Southern Boat and Royal Boats Bahamas Tour

A royal crossing

A trip to the Bahamas was the perfect way for Regal Boats to showcase its latest models.

When Regal Marine Industries considered where to do a photo shoot to showcase their latest models, it didn’t take long to decide on a location that would ignite all the senses for their new LX36 dual console outboard and the new 38 FXO yacht – the Bahamas. The colors of the water, the puffy cloud formations, the pastel houses, the isolated beaches, the limestone formations and the caves, all make this archipelago the perfect place, one that depicts the lifestyle and the beauty of the new designs by Regal.

Powered by twin Yamaha 425 V8 5.6L XTO Offshore outboards on the LX36 and triple Yamaha 300 V6 4.2L Offshores on the 38 FXO, the Palm Beach crossing in the Bahamas was a great opportunity to see how the boats performed in real time .

Lose the horizon

Any crossing is an adventure, so it is essential to be prepared: working communications equipment (preferably with GPS capability), navigation maps and screens, safety equipment and engine spares as well as plenty of water and of food. Don’t forget to check the weather, winds and tide – a northerly wind on the Gulf Stream will make you wish you had left the dock.

Luckily it was a nice day for a crossing with winds around 10 to 15 mph from the east-southeast which produced a little chop on two to four foot swells. Regal’s new 38 FXO sails comfortably through this sea at around 25 mph, and the 36 easily keeps up.

“The first thing we care about is ‘take it easy,'” Jake Kuck, vice president of North American sales and marketing, says of the hull design. “The hull has a forty-five degree entry that flattens out to seventeen degrees aft; this variable deadrise gives you a smooth ride that lets it devour the waves.

Even with occasional steep waves, the overall conditions allowed both boats to power up within 30 seconds.

“The hull is optimized for power,” adds Jeff Littlefield, Regal’s marketing manager. “While the LS36 has the same layout forward of the swim platform, the LX36 benefits from more storage without the Volvo sterndrive engines. What is unique about Regal is that while these boats look very similar, they don’t just slam outboards or sterndrives on the same hull, each hull is specifically designed to optimize the power used for the best possible ride.

Old Bahama Bay Resort and Marina

As you approach the northern tip of Grand Bahama, look for the water tower that identifies West End. Be aware that there is a stronger current (and more chop) caused by the steep shallow depth of the ocean floor as you approach Bahama Bank.

The entrance to Old Bahama Bay Resort & Yacht Harbor (oldbahamabayresorts.com) is marked with two piers; the port pier has a 30ft weather watchtower. The full-service marina not only has high-octane gasoline and diesel with 63 berths, it also has an on-site customs and immigration office.

Accommodation at Old Bahama Bay has the quintessential Bahamian look: well-appointed West Indian colonial-style rooms with deluxe amenities in pastel-colored buildings and manicured grounds. The complex is located between the marina and a fine sandy beach lined with palm trees. An infinity pool with bar along the beach is the centerpiece of the resort’s activities, which include kayaks, paddleboards, bikes, and more. The Marina Restaurant and Bar serves breakfast, lunch and dinner…and sunsets.

Through the Bank

Puffy clouds dotted the sky and the sandy colors of the shallow shore kept most eyes on the depth gauge as the boats headed for Abaco. The clear waters made depths of 10 feet feel like three feet.

Islands sometimes create their own weather patterns, and it was no surprise to see towering cumulus clouds forming on our way with curtains of rain below. It was the perfect time to really look at the interior layout of boats and see the benefits of open layouts.

A big advantage of the LX36 coupe style and 38 FXO main deck is protection from the elements. Rain or shine, the captain and his guests can stay sheltered from the weather. When a storm approached, switching from the 38’s high to low bar was simple: put it in neutral, drop below, press the station control button and take the helm.

The closed cabin is also an advantage in the north as it extends the sailing season. Air conditioning and heating provide comfort at any time of the year.

When it’s time to let the outdoors in, the LX36 opens up from bow to stern with a pass-through windshield and full-width retractable hardtop. Besides the opening of the saloon and galley onto the cockpit of the 38 FXO, one of the best features is the flybridge. Nothing beats the warmth of the sun, fresh air and a nice breeze, all with a 360 degree view. A bimini top will provide shade if the heat from the sun is too strong. For the ultimate in relaxation, the bow of the 38 has a huge sundeck to enjoy any perfect moment.

Places to see

There are many places to visit and stop for a swim along the way to Abaco Beach Resort. There’s a sunken twin-engine plane just off the runway at Spanish Cay. Place the boat near the end of the runway within 100 feet of shore at the end of a private dock. You can anchor close enough to snorkel from the swim platform. The top of the plane is about five and a half feet below the surface.

A beautiful half moon beach on Nunjack Cay with a good anchorage was a great stop for lunch of grilled fajitas. This is where the saloon, galley and cockpit of both boats really shine.

Brandon Ferris of Southern Boating cooks fajitas on the 38FXO

Regal’s Midwest Sales Manager, Lysle Spangler, and Brandon Ferris, South Pleasure‘s marketing manager, has set up a good distribution over the counters in the interior galley and cockpit entertainment center of the 38. The aft salon window lowers to bring the two together and with the sliding door open, the salon and aft deck merge into one large entertainment area. Outdoor grill, indoor cooktop, sink, and indoor and outdoor refrigerators provide plenty of space for food prep, cooking, and serving meals, including fajita spread prepared by the boys. Plenty of seating allows guests to enjoy luxurious comfort in a beautiful setting.

Abaco Beach Resort

The last leg of the day took us to Abaco Beach Resort and Boat Harbor Marina (abacobeachresort.com). The station was rebuilt after the devastation of Hurricane Dorian.

The marina can accommodate yachts up to 200 feet in length and offers potable water, low sulfur diesel, single and three phase electricity, 24 hour security, and more. The marina pool at the foot of the docks is a welcome sight for those who’ve spent the day in the sun, and a swim-up bar adds plenty of smiles.

The Pool Bar & Terrace serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner with local flair, including cracked conch and lobster burgers. It is an ideal place to refresh and rejuvenate. You will find fine dining at the Bistro in the main building offering fresh seafood and prime cuts of beef while admiring the view. The main accommodation overlooks a large lawn and beach area and the marina.

The resort and marina are centrally located for island hopping, sport fishing, diving and many other land and water activities.

Rest easy

The LX36 is an exceptional day boat that offers comfort for sunbathing and entertaining. A starboard quarter berth is air-conditioned for naps or storing gear, and a port console opens to reveal a spacious head.

Those on the 38 FXO will find spacious accommodation below with a pedestal queen berth forward and a queen berth aft. Another innovative Regal design feature is the separation of head and shower: a full starboard head and a full port shower.

“You can use both facilities at once,” Kuck explains. “It makes the layout so much more usable if you can’t have multiple headers.”

The LX36 and 38 FXO launched this fall, and both new styles expand Regal’s line of bowriders and yachts. The LX36 is the largest bowrider in the fleet, available with outboard or sterndrive, and the 38 FXO adds a flybridge to the popular 38 XO model, making piloting and cruising that much more fun. Whatever the boat, luxury, innovation and comfort combine to provide the family with a perfect place to spend time on the water…together.

-by Steve Davis

Earnest A. Martinez