REVIEW: REGAL 2200

By: David Lockwood, Photography by: John Ford, Coastcolour


David Lockwood climbed aboard the innovative Regal 2200 and found a noble bowrider fit for a king

In the world of computer-aided design (CAD), curves come at the press of a button. In fact, such is the ease with which one can create flowing lines that mass-designed conveyances such as cars and boats have become less true to form and more often victims of fashion. As happens with fashion, however, everything old is new again and now those same designers are embracing more edgy designs.
Enter the Regal 2200 Bowrider. Gone are the cool curves and hips of the CAD-designed boats. In their place are groovier retro angles harking back to the 70s. Besides the styling, what else do we like about the 2200 Bowrider? Its volume, for starters, which places it on the trailerable limit; the social seating layout usually found in much bigger boats; and the surfeit of storage that caters for the watersports hound and family boater.
Add a sunburst yellow hull that glowed before the eerie-grey storm that descended like the apocalypse during our boat test, a 300hp petrol V8 courtesy of MerCruiser with a counter-rotating propeller on a Bravo Three sterndrive leg, which was loathe to let go in turns and provided positive steering, a wonderful aluminium wakeboarding tower, and what do you have? I’ll tell you…
Here’s a boat that, despite its retro styling, delivers for today’s demanding bowrider market. The Regal 2200 Bowrider is a ‘just do it’ kind of dayboat, as cutting-edge as they come, with an excellent finish, some real innovation, and a sporty drive that will wow the wind-in-your-hair set. That’s the overview, now for the finer points.

FAMILY TIES
Started by the Kuck family 36 years ago, Regal hasn’t fallen victim to a predatory multinational marine giant just yet. This may well explain its contemporary approach to boat building, the fact it doesn’t bow to mainstream fashion and carves its own path. Something of a design leader, it’s not constrained by shared technology employed by a whole raft of brands owned by one company. Instead, Regal has the freedom to go it alone and, some years back, its boats set a benchmark with refreshing automotive styling, some of which remains today.
By production boat standards, Regal is daring in the design department. It’s the first production boat builder I know to introduce side venting in what it calls its FasTrac hulls. How big a difference the cut outs in the chines make I’m still not sure, but the 2200 Bowrider did exhibit snappy hole shot. And that came despite 20 degrees of aft deadrise, which is quite sharp. However, a wide aft beam doubtlessly provides most of the lift.
On the construction front, the boats are built in Florida for saltwater use, using solid GRP and lots of stainless steel deck gear for things like the windscreen frame and its support struts, grabrails and optional deck shower, which was fitted on the 220 demonstrator. The Sydney dealer I dealt with specs the boats to a high standard to further distinguish them from the pack.
Other options on the 220 I tested were the two-tone yellow hull, removable alloy wakeboarding tower, four rubber-lined wakeboarding racks, adjustable helm seat, anchoring gear (bow locker provided), docking lights, Raymarine VHF radio, fire-extinguishing system and stereo remote on mahogany wheel and transom for the Kenwood CD player. An iPod jack is optional.
The hull is backed by a lifetime structural warranty, with various other warranties covering the Faria gauges, Sunbrella canopy, Omnova vinyl upholstery, Attwood bilge blower, MerCruiser motor (two years on that), and more. Having been available here for more than a decade, the Regals are readily identifiable on our waterways and pre-loved markets. Which ought to help resale, though the modern styling might not.
Safety is something else that Regal promotes, with plenty of freeboard in its bowriders and, in the case of the 2200, the 2.5m beam creates a big footprint, aiding stability and providing a lot of internal volume. Big-hearted is an apt term that springs to mind.
Along with the fire-fighting system in the engine bay, I noted double hose clips on the fuel lines and good access to the servicing items – oil, dipstick, alternator belt – on the motor. As per usual, the engine lid lifts on gas struts and most of the hatches in the boat are strut-assisted.
Seat bases are hinged, so you’re not left holding them when accessing stowed items, and such is the storage below the seats and in behind the helm console that Regal calls them StoreMore lockers.

