Regal's 5260 is a big express cruiser that offers a single-level cockpit, unparalleled engine room access, a hardtop and three-sided glass enclosure, a dinghy garage, standing headroom belowdecks, and your choice of two cockpit arrangements, four cabin layouts, and numerous decorating enhancements. Powered by Volvo Penta's IPS tractor drives, it sips fuel and offers the ease of joystick docking.
Because of all the customization possible, dealers don't stock it. Instead, you order the boat as you want it. Delivery is then made to your dealer. These models are sold out well into the 2010 model year, and the price stated is for a 2009 model year boat. Also note that the 5260's unique design affords good "flow" through its single-level cockpit, a huge aft master cabin, great engine access, and ingenious dinghy stowage. But this comes at a price. The boat's layout assumes that you'll always be at a floating dock and, thus, able to use the platform to board. There's no convenient way to step directly into the cockpit from a fixed dock.
But as I've always said, no boat is perfect, and I found much more to recommend the 5260 than not. Its mechanical and electrical rigging are tops. Attention to detail is paid at even the smallest level of fixtures and fittings. And Regal went out of its way selecting systems and equipment to enhance the cruising experience.
This is the Life
To appreciate the single-level cockpit, which resides under the protection of a hardtop and solid glass side windows (those on my tester opened, a $435 option), load up the crew and head out for an evening's jaunt. Everyone has a great view of where you're going, where you've been, and what's passing abeam. No one has to stand or move around as you point out some celebrity's home, a lighthouse, or a pod of dolphin. All of this takes place in climate-controlled, rain-proof comfort.
At the helm, a pair of swanky, adjustable Ultraleather captain's chairs offer long-haul comfort, aided by stainless-steel footrests and bicolor lighting for night passages. Grab the controls and take charge of the twin 435-bhp engines that are purring under the deck. (You can't hear or feel them, but trust me, they're there.) The Volvo Penta IPS 600 tractor drives powering the 17-ton 5260 deliver excellent performance. It's a testament to the efficiency of counter-rotating propellers, which provide huge blade area in a small diameter, delivering thrust through the flat shaft angle of the low-drag IPS drives. The 5260 reaches its top speed of 35 mph quickly while still offering a torquey, confident feel at lower throttle settings. It likes a little tab, but visibility from the helm is excellent. I found the sweet spot at 3100 rpm (26 mph). At that speed, my tester moved fast enough to satisfy most cruisers and burned just 34 gph. It turns on a dime underway, as I proved by cutting U-turns in a channel just a little wider than the boat's LOA.
None of this surprised me, as over the years I've yet to test a Regal that didn't run on a fine-tuned bottom. But there's something special behind the 5260's performance: what Regal calls OPS, or Optimal Performance System, which is a ballast box installed along the keel aft that's shaped to the hull and open at its aft end. At rest, this section of hull fills with water, keeping the bow up by about 2 degrees. As you accelerate onto plane, the box empties and the boat trims itself (and within the normal range of inclination). The OPS moves the 5260's longitudinal center of gravity (LCG) forward of what is normal, without the boat trimming down by the bow when at rest. Regal claims the design works better with IPS and provides a faster no-wake speed. You can see its effect. Throttle down to idle from planing, and the bow will drop. A moment later, the ballast box fills and the bow rises about 2 degrees.