|Beam||15 ft., 4 in.|
|Draft||(w/heavy load) 46 in|
|Engines||Twin Volvo IPS 600 (435 hp each) diesels|
|Base Price||$869,000 (pre-production discount) or $1,268,333 on delivery|
|- Power sunroof
- removable carpeting
- Fusion stereo system
- teak table
- Garmin 7212 chartplotter and VHF radio
- 26-inch flat-screen TV w/Bose home entertainment
- high-low dining table
- cherry cabinetry
- full-size refrigerator
- teak head compartment flooring
- private shower in master head and more
|- Rigid tender w/outboard, high-gloss or satin-finish cherry or walnut cabinetry
- wood or other choice for salon and stateroom flooring
- second Garmin 7212 chart plotter
- KVH satellite TV
- colored hull
- trash compactor
- electric grill
- foredeck chaise lounge and more
|Regal Marine, Orlando, Fla.; (407) 851-4360; regalboats.com|
|West Coast Dealer|
|- Newport Boats, Newport Beach, Calif.
(949) 646-8888, newportboats.com
- River City Boat Sales, Aurora, Ore.
- Reed’s Marine, Manson, Wash.
- Coming soon: Larson Powersports Northwest
Posted: August 1, 2012 | Boat Type: Motoryacht
Regal’s turnkey flagship delivers roominess, comfort and performance along with a huge discounOften when you take delivery of a yacht, you don’t know who will be showing you the ins and outs. It could be a salesman who hasn’t had much time aboard or a crusty skipper who brusquely briefs you like a bungee-jump operator before shoving you off the platform on the count of two. When you take delivery of a Regal 52 Sport Coupe, no matter where your homeport is, you get Frank Stoeber, a captain who has enough miles on this model to stretch from our test site at Cape Canaveral on the east coast of Florida to San Diego and back again … and back again … and back one more time. He often sleeps aboard, like he did the night before our sea trial, so he’s seen and experienced just about everything this model can offer. So bring a fresh notebook and at least two pens; carpal tunnel be damned.
For a company that builds a lot of smaller boats, such as the 19 Sport, Regal also knows how to build bigger ones — something that doesn’t always translate. To pull it off, they enlisted the aid of naval architect Donald Blount, of Donald L. Blount and Associates, who has vast experience designing high-performance vessels up to 85 meters, so a 53-footer is well within his wheelhouse. Blount was the first to design a vessel especially for the Volvo IPS system, so if anyone can successfully integrate the alien pod drives with the forward-facing dual props that our vessel is equipped with, it’s him.
Although outwardly the 52 Sport Coupe hasn’t appeared to change much since its debut as the 5260 in 2007, it’s been a major beneficiary of recent technological advances in creature comforts such as the killer Fusion 700 stereo, along with twin Bose Lifestyle systems for onboard entertainment. But the real advance is how it’s now being built.
The original incarnation was built using the time-honored technique of skilled workers hand laying the hull for much of its structure. The 2012 version is entirely built using state-of-the-art resin infusion. Achieving a 40-percent-fiberglass/60-percent-resin content ratio is considered good form while hand laying a hull (Regal managed to achieve 50/50 parity). The resin-infusion technique uses vacuum bags to force the resin into the fiberglass, much like your Food Saver at home compresses marinade into your pork tenderloin. With this technique, the resin-to-glass ratio reaches 35/65, for greater strength and reduced weight. The hardtop alone dropped from 400 pounds to 90. The new technique pared 1,800 pounds from the original hull while shifting the center of gravity lower for better seakeeping. As evidenced during our sea trial, the hull is as solid feeling as anything I’ve driven before.
Stepping aboard via the swim platform — which is nautily clad in teak inlay, a $6,830 option — is your best boarding option, since would-be pirates don’t have a boarding (gang) plank to walk, which means you’ll be looking for waterfront restaurants and marinas that have floating docks. Several items that put the 52 SC at the head of its class are in the stern, starting with the tender trunk, which holds an 8.5-foot Rigid dinghy ($9,695 w/outboard) made by the folks who build Frigid Rigid coolers. It’s very boat-like, with more interior space than an inflatable, and boasts a superior ride. A launch system is available for $1,835.
Although there’s a day hatch to access the engine compartment, we raise the electronically actuated stern hatch to reveal a working space claustrophobics will love. The Volvo 600 IPS engines are actually compact 5.5L, six-cylinder diesels that produce 435 hp apiece, but they are named 600s because they approximate that horsepower thanks to the pod drives that are parallel to the hull and don’t vector away thrust like conventional inboards. The engines are mounted farther aft, which frees up interior space for features such as the full-beam amidships berth, a rarity in this class. The gelcoated engine room is thoughtfully laid out, with all items that need servicing, such as the 12 kw Westerbeke generator, within easy reach. You can even circumnavigate the engines for easy maintenance.
