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Regal, Formula, or Searay....

Old 07-29-2016, 07:51 AM
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Default Regal, Formula, or Searay....

My good friend currently has a 28 Regal bowrider and looking to move up. He has looked at the new Regal 32 ( cruiser) and asked me what other boats in that class he should look at. Looking at new not used. I told him Formula 31 and Searay 330. Any thoughts on these boats? any others he should be looking at? He's on the water every weekend and puts like 200 hours a year on the boat. Wants something with plenty of room for sun and fun, but a small cabin with AC for the the trips to the Bahamas. Any input would be great... thanks
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Old 07-29-2016, 08:22 AM
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Formula is the top dog out of those three, premium throughout and family owned
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Old 07-29-2016, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Raybo Marine NY View Post
Formula is the top dog out of those three, premium throughout and family owned
I agree. All are good, but Formula is a cut above the other two. Price should be a cut above, though, also. Only you (or your friend) can decide if the extra "quality" is worth the extra cost.

though pretty soon folks will chime in that the only good boat is a Center Console fishing boat with dual outboards, which seems to make up a majority of the mindset here on THT.
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Old 07-29-2016, 11:39 AM
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Cobalt.
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Old 07-29-2016, 12:22 PM
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The Formula is definitely in a different class that the Regal or Sea Ray.
Roughly in the same class, take a look at Chaparral.
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Old 07-29-2016, 12:35 PM
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As the owner of a Regal 2900LSR, I'd say coastboaters comments are spot on. I'm on my second one and love it, but I want a berth.

I've looked at all of the large bowriders with a berth and like the 350CBR the most. Top money, though. I didn't care for the Chaparral sunpad/aft seating or the Cobalt layout at all. The new large Regal seems to be lacking when compared to the new Rays, IMO.

If he wants to spend less tell him to look at a Monterey. I do not know anything about their build quality though.
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Old 07-29-2016, 02:37 PM
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the chaparrals are pretty nice, I dont know how they all compare price wise
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Old 07-29-2016, 04:07 PM
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Formula might be on the top of that tier in Quality but most of them have I/Os. I myself will never own a boat that stays in the water with twin I/Os but everyone is different and entitled to their own. Sea Rays have V-Drive options on everything larger than 30'. V-drives don't perform as well but they dont require much maintanence. It's a sacrifice for performance and fuel economy vs. less maintanence and durability. I like the style of the Sea Ray best, the formulas are a bit dated in my opinion. People love typically what they have and you'll see their bias comments defending their favorite make. I have been lucky enough to have owned 4 Formulas and 3 Sea Rays and I can say the Sea Ray name regardless of which is better is an easier sell in the future. Just my 2cents there is no bad choice here...
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Old 07-29-2016, 05:03 PM
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Between the three. Regal
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Old 07-29-2016, 05:55 PM
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Formula 310 SS is nice too. Has a bit smaller cabin but it's a little quicker too. A little more similar to the bow rider he has now with a small cabin.
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Old 07-29-2016, 06:48 PM
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So this response is going to be long, I apologize in advance.

I went through this exact situation not even a month ago.

I looked at absolutely everything in the segment. When I first went to the Ft. Lauderdale boat show in last November I had a grand total of 27 boats on the list to look at. Yep I said 27 different boats to look at, I spent 5 full days at the show and I spent an average of 4 hours with each sales person on the top 17. I very quickly eliminated 10 of them because my wife said "If I see a boat that looks like a fishing boat, it's an automatic NO" (She really doesn't like to fish ) That left me with 17 choices 4 of them eliminated themselves because they weren't the sports style that we both liked. 2 more got eliminated purely based on the fact that they were wayyyy outside of our price range (Tiara, Hunt Surfhunter). That left us with 11 boats left that all met the basic requirements.

These were the basic Requirments:

1.) Twin Engines with a Joystick/ Axius - my requirement
2.) Radar and GPS Garmin or otherwise - my requirement
3.) VHF Radio - my requirement
4.) Enough space for the two of us for more than just one night and another couple for a long weekend without driving us all crazy. - Both of us requirement
5.) Enough space for 2 to 4 passengers or maybe 6 besides us without crowding. - Both
6.) Extended swim platform large enough for us and our diving gear - Both
7.) Cockpit Grill and Refrigerator - Her requirement
8.) Enough space below decks for us to pass each other while carrying items and not rub or have to push to get by - Her requirement
9.) Stand up head with enough height for me to stand up without bending my head (I'm 6' tall)
10.) Large sunpad in the back for her to lay down on a nice evening and tanning during the day - Bonus points for it being a chaise lounge too.
11.) Enough fuel and range to go to the Bahamas for a weekend and back without need to refuel while over there (their prices for gas over there was outrageous!)
12.) A/C and a generator
13.) TV and a DVD player + enough room to relax and watch a movie below decks.
14.) Below decks requirements: A.) Place to Eat; B.) Place to Sleep; C.) Place to relax D.) Place to get clean; E.) Place to cook
15.) Warranty - Her Requirement and NOT NEGOTIABLE

All of the top 11 boats fit these basic a broad requirements.

Crownline 294 CR

Larson 315 Cabrio

Formula 31 PC

Cobalt A40

Cruisers 315 Express

Rinker 320 EX

Monterey 315 SY

Four Winns 335 Vista

Sea Ray 310 Sundancer

Chaparral 310 Signature

Regal 32 Express

In the end we did make a final decision and we made a purchase brand new last month.

I'll explain all of the results, Starting from last to first.

================================================== =============

11th Place:

Cobalt A40; Let me first say that I thought the Cobalt had one of the most amazing pride in craftsmanship that I saw, right at the top with Formula. But the primary reason it finished last was: PRICE. Plain and simple. Cobalt only makes one boat that has a real stay overnight cabin, the A40. Like the name suggests it's 40' long and the price, besides being a high end boat, reflects that size. List price on that boat was $684,352!! The dealer also wasn't willing to move that much on the list as most places do, their best deal for us was still a mind blowing $582,000!!! That was totally way above our max budget of $250,000. So no matter how much I loved the way it was built, the price made the boat not applicable.

10th Place:

Crownline 294 CR; we really tried hard to find things we liked about the Crownline. We really liked the way it had sports car appeal. The aft sunpad was nice