By Pete McDonald
Regulator 28 FS: Bringing the Blue Water Closer
This redesign of the Regulator 26 keeps the deep-water ride and performance while adding cockpit space and advanced amenities.
The twin 300-hp outboards on the transom propelled our Regulator 28 FS at 60 mph through the bay chop, but we felt like we were rolling in a Range Rover down a newly paved stretch of highway. That’s one thing you can always say about a Regulator—it’s smooth.
Hardcore anglers have been attracted to the Lou Codega-designed Regulator hullform since the company built its first boat in 1988. Today the North Carolina company, owned by husband and wife team Owen and Joan Maxwell, produces a lineup of offshore-worthy center consoles from 23 to 32 feet. The 28 is actually a redesign of the original Regulator 26, which some have called the best riding deep-V center console in its class. The Maxwells had Codega extend the running surface, which still has a true deep V tapering to 24 degrees at the transom, and expand the max beam from 8’6” to 9’5”. The outboard mounting bracket extends the LOA to 30 feet.
With the extra interior space, Regulator maximizes its forward seating (where the FS in the name comes from) layout, with two large benches and a casting platform tucked into the bow in a U-shaped configuration. All are molded as one piece as part of the deck liner and structurally sound. Plush but weather-resistant cushions snap into place atop the molded nonslip, providing a family-friendly lounge area for cruising. The padded coaming bolsters that line the inwales around the boat double as a backrest, and the recessed bow rails provide a good hand grab. When it’s time to fish, the cushions snap off and can be stowed in the cavernous finished head in the console. On the forward side of the console, Regulator put padded seating the size of a love seat, complete with a backrest, over the built-in insulated 74-quart cooler.
Stepping down into the head, I tape-measured it as having 6’4” inches of headroom inside, more than suitable for all but the average NBA player. The battery switches are readily accessible on the inside wall, and the pump-out toilet is another good family touch on a fishing boat.
Make no mistake, the primary mission of the 28 FS is to pursue fish. Lest you forget, the giant 272-quart fishbox built into the transom will remind you. Access it through twin hatches finished on both sides, a sign of a quality build you will find on every hatch. You’ll also notice that in the cockpit there are no inwale rodholders. There’s a reason for that: Underneath the in-sole hatch in the bow is a deep storage well with dedicated inserts for six rods. They can be stored out of sight and locked under the hatch, so you can leave them aboard without worry.
Any angler running offshore is going to want electronics, and the 28 FS has plenty of space for a suite. The vertical dash measures 37” x 14 1/2”, so any size flush-mount screen will fit — or you could go with two 13” units. The optional T-top is a molded fiberglass piece and includes an electronics box, typically where people mount their VHF radio. The T-top also has dedicated spots for mounting outriggers and four rodholders. What I really liked from a passenger’s perspective are the stainless-steel grabrails on either side of the helm, and the one that runs behind the leaning post. Everyone along for the ride will have a place to steady themselves in rough seas.
Not that the 28 FS gets kicked around too often. During our sea trial, we couldn’t find a wake big enough to rattle it. On a 52-degree day with a 15-mph southeast wind, we ran the performance numbers in comfort. With two aboard and 100 gallons of fuel, we pushed the boat to 60.5 mph at 5900 rpm, burning 1.1 mpg wide open. At 4200 rpm, we cruised at 43 mph, burning 1.5 mpg. Pulling the throttles back to 3000 rpm, we found an economic zone, hitting 27 mph at 1.9 mpg.
The base boat with twin Yamaha F300s runs around $160,000. Adding some options such as the T-top, outriggers, and 40-gallon livewell will drive up the sticker price. One thing that comes standard on the 28 FS, though, is that great ride.
For more information, visit Regulator Marine.
Pete McDonald writes for Boating, Yachting, and other marine and fishing publications. In the past, he has written for Power & Motoryacht and Salt Water Sportsman, and spent 11 years on staff as a technical editor at Boating. All things considered, at any given moment he would prefer to be fishing.
- Pete McDonald is a contributing editor to Power & Motoryacht. Previously, he spent 11 years on the editorial staff of Boating. He has won multiple writing awards and holds a master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.