Traits include a smooth ride, little to no spray, and excellent efficiency.
The concept of a deep-V hull seems so simple on the surface, you’d think anyone could build one that rides smoothly. But you’d be dead wrong – in fact, between strake placement, chine design, variable degrees, and a plethora of other factors, it’s darn easy to make a deep-V boat that beats the heck out of you. But, some builders do get it right. And some get it as close to perfect as possible. One such builder is Regulator. I say that after having run every boat in their fleet, including today’s topic matter, the 23 FS.
I tested this boat in a 20-knot wind, including a wide-open throttle dash to 44.1-mph. And I expected it to ride well, because I’ve always found Regulators to be among the top five of the smoothest-running boats for their size. What didn’t I expect? This boat is amazingly dry, too. Even while running through a quartering sea, there was a complete absence of spray. So I tried running down-sea, then beam-to. Still no spray.
Credit for both smoothness and dryness go to a razor-sharp 48-degree entry, that’s assisted by reversed chines that throw water down and away. The negative aspect to such a smooth riding, dry hull design? Stability. Jump up onto a gunwale, and the boat will lean over a bit. Drift in a beam sea, and there’s more rocking and rolling then boats with flatter bottoms usually exhibit. Not necessarily much, but some. Like any hull design, the deep-V does have a trade-off or two. One thing you won’t give on, however, is economy. How many 23’ deep-V boats do you know of that’ll cruise at over 23-mph, while getting 3.7 miles to the gallon? Not many. Or, that will get 2.9 miles to the gallon at 34-mph? Even fewer.
You want warp-speed abilities, so you can beat the fleet to the canyons? No problem - my test boat was rigged with a 225-hp outboard but Yamaha performed tests on this boat with a single 350, and they recorded a cruise at 4500 RPM of 38.5-mph while burning 17.7 gallons per hour (for 2.2 miles to the gallon,) and a top-end of 52.8-mphwhile burning 34.7 gallons per hour (for 1.5 miles to the gallon).
Like other Regulators the 23 FS is a pure fishing boat, through and through. Forward seats close over 125-quart stowage boxes that are insulated so they can double as fishboxes. A pair of 48-quart bait boxes flank the transom. But the real fish hawg is a 695-quart fishbox in the deck, just forward of the console. What’s that hatch in the aft deck all about? That one hides a 25-gallon livewell. In-deck livewells can be a pain to use since you need to stoop and bend every time you need a bait, but remember what this boat is all about – that awesome ride – and it makes sense. 25 gallons of water is 200 pounds of weight, and keeping that weight low and centered is advantageous when you start chopping through rough seas.
What about fit and finish? Hatches are the smooth, sturdy, light RTM variety, gunwale holders are Lee’s, and all hardware is 316-grade stainless steel. That this boat looks good and is built well is beyond debate. Now, consider the hull design, and there really isn’t much left to argue about.