As an increasing number of boat brands turn to techie features and flashy gizmos to attract buyers, it’s reassuring to find companies that still choose substance over style. Regulator is one of those companies, and while their boats come with their share of bells and whistles, design and craftsmanship are the main attractions.
With clean lines, practical configuration and impressive fit and finish, the Regulator 23, the smallest model in the North Carolina boatbuilder’s lineup, is a perfect example. The roominess, the amount of storage and the smooth ride are all reminiscent of a larger boat. And with the available options and intuitive placement of fishing-related features, it’s easy to imagine live-baiting an inlet for stripers or tarpon, jigging a wreck for big grouper and snapper or trolling blue water for dolphin and tuna aboard this versatile center console.
Sharing the 24-degree deep-V, hard-chine design of the larger Regulators, the 23 has the genes to conquer demanding sea conditions and excel at the offshore game. Regulator’s signature grillage — a molded fiberglass stringer system bonded to the hull and foam-injected — adds tremendous strength and reduces noise. Coaming pads all around afford protection from knocks in rough water and a comfortable resting place for your knees when battling fish. Up front, recessed grab rails to port and starboard extend to midship. Twin elevated compartments provide forward seating and 320 quarts of dry storage or fish box space. Between them, a giant 350-quart in-deck fish box doubles as lockable storage for stand-up rods.
Four flush-mounted rod holders sit on the gunwales, with plenty of real estate for more. The center console, spacious and ergonomic, offers seating in front over a 55-quart cooler. Inside, a stand-up head compartment houses a portable toilet, upgradeable to a built-in with holding tank. Regulator’s EZ-View electronics mounting face on the dash has room for a rocker switch panel and a couple of multifunction displays, or one of two optional Raymarine electronics packages. The steering wheel and binnacle to port leave room on the right for a glove compartment with USB port and 12-volt plug outlet. Above rests a Fusion marine stereo with iPod/iPhone dock and Bluetooth that, like the Ritchie compass atop the console, comes standard.
A bolster-style leaning post provides seating for two at the helm, with tackle storage under the seat, a four-rod rocket launcher behind the backrest and room for a large cooler below. Our test boat came with the optional fiberglass T-top with molded-in spreader lights and a second rocket launcher to keep five more outfits at arm’s length. Behind the leaning post, a roomy cockpit allows a pair of anglers to easily set out rods, manage lines or gaff fish.
The Regulator 23 boasts a safe and functional full transom, which holds a 23-gallon livewell and an identical compartment providing 120 quarts of storage to ice down the catch. A bench seat on the transom folds up out of the way for fishing.
The full-width Armstrong engine bracket puts the outboard more than 3 feet behind the transom and gives this Regulator the performance and footprint of a 25- or 26-footer. An integrated telescoping ladder on the engine bracket also enables swimmers to climb easily back on board.
Leaving the slow-speed zones behind, I shoved the throttle forth and the Yamaha F300 powered the 23 to planing speed in 7.5 seconds with minimal squatting. Settling the Regulator down to 4,200 rpm, we hit a comfortable cruising speed of 29.5 mph, burning approximately 14 gph.
Large boats funneling into the channel near the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River kicked up serious wakes from every direction, and the Regulator handled them with ease. After finally crossing the Sanibel Causeway, I pushed the throttle to 5,000 rpm, hitting 37 mph before embarking on a series of tight turns that the 23 performed as though it were on rails. Finally, I ran wide open and surpassed the 45 mph mark consistently, dropping only 2 mph when doubling back into a strong falling tide.
According to Yamaha performance tests, the Regulator 23 burns 23.3 mpg at 5,500 rpm and 26.6 at 5,950 (wide-open throttle), respectable for a boat built to take a pounding and get you safely offshore and back. All in all, the Regulator 23 proved a solid open fisherman with more fishing room than its size would suggest and all the right features to fish nearshore and off. Aesthetically pleasing, functionally laid out and clearly built to last, this center console is an investment sure to pay dividends for a long, long time.
- Length: 23’5″
- Beam: 8’6″
- Draft: 21″ (w/ engines up)
- Fuel: 149 gal.
- Water: 21 gal.
- Transom Deadrise: 24 degrees
- Weight: 6,200 lb.
- Max hp: 300
- Price: $92,395 w/ Yamaha F300UCA