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March 08, 2011

Regulator 28 FS

Most experts agree that the Regulator 26 represents one of the best boats ever. The new 28 FS meets and even exceeds all the positives the 26 displayed.

The popularity of Regulator boats started more than 20 years ago when a young couple began a boatbuilding company with a 26-foot model that absolutely wowed the fishing community. Handsome, conservative and with unassailable performance characteristics, to this day, the Regulator 26 remains incredibly popular. To mimic that success, Regulator recently introduced a 28 with forward seating and improvements that should appeal to a wide audience.

Performance
Nasty conditions greeted our test crew aboard the 28, following the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, boat show last October. The inlet waters rose in wind-against-tide, 3- to 4-foot seas, and yet, at 25 mph, the 28 carved its way through with nary a bang, thud or drenching spray. Abeam to the inlet seas, the 28 exhibited a roll moment that proved very short but with gentle transitions. Down-sea while overtaking waves, the bow held enough buoyancy to lift up and over without shearing either direction; the water that the bow pushed curled nicely back down toward the sea.

After we hit 30 mph in about seven seconds with a pair of Yamaha 300s, top speed touched 60 mph at 5,800 rpm while using 52.5 gph (1.15 mpg). That's a slightly lower rpm than the maximum factory specification of 6,000, but I felt it had more than adequate midrange punch, and in the real world, that's more important to me than top end.

Optimum cruising speed, according to Yamaha's Command Link gauges, measured a very respectable 34.5 mph at 3,500 rpm while burning 18.5 gph (1.87 mpg). The Lenco automatic tabs seemed to work well. The vessel turned and backed and otherwise maneuvered in close quarters without a single idiosyncrasy.

Fishing
At an average trolling speed of about 7 mph, the twin Yamahas combined with the hull to generate modest surface turbulence along with centerline subsurface white water that disappeared by about the fourth wave back. You'll see crystal-clear alleys outside that. At 5 to 6 mph, the white water virtually disappears.

With a pair of 16-foot outriggers, four in-gunwale rod holders and more rod holders across the back of the Ttop, we had no problem trolling a half-dozen lines.

Perhaps what many serious anglers who love the Regulator 26 will really appreciate about the 28, though, is the flush deck. The 26 has always had a step up to the bow amidships. On the 28, the walk is straight and level all the way forward.

The forward seats, with cushions removed, can double as a fine casting deck. Three lighted fish boxes forward plus a transom fish box that runs the full width offer plenty of capacity.

Those anglers who still insist they don't like transom cutouts (and I know many who don't) should notice the full, solid stern on the 28. An insulated fish box on centerline forward doubles as lockable rod storage; all insulated boxes drain directly overboard.

Regulator helmYou may have your choice of at least three leaning-post/tackle-station modules and two outrigger packages. Of course, if you choose any optional outriggers, you'll have to opt for a Ttop too: It doesn't come standard. You can order a Ttop with an underside color that matches the hull as well as a three-sided curtain package, if you wish.

To prevent any risk of snagging a line or cast net, the bow cleats and running lights are pop-ups, while the spring and stern cleats hide under the gunwales with hawseholes.

Design and Construction
Lou Codega still pens the hulls for Regulator. He started out strong with the 26 and improved with age.

Regulator builds a very beefy, grid stringer system that bonds into the solid fiberglass hull. I heard and felt no untoward sounds or reactions from this boat in even the roughest seas. That it's as fast and efficient as it is when you compare its weight with most other 28-footers' amazes me. Of course, that extra weight also equates to a smoother ride.

The finished console provides 6½ feet of headroom and an opening port for ventilation. Speaking of finish, all the small parts - like hatches and doors - are completely finished on all sides.

I was surprised to see the console is virtually the same size as on Regulator's 34. It can easily handle a pair of 15-inch displays with room to spare. And the choice of console-seat/tackle-station modules is excellent.

I would have thought it very hard to improve upon the Regulator 26. The 28 FS shows that nothing is ­impossible.


Specifications

LOA......30 ft. (w/ bracket)
BEAM......9 ft. 5 in.
DRAFT......2 ft.
DEADRISE......24 deg.
WEIGHT......8,260 lb. (dry)
FUEL......235 gal.
MAX HP......Twin 300 hp OB
MSRP......$159,995 (w/ twin 300 hp OB)

Regulator Marine / Edenton, North Carolina / 252-482-3837 / www.regulatormarine.com