The boat's striking black hull, with its red stripe and white topsides, turned plenty of heads as we cruised down towards the Heads at 30mph.
Issue: January 2005
I have lost count of the number of Regal boats the team has tested in the past 10 years. But one thing I can say about them all is during each test the thing that really stood out was the consistently good build quality of these boats. With a strong international presence and a following in more than 40 countries, Regal has won numerous accolades including the US President's E Certificate for Export and Exporter of the Year award. Regal is renowned around the world for styling, performance and luxury and this is due to the pride and hard work of the company's founders the Florida-based Kuck family.
Today, two generations of the Kuck family are actively involved in the day-to-day operation and management of Regal Boats. And they are extremely proud of the family business they have built over the years and the long-term relationship they have fostered with Regal boat owners. Like Regal boat owners, Regal's employees are also treated like they are part of the family. More than 40 key personnel have been with the company more than 20 years. So, even owners of older
Regal boats can talk to someone who knows "their" boat inside out. Regal boats also represent pretty good value for money, because the company manages to run the show debt-free and its products are priced to reflect the absence of a debt-servicing fee. This allows it to add more standard features to its boats and still stay competitive with companies that offer less. This is probably one of the reasons why Regal boats also continue to hold their resale value. Regal is a saltwater boat builder and its mindset is altogether different from a freshwater builder.
A boat destined to spend its life in a harsh and corrosive environment is required to be built to a tougher standard. Regal uses heavy-gauge corrosion resistant stainless steel and fabrics that are made to last the long run and maintain their strength and appearance under the harsh tropical sun and in a caustic saltwater environment. Plus, these boats are of a heavier construction than most other brands and the hull designs are definitely seaworthy. There is no denying Regal hulls are strong.
The company is so confident of its hulls build strength that it backs them up with a lifetime warranty. Regal also mould in its colour gelcoat graphics, so that they can't fade, scuff, crack, or peel, as the graphics tape used by some other builders eventually will. It also uses fog-free backlit Faria gauges. These top-of-the- line gauges are hermetically sealed to keep out moisture and are designed never to fog up or collect moisture. But on the day we put the Regal Commodore 3060 Express Cruiser through her paces out on Sydney Harbour there was no way these gauges were going to fog up.
The boat's striking black hull, with its red stripe and white topsides, turned plenty of heads as we cruised down towards the Heads at 30mph. It was while we were cruising around that Mike Neal, from Chapman Marine, made what I considered at the time to be a curious comment. "The Targa arch is swept back, not only because it is more aesthetically pleasing, but it's also more functional and safer." When you think about it, there was something in what he was saying. Many of today's cruisers have arches that slant forward, which some say interrupts the natural flow of a boat's profile. And in many instances these arches block the driver's vision, especially during tight turns.
Plus, they only offer support for a small amount of canvas above the forward cockpit area, leaving the aft cockpit exposed to the sun. But on the Regal 3060 Express Cruiser the arch slants backwards for a more flowing profile and it doesn't block the driver's side vision. Yes, what he had said made sense, but it was just something that I hadn't thought about in the past. The 3060 utilises cockpit forward seating. The main seating group is located adjacent to the helm, not to the rear of the cockpit. Everyone rides up front with the skipper and shares the helm station view.
The helm bolster seat can also swivel to face the group, so the skipper can get in on the conversation. Then, with a simple adjustment the cockpit table slides into an ideal position between the group and the helm. There is also a rear lounge for other passengers, but, because it folds down, it leaves room in the aft cockpit for a spot of fishing. Which is just one of the reasons this boat makes such a top family weekender. There's also no shortage of storage in the main and aft cockpits. You can wash your hands at the sink unit; then, grab a cold "Crownie" from the bar fridge.
With all this going on, it's probably a good time for the kids to go for a swim under Dad's watchful eye. Then, when they come back onboard covered in salt and sand they can stand on the swim platform and be washed down with the handheld shower. Moving forward to the helm station, the dash features full instrumentation for the single MerCruiser V8 engine set in a woodgrain panel. The tilt-adjustable sport steering wheel is also made from wood. This boat is fitted with an anchor windlass, which negates most reasons for anyone to climb the steps in the dash and walk through the split windscreen out to the bow.
But there is a sunpad on the foredeck, so those wishing to grab a few rays will probably want to go forward. Below decks the main cabin is stylish, opulent and bathed in natural light, which beams in through two large windows in the front of the saloon roof and the side portholes. The forward vee-berth has an extended lounge on the starboard side and is upholstered in fine leather. A foldout table is positioned in the middle of the vee-berth. This also acts as the support for the infill cushion that converts the vee-berth into a double bed. There's a fully functional galley to port and compact shower and toilet to starboard.
The mid-cabin in many 30ft express cruisers are child-size only, but the 3060 features a double bed, plenty of storage and an opening screened porthole for ventilation. However, the roof above the "leg end" of the bed is a bit low, but this is overcome by the ample room above the occupant's heads, albeit sitting room only. Out on the water the 3060 showed she had a spirited heart with the 5lt MerCruiser MPI and running dual props through a Bravo III leg, hitting a top speed of 40mph at WOT. The 3060 had plenty of fl are in her bow and an extremely sharp bow entry. This cuts through the chop and swells cleanly and delivers a soft, dry ride.
Also, because of the thickness of her hand-laid hull, running noise was kept to a minimum. Even at full throttle it was possible to hold a normal conversation, and be heard, without raising your voice. Tight turns and figure of eights didn't faze this hull, although it did lay over quite hard. This might be a bit off putting to a passenger not prepared for the sensation, but I am sure they'd grow use to it quickly and start "yippy I yaying" with the kids.
The hull also showed no signs of tail slippage. All in all, the Regal 3060 Express Cruiser is a well-built and beautifully finished family cruiser. It's a great boat for a family of four, or two couples, to overnight on with enough performance from that 5lt V8 to keep the rev heads more than happy. There's also plenty of entertaining room both above and below decks. Plus, items normally fitted as options on many other brand boats such as spotlight, fly screens, bar fridge, waste water monitor and trim tabs etc. come as standard on the 3060.
And the good news is that it will only cost you $215,000 to park one of these top boats at the marina, which represents pretty good value for money for an imported 30-footer.
Words by Ian Macrae