Regal 24 FasDeck RX

This deck boat's stepped hull improves efficiency and ride.

The two words I’d use to describe the new Regal 24 FasDeck RX? Tricked out. The “RX” designation means the base 24 FasDeck is equipped with the Power Tower with wakeboard racks and a high-performance stereo system. Even without the tower, the 24 FasDeck is pimped out far more than a typical run-of-the-mill deck boat. But then, Regal does things differently from the typical production deck-boat builder.

It all starts below the waterline with Regal’s FasTrac hull. On all of its bowriders and deck boats, Regal incorporates a full-beam step amidships. I tape-measured the 24 FasDeck’s step at 1½ inches tall. The step forces air underneath the hull, breaking friction with the water, creating lift and improving efficiency. Regal claims a 26 percent gain in speed and a 30 percent gain in fuel economy compared to boats with similar power and displacement. What that means is you can get comparable numbers with less power or run more efficiently with equal power.

A benefit of steps not always talked about is how they improve running attitude. Powered with a 300 hp Volvo Penta GiCDP (the mandatory catalyst on the engine adds $2,575 to the manufacturer’s suggested retail price), the 24 FasDeck had a fantastic three-second hole shot with minimal bow rise — never higher than “four” on our inclinometer measurement — and never squatted, even at minimum planing speed (14 mph at 2,400 rpm). The boat tracked straight and cornered admirably, with no blowouts in tight 30 mph turns. It ate up the manufactured chop we created during our test.

Crownline, another deck-boat builder, uses vented chines and a delta pad to improve performance on its Eclipse 4 ($80,578 with a 300 hp MerCruiser 350 Mag — catalyst — Bravo Three), a 24-foot deck boat that has the option for a tower as well as PerfectPass control and a Sony stereo upgrade. The Chaparral 244 Sunesta Sport ($70,758 with a 300 hp Volvo Penta GiCDP) runs on a more traditional V-hull and can also be tricked out with a tower. The cool thing about the 24 FasDeck RX’s tower is it can be raised and lowered with the push of a button. This means it can be easily retracted to trailer it, to fit it in a boat house or on a covered lift, or to get clearance while transiting under a low bridge.

Regal worked hard to upgrade the interior. Rather than opting for the traditional twin bucket-seat arrangement in the cockpit, Regal opted for what it calls “arena” seating, an L-shape bench that wraps along the port side and the transom. The portside bench has a rear-facing backrest, great for a spotter. At rest the driver can spin the bucket seat around to create a nice conversation pit.

My favorite design element is the “Ultra Lounge” configuration for the sun pad. Figuring out what to do with the engine box has always been a challenge for builders using sterndrive engines. Designers have incorporated the sun pad for years now, but they are not always optimal for lying out, enjoying the view or accessing the water. Regal tackled all three issues with a well-designed system that allows the user to arrange the backrest in six positions — from fully flat to full lounge seating. It works by pulling a lever and moving chocks made of King Starboard to reposition the cushions.

Even with the sun-pad width to accommodate two tanners, the 24 FasDeck still has a dedicated transom walk-through to starboard, so there’s no need to climb over the cushions to go swimming. Regal earns more style points for the Flexiteek-laden extended swim platform that makes a great staging area for boarders and tubers. It also keeps the drive tucked out of sight and harm’s way.

The driver has a lot to appreciate too. The hand-stitched vinyl on the dash is glare-proof gray, so he won’t be blinded while towing boarders or tubers. Our test model had the optional RegalVue multifunction display. It’s an Icon-based touch-screen system, so control of the Fusion stereo, GPS, engine diagnostics, cruise control and added electronics is at your fingertips. To me, the most valuable aspect is the diagnostics page — it links to the engine control module. For issues the boater can address, it provides a written problem-solving technique from the engine diagnostic codes.

There’s more to like, particularly the copious stowage found under the seating. All seats lift on gas-assisted struts, allowing for hands-free loading and unloading, and a couple of the spots are wide and long enough to store skis and wakeboards out of the way. I am never a fan of carpeted stowage on boats, however, and wish Regal would opt for a more mildew-resistant liner. Overall, the 24 FasDeck RX is a boat that boasts innovative features at the helm and in its design, and changes the way you should think about deck boats.