Stepping outside, the cockpit is well done too. The best place to start is at the helm, which features an adjustable double-wide captain’s bench that truly has room for two. Grabbing the reins at the helm, I noted that the 28 Express climbed onto plane respectably and easily settled into its optimum cruising speed. Top end was not blistering, but it did exceed 40 mph, fast enough for an express cruiser.
To port of the helm, passengers can sit side-to and face the captain or kick back on the rear-facing recliner and watch the wake. Or keep an eye on the activity aft. Abaft the port lounge there’s a molded-in entertainment center with the obligatory freshwater sink and removable cooler underneath.
My favorite part of the cockpit is what Regal calls the Ultra Lounge, a plush sun pad on the transom that has a four-position backrest, so it serves double duty as either a full tanning bed or additional seating. On a small cruiser, such versatility is a major plus. The optional Power Tower ($7,692) adds sportiness; it’s an arch that can be raised or lowered forward with the push of a button, which helps with bridge clearance, rack storage or highway towing.
Arch or no, one problem recurrent in all pocket cruisers is that their short length and tall height make them susceptible to wind around the dock or the launch ramp. The counterrotating-propeller Duoprop system found in the Volvo Penta sterndrive offset this, and I felt comfortable in tight handling situations. But if you’re not, Regal offers a $3,000 bow thruster option. It will help make docking this boat — or loading it on a trailer — as easy as pie. This type of option shows you can buy a small express cruiser and take it anywhere, be it by land or sea.