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September 21, 2007

Regulator 24

A rock-solid center console the whole family will love

The new Regulator 24 has been designed from the ground up to suit the needs of family fishermen, without sacrificing the trademark angling-specific focus that has helped maintain Regulator's reputation for quality since 1988. The 24-foot hull was conceived to fill the gap between the popular 23- and 26-foot models, and represents a thoughtful blend of input from key dealers, as well as the proven design savvy of Regulator veteran Lou Codega. It's available as the 24 CC (center console) and the 24 FS (forward seating). The CC has an open bow plan, while the FS offers a full complement of seating forward.

The 24 CC is full-transom design. This results in a fully enclosed cockpit to meet the safety needs of families with small children. It also allows the live well to be placed where it's most accessible. Along with the full transom, the 24's original design concept called for an in-console head as part of the boat's multi-purpose focus. The rest of the boat was put together around these key considerations. Flanking the 28-gallon live well in the transom is a roomy storage bin in the port transom corner. To starboard, a step-up leads to the transom door for engine-platform access. The flip-up section of transom top hinges to the inside and lays flat across the live well. On our test boat, the washdown hose was coiled conveniently in the step-through with the transom access folded shut.

The challenge in putting all the desired elements together in a 24-footer required some layout compromises. Consequently, the space between the leaning post and the transom has shrunk to 30 inches. It's not a huge area from which to fish, but it's quite workable. Three of us fishing and one handling the helm proved comfortable. Rod holders are conveniently placed, and we found the fishing space ample and easy to adjust to. The setback on the outboards became a critical measurement during design, and Regulator worked closely with Yamaha to establish a 26.5-inch setback, which allows plenty of room for the motors to tilt up, yet maximizes interior space.

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SPECIFICATIONS

LOA: 24' 8"
Beam: 8' 6"
Deadrise: 24 ¿
Dry weight w/o engines: 4,300 lbs.
Max hp: 400
Fuel: 400 gals.
Base price w/ single
Yamaha F225: $65,000

Our test boat was rigged with twin Yamaha 200-hp HPDIs, one of six power options available. These run the gamut from a pair of 150s to a single Yamaha 250. Regulator's performance figures with twin 200s claim a 40.8 mph cruise speed at 4000 rpm, with a top speed of 56.3 mph at 5500 rpm. Our own figures fell right around the same points, in choppy test waters.

The 24 has the "feel" that all Regulators are known for. Rock-solid construction provides a feeling of security and authority - and that's a good feeling to have when conditions are less than ideal, as they were when we ran the inlet off Fort Lauderdale on our test day.

The console on the 24 is all of a family. It's the same design as the other models in the Regulator line. The large, recessed electronics panel is roomy and well-placed. Gauges are set to the right, with waterproof rocker switches ganged just below. Keyed ignition switches are up on the dash, tucked between the wheel and the throttle binnacle. A tooled compass mount atop the console puts the mounting seam above the surface and provides a custom, big-boat appearance.

Inside the console and accessible from the starboard side is a fully finished interior space that provides 5' 8" of headroom. A porta potty is standard, but an eight-gallon holding tank is available as well. Interior console space is well utilized and includes easy access to the console wiring and enough room for a lot of family dunnage. A spacious bench seat at the front of the console conceals a forward-hinged, 64-quart insulated cooler beneath the seat cushion. In the sole forward of the console, a storage bin big enough to step down into is equipped with tip tubes and rod racks for storing up to four trolling rods up to 6 1/2 feet long.

The bow area on the 24 is spacious and comfortable. Our test-boat layout was the FS (forward-seating) model. Twin bench seats with a step-through between give the 24 the seating and family-friendly amenities that Regulator sought when it put this boat together. The CC's interior layout eliminates the front seating to provide a huge front deck area that is open and well-designed for many types of fishing.

The optional T-top is Regulator's own design and manufacture. The hard-top is finished beautifully, crowned and fully chased through the core for installation of antennas and overhead lighting, without the need to route wiring. Vacuum-bag construction makes it strong enough to support a crow's nest on top if desired. The oversized pipework is anodized after fabrication, so weld paint is held to a minimum and all seams are well armored against salt corrosion.

Given the strict parameters Regulator set up for the newest addition to its line - full transom, head and rod storage - the company has managed to pack an impressive amount of boat into 24 feet. And equally impressive is that it's all put together within the standards of rock-solid dependability and performance upon which Regulator has built its stellar reputation over the last 15 years. If you are looking for a mid-size bluewater boat that keeps the family safe and happy without compromising a serious fishing focus, the Regulator 24 demands a close look. Regulator Marine, Edenton, NC, (252) 482-3837; www.regulatormarine.com.