Go to any boat show and count the number of 21-foot center consoles available. The choices are staggering. The process gets easier, however, when you factor in variables such as attention to detail, quality components, safety, long-term value and fishability. Regulator Marine has been building its line of rugged fishing boats with these traits for years, so it's not surprising to see the same qualities inherent in the company's new 21 Forward Seating model.
The 21FS is based on the extremely successful 21-foot center console hull, and is being offered in addition to the existing model, not as a replacement. The FS is designed for serious sport fishing, yet is family-friendly thanks to its comfortable bow seating area. The other major change is reflected in the redesigned transom, which can handle Yamaha's 200-hp High Pressure Direct Injection or F225 four-stroke outboards.
"While the new Yamaha outboards are certainly more technically advanced than their predecessors, they require a larger area for turning and trimming," explains Regulator president Joan Maxwell. "In response to both customer and dealer demand, and extremely positive test results with both engines on this new model, we decided to design the 21FS's transom to accommodate both options."
With either powerplant, the 21FS offers exceptional range and performance for a boat of this size. According to company-supplied data, it has a range of nearly 300 miles at cruising speed with the standard 100-gallon tank. Regulator's tests with HPDI 200-hp power at 4000 rpm showed a rate of 9.5 gph while turning 31.6 mph, equaling 3.33 mpg.
Our test boat - provided courtesy of Royal Palm Marina in Englewood, Florida - was also powered by a 200-hp HPDI engine, and it provided a quick hole shot and a nimble ride. The 21FS maintains its Carolina heritage with a slightly flared bow and considerable (20 degree) transom deadrise, but its rugged attributes don't stop there.
The boat is constructed with 36-ounce, bi-axial cloth, high-end resins and gelcoats, and has three components - hull, deck and inner liner. The internal all-glass grillage system bonds to the hull, and all fasteners are stainless bolts and locknuts as opposed to the typical screws used by many builders. The transom is reinforced with Klegecell for strength and longevity. Other features, such as hawse pipes and the dual battery system that are rarities on mass-produced 21s, are standard on the FS.
Despite its family leanings, the 21FS is first and foremost a fishing machine. The forward deck provides plenty of room for casting and is snag-free if fly rods are your tackle of choice. The in-deck, 25-gallon live well will hold plenty of bait, and there's lots of room to store the day's catch in twin 73-quart, insulated fishboxes with overboard drains under the forward deck. Another pair of fishboxes, each with 52-quart capacity, are located aft.
The 21FS comes with a pair of rod holders in either gunwale, and horizontal rod racks underneath. A four-rod rocket launcher can be added to the standard leaning post, and coaming pads are optional as well.
The roomy console boasts several clever innovations, including an optional tackle center. The lockable glovebox is a great place to stow odds and ends, as you'd be hard-pressed to exceed the capacity of the deep electronics box that comes with a removable cover. Sliding doors below the helm provide access to dry storage, the batteries and the breakered electrical system. Teleflex Sea Star hydraulic steering and a Ritchie Voyager compass are standard. The optional marine head with its designated mounting area in the bow and a T-top are add-ons that enhance the creature comforts.
So even though there is yet another choice among the long list of available mid-sized center consoles, the 21FS deserves a serious look, especially when your crew includes the family unit. Regulator Marine, Edenton, NC; (252) 482-3837;