COCKPIT CAPERS
There’s something old and something new in the layout department. The bow seating area is nice and dry and well removed from water level, even when idling over boat wake where the hull travels at its lowest point. All the upholstery is French-stitched, UV/stain resistant and enveloping high-density supportive foam.
There’s not much scope to be creative with the bow seating, but Regal has ensured those seats are adult length, deep and plush, with room to stretch your legs. Bravo for the anchor locker and all the aforesaid lined dry sub-seat storage spaces. A bow door/winter wind dam, bow and aft seating infills are options you may want to consider.
Cockpit carpet comes standard, with a canopy strung off the optional wakeboarding tower on the test boat, shading an interesting wraparound rear lounge that can easily seat four people. Such is the buoyancy of the 220 that Regal lists its carrying capacity as 10 people or 680kg including carry-on gear. And there will plenty filling all those hatches.
Now for some innovation. Lift the rear sunpad behind the lounge and you’ll find a padded headrest that hinges back outboard. You can use this to extend the width of the sunpad, taking it across the transom door, and you can relocate the extension to create an angled headrest. Voila – instant daybed. Cool.
Aft is a huge standard-issue integrated boarding platform with wet locker, swim ladder, aforesaid optional handheld shower plumbed to a generous 41lt freshwater supply, popup mooring cleats and ski-tow eye. The transom door, which is a tad low for my liking, is near a subfloor hatch containing a battery – we trust it’s waterproof – and a bracket for stowing your stern anchor. All set for some serious beachside fun.
There are drinkholders in quasi side pockets, a concealed garbage bin, removable cooler for the picnic ashore, and a moulded sub-lounge compartment, which could double as an icebox. The in-dash storage locker ahead of the co-pilot isn’t plumbed, but the subfloor wakeboard/ski locker is cavernous, adding to what is a storage-rich boat by any measure. The 2200 is going to love those long hot summer days of doing watersports, beachside frolicking and lunches with a crowd.

SPORTY SPICE
As usual, Regal has gotten the ergonomics right at the helm, where the adjustable bolster seat proved comfortable while keeping me contained in the tighter boat-test-necessary turns. The dash had a full spread of Faria engine gauges including depthsounder and a neat spread of rocker switches. The stereo controls on the wooden wheel are a clever touch.
As touched on, the lightly laden boat would have benefited from a decent load, which is nice to know if you like social boating. As it was, the 2200 is fast and flighty with a powerful 300hp petrol V8 MerCruiser and grippy counter-rotating propeller on the Bravo III sterndrive leg.
With full leg-in trim, the boat planed at 2000rpm and 9.5 to 10.5kts, levelling off for a low-speed cruise of 18.8 to 19.5kts at 2500rpm. At 3000rpm it cruised at 24.5kts with nominal trim, travelling even sweeter at a fast family cruise of 30.5kts at 3750rpm, where it sounded like it was in the groove.
The 2200 Bowrider became somewhat livelier at 4000rpm and 33.5kts and 4500rpm and 38.5kts. At wide open throttle of 5200rpm the boat did 46.5kts, which is in keeping with the current crop of sports-orientated bowriders. Throttle down, we escaped the bitter winter downpour and put the boat back in its floating dock. But even at rest it looked like a fast getaway machine, its edgy lines in place of soft curves suggesting a purposeful bowrider. Matching shades and sideburns extra.

WHAT WE LIKED
High-volume, accommodating boat
Lots of seating and a great finish
Broad beam and high sides make for a stable and safe open-water family chariot
Bravo III and V8 give sports performance, hauling power for wakeboarding and responsive steering even when reversing
Regal is a well-known and established badge Down Under
Lots of innovations

NOT SO MUCH
Boat porpoised across bumpy water due to its big powerplant and very little weight
Contemporary styling will date
Maxi-trailerable rig will require a maxi tow vehicle.
Uneconomical V8 petrol motor
Upholstery will need a lot of maintenance
Transom door was a tad low

 

Specifications: Regal 2200

HOW MUCH?
Price as tested: $74,995 w/ MerCruiser 300hp 350 MAG MPI petrol inboard, options, safety gear and registrations. Note: trailer extra $8,500.
Options fitted: Hull colour, adjustable helm seat, anchor gear, auto fire fighting system, docking lights, mahogany wheel with stereo remote, transom-mounted stereo remote, transom til switch, transom shower, watersports tower with wakeboarding racks, Raymarine VHF radio.

GENERAL
Material: GRP with fully moulded cockpit liner.
Length overall: 6.7m
Beam: 2.5m
Deadrise: 20 degrees
Weight: Around 1,678kg (dry w/base motor), 2500kg on road

CAPACITIES
Berths: on deck
Fuel capacity: 204lt
Passengers: 10
Water capacity: 41lt
Rec/max HP: 300
Rec/min HP: 250

ENGINE
Make/model: MerCruiser 350 MAG MPI
Type: Multipoint injected V8 petrol inboard motor
Weight: 460kg
Rated HP: 300hp
Displacement: 5.8lt
Drive: Bravo III sterndrive
Propeller: Counter-rotating

SUPPLIED BY
Chapman Marine Sales,
Birkenhead Point Marina, NSW.
Phone: (02) 9719 8188.
Web: www.regalboats.com

Origianlyl published in TrailerBoat #207

 


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