You would not expect many boats to fulfill each and every parameter we set out in Saltwater Fishing Boats: 10 Things to Look For, but one that completes the mission is the Regulator 23 FS. Big fishboxes? Check. Locking rod and gear stowage? Check. A hullform that delivers exactly as promised? Check, double check, and so it goes through the entire list of the most imperative features a hard-core fishing boat needs.
Part of the reason why is surely because of the simple fact that it’s a Regulator. These folks build fishing boats, period. And since they’re located in North Carolina, they build fishing boats that are designed to take on heavy seas, rough inlets, and long runs to the offshore fishing grounds. Hence the use of a 24-degree deep-V, hard-chine, 48-degree entry hull designed by Lou Codega, which runs so smoothly it’ll make a feline-friendly fisherman re-think the powercat versus monohull debate. As with all things on boats, there is, of course, a trade-off. In this case, you’ll notice that the sharp hull bottom which is so good at chewing through waves tends to rock and roll a bit more than many other designs. Trollers won’t care much, but anglers who like drift fishing will. Some other deep-V’s also tend to suffer a bit in the performance department, but this isn’t the case with the Regulator. With a 300-hp Yamaha V6 F300 on the transom it zips right up to over 46-mph, and at a 30-mph cruise, gets right around 2.5 miles to the gallon. This performance comes despite a hefty 4,458 pound displacement, which is significantly more than many of the boats in this class—and which helps the 23 FS bull its way through rough seas. When it’s time to fish you’ll discover that the boat is armed to the teeth, with everything from copious rodholders to the raw water washdown. But one interesting twist is the livewell. Like some south Florida designs, it’s centered and sunk into the deck, behind the leaning post. This lowers the boat’s center of gravity—the 25-gallon well will hold 200 pounds of water-weight when full—minimizes sloshing to keep from beating up the baits, and allows above-deck areas usually taken up by the livewell to be utilized for other purposes. The only down-side here is that you’ll have to stoop and bend every time you need a fresh livie.
|Fuel capacity||160 gal.|
One of the most important features on our “To Look For” list was construction quality, and this is another category that makes the Regulator shine. When this boat is laid up, they grind between layers of fiberglass to ensure an optimal bond; stringers, the deck, and liner are bonded to the hull with Polybond; the deck cap is through-bolted; and hatches are RTM (resin transfer molded, a vacuum-assisted closed-molding process that ensures a high glass-to-resin ratio), so they’re strong, light, and fully-finished on both sides. Net result? You’ll feel an amazingly solid boat underfoot when cruising through white-caps—and your back will thank you for it.
|Test conditions: winds 15-20 knots, air temp. 45F, 3 POB.Performance figures courtesy of Yamaha. Full test data can be found here.|
|Power||Single Yamaha F300 spinning a 15.5" x 17" SS prop.|
One feature the 23 lacks is a console head, which most boats in this class do offer. Though it will be missed by some people, others will appreciate the extra deck space afforded by the relatively svelte console. The 23 is the smallest center console in Regulator’s line-up, and it’s been around for a long time. But newer versions have many improvements over the originals. Most notable is a one-piece motorwell dam that prevents the cut-away transom from letting water roll into the boat. I’ve aggressively backed the 23 into the seas, and the dam works wonders. Which, when you consider how well built and thoroughly thought-out this boat is, really is no wonder at all. For more information visit Regulator or read Talking boats with Joan Maxwell (President of Regulator Marine).