You can judge the quality and design of a boat in several ways: Navigating an inlet, surfing big waves or outrunning a nasty thunderstorm are the most common examples. But when a lost boat traverses the Atlantic and is recovered nearly intact three years later, it definitely proves its mettle. That was the case of the Queen Bee, a 26 Regulator that was presumed sunk after its owner and a buddy were swept overboard by a rogue wave off Nantucket. The boat was recovered in Spain and recently returned to Edenton, North Carolina, with the surviving anglers looking on.
The morning after this real-life testimonial, I climbed aboard Regulator’s latest model, the 34 Center Console, and I’m happy to report the Queen Bee’s legacy lives on. Not only is the new 34 sleek, clean and responsive, it is overbuilt to the max. It truly is a beautiful beast of a boat.
For starters, it looks and rides much bigger than its actual size. The unbroken sheer flows gracefully, and the wide beam only adds to the illusion. So does the clean, uncluttered layout. An Armstrong bracket and the twin Yamaha F350 four-strokes (the only power combo available) give maximum room to the cockpit and transom fish box.
The Yamahas provide more than enough performance. Acceleration is smooth, and the boat quickly levels off with minimal bow rise. That, combined with the frameless glass windshield, offers unhindered sight lines. We made a top speed of 57.7 mph during my test; factory runs were a tick higher at 58.8. At 4,000 rpm, the 34 lopes along effortlessly at 36.3 miles per hour while burning only 27.8 gallons of gas per hour.
Like all Regulators, the new model is built like the proverbial tank. It’s constructed with premium components and a unitized four-part design for a tough finish and exceptional detail. Everything fits tightly and snugly, so don’t expect to hear any creaks or rattles. With its sweeping bow flare, aggressive stem and transom deadrise, the hull cuts through waves with ease. It’s also rock solid at rest. Despite its size, however, this boat handles like a sports car. It responds well to tab adjustment, and steering is effortless with the Teleflex Optimus power assistance. I wouldn’t hesitate running out to the Gulf Stream and back with it in seas that might keep others at the dock.
Anglers will also appreciate the many standard fishing features on this model. Six-foot-long raised port and starboard insulated boxes in the bow double as coolers or lockable rod storage. They also serve as cushioned forward seats, but the transition up is not too difficult to manage when anchoring or throwing a cast net. In the transom, the 272-quart fish box is big enough to hold a number of fat tuna. A deluxe leaning post also comes standard. Other standard equipment includes a big oval livewell, a storage drawer and tackle boxes, plus a rigging sink with fresh water and a cutting board. Options include a fiberglass T-top with e-box and molded-in spreader and LED dome lights, a rocket launcher, Lee outrigger packages and spray curtains.
The cockpit has a large storage compartment in the sole, just forward of the bilge access. The wide transom door in the starboard corner will help get those tuna aboard. For extra crew, the recessed transom bench seat easily stows out of the way with a simple pull. It’s really comfortable too, with the coaming-pad backrest.
In addition to a thoughtful and ergonomic gauge/switch arrangement at the helm, with room to mount twin 14-inch displays, the large console offers all necessary creature comforts. After stepping down inside, I had more than enough headroom to clear my 6'3" frame. The standard battery charger and switches are located here, along with easy access to the electronics panel and rigging. The space is well lit, with a vented port light and LED lighting. It includes a handheld shower and electric head with a six-gallon holding tank. A Corian countertop adds a nice accent. Stretching forward, a twin berth provides a cozy respite during long weekends to the islands or an early tournament start.
Want to really trick this boat out? You can. Custom helm- and console-seat covers are available, along with several different hull colors. White powder coating is also offered, along with a console air conditioner, bow thruster, underwater LED lights, through-stem anchor windlass and factory-installed Raymarine electronics packages.
If you’re in the market for a well-executed center console that will get you to distant waters and back safely and comfortably with more than enough fishing room, give the Regulator 34 a long look. I’m betting a pitcher of Spanish sangria that you’ll like what you see.
Deadrise: 24 degrees
Fuel: 380 gal.
Water: 31 gal.
Weight: 11,115 lb.
Base price: $254,995 with twin Yamaha F350s