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Issue: January 2003
There's no denying that some American boats belong in a class all of their own. But in the hyper competitive US marketplace a boat has to be something special to get a start let alone survive.
Then, into the mix go the numbers the massive American population base require to be built and the price they need to be sold at to remain competitive. However, when these boats are imported into Australia, our exchange rate has its own way of stirring the pot.
But we should remain objective when looking at imported boats, taking into account what you get for your money. And that's a lot with a Regal 2400 LSR Bowrider. She's a big, sporty bowrider with enough performance to keep even the most ardent rev head happy.
This may or may not impress passengers, but they could not help being impressed by the Regal 2400 LSR's vampish looks, stylishly plush interior and her extremely practical and convenient amenities.
In this age where ladies have more of an influence on the purchasing decision, the Regal 2400 LSR's features are an ideal place to begin a close look at this boat.
Surprisingly, the toilet is one of the most impressive facets of this boat. Blokes have to concede the importance of having a "loo" onboard. Be they wives, girlfriends, partners, friends, or guests, if there's one way to get a lady onboard, it's to tell her there's a ‘loo should the need arise.
Add the privacy of a closing door and a sink with hand washing at the turn of a tap and it's just like being at home. The toilet is tucked away inside the dash bulkhead and while it's "sitting room only" in there, it's hardly cramped. The only trade-off is the small "loo" unit itself.
Having dealt with perhaps this big bowrider's strongest selling point, we can step back and acknowledge her looks. They speak for themselves as you can see from the accompanying photos.
But to fully appreciate what the Regal 2400 LSR's hull has to offer we have to closely inspect her bottom. Although it isn't obvious in photographs, the Regal 2400 LSR has what her builders call their "Fastrac" hull design.
This was designed to break the water flow across the skin of the hull to induce aeration and reduce friction — drag if you prefer, between the hull and the water. With the boat in the water what isn't clearly evident are the large reversed chines and a pair of running strakes.
One protruding and the other inverted into the hull on each side of the keel. It's a sophisticated hull, which also utilises laminar flow interrupters and what Regal term "conical hull induction" combined with a steep, 21 degree deadrise at the transom.
This gives the 2400's hull the exceptional handling that you don't appreciate until you get the boat out on the water and start tossing her around.
Some passengers may not appreciate the G forces when you throw this big baby into a tight turn, but the Modern Boating team certainly enjoyed themselves during our test.
During this test — conducted on various waterways around Queensland's Gold Coast — the hull treated any wind chop we encountered as if it wasn't there.
There are also plenty of beaches along the Gold Coast and the folding boarding ladders both forward and aft will certainly come in handy for those going ashore. And you have to look twice to spot them, because they are stowed under neat hatches.
But seeing it is not always possible to come into a beach stern first, even with the sterndrive trimmed out, being able to board or exit over the bow is handy. Regal's Queensland dealer had the test boat fitted with an electric windlass, making anchor operation an easy push button affair.
But while this is a good idea, it does make using the bow ladder more difficult. Another extra that came with the windlass was an eye-catching chrome anchor.
Inside, the boat is filled with lounges forward and aft, with a pair of deep bucket seats for the driver and passenger, tucked in behind a curved, raked windscreen.
A lot of thought has gone into the heavily padded seating. Passengers in the bow can sit with their backs against the cushioned windscreen bulkhead for a secure and comfortable view forward at speed.
The aft lounge is U-shaped with ample room for four adults. The starboard corner cushion lifts out and a section of the coaming behind this comes up for cockpit access from the stern. It stops people treading sand and water all over the luxurious seating.
The aft lounge also lifts on gas-assisted struts to reveal the V8 MerCruiser engine. It makes checking the oil levels hassle-free. There's also an automatic fire extinguisher system in the engine compartment and dual batteries are standard.
Behind the passenger seat on the portside is another small sink with a pressurised hot/cold water supply. There's also a handheld shower stowed under a hatch on the swim platform, so sand and salt can be washed off outside to avoid carrying it into the boat's interior.
Yes, this is a fancy boat, but plenty of plain old commonsense went into her design. There's storage under all the seating, plus a removable icebox and a spacious ski locker between the bucket seats extending through to the bow.
We folded the bimini top away during the photo shoot, because the boat looked better that way, but it would probably be left up most of the time for shade.
The standard bow tonneau was also out of sight in another spacious locker inside the portside windscreen bulkhead. This can be quickly clipped into place when required.
Other practical touches include pop-up cleats that don't snag skin, recessed cockpit lighting and a pair of docking lights tucked away out of sight under the bow. There are no compromises in quality on this boat. The bimini frame is all stainless steel as is the windscreen frame.
The instrumentation is all matching VDO and set in a timber dashboard. The steering wheel is a sexy MOMO job with timber look spokes and a padded rim. A top quality compass is positioned above the dash and a digital depth sounder also comes as standard.
During the test the Modern Boating team played music on the Kenwood CD player and were impressed by the high quality of the sound being piped to speakers set in both the aft and forward lounges.
The Regal 2400 LRS is licensed by the US Coast Guard to carry 10, but this would be a bit crowded. The hull is built in compliance with the stringent American ISO 9002 procedures and as a result comes with a limited lifetime structural hull warranty. The overall finish is excellent and the team couldn't fault it.
Regal boats are built by a family company that still prides itself on building boats to the highest possible standards in a time when corporate conglomerates dominate the American boating industry. Their pride is justified and it shows! For further information contact Boatscape toll free on 1800 679 867.
A 300hp MerCruiser 350 Magnum MPI lurks beneath the Regal 2400 LSR's rear lounge and it's quite discrete until the hammer goes down. However, the sound retains a certain dignity, but there's just enough of that unmistakable V8 rumble to rouse any man's testosterone.
Thanks to the "bite" delivered by the MerCruiser's dual propeller Bravo III sterndrive leg and that sophisticated hull, it's a true fun package.
The test boat's power train was brand new, so the team were unable to run it right up to the throttle stops. However, even at a notch or two back from flat out we enjoyed the ride.
We ran our own GPS to check the rev/speed curve between 2000 and 4000 revs and they matched the factory supplied figures. So we believe the factory stated top speed of 44.9 knots at 4900rpm, would be pretty close to the mark. That's over 50mph.
Story & Photos by Warren Steptoe