Captain Steve Says…
It’s not that I dislike Isinglass per se, it’s just that boats cost a lot of money and when the manufacturer all but requires that the captain look through plastic windows when driving an expensive boat… well, I have a problem with that. That’s why I’m such a big fan of the Sport Coupe design. The windows go all the way up to the overhead and one's vision is clear and distortion-free. Of course with everything there is a tradeoff, and with the Sport Coupe design the tradeoff has always been size. If one wanted a Sport Coupe, they had to pony up the funds for a larger boat… until now!
Enter Regal’s Version
When I had my first look at the Regal 35 Sport Coupe I thought at first that it was just an express cruiser with a lot more glass. But once I stepped onboard I realized that this was so much more than that. It’s probably the smallest of the Sport Coupe designs that I’ve seen and, being a big fan of coupes, I am happy to see a more affordable version. But not only that, there’s just so much “right” going on with this boat that is hard to decide where to begin. I know this is a lengthy report, but I have a lot to say about this boat so kindly bear with me.
Multiple Entry Points
Let’s begin by stepping aboard the Regal 35 Sport Coupe. Entry points are one area where so many get it wrong, but Regal seems to have gotten it right. The boater can step aboard from a floating dock by stepping onto the swim platform and then into the cockpit. Naturally, this won’t do from a stationary dock and in that case there are non-skid steps on the gunwales that allows access from the sides of the cockpit. And Regal did not forget overhead handholds to assist one in this endeavor. Once aboard, the space and amenities abound give a sense of size that belies this boat is actually 35’ (10.7 m) in length.
The swim platform is very large with pull the cleats in the aft quarters and a recessed boarding ladder mounted in the middle. The hatch covering the re-boarding ladder has a handhold cut out in the middle to further assist one in climbing out of the water. Our test boat had the optional Flexiteek decking on the swim platform. Access to shore power and water lines are in a panel on the portside transom.There’s a large sun pad residing on top of the engine access, and under the pad is storage that runs right into the cockpit.Before we leave the swim platform area, it’s important to note that even with the hatch lifted to access the engines, the cockpit is still accessible.
Pushing a button at the helm or transom actuates the electric-lift hatch and allows access to the twin engines. I found plenty of room around both the Volvo Penta 300 horsepower 5.7L engines and even enough room for the optional generator - which is enclosed in a soundproof shroud. A large automatic discharge fire extinguishing system is standard and engine room lighting is provided by two LED strips mounted to the top of the engine hatch. Regal has realized that while having the hydraulic actuator arm fail is a rare occurrence, it can still happen. As such, they provide an access port that can be unscrewed to allow one to reach their hand in to pull the pin off of the actuator thus allowing them to manually open the hatch. Little details.
Access to the cockpit is via an entryway on the starboard side. The aft end of the cockpit is taken up by booth style seating, which turns this aft area into a very comfortable, conversational gathering spot. The aft seat has a seatback that flips forward by way of a release mechanism that will latch the seat back into multiple positions. The first position accommodates cockpit seating, the second expands the sun pad and turns it into a chaise lounge, the third position has the seatback lying flat for an even more expansive sun pad.
Back into the cockpit, there’s a removable side mount pedestal table and a carry on cooler that has a dedicated home in the portside bulkhead. I was happy to see that this cooler is not only nicely held in position by mounts molded into the opening, but the boater can open and access the cooler without removing it.To starboard is an entertainment center/wet bar. Our test boat had a number of options at this location, most notably an electric grill, a cockpit refrigerator (that can be replaced with an ice maker), and a flatscreen TV that drops down from the overhead (which is a great use of space.
Moving forward is an L-shaped lounger to port with a second side mount pedestal table base to turn the area into an impromptu snack area -- the table is cafe table size. The entire seat lifts up from the aft end revealing storage underneath. The storage is deep and roomy. Storage for the pedestal base is here but I didn’t see the table. Upon closing the seat, and pulling the seatback forward, the storage for the table was revealed. I give high marks to Regal for creating dedicated storage for the boat’s equipment that doesn’t interfere with the owner's storage areas.
Flipping Seat Backs
The aft section of the L-shaped lounger also has a seatback that flips fore and aft. This will allow one to enjoy company at the forward end of the cockpit or the aft end. I’d like to see the seatback have a latch, in the same manner that the aft seat back latches. There is a natural tendency to lean against the seatback while standing behind the helm, doing this will allow the back to move aft causing the boater to stumble.
Moving over to the helm, the 35 Sport Coupe layout really became evident and pleasing. The layout is very straightforward with a stereo remote over to the left, the two multifunction alarm gauges come next, followed by the engine tachs integrated with EVC multifunction displays. Additional engine displays and a depth gauge are over to the starboard side of the panel. Below the gauge cluster is a small recessed area with a padded base to lay items on. Off to port are the controls for the standard remote control spotlight and below that is the optional Garmin GPS map 5208 touch screen chartplotter. On the starboard bulkhead is a row of electrical switches, the most notable of which is a windlass permit switch that will prevent accidental releasing of the optional anchor windlass.
You Can Stand At The Helm!
