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February 08, 2006

Regulator 29FS

For quite some time, Regulator fans have been asking for a boat that would bridge the gap between the company's popular 26- and 32-foot models...

For quite some time, Regulator fans have been asking for a boat that would bridge the gap between the company's popular 26- and 32-foot models, and that day finally came with the introduction of the new 29. You can't argue with their logic. The 29 gives fishermen the best of both worlds: enough length to handle rough seas, yet compact for two people to manage (and clean) easily. And this boat comes with the attention to detail and superb engineering that buyers have come to expect from the company.

As with all Regulator models, Lou Codega designed the 29's deep-V hull. The 24-degree transom deadrise, common to all Regulators, carves through chop with ease and provides a smooth ride. I drove the boat on a breezy day in the Florida Keys and found it to be an excellent all-around performer.

LOA 29 ft.
BEAM 9 ft. 6 in.
MAX HP (2) 250-hp OB
DEADRISE 24 deg.
FUEL 285
WEIGHT 6,900 lb. (w/o power)
MSRP $135,000 (w/2 F250
Yamaha outboards)
Regulator Marine
Edenton, North Carolina

YAMAHA F250 Four-stroke
TYPE 60 deg. V-6
DISPL. 204.6 cid
MAX RPM 6,000
WEIGHT 592 lb.
ALT. OUTPUT 45 amps
MSRP $19,310

Notable Standard Equipment
• Lenco electric trim tabs
• Teleflex SeaStar hydraulic, tilt steering
• Pop-up cleats and bow light
• Electric head
• Freshwater system
• Saltwater washdown

Regulator has built yet another stylish and rugged center console, made to fish hard, yet with family comforts as well.
The boat's 9-foot-6-inch beam provides exemplary stability when drifting, and well-placed lifting strakes keep the bow up underway, ensuring a dry ride. The 29 has so well-balanced a hull, you may not use the standard Lenco trim tabs for much except leveling the boat from side to side when all your fishing buddies plop themselves down on the same gunwale. Trimming the engines alone allows you to significantly raise and lower the bow.

Our 29 came with twin Yamaha F-250 four-stroke engines, the only power option listed on its spec sheet. Yamaha's Performance Bulletin shows a cruise speed of 33.7 mph at 4,000 rpm, with a fuel burn of 21.2 gph. We actually did a little better on our run, consistently reaching 35 mph at 4,000, albeit with a light load of fuel. Top speed hit 53 mph at 5,700 rpm. The 29 accelerates rapidly, runs great at all angles to the chop and feels incredibly solid beneath your feet.

A 30-gallon livewell sits at the center of the transom bulkhead, with a large bait-prep box to port. A hinged section to starboard flips inward, revealing the boat's transom gate and affording easy access to the engine platform. The lids to the wells come finished inside and out, like all hatches on the boat, and rise on gas rams. Sturdy rubber gaskets ensure a good seal.

A leaning post/rocket launcher with cooler storage beneath comes as standard equipment, but our boat featured the optional fiberglass tackle center instead. It includes ample tackle storage in the form of 10 plastic trays along the aft edge of the unit, located behind two StarBoard doors. It also has four pullout drawers for larger gear, two on each side, and a storage tube for charts. A rocket launcher holds four rods, and a built-in knife-and-rig rack mounts along the back of the seat, right where you're most likely to need it.

The console offers a very large vertical surface for mounting electronics, hidden behind a removable, lockable fiberglass door. Our boat had two 10-inch Furuno displays flush-mounted in this space, with room to spare. Alongside the console, a step-up takes you to the bow, and in the step I found two storage boxes, one on each side, both the perfect size for holding 5-gallon buckets. A 130-gallon in-deck fish box forward of the console drains overboard and does double duty as subdeck, locking rod storage.

Design and Construction
The 29 resembles the 32 in layout, and I suspect the two models will be confused for one another occasionally. Our 29 came with the forward seating option, providing two bench seats under each gunwale forward that meet at the bow. Each raised seat contains its own 50-gallon storage area, and these will probably see use mostly as dry storage, although you can use them as fish boxes, too. The forward seating option provides lots of extra seating space and doesn't significantly hamper your ability to fish, but I like knowing I can get the boat either with or without it.

The console also has a forward seat with a built-in cooler. Regulator finishes the console head compartment, which features a standard-equipment electric head with a 6-gallon holding tank, a mirror and lighting. The company also designed into this space an innovative storage compartment for the boat's personal flotation devices, as well as a StarBoard rack to hold the console electronics cover. Our boat sported the optional fiberglass T-top, with its electronics box, Lee Sidewinder outrigger bases and LED dome lights all built in. You won't find a sturdier, better-built top that also happens to enhance the looks of the boat.

The new 29 features wood-free construction with Regulator's proven fiberglass-grill stringer system. This is one solid boat, and to make it even more attractive, it comes with a long list of innovative standard equipment, including a premolded transducer pocket in the hull, cockpit lighting, a triple-battery system with switches, and dual fuel fills so you can fill up from either side of the boat with ease.

Those impatient fans we mentioned earlier will no doubt ask, "What took so long?" If you know Regulator, you already know the company won't release a product until confident that it's perfect, and that's just what Regulator has done with the new 29.