Regal 44 Sport Coupe

The 44 Sport Coupe combines the best of European style with American craftsmanship.

Regal’s 44 Sport Coupe incorporates the builder’s hallmark features — a wide, flat foredeck for ease of handling lines, fastidious rigging, compartmentalized stowage for better organization and some sought-after design elements in today’s cruiser market. There’s a coupe-topped helm deck, a single-level cockpit and the quiet, efficient-running maneuverability of pod power. Built to order, you get to pick your colors and patterns, your ’tops and your fabrics — and if you’re ready as of reading this, you can shave $180,000 off the retail price thanks to preproduction pricing.

The 44 SC is a luxurious express. My tester’s cabin was sheathed in real cherry cabinetry, with full overlay doors, positive locking latches and a sweet-looking radius on all the corners. There’s both direct and indirect lighting wired to threeway switches at the berths and cabin entries, so you don’t have to rise from bed to turn them off. Natural light floods in through six opening ports, two port lights and a trifecta of deck hatches.

The bull-nosed Corian counter in the galley provides the beautiful benefits of faux stone. The two-burner stove hides beneath a precisionfit sliding lid to increase space, and Regal rigged a switch that automatically kills power to the stove when you put the cover in place. Few galleys offer the practical convenience of the exhaust fan I discovered here.

There are two heads aboard the 44 SC, and both are fitted with teak sole grates, shower seats and water-saving vacuum-flush toilets. In the master head, you’ll shower in an acrylic stall and check your ensemble in the fulllength mirror. The cabinets ringing the master berth offer neater stowage than the common shelf. The guest head’s vessel sink and vanity are in the aft cabin entry, while the shower and throne are combined behind a wood door. As I saw aboard Cruisers Yachts 420 Sports Coupe ($656,730 powered like my test boat, October 2008), this arrangement allows two people to use the head and vanity simultaneously. The Cruisers Yachts’ measures 43' by 13'6" and comes with a 13.5-kilowatt generator, compared with the 9-kilowatt genny aboard the Regal.

Topside, the 44 SC’s singlelevel cockpit eases pedestrian flow compared with boats that have a step up to the helm deck, like the Cruisers Yachts or the Sea Ray 43 Sundancer ($883,905, with twin 425 hp Cummins MerCruiser Zeus pod drives, March 2009). the Sea Ray taps out at 47'3" by 14' and carries 50 gallons more fuel.

And what an entry. Regal’s rendition of the morphing, multipurpose aft lounge is unique. You can enter the cockpit from port side, starboard or both, thanks to ingenious filler pieces. If guests are dining aft, put both fillers in and create a huge lounge served by a table. When a snooze is in order, drop the backrest to create a sun lounge. Want to eyeball the kids while they swim? The backrest flips forward so you can sit and face aft. The arrangement combines the virtues of the American aft lounge and the European sun island with no drawbacks that I could discern.

Forward, the helm deck is surrounded by a three-sided, solid-glass enclosure. (no canvas! Yay!) reverse-cycle heat and AC provide comfort in all weather. The full width of this top slides aft. Do so, open the split windshield, and you can enjoy the sun and breeze. The wet bar is here, complete with sink and optional grill. Above its fiddled counter is an optional TV that flips out on demand. It’s a great feature, though headroom over the wet bar is decreased enough that I bumped my noggin. Regal engineers are working on a solution.

Many coupe tops impede visibility aft and abeam while running, but that’s not the case aboard the 44 SC. You’ll easily spy wake-jumpers and those passing close aboard. I thought the compass should be higher, to make reading the card easier, and Regal says it’ll add a pad. I found twin diesel IPS 500s a wonderful mate to the 44 SC. It gets up quick, delivering power evenly throughout the rpm range, and provides the spirited handling and precise maneuverability for which IPS is renowned. Regal’s weight-management program — the cored galley counter and the use of nonlead acoustic insulation being examples — help it achieve the performance I experienced.

Enjoying propulsive power is one thing, maintaining it is another. Aboard the 44 SC, the transom entry to the engine room offers the best access in its class. Though I spied a harness that lacked chafe protection passing through the bulkhead — a glitch Regal says won’t mar production models — the rest of the rigging was top-notch. Metal fixtures are bonded, wiring is shrink-sealed and everything is labeled. There was not one common service point I found tough to get to. Like the rest of the 44 SC, the engine room smacks of the experience of people who actually go boating.

Contact: 800-877-3425, www.regalboats.com