I would stop short of saying that the helm seat is double wide, but perhaps over wide would be a correct statement. It adjusts fore and aft and has a flip up bolster. I enjoyed the ability to not only sit behind the helm, but stand without having to open up the electrically actuated sunroof. Even standing I still had plenty of headroom underneath the hardtop. On nice days when one wants their head in the breeze it’s no problem on the 35 Sport Coupe. Press a switch at the helm and the 35 sq. ft. sunroof opens up, bringing in the outdoors. A flip-down step at the helm will let the boater stand a little bit higher so that one's head is above the windscreen and enjoying the fresh air while underway. Raising the tilt wheel completes the picture.
Our test boat was also equipped with the Volvo Penta Sterndrive Joystick. The joystick is located at the end of the helm’s armrest. Now one is able to sit and relax with their arm in a very comfortable position while operating the joystick and bringing the boat into the dock with ease. Of course for backing into a slip one will want to stand and turn around, but the operation is still comfortable and easy.
Accessing the bow is via a walk-through windshield. The steps to the walk-through are narrow but they don’t need to be any more than they are. There are plenty of handholds which are needed and welcome. And additional points are given to Regal for interlocking the upper and lower windshield latches, as the bottom one is never accessible. At the bow the sun pad that converts to a chaise lounge takes center stage. There are stainless steel handrails on both sides of the smoked windows that allow natural light into the cabin below. The optional windlass is concealed beneath one of two hatches and the compartment is large enough to even accommodate fender storage. A second hatch allows for additional line storage as well as fenders.The rails came up 20.5 inches. I was surprised to see that Regal managed to accommodate side decks. They were narrow side decks to be sure, but they were perfectly suited for their intended purpose of line handling. The toe rail of the sidedecks is raised slightly which does a surprisingly good job of keeping the boater from stepping off the edge.
As impressed as I was with the upper deck layout of the 35 Sport Coupe, the cabin was equally impressive in its ingenuity but even more deceiving to those still trying to believe that this is a 37' (11.28 m) boat. Access to the salon is via a center mounted companionway with a smoked glass companionway hatch and an integral screen.The aft cabin made a very comfortable sitting area facing a flat screen TV. A single berth lies to the port side that conceals filler cushions underneath converting the entire area into a large queen-sized berth.
In the main salon an L-shaped wraparound sofa conceals a flip out berth that deploys and stows very easily. To port is the galley that is appointed much as one would see in any other boat of this size in class, with two exceptions. First is the electric stove. It is recessed into the countertop, a feature I love to see as it eliminates the need for sea rails. When the cover is removed and stowed in its position to the side, it not only serves as a back splash, but activates the kill switch which is hidden in the cabinetry.
The second exception is in the way the cabinet doors all latch closed. There are no push button latches to lock the doors in the closed position. When the doors are pushed closed, they "positive latch" themselves into that closed position and only open with a good solid tug. Just abaft the galley is a wet head that is adequately appointed much as would be found in any other boat this size in class. This leads us to the forward berth.
When first entering the main salon, part of what deceives one into not believing that this is actually a 35 foot boat is the berth at the front of the salon. It is relatively small which creates the illusion that it is far away. The L-shaped sofa wraps around in front of the berth giving a feeling of openness that goes along with this deceptive impression of size.
Walking over to that forward berth allows one to see that it really is undersized and not just an optical illusion. But is it turns out, Regal was not trying to pull a fast one. By activating a switch over the sofa the forward seats back lifts up to add length to the forward berth and convert what was an undersized berth in to an actual queen-sized bed!
In my opinion, this is an absolutely brilliant design scheme that allows for an amazing amount of room in a small boat while still allowing full accommodations for up to six people. Privacy may still be lacking, but that is a small tradeoff to the amount of room and sleeping comfort that this layout allows.
Performance and Handling
As comfortable as this boat was to be in and around it was even more of a joy to operate. With three people onboard, half fuel and test gear, we had a test weight of just over 14,600 lbs. (6622 kg.). Top speed came in at 5000 rpm and 45.2 mph where we had a fuel burn of 46 gph while getting 0.98 mpg for range of 149 miles. Pull back to a more economical cruise of 3500 rpm and we were running at 29.8 mph with a 23 gph fuel burn. Now we were getting 1.3 mpg for range of 196 miles. Our time to plane was 5.9 seconds we reached 20 miles per hour in 8.1 seconds, 30 mph an 11.9 seconds, and 40 mph in 17.1 seconds.As we’ve come to find with all Regal boats, the 35 Sport Coupe had very predictable handling an excellent response to the helm controls. Hard turns showed a very mild 5 to 7-degree bank and she rides with a roughly 5 degree bow high attitude. When adding power the bow came up between 10 and 12-degrees which offered no restriction in visibility.Testing boats for a living it is easy to become a bit jaded when comparing features from one boat to the next. But occasionally a standout comes along that really makes me take notice. Such is the case with the Regal 35 Sport Coupe. It accommodates so many qualities that I’ve come to appreciate in boats and manages to do it all in a relatively small size. It really is a boat that keeps making one scratch their head and continually ask “is this really 35 feet?”
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Regal 35 Sport Coupe (2014-) is 45.2 mph (72.7 kph), burning 46.0 gallons per hour (gph) or 174.11 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Regal 35 Sport Coupe (2014-) is 29.8 mph (48 kph), and the boat gets 1.30 miles per gallon (mpg) or 0.55 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 196 miles (315.43 kilometers).
- Tested power is 2 x 300-hp Volvo Penta 5.7 Gi.
Standard and Optional Features
|Washdown: Fresh Water||Standard|
|Washdown: Raw Water||Optional|
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
Boats More Than 30 Feet
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