When I tell you that you couldn’t keep boaters off the Regulator 31 during the Miami International Boat Show, I can say that with some authority because, well, I tried. Digital Editor John Turner stood, video camera in hand, on a dock opposite the boat as I channeled my inner Walter Cronkite to shoot a video review:
Hi, I’m Dan Harding and …
“Hey Dave, did you see how deep these livewells are?”
[Deep exhale] Okay, JT, let’s try again. Hi, I’m Dan Harding and I’m standing aboard …
“Should I take my shoes off!?”
[Deeper exhale] John please just keep shooting.
The popularity of the 31 shouldn’t have come as a surprise; this new model falls right between the North Carolina builder’s popular 28 and 34 and boasts many of the prized characteristics of its predecessors. Regulators are built from only five primary molds and substitute a heavy-duty “grillage system” for individual stringers, so construction is more integrated and beefy. Such strength offers reassurance to those who chase big fish in bigger seas, but it also lends itself to an exceptional finish. Take the starboard-side gunwale door, for example; it’s smooth as glass because it’s built into the mold.
There are also a few new tricks employed on this boat. The transom has fold-down seating—no surprise—but there’s also room to fit your boots underneath, allowing you to lock your feet into fighting position in rough seas. It’s a smart design touch that almost makes you feel bad for the fish … almost.
Another salty feature is the use of tension hinges on the overhead electronics box at the helm. It was clearly designed by someone who’s felt the knuckle sting of a slamming door.
Speaking of salty features, this boat should stay exceptionally dry by center console standards, thanks to her handsome Carolina flare paired with a sharp forefoot. Power is twin Yamaha F300 outboards with an optional Helm Master joystick control, an option that, given our experience with the system, that most owners will certainly want to take advantage of. This setup reportedly offers a near 50-knot top end.
Not just a fishing machine, the 31 can easily serve as a family weekender. The head has a civilized amount of space, while also being bright and well ventilated. Forward the boat’s forward seating easily converts to a sunpad that allows you to kick back when on the hook. The dive door with a separate boarding ladder is equally adept at boating giant tuna and swimming youngsters alike. It also allows guests to pour aboard from the dock as our time at the show proved. Throughout the boat, from the cockpit, to the transom door, to the helm and hardtop, the level of fit and finish represents some of the best of today’s center console market.
And, cut. We had our video in the bag. I fought my way back to the dock. Smart design touches plus a proven heritage; the combination might not have been good for video, but I fully understood why the 31 was such a crowd-pleaser. Now, once the company can get those crowds out for a sea trial I have a feeling they’re going to be permanently hooked. —Daniel Harding Jr.
DRAFT: 2’8” (engines down)
DISPL.: 10,500 lb.
FUEL: 300 gal.
WATER: 35 gal.
POWER: 2/300-hp Yamaha F300s
CRUISING SPEED: 30 knots
TOP SPEED: 48 knots