When boats or vehicles are from the USA, they are typically bigger, better, faster and loaded with astronomical amounts of fancy gadgets and bling. Let’s face it, they have the population to drive large numbers of sales and, of course, ongoing futuristic development to keep them at the top of their game.
From simple tiller steers through to big brand superyachts, the American boating sector is simply insane. Over the past few years we’ve seen quite the influx of top brand centre consoles easing into Aussie waters. They started around the 28–30ft mark and then a few 34–36’s popped up, with a 42–footer with quad 350hp outboards topping my test charts. So, where does it end? In the States it never will as a few mega-centre consoles, up to 60ft with outboard propulsion are already out there.
This leads me to yet another new American centre console hitting our shores, the Regal 33 SAV (Sports Activity Vessel), distributed by Game & Leisure Boats in Runaway Bay, Queensland. Regal Boats aren’t newcomers to our waters and over the years we’ve tested their stern-drive luxury cruiser range and award-winning bow-riders. I’ve also had the eye-opening privilege of visiting the Regal Factory in the States to see their boat builds from start to finish.
So, what makes this new 33 SAV a conversation piece? Well, it’s our first Regal test with twin outboard propulsion — and a mammoth 600hp of pure Yamaha 4-stroke grunt at that. It’s also one of the more intricate and uniquely designed Regals I’ve tested, and as their Sports Activity Vessel, this Regal most certainly serves as a total multipurpose package. Designed to please all tastes, the 33 SAV will have you day-boating, mellow cruising with the mates, comfortably overnighting, giant striding off the rear decks for a scuba dive, running a spread for game fish and even taking the kids for a bit of skiing or tubing.
Aside from the multipurpose attractions of the 33 SAV, aesthetically this is a sexy boat. It’s a centre console, cruiser and cabriolet style design all-in-one. The sleek combination of sharp and soft lines creates the perfect balance between new looks and older design styles and won’t date over time.
STYLISH AND ERGONOMIC LAYOUT
Creating a balance to suit all sports and tastes within a boat is literally impossible; however, Regal have put in the hard yards in to try to please all. Straight up, I like the numerous standard inclusions in the layout of the 33 SAV — too many to list — but I’ll highlight a few that really appealed.
In the stern, the swim platform wraps around the twin Yamaha 300’s with rigging compactly hidden and unobtrusive. There’s a re-boarding ladder for swimmers and/or divers and entry to the cockpit is via the step at transom door. There’s also a freshwater shower hose, and Fusion stereo control and speakers built into the transom.
The cockpit internal has an interesting design that includes the standard pull/fold-out stern lounge seen on most boats, along with a full starboard side rear facing lounge built into the gunwale, with storage below. Ahead and behind the helm is an entertainment centre which includes a barbeque, sink, slide-out fridge, storage drawers plus waste storage. Above the barbeque and built into the rear of the hardtop there’s a
TV which can also be tapped into the dash screens.
The cockpit is set up for relaxing and entertaining days on the water, but what about fishability? Adding to the multipurpose functionality, Regal have added a decent sized insulated livewell to the transom, flush-mount rod holders to the stern and gunwales, a recessed rod rack to the port gunwale, fresh/raw water washdown plug-in points and a fish hatch with macerator that’s also been designed to take 4 dive cylinders. The large, centre deck hatch houses the neatly rigged gen-set, batteries and plumbing, has provisions for a Seakeeper Gyro system and can be used for storage.
For the offshore big gamefish hunters, the Top Gun Revolution Outriggers mounted to the hardtop are a standard inclusion on the 33 SAV. A side-door added on the port side gunwale can be used as a boarding point, a dive door or, in a fisho’s case, a good spot to drag a monster Yellowfin onto the deck. My only gripe on the fishing side would be the starboard lounge restricting gunwale usage, as well as the kill-tank/hatch space being a bit limited. Regardless, when it comes to multi-purpose, there’s always compromise, and you could simply add a few eskys and personally accessories for the dedicated fishing days.
The centre console or cab of the 33 SAV is another interesting part to the layout as its offset to the starboard side to provide a full walk-through to the bow. I’ve seen this design before and can’t say it really appealed to me, however, in this case Regal have balanced it perfectly to suit the beam and layout of the boat.
At the helm the hardtop has an angled full screen with electrically actuated top vent and the seating includes triple sports seats with flip-up arm rests, footrests and Yeti esky below. The captain’s domain is well thought out, with dual 12” Garmin displays and comfortably accessible controls and switch panels. The air conditioning vents blowing cool air — yes air conditioning vents at the helm — would also make quite the difference on a hot summer’s day. Having no side window protection, the optional canvas/clear enclosure is a must in my opinion.
Most centre console styled boats don’t have provisions for overnighters. In this case the 33 SAV’s high freeboard provides enough room for a drop-down cabin below, comfortably accommodating a family of four — once again adding to the multipurpose functionality of this boat. There’s a decent sized forward double berth, as well as queen sized berth situated mid deck. I liked the inclusion of a full head, including separate shower, vanity and electric flush toilet. There’s plenty of storage, it’s air conditioned, the forward berth also converts to a lounge seat with the flick of a switch, and the elegant trim creates quite the luxury feel.
