At some point, one person in the marriage decided to “go there” with their spouse, and give voice to the thing that no one wanted to say. Joan and Owen Maxwell knew a change was necessary—but it’s not always easy to bite the bullet when it comes to rebuilding the cornerstone of a relationship. In the end, the Maxwells had that tough but honest conversation. Not about finances. Nor about children, insufferable in-laws, or any of the other things that often drive relationships off course and onto the rocks. This couple had something more powerful to contend with: their spectacularly popular signature center console.
That boat was the Regulator 26, and while it’s no home wrecker, this bluewater machine posed a thorny issue for the Maxwells. “It was getting tired,” said Joan. The 26 was the single most successful design for the company that Joan and Owen founded together back in 1988. It had a special place in their hearts, as well as in the hearts of diehard Regulator owners. But even its most loyal admirers knew the company’s first real love was losing its appeal. The Maxwells agreed they needed something special to replace it, a fresh design that could net the affections of saltwater romantics. So the couple circled back to Regulator owners and dealers for feedback, took those ideas to the drawing board and came away with the new 25. Net result? A serious sportfish that fills some big shoes.
The Maxwells are experienced boat builders, but they’re anglers, too, and like strategic fishermen, they have great timing. They’ve chosen to bait the center console crowd with this new 25 just as the company celebrates its 25th year in business. But this outboard-powered rig is more than a debut designed solely to mark a silver anniversary. Regulator invested almost $1 million in tooling alone—good intelligence for buyers in search of a model that’s brand-spanking-new from the keel up.
Anglers who are as familiar with the features of the old 26 as they are with the habits of their favorite fish will notice a few key improvements on the 25. The deck, for instance, is flush. That’s welcome news for anyone who got tripped up by the step on the previous model, when the action heated up. Then there are the lines. Some of the angular edges of the 26—hot when the boat was launched, not so much today—have given way to softer, more modern radiuses. The curves bring the 25 in line with the look of newer models in the Regulator family.
Breaking Up is Hard to Do
It wasn’t easy for the Maxwells to say goodbye to the 26. Yes, they’ve moved on, but they didn’t leave everything they had behind. Consider the construction of the new 25. It features the same tried-and-true molded fiberglass stringer system that adds strength and takes noise down a notch, thanks to foam injection. Once the stringer system is bonded to the liner and hull, the trio creates a solid piece that a discerning crew will appreciate when they’re running offshore and realize that nothing is moving under their feet. Movement, then, is reserved for that lucky angler who may genuflect, break dance, or even twerk when he reels in a jaw-dropping fish.
Another thing that hasn’t changed is the hull. The 25 shares the same proven design as the other boats in the company’s line, which range from 23 to 34. With a 24-degree transom deadrise and deep entry, it works hard to ride soft and dry. The new model, however, is four inches wider than its predecessor, which means more stability. If you’re dodging line squalls in a confused sea, the 25 will eat it up with no flying gear nor complaints from the crew.
The 25 should live up to what the company calls its “legendary ride,” and the person responsible for that is also what some may call “the other man” in the Maxwells’ relationship. Naval architect Lou Codega has done a lot to spice things up at Regulator over the years. He designed the 26, the 25 and all the boats in between, so he gets credit for helping the company grow its reputation for building boats that are seaworthy, and count among their peers premium builds like Grady White, Intrepid, and Contender. Codega’s hand is evident the 25. His mantra is sea keeping, something he learned about early in his career designing icebreakers for the U.S. Coast Guard and powerboats for the U.S. Navy before taking a desk job beside Donald Blount. If we’re talking resumes, his is not too shabby.
The 25 is powered by the latest generation of four-stroke outboards from Yamaha. Twin F200 C's mounted on an Armstrong bracket will drive the 25 to a top speed of 50 mph and a cruising speed of 31 mph. At that pace, the Regulator will get about two miles to the gallon. The boat might go faster and burn less fuel if it were lighter—displacement is a hefty 6,200 pounds—but it’s built heavy on purpose, made for the skipper who wants no surprises in handling when he’s behind the wheel.
Hooked on a Feeling
Regulator as a company has evolved to look a lot like it did back in 1988. It started out making center consoles only, and then dipped a strake into express designs. Today, it’s back to center consoles only. At its core, this company is a boutique builder in its ability to serve a specialized clientele. On the 25, those sharp-eyed fishermen will find everything they expect to see on a center console in this LOA class.
In the cockpit, the transom has a plumbed 23-gallon livewell beside a dry stowage locker, and both are topped with beautifully-finished resin-transfer hatches that are installed so well you’ll want to drop them shut time and again just to hear that expensive “shush.” The standard equipment list also includes a raw water washdown and cockpit shower, fed by a 21-gallon freshwater system.
At the helm, the standard leaning post with bolster seats has rocket launchers on the back side plus a powder-coated grabrail that’s as solid as it is shapely. There’s not much in the way of tackle stowage on the standard boat, but an optional locker fits snugly under the leaning post and offers all the racks, trays and compartments that an obsessively tidy angler needs to organize everything from lures to pliers.
Other options on the 25 include the T-top with powder-coated support tubes, rocket launchers, and molded-in LED lights. We like the fact that Regulator vacuum-bags the T-top for maximum strength at minimum weight and backs hinges with Whaleboard plates.
Real-life couples in the marriage trenches have their secrets for making love last for the long haul. At Regulator, the Maxwells have their own strategies for building boats with long-term appeal: they make sure their serious fishing boats offer something for the whole family. That’s why this 25 has features like soft seats (benches at the foredeck, a seat forward of console, and another at the transom that folds up) and a head compartment in the console that gives an angler the elbow room needed to slip into something sexy—even if it is a pair of low-cut hip-waders.
With these features, the 25 can moonlight as a day cruiser for beach runs or as an entertaining platform for cocktails at dusk. There are even drinkholders aboard. That may not sound important until you realize that when Regulator first came on the scene, the Maxwells were criticized for building boats without them. For these marine entrepreneurs, the fishing just came first.
|Fuel capacity||160 gal.|
|Water capacity||21 gal.|
Is the 25 a suitable successor to the 26? We think so. It’s priced on the high end (a hair over $130,000 at the time of this publication), but it’s a good investment for those who are willing to pay more for a boat that, while not necessarily cutting edge in style or layout, is intelligently engineered and constructed to high standards. It offers a good turn of speed and smart use of onboard space. The sharp profile and reliable offshore performance are ideal for the serious sportfisherman Regulator has always courted. Great relationships take work, and the Maxwells have done their part to offer up a center console that can make even a noncommittal angler fall crazy in love.
|Test conditions: Winds of 5-10 knots, 2/3 fuel, 2 POBPerformance figures courtesy of Yamaha.|
|Power||Twin Yamaha F200 XCA outboards, swinging 14.25" x 18" stainless-steel props.|
Other Choices: Offshore anglers ISO their perfect match may also want to look at the Grady-White 271 Canyon, which is slightly longer and slightly lighter than the Regulator. Those who would fall for a boat that places more emphasis on classic looks and family use could consider the Chris-Craft Catalina 26.
See a short First Look video of the Regulator 25.
For more information, visit Regulator Marine.
See Regulator 25 Listings here.