As I approached the docks in the pre-dawn darkness, the soft glow of blue courtesy LEDs signaled the presence of the new Regulator 41 at Pirate’s Cove Marina in Manteo, North Carolina. Local fishing guide Brendan Strum welcomed me aboard the vessel, the largest model ever from Edenton, North Carolina-based Regulator Marine.
As we awaited the rest of our crew, Strum outlined the game plan for our day of fishing. “We’re going to run out about 50 miles and troll rigged ballyhoo for white marlin from outriggers,” he said. “But you never know what we might hook out there.” His words would echo in my brain later in the day.
I stowed my gear inside the step-down center console, accessible from the port side and abundantly lit with LED lights, where I found roomy, posh accommodations, including a dinette with a teak table that converts to a berth for two; a galley with an inductive cooktop, microwave, countertop/sink and fridge set amid wood-veneer cabinetry; and an enclosed head compartment with a porcelain toilet and stand-up shower.
The standard 10,000 Btu air-conditioning system (powered by an 8 kw Fischer Panda diesel generator or shore power) cools the cabin and bridge deck. Maximum cabin headroom measured an astounding 7½ feet.
Returning topside, I was greeted by Regulator’s Capt. Al Partin, company photographer Jeremy Groves and local fishing guide Frank Adams. “It might be a bit sporty out there,” said Partin, as he fired up the four Yamaha F350 outboards on the brawny center-console. “The forecast is calling for 5-foot seas with 15-knot winds, but we have the right boat for it.”
Partin used the Yamaha Helm Master low?speed joystick to easily extricate the 41 from its tight slip along the marina seawall. As we idled out in the gray light of morning, a number of Carolina battlewagons did the same. “At least we won’t be alone out there,” the captain remarked.
As a procession of 10 fishing boats streaked across Roanoke Sound, I noted that the Regulator 41 was the only center-console fishing machine heading offshore on this mid-August day. I wondered if the 41 would be able to keep pace.
We wound our way around the channel markers and shoals dotting the sound at 46½ mph and 4,500 rpm, burning about 65 gallons of fuel per hour, resulting in 0.71 mpg on the 5-mile run to the Outer Banks. A trio of Raymarine gS165 multifunction displays, set respectively on chart-plotter, fish-finder and engine-instrumentation modes, helped guide the way.
Forward vision proved outstanding, thanks in part to the 9½-inch-high bridge deck with a Flexiteek sole, which offers a nicely elevated view when standing at the helm. The 22-inch-high wraparound console windshield protected the helm.
High winds over the previous few days had piled up sand where the channel once was, forcing Partin to blaze a fresh trail through Oregon Inlet. The captain deftly piloted the 41 through the calmer sections amid a cauldron of white water, though we still had to climb up and over a series of standing 8-footers — the deep-V hull landing smoothly each time.
Once outside the inlet, confused seas turned the Atlantic Ocean into something resembling a freshly plowed potato patch. Partin found a comfortable cruising speed at 28½ mph at 3,000 rpm, where the quads burned 36½ gallons per hour for about 0.78 mpg. I could sense the solid construction underpinning this boat; nary a creak nor rattle did I hear.
Regulator’s 41 offers three-across helm seating with wraparound armrests and flip-up bolsters. Three individual fold-down footrests on the seat base let you prop your knees up, while an angled footrest at the base of the console allows you to brace yourself in rougher conditions.
Other crewmembers found a place to relax on the 50-inch-wide bench seat that folds out from a recess in the transom. Coaming bolsters that encircle the interior also serve as cushioned backrests for the bench seat.
Within the transom bulkhead is an 84-gallon fish box. My test boat had the optional 12-volt DC chiller system to minimize the need for ice. A pair of 40-gallon livewells flank the transom fish box.
As we cruised offshore, I noticed we were passing every one of the battlewagons that had left before us — a testament to the sea-taming ability of the 41-foot-3-inch Regulator.
Soon, we were near the edge of the continental shelf. Partin slowed to trolling speed — 1,200 rpm and 8 mph with all four outboards in gear, where we burned 8 gallons per hour for 1 mpg. He climbed the ladder on the aft hardtop supports to pilot from the elevated second station. As Adams and Strum deployed the Taco Marine 380 Grand Slam outriggers and set out the trolling lines, I explored the forward area.