Regal solved the problem of engine noise by launching a multipronged attack on different frequencies. There are 2 inches of sound-deadening WhisperWall between the engines and the surrounding living spaces, and it does a remarkably effective job. At idle I measured only 63 decibels in the adjoining amidships berth. Because of the extremely short drive shafts, there is none of the strum and thrum vibration often felt with straight inboards.
Bringing the Outside Indoors
Every feature on this boat has been carefully selected, such as the aft cockpit enclosure doors designed by Taylor Made. This system features Harkin tracks that can be adjusted up and down to compensate for the inevitable settling that occurs, which can make sliding doors a royal pain. A wall of glass surrounds you, including the massive windshield, making you and your guests at one with nature. The theme of the 52 Sport Coupe is “taking control of your environment,” and if you want to keep the heat and humidity out, shut the windows and doors, crank up the 36,000 BTU A/C unit upstairs and chill out. If you want some fresh air, open the stern enclosure and press the rocker switch at the helm to open the standard sunroof.
Heading belowdecks can feel like entering a cave on some boats, but seven huge windows in the 52 SC’s main salon and four in its amidships master create a view that is positively panoramic. Bomar hatches provide ample sky lighting. While Corian is the standard countertop material, you can now get granite that’s cored with a lightweight honeycomb material, so you don’t have a Stonehenge-like monolith making you list to port.
The stealth galley includes a full-size refrigerator that’s paneled like the cabinetry and a two-burner stove that’s hidden beneath a granite topper. Twin stand-up showers are provided, with the amidships berth getting an en suite unit that’s separate from the head. Regal gives you the option of four layouts, in addition to the standard configuration of twin master plus convertible salon settee. If more sleeping accommodations are needed, you can add crew quarters adjacent to the amidships master (which alters the suite) and/or add another berth up front for family togetherness.
Performance and Economy
Anxious to get rolling, we settle into the dual Commander helm seats, which are wide enough to handle all-you-can-eat-buffet-loving Americans. The impressive helm array includes twin Garmin 7212 chartplotters (one is standard), which Regal designers feel are the most intuitive electronics displays on the market. Like most places in America, we have to navigate a long no-wake zone before we can jam the throttles, and one of the things the Regal 52 does best is go fast without any appreciable wake. Credit the OceanTrac hull design, which incorporates a clever system to compensate for the aft-centric placement of the IPS diesels by moving the longitudinal center of gravity forward.But Blount and Associates didn’t want the bow to plow, so they added the Optimum Performance System (OPS). This passive system is basically an 80-gallon compartment that allows seawater to fill it at speeds less than 5 mph, which also reduces lateral tenderness. But as we accelerate, the water rushes out and helps the 52 Sport Coupe rise on plane with nonexistent stern squat. Running so level maximizes the effectiveness of the IPS pod drives.
Acceleration is swift, and we reach 25 knots in just 16 seconds. Our top speed of 31.1 knots isn’t far behind as the Volvos hit 3630 rpm. It’s hard to believe the 53-foot-long, 34,400-pound Regal with a 15-foot, 4-inch beam gets this much sportiness out of only 870 hp. Most yachts in this class with conventional running gear are packing 1,200 to 1,500 hp to get the same effect. One of its handiest tricks is its ability to stay on plane at only 11 knots with the use of trim tabs. What’s even more amazing is the linear fuel economy. After we got on plane, no matter what speed we were running, our mileage seemed to remain steady at 0.8 statute mpg, which is outstanding. So no more plodding along to save a few bucks.
The 52 SC’s cornering ability is impressive, with the pods reacting quickly to the driver’s input at the wheel. Dodging a crab pot requires just a flick of the wrist, and because the boat turns so quickly, it has a built-in safety feature: a progressively hard feel to the wheel as a warning not to overcook it and toss your guests around like the crew of the Enterprise during a Klingon attack. In some critical situations, the IPS pods have a huge advantage, such as when entering an inlet and encountering a standing man (a wave that stays stationary). Conventional inboards can suffer “rudder stall,” which leads to a loss of control, but with pods, the thrust is directional, so that doesn’t happen. Most people already know about the maneuverability provided by the IPS joystick control, which makes docking child’s play.
Regal offers a unique buying experience by bringing prospective buyers to its Orlando “campus” (it doesn’t hurt that Disney World is there) to check out the product and work on customizing the order. They cut a lot of the legwork out of equipping it for cruising by including an anchor, chain and rode as well as pillows, sheets, and even dishes and silverware. Then, if a sale is made, the boat is delivered to your dealer, and the dealer makes a set profit on the deal. Delivery has ranged from five months to two years, but if you pay the pre-production price, you’re entitled to a huge discount of $399,333, dropping the base price to $869,000. You don’t even need a coupon.
Posted By: On: 8/11/2012
Title: Impressive MotorYacht
It's nice to see the quality and pride that this privately, and family owned company puts into their products. I have yet to meet a Regal owner of any size and year that didn't have great loyalty to their purchase and the Regal brand.
Thanks for a well written article, and the humorous style softens the technical details.