Up in the bow, wrap-around seating adds to the entertaining and outdoor sociability. There’s more storage below the seats, a drop table in port, recessed drink holders below the coaming, surround Fusion stereo speakers and a large anchor hatch to house the windlass — another nicely trimmed and finished area of the 33 SAV.
I must admit, outboard performance still drills inboard sterndrives, however, the inboards are catching up pretty quick — just not on the weight side as yet. What’s interesting is, we are seeing more and more 30–50ft boats from the States being fitted up with outboard power. Twins, triples and even quads are a common sight, with horsepower on some of the quad rigs pushing right up to 1400.
Outboards certainly have their merits when it comes to being lightweight, having easy access for maintenance and instant high performance. In comparison to some of the big inboard diesels though, you will pay the price when it comes to topping up at the bowser.
Fitted with the recommended twin 300hp Yamaha 4.2L 4-strokes, the 33 SAV’s efficient hull, weighing in at 5330kg, tops out at a healthy average of 40 knots at 5800 RPM, and that’s humming along for 34ft boat. As for economy, any motors being throttled at WOT are always going to send you back to the bowser at a quicker rate. In this case, at flat-stick you are going to chew a healthy 210L/h, but you will get to your destination pretty quick.
Dropping back to civilised speeds, I found the hull to plane fairly quick and the ideal cruise speeds to be between 3800 RPM, 24.1 knots and 87L/h, and 4200 RPM, 29.1 knots and 108L/h — depending on offshore conditions. Considering the size and weight that’s pretty good going on the economy side. Pulling it back down to simulated troll/mellow cruise speeds, you would be looking at 1500 RPM producing a speed of 8.8 knots and mere 15.9L/h.
A few features of Yamaha’s F300 include low noise factor at revs which was noted on the 33 SAV in the low–mid-range. At WOT you know there’s 600hp there, but it’s still way quieter than yesteryears 2-strokes.
The new technology built into the Yamahas to produce higher performance coupled with better economy is the electronic throttle valve, variable camshaft timing and plasma fused cylinders. A compact in-bank exhaust system, shaft-dampener system prop that reduces gear selection noise and wear, one-touch start-stop for multiple engines, variable trolling control and digital electronic throttle control are other top features that make these motors top of the class and well suited to the larger vessels. I’ve tested a few commercially-run 300s with hours in excess of 5000, and that shows the reliability if serviced regularly and looked after.
For its size, the 33 SAV is an absolute dream to drive. Electronically assisted steering and digital controls significantly add to the smoothness and handling of this vessel, and the optional Seastar Solutions Optimus 360 joystick installed takes operation to another level. Designed for low speed manoeuvring, this system allows you to move your boat forward, back and sideways. Twisting or moving the joystick left or right will have you rotating on a dime, making you look like a seasoned skipper when docking or manoeuvring in tight spots.
Seated or standing at the helm while driving is comfortable, even for those a tad on the short side as there’s a fold-out footrest to add elevation. Operating at speed is again comfortable and simple considering the size and weight of the hull. The 21-degree deadrise adds decent stability both at rest and underway, along with the sharp entry creating a soft ride in the swell and chop at cruise speeds when offshore.
We did an offshore run and put the 33 SAV through its paces at all angles to the swell and wind. Although the conditions were relatively flat, you could feel that rough conditions wouldn’t be an issue. Overall, it’s an impressive boat that’s easy to drive, with sporty handling characteristics that still allow you to sit back and relax.
As a multi-purpose 30ft-plus boat, the Regal 33 SAV has a lot to offer and enough onboard to please all. Head out to the islands for a dive, set the autopilot for the shelf to slay tuna, cruise the bays with family and friends or pack the bags for a few comfortable overnighters with the family — the 33 SAV can do it all, and in style at that.
Aside from the sexy aesthetics and styling, the overall finishes are impeccable and having toured their factory in the USA, I can vouch for the quality of build in their entire range. At a tad over $600k for this tricked up 33 SAV with numerous standard and fancy inclusions, its competitively priced and pretty good value for money.
As a potential upgrade or downgrade, the 33 SAV is most certainly worth a look, particularly for those wanting versatility. Check out the Regal 33 SAV on the Game & Leisure Boats website to see the full inclusions and details — there were just too many to list here.
PRICED FROM $618,000
PRICE AS TESTED (demo model special price) $425,000
OPTIONS FITTED Optimus 360 joystick
TYPE Sports Activity Vessel
WEIGHT 5330kg (approximate dry weight)
REC. HP 600hp (twin 300hp)
MAX. HP 700hp (twin 350hp)
WATER fresh 144L, Waste 110L
ENGINE Make/model Yamaha F300UCA
TYPE 24 Valve DOHC with VCT Direct Action 60° - V6
TRANSOM HEIGHT 30.3 inch
GEAR RATIO 1.75:1 (Counter Rotating Prop Available)
Game & Leisure Boats
Factory 1, 147 Bayview Street
Runaway Bay, Queensland
P 07 5577 5811