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Regulator 24XO

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They’re the kind of boats that let you fish the early-morning bite with your buddies, then take the kids tubing or to the sandbar in the afternoon.

The boat we’re looking at today is the new Regulator 24XO — XO being short for crossover.

The 24XO was introduced at the Miami International Boat show in February, and it’s the second model in a new line that combines the shallow-water capability of a bay boat with a deep-vee hull capable of heading offshore when the weather is right. The first model, introduced last year, was the 26XO.

Being a lifelong coastal angler who has owned and fished a number of small outboard boats, I can say with confidence that these XO models fall right in my wheelhouse. And I think it’s clear that Regulator’s crossover line is a good fit for the multifaceted lifestyles of more and more American boating families — fishing, water sports, day cruising. Family fun.

They’re the kind of boats that let you fish the early-morning bite with your buddies, then take the kids tubing or to the sandbar in the afternoon. It’s a hybrid in the best sense of the word. The tagline for the new series is “go anywhere, do anything,” which says it all.

Both the 24 and 26 ride 17-degree-deadrise hulls with sharp bow entries that deliver the smooth ride for which Regulator has long been known. And like the rest of the Regulator fleet, the 24XO was drawn by naval architect Lou Codega.

Standard power for the 24XO is a single Yamaha F250. An optional F300 will push the boat to 43 knots at full throttle and a cruise of 26 knots, with a mileage rating of about 3 nmpg, according to Regulator. These are decent numbers for a boat that weighs in at around 5,600 pounds with its 86-gallon fuel supply.

The new model measures 24-feet, 4-inches and has an 8-foot, 5-inch beam and a displacement of 5,250 pounds without fuel. The boat draws 16 inches with the engine up and 25 inches with itdown; an optional SeaStar jackplate gives it a further leg up in shallow water. That shallow draft is nice because it lets you get into relatively skinny water.

The design of the 24 carries the beam well forward, which provides a lot of deck space.

The layout accommodates a relatively roomy console that contains a standup head, a feature not found all bay boats. A standard hardtop offers protection from the elements, and a glass enclosure keeps wind and spray out of the helm area.

In addition to the forward-facing lounges in the bow, the 24XO has a two-person bench forward of the console, with an insulated cooler compartment underneath; a two-person leaning post at the helm; and a two-person, fold-up bench at the transom, which converts to an aft casting platform. The platform conceals a 102-quart live well on the starboard side and dry stowage to port that can be plumbed as a live well.

The forward casting platform comfortably accommodates two anglers, and the stowage compartments beneath it can be used as additional fishboxes or as lockable rod stowage. With the cushions in place, the casting platform provides a pair of forward-facing lounges with flip-up backrests. A dedicated 189-quart insulated fishbox with macerated drain is beneath the forward deck.

When things get a little rolly, anglers can step down to the deck area between the forward and aft casting platforms for added safety and keep right on casting. That’s smart.

Buyers can order the 24XO with a Garmin electronics suite, a Minn Kota trolling motor and twin Power-Pole shallow-water anchors. Just add gas and bait, and off you go!

In addition to satisfying existing Regulator customers, the new line has opened new markets for the builder on lakes, bays and other inshore waters, says Joan Maxwell, the company’s president and co-founder.

Based in Edenton, North Carolina, Regulator earned its reputation by building serious, smooth-riding sportfishing center consoles for more than 30 years. The line runs from 23 to 41 feet.

And these boats are built tough.

A little bit of background: I did a story eight years ago about a 26-foot Regulator named Queen Bee that was lost off Nantucket, Massachusetts, during the summer of 2008 — and was found more than three years later floating off Spain.

During her nearly four-year sojourn, the center console drifted at least 3,000 miles — probably more — and survived who knows how many storms. There were at least six named hurricanes in the North Atlantic during the period when Queen Bee was on her driftabout. The news media proclaimed that the boat had come “back from the dead.”

Back to the present. The Regulator XO line should appeal to boaters whose enjoy multiple watersports and activities — fishing, tubing, swimming and diving, and a whole lot of fun.