Regal's 35 Sport Coupe packs a full range of creature comforts into a midsize envelope...

The sport coupe is the new express cruiser. A growing number of midsize boat owners are saying goodbye to radar arches and canvas enclosures as they discover the conveniences of glass-enclosed hardtops, climate controlled helms and power sunroofs.

Regal remains one of the leaders in this trend, and its 42, 46 and 52 Sport Coupes continue to enjoy strong success in the marketplace. For 2011, it introduced a 35 Sport Coupe that breaks new ground for the category by downsizing into a 35-foot package without sacrificing any of the lifestyle features associated with the Sport Coupe model.

Regal is well-suited to this mission, as one of the company's strong suits has always been the ability to make efficient and intelligent use of available spatial resources. Its cruisers deliver maximum living space for a given length and volume and can swallow up a substantial cargo of supplies and accessories, many of which are organized in clever nooks and crannies that complement the larger lockers. This mastery of inner space is particularly evident on the new 35. Within a relatively compact envelope, this boat delivers all of the features expected of a family-style cruiser, including comfortable if not fully private overnight accommodations for up to six and exemplary entertainment potential.

Rather than chop the cabin space into separate staterooms, the designers created an open interior that provides maximum floor space for day use. Bunks and tables fold or stow when not needed, including the forward double berth; the lower third of the mattress is raised by electronic control to convert from a sofa back to a sleeper. A second double berth deploys from the starboard sofa bench, which also holds a removable table. The midcabin is fitted with facing love seats that convert into a double berth or can be fitted with an innerspring mattress that makes this sleeping space the most comfortable and commodious of all.

FLEX SPACE in the cabin allows for easy transitions from seating to sleeping. The compact galley has a place for everything.

When bunks are stowed, the cabin offers nearly 12 linear feet of real estate while a secondary flat screen in the midcabin becomes a separate gaming or entertainment center for the kids. The compact galley is packed with space-saving features and is capable of turning out full meals. Perhaps the best news for tall adults is that the designers didn't scrimp on elbowroom within the head.

In addition to strong sleepover potential, the 35 delivers all the upper-deck amenities expected of a sport coupe. In general, this type of boat is expected to offer a single-level deck forward of the platform, a climate-controlled social area that includes the helmsman in the mix, all adjacent to a seating and dining area farther aft that is often fitted with a wet bar, entertainment system and grill. In keeping with the boat's multiple missions as a cruising, entertainment and water-sports platform, the aft deck can be configured for everything from sunning and swim parties to sunset buffets.

Fitting all these deck features into a 35-foot envelope is no easy trick, but Regal pulls it off thanks to some clever transformations in the seating plan that allows a pair of port-side benches to orient either forward or aft.

Passengers can lounge in the helm area in shaded , air-conditioned comfort or open the full-width sunroof and center windshield for sun and sea breezes. The parallel benches on the port side of the deck have convertible back bolsters which allow either or both to face forward or aft or to face each other over a removable table. This arrangement allows unimpeded access from the platform to the helm while creating a functional social area adjacent to the starboard-side grill and wet bar. Dinner is served on the lido deck.

Another area where the 35 excels is the swim platform, which is more than 3 feet in length. A center -mounted ladder keeps swimmers well away from the drives, and the pop-up cleats are at the aft end of the platform to keep lines from interfering with egress to the dock. Boarding access in general is quite good , as molded transom steps and appropriate handrails allow for step-on access at any point between water level and a dock 4 or 5 feet high.

The deck plan also provides reasonable 360-degree access with nonskid surfaces and secure midthigh rails aiding safe movement along the relatively narrow side decks. The hinged midsection of the forward windshield allows faster and easier bow access, which is reached by way of three sturdy molded steps located adjacent to the helm.

Engine checks are also quite easy, as the transom seating assembly rises on an electric ram to provide gunwale-to-gunwale access to the compartment . There's ample room outboard of the port engine to move forward and sit or kneel when cleaning strainers or accessing various ship's systems. Two substantial cargo lockers are incorporated into the transom assembly.

Poking about in the lockers and recess of any Regal boat usually yields some pleasant surprises, as the company is particularly good at making use of those small areas others might see as wasted space. This is certainly the case with the 35. As a result, there is not only bunk space for up to six crew members but ample storage capacity for all the things they bring aboard.

Running the 35 in a soft 3-foot swell offshore of Palm Beach, Florida, yielded no surprises. I was aboard hull number two, which would remain in company hands for at least 100 hours of offshore testing. It's something Regal does with each of its new models and, undoubtedly, one of the reasons the brand enjoys high customer satisfaction and good resale.

The twin Volvos delivered crisp handling along with better-than-expected fuel efficiency. Boaters accustomed to vintage carbureted gas engines will be pleasantly surprised by the capabilities of the latest generation of catalyzed EFI power plants. My measurements yielded a peak efficiency of 1.3 mpg at a 30 mph cruise speed. Combine that with Volvo's joystick controls and you have a package that's easy to get to the fuel dock and relatively kind to the wallet once you arrive. 

CLICK HERE TO VIEW REGAL BOATS FOR SALE IN CALIFORNIA

This review/article originally appeared in Motorboating Magazine, July 2011 and is written by Pierce Hoover. For more great powerboat reviews, visit their website and subscribe at: https://www.mby.com/subscriptions/motorboat-yachting-subscriptions

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