages of two heads, even if the second one is small, are obvious.
How Much Headroom in the Mid-Cabin?
Essentially all builders in class tuck the mid-cabin under the bridge deck and afterdeck. That means that the dinette seating or the fore-and-aft bench seat opposite the helm, provides the headroom in the entrance to the cabin below. A couple of boats use the helm console for the headroom below. To our knowledge no boats in this class have standing headroom throughout the mid-cabin. So the question becomes, is there standing headroom in the entrance to the room, at the foot of the bed, and in the head/shower? The Regal 46 Sport Coupe does about as well as any boat we have tested in class with 6'2" (1.87 m) of headroom in these three areas. It is also worth noting, that there is a window in the aft cabin.
Gas or Diesel Power?
Most boats in class – such as Regal -- offer only diesel power, but a few builders offer a choice of gas or diesel. This class of express cruisers ranging from 22,000 lbs. to 32,000 lbs. (10,000 to 14,545 kgs.) displacement can typically be powered by production inboard gas engines from 380-hp to 430-hp and have a WOT speed in the low to mid-30 mph range. However, at best cruise speeds, their fuel efficiency is often half that of diesel engines. Nevertheless, for most people in the U.S. the disparity between the cost of gas engines and diesel engines is almost never recouped in fuel savings. In Europe, where gasoline is $10 per gallon or more, diesel make sense because the price is usually lower and the fuel-efficiency is sometimes 100% more. Besides the significant increase in a boat’s range, there are also the safety advantages of diesel. Regal offers only Volvo Penta IPS500 and IPS600 (370 to 435-hp) diesel pod drive engines.
Type of Propulsion.
Currently there are three types of propulsion used in express cruisers in this class – a) Pod drives for both gas and diesel; b) Sterndrives for both gas and diesel; c) Conventional inboard and V-drive propulsion.
Generally – according to BoatTEST.com tests -- diesel pod drives are from 30% to 50 % more fuel-efficient in the same hulls over conventional diesel inboard-powered boats. Another advantage of pods is that they are installed farther aft than straight-shaft inboards, thereby permitting more room for accommodations. In the beginning they were the only drives that could be used with a joystick for easy docking, but today pretty much every boat in class can be outfitted with a joystick system.
Only a couple of boats in class are powered by diesel sterndrive systems, mostly because of concern about corrosion issues and concerns about their gears and shafts being able to take the high torque of diesel engines. But in the last few years sterndrive makers have made important strides in corrosive-resistant alloys and heavier-duty lower unit architecture. They have virtually all of the attributes of pods plus a few of their own and are now mated with joysticks.
Conventional Inboard Drives.
While straight inboard drives require that the boat’s engines be placed fairly far forward, when turned around and used with V-drives the engines can be placed almost as far aft as pod drive engines. In fact, some of the first conversions to pod drives were in models that were previously powered with V-drives. As noted above this system is not as efficient as the others at cruising speeds.
There are several other major considerations such the basics of beam, draft, displacement and whether or not the boat can handle a dinghy. The answers are that the 46 Sport Coupe is about as beamy as they come in class, draws pretty much what the rest do, is relatively light but not the lightest in class, and can handle a tender with a Weaver system if not on the swim platform itself. Clearly, Regal has tried to hit all of the consumers’ hot buttons, including price. The Regal 46 Sport Coupe has a base MSRP of $584,000 which the builder says is a well-equipped price.
Standard and Optional Features
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
Boats More Than 30 Feet
|Oil Change System||Standard|
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
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