Recognizing that boating families also enjoy an occasional weekend cruise, Regulator has equipped the 41 with abundant creature comforts, including a motorized dining table in the bow. Fully retracted, it forms part of the 41’s single-level deck, but at the push of a button it elevates to become the middle section of an expansive lounge pad; ascending to the highest level, it becomes a dining table surrounded by U-shaped seating. The bow seating also converts to a pair of forward-facing lounges with flip-up backrests.
One of my favorite places aboard the 41 is the 5-foot-wide seat with an angled backrest in front of the console. At the foot of the 45-inch-long lounger is a 240-quart locker with special racks for stowing a five-gallon bucket. Under the bow deck is another fish box, this one boasting a 156-gallon capacity.
Just when I was wrapping up my inspection, a clicker on one of the trolling rods sent the crew scrambling. “You handle this one,” Adams said, handing me the rod as the 30-pound-test monofilament melted off the reel.
The hooked fish refused to slow down, so Partin gave chase, allowing me to put line back on the reel. Strum’s earlier comment about hooking anything came to mind. Based on the fish’s powerful and erratic behavior, Adams and Strum guessed it was a blue marlin.
The responsive handling proved to be a strong advantage as the fish tried to sweep under the boat on a number of occasions. The 9½-by-7-foot aft cockpit also offered plenty of room for me to maneuver. The 2-foot-4-inch aft gunwales allowed me to comfortably brace my legs.
Eighty minutes later, the fish finally jumped just 40 yards from the boat. It was indeed a blue marlin, estimated at 300 pounds. We were within minutes of wiring the fish, but this blue had other ideas.
With one sweep of its tail at the surface, it sounded, taking all of the line I had gained earlier. Exhausted and unable to move the marlin from the depths, I turned over the rod to Strum, who fought the fish for another 40 minutes before the line finally wore through and the fish broke off. We were clearly undergunned and lucky the fight lasted as long as it did, Strum said.
By the Numbers
Sea conditions took a turn for the better in the afternoon, but with no other bites by 3 p.m., we decided to head for home. Running at 5,000 rpm and over 50 mph, burning 0.64 gallons per hour, we reached Oregon Inlet in about an hour. Inside the protected waters of Roanoke Sound, I gathered performance data. Turning Yamaha Saltwater Series II 15¼-by-21-inch three-blade stainless-steel propellers, the 41 leaped to plane in four seconds, reaching 30 mph in eight seconds, en route to a top speed of 63.5 mph at 6,000 rpm, where the quad F350s burned 132.5 gallons per hour for 0.48 mpg.
The most efficient cruising speed occurred at 3,500 rpm and 35.9 mph, with a burn rate of 44.2 for 0.81 mpg and a cruising range of 486 miles based on the 600-gallon fuel capacity.
Upon our return to Pirate’s Cove Marina, Regulator president Joan Maxwell greeted us at the dock, giving me a chance to ask for her thoughts about the company’s biggest boat ever. “Our goal wasn’t just to build a big boat,” said Maxwell, “but rather to offer customers looking for a large center-console the quality, features, performance and smooth ride they expect in a Regulator.”
After spending a full day fishing offshore aboard the new 41, I can confidently say that the company has achieved its goal.
POWER Four Yamaha F350 outboards
LOAD 500 gal. fuel, five crew
TOP SPEED 63.5 mph @ 6,000 rpm
TIME TO 30 MPH 8 sec.
BEST MPG 0.81 @ 35.9 mph (3,500 rpm)
LOA 41 ft. 3 in. (47 ft. 3 in w/ bracket and engines)
BEAM 12 ft. 6 in.
DEADRISE 24 deg.
WEIGHT Approx. 20,100 lb. (dry w/ engines)
DRAFT 3 ft. 1 in. (motors down)
FUEL 600 gal.
MAX POWER 1,400 hp
MSRP as tested $793,325 (w/ quad Yamaha F350s)
Edenton, North Carolina