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Southern Boating & Regal Boats Trip to the Bahamas

A Regal Crossing

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

When Regal Marine Industries thought about where to do a photo shoot to introduce its latest models, it didn’t take long to decide on a location that would stir all the senses for its new LX36 dual console outboard and the new 38 FXO yacht—the Bahamas. The water’s colors, the billowing cloud formations, the pastel houses, remote beaches, limestone formations and caves, it all makes this archipelago the perfect place, one that depicts the lifestyle and beauty of Regal’s new designs.

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 crossing from Palm Beach to the Bahamas was a great opportunity to see how the boats performed in real-time conditions.

Losing the Horizon

Any crossing is an adventure, so it’s key to be prepared—working communication equipment (preferably with GPS capability), navigation charts and displays, safety gear, and spare parts for the engine as well as plenty of water and food. Don’t forget to check the weather, winds, and tide—a north wind on the Gulf Stream will make you regret leaving the dock. 

Fortunately, it was a beautiful day for a crossing with winds holding around 10-15 mph from the east-southeast that produced small chop atop two- to four-foot swells. Regal’s new 38 FXO cruises comfortably in that sea at around 25 mph, and the 36 easily kept pace. 

“The number one thing we care about is ‘let’s get a soft ride,’” says Jake Kuck, vice president of North American sales and marketing, about the hull’s design. “The hull has a forty-five-degree entry that flattens out to seventeen degrees in the back; that variable deadrise gives you a soft ride that lets it eat up the waves.” 

Even with the occasional steep wave set, overall conditions allowed for both boats to power along in the low 30s. 

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

Old Bahama Bay Resort & Yacht Harbour

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

The entrance to Old Bahama Bay Resort & Yacht Harbour (oldbahamabayresorts.com) is marked with two jetties; the portside jetty has a 30-foot weather monitoring tower. The full-service marina not only has high-octane gas and diesel with 63 slips, it also has an onsite Customs and Immigration office. 

Old Bahama Bay’s lodging has the quintessential Bahamian look: well-appointed, West Indies colonial-style rooms with luxury amenities within colorful pastel buildings and manicured grounds. The resort sits between the marina and a palm-fringed, powder-sand beach. An infinity pool with bar along the beach is the centerpiece of the resort’s activities, which include kayaks, paddleboards, bicycles, and more. The marina restaurant and bar serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner…and sunsets. 

Across the Bank 

Puffy clouds scattered the sky, and the sandy colors of the shallow bank kept most eyes on the depth gauge as the boats headed toward Abaco. The clear waters made 10-foot depths look like three feet. 

The islands create their own weather patterns at times, and it wasn’t a surprise to see towering cumulus clouds form in our path with curtains of rain beneath. It was a perfect time to really look at the boats’ interior setup and see the advantages of the open layouts. 

One big advantage of the LX36’s coupe style and the 38 FXO’s main deck is the protection from the elements. Rain or shine, the captain and guests can stay out of the weather. As a rainstorm approached, the switch from the upper to lower helm on the 38 was simple: put it in neutral, step below, push the station command button, and take the helm.

The enclosed cabin is also a benefit in the north because it extends the boating season. Air-conditioning and heating provide comfort for any time of the year. 

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

Sights to See 

There are many places to sightsee and stop for a swim along the way to Abaco Beach Resort. There’s a sunken twin-engine plane just off the end of the runway on Spanish Cay. Position the boat near the end of the runway within 100 feet from shore off 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 good anchorage was a great stop for grilled fajita lunch. That’s where the salon, galley, and cockpit on both boats really shine.

Brandon Ferris of Southern Boating cooking up some Fajitas on the 38FXO

Regal’s Midwest sales manager, Lysle Spangler, and Brandon Ferris, Southern Boating’s marketing manager, put together quite a spread across the 38’s interior galley and cockpit entertainment center counters. The aft salon window lowers to bring the two together and with the sliding door open, the salon and aft deck seamlessly meld as one large entertainment area. The exterior grill, interior cooktop, sink, and refrigerators inside and out offer lots of room for food prep, cooking, and serving meals, including the fajita spread put on by the boys. Abundant seating throughout allows guests to enjoy luxurious comfort in a beautiful setting.

Abaco Beach Resort

The final leg of the day took us to Abaco Beach Resort and Boat Harbour Marina (abacobeachresort.com). The resort has rebuilt from the devastation of Hurricane Dorian.

The marina accommodates yachts to 200 feet in length and offers potable water, low-sulfur diesel, single and three-phase power, 24-hour security, and more. The marina pool at the foot of the docks is a welcome sight for those who 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 a local twist, including cracked conch and lobster burgers, and is a perfect spot to refresh and recharge. You’ll find fine dining at the Bistro in the main building featuring fresh seafood as well as prime cuts of beef while taking in the view. The main accommodations overlook an expansive lawn and beach area and the marina. 

The resort and marina are in a central location for island hopping, sportfishing, diving, and many other land- and water-based activities. 

Rest Easy

The LX36 is an exceptional day boat that provides comfort for sunning and entertaining. A starboard quarter berth is air-conditioned for naptime or to store gear, and a portside console slides open to reveal a spacious head.

Those on the 38 FXO will find roomy accommodations below with a pedestal queen berth forward and a queen berth aft. Another Regal innovative design feature is separating the head and shower: a full head to starboard and a full shower to port. 

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

The LX36 and the 38 FXO were launched this fall, and both new styles expand Regal’s bowrider and yacht series. The LX36 is the largest bowrider in the fleet, available with outboards or as a sterndrive, and the 38 FXO adds a flybridge to the popular 38 XO model, which makes piloting and cruising much more fun. With either boat, luxury, innovation, and comfort combine to give the family a perfect place to enjoy time on the water…together.   

-by Steve Davis

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