Boat Review by: Matt Spencer
There has been a pattern in the Marine Industry the past few years: outboard powered sport boats. More and more manufacturers are tweaking old models or adding new ones to their line up to accommodate the versatility of this power choice. Regal Boats is the latest builder to do so with the introduction of the 23 OBX, their first ever outboard powered boat.
Traditionally known for their high end, luxury cruisers and sporty runabouts, I found it surprising to see the 23 OBX at the Toronto International Boat Show but as I got closer to it, then gave it a thorough walk through, I was sold.
At 23 feet 2 inches with an 8 foot 6 inch beam the 23 OBX is a manageable runabout with a functional floor plan. Now the immediate downfall to having an outboard on the transom is you lose most of the water access, but I promise you, what you benefit from, it far outweighs this small shortcoming. Regal does their best to counteract this with a swim platform that wraps around the outboard and added a bench seat that spans the full width of the boat. Under the center cushion of this rear facing bench seat you will find a dedicated cooler storage. This space is normally where the large I/O would have to sit, but is converted into usable, functional space. Speaking of functionality at first glance it appears that there is no transom walk through because of the full width bench seat but in actuality on the starboard end the set and backrest hinge up and out of the way giving you full access. No cushions to deal with and no annoying snaps, just good old fashioned ingenuity which is what you get with a Regal.
Heading into the cockpit of the 23 OBX I would say the feeling inside is less is more. It’s a very clean and simple design of white vinyls with grey toning and black accents. Of course there are other colour choices for the interior but I was sold on this one. It has a large “U” shaped layout with a walk through where a cushion can fill in. Under the starboard seat is another cooler and across from that in the hinged storage is a massive storage locker.
The co-captain seat is a double wide bench seat that pulls double duty, the backrest folds forward all the way flush with the base to make one large open lounge. Forward of this is the day head that’s tucked into the console. You will have to move the backrest back to its upright position but this is a small step in being able to answer nature’s call without having to return to port.
Across from this is the helm and again it stays with that less is more motif. There is one simple row of rocker switches that flank the steering wheel and this had a flush mounted garmin instrument package. Very cool, very sleek, very Regal.
Moving forward to the bow you will notice that the beam carries well forward on the 23 OBX giving you a bow lounge the size of a 10 person hot tub! This will for sure be a popular spot on the boat and it’s complete with dual hinging cushions for storage and an anchor locker forward. This all sits on Regals famous FASTRAC stepped hull that has incredible performance and handling. I really wish I could get behind the helm to see how the FASTRAC hull reacts to the lighter outboard power but that will have to wait for another day.
If you’re on the fence about outboard power it’s time to pick a side. While Regal wasn’t the first to the party, you know that by them introducing this boat they’re a believer that outboards are here to stay, and I’d bet a donut to a dollar this won’t be the last outboard powered Regal!
|Dry weight:||3,900 lbs||1,769 kg|
|Fuel Capacity:||73 US gals||276 L|
|Base Engine / Drive:||Yamaha Outboard|