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January 23, 2014

Boat Review: Regulator 25CC

The new 25, designed by marine architect Lou Codega, is a firecracker!

Last year Regulator Marine stopped building its 26-foot center console, the boat that forged the company’s reputation and was at the heart of its product line for 24 years. With more than 1,500 of them plying coastal waters, it was time to do more than just update an old friend. In late 2010, in lieu of a successor, the 28 took center stage, but that left a gap in the product line — hence the new 25, designed by marine architect Lou Codega, and it is a firecracker!

When I arrived at Comstock Yacht Sales, a Regulator dealer in Point Pleasant, New Jersey, the boat was waiting at the end of the dock sporting a classy dark-blue hull and painted-to-match Armstrong bracket with a pair of Yamaha F200 four-cylinder, four-stroke outboards. At first glance I thought the boat looked Spartan, but first impressions can be deceptive. Close inspection revealed the boat was packed with well-thought-out features so cleverly integrated, I had to look for them. That is a compliment to the boat’s layout and appeal. I also found that it comes with a host of features that are usually extra-cost options.

For example, the console looks appealing and is ­appropriately sized, but there is much more to it. You know how annoying it is when you have to lift up your polarized glasses to see the depth finder because of the viewing angle? That won’t happen here. The upper surface has plenty of room for two large, flush-mount MFDs set at the perfect viewing angle. Below that, the angle transitions where the Yamaha Command Link unit, VHF radio and stereo controls are located. Then it flattens out for a pair of cup holders and padded tray before angling downward again where the wheel, engine controls, keys and starter button are mounted. And there’s still room for a large glove box.

Inside you’ll find a roomy compartment with a standard ­electric head and ­holding tank. Also inside are the battery switches and breaker panel for routing the juice from the three batteries, also standard. Both saltwater and freshwater washdowns come standard as well.

Another great feature is the SuperSport leaning post and optional tackle center. It features two comfortable helm chairs with bolsters that fold up into padded back supports for stand-up driving. They reside atop a fiberglass tackle center that’s one of the best I’ve seen. Two doors facing aft open to access 10 large tackle boxes. There are slide-out drawers on both sides of the unit and some fancy pipework with four rod holders, five stainless cup holders with drains, two knife holders and a rack to hang a couple dozen lures or rigs, a hook remover and pliers. The pipework wraps around the seat to form armrests too.

On the transom is Regulator’s disappearing bench seat. Wide enough for three, it folds up and out of the way effortlessly. There is a large compartment and a 23-gallon livewell in the graceful radius of the transom. The Armstrong bracket is designed specifically to complement the hull with a matching 24-degree deadrise and plenty of flotation for the engines.

The forward seating comes with plush cushions standard and eight more stainless cup holders beneath the recessed bow rail. Three compartments in the forward seats and a large fishbox in the deck all have gasketed tops, drains and interior lighting. The fish box doubles as lockable rod storage.

The optional fiberglass T-top is perfectly executed, and can accommodate radar, antennas and outriggers. The pipework is first rate, and the five optional rod holders on the back are placed for easy access. We left the dock in a brutal 25-knot-or-better south wind into the wide-open spaces of Barnegat Bay, where we found a nasty 2- to 4-foot chop. I powered up directly into the wind, trimmed the engines, added just a touch on the Lenco tabs, and it rose up on the strakes without so much as a shudder as we whipped along at 35 knots. The bay could have been calm for all I felt. Regulator’s proven deep-V hull features a sharp entry that splits the chop nicely with a full 24 degrees at the transom. It works very well, but what really surprised me was how dry the boat ran. There was no enclosure, just a low, curved windshield, and with the wind howling, I expected to get wet. Fuggedaboutit! I ran the boat slow, at cruise and flat out directly into, abeam and with the sea following. I put it hard over at a variety of speeds expecting the wind to blow all kinds of spray over the gunwale. After an hour of flogging the boat, the windshield was dry and so was I. As we fished the hull drifted nicely with no tendency to roll, which I will attribute to the chine.

The lines are graceful, the corners have soft radius curves, and the 360-degree bolsters marry comfort and function. The Regulator 25 is a level deck beauty that will satisfy the family man and the hard-core fisherman at the same time