Saying a boat has attitude could mean two things. It could mean it has some oomph at the helm and feels anything but boring when you push down the throttle. It could also mean that the boat rides true on plane, hitting its sweet spot without any unnerving bow rise and maintaining a sea-kind feel. In the case of the Regal 2800 Bowrider, both definitions apply.
The performance attributes of this large bowrider — or day boat in modern parlance — start with Regal’s signature FasTrac hull design. It’s essentially a stepped hull amidships, which helps to reduce drag from the water flowing aft along the hull while underway. Regal claims the hull leads to 26 percent faster speeds and 30 percent better fuel efficiency. These are the company’s numbers, not ours, but we will say that, after years of testing FasTrac hulls, Regal boats generally achieve comparable speeds with less power, allowing Regal to install smaller engine packages. Take the 2800 Bowrider we tested. Regal outfitted it with a single 380 hp Volvo Penta Duoprop sterndrive. On test day we approached 50 mph, hitting 30 mph in 9.3 seconds. In every hole shot we attempted, we recorded time-to-plane readings of less than 4 seconds. While operating in the 3,500 to 6,000 rpm range, we maintained a fuel burn rate of more than 1.5 mpg, with peak efficiency achieved at 4,500 rpm — 2.01 mpg while cruising at just over 33 mph. With the standard trim tabs, the driver can adjust for the most comfortable ride depending on conditions.
That so many boatbuilders are committed to building large bowriders is a welcome trend over the last several years, as bowriders reflect the way most people use their boats. Unlike pocket cruisers, these are nimble, athletic boats with plenty of open seating to entertain during a day on the water. In eschewing living space belowdecks for a more spacious, open deck plan, Regal matched its boat to its customers’ needs. Other builders have done the same. Take a look at the Cobalt A28 ($143,345 for the base boat with a 380 hp Volvo Penta Duoprop sterndrive), which offers a spacious deck featuring lounges with backrests that convert to multiple positions and layouts. Like the Regal, the Cobalt A28 has a spacious head. Sea Ray’s 280 SLX ($136,691 for the base boat with a 380 hp MerCruiser) also has a convertible layout and a spacious head for changing into bathing suits or answering the call. All three models have an optional hydraulic swim platform that lowers with the push of a button to make it easy to ease into the water or reboard after a tubing session. Regal calls its version the Power Platform, and it flips into the water to serve as a seat or as a step to use for climbing back onto the main extended swim platform — a lot easier to use than a traditional boarding ladder.
The transom features twin double-wide benches that share adjustable backrests with the main cockpit seats just in front of them. The backrests can be positioned to face aft at the swim platform or forward in the cockpit. The seats are split by a transom walk-through along the centerline. You can convert the transom cushions to a sun pad with the centerline insert.
Note that in the main cockpit, the seats are positioned to create a conversation pit, with notches in the corner cushions to create more legroom. Twin cockpit tables lock into seat bases built into either side of the cockpit liner, a welcome change over insole table bases. The captain’s seat at the helm and the matching one in front of the port console are both double-wide with adjustable backrests. Flip them to face aft at anchor and convert the cockpit to a living-room-style conversation pit. The captain can adjust the power-sliding helm seat to his liking also by the push of a button — as you’d find in a car seat. The ergonomic helm features a padded cushion for your throttle arm and a set of sleek Faria gauges inset into the dash, protected from glare by the stylish brow. Our test model featured the optional RegalVue multifunction display, which provides a digital readout of the ship data, plus the chart plotter, and even the standard Fusion UD750 marine stereo.
The bow cockpit also has spacious seating with forward-facing backrests on either console that feature sturdy flip-down armrests. The seating is notched to the starboard side to accommodate seating for the crew. There’s a fill-in insert to create a full lounge. A stainless-steel pedestal mount allows you to deploy a table up front for entertainment.
Regal also has a standard Power Tower, a hydraulic sport arch that raises and lowers with the push of a button. This is invaluable to have for transiting under low bridges, for dry stowage in a “dockominium,” or for trailering the boat — though with a 9-foot-wide beam, you’ll need a special permit to tow it in some states. The Power Tower integrates seamlessly with the 2800’s hull and deck, creating a sleek profile. Evidence of quality construction can be found in the vinylester barrier coat, gelcoat boot stripe, and resin-transfer molded hatches that are finished on both sides. Explore some of the different graphics packages to give the Regal 2800 Bowrider a third way to express attitude. Hey, good things come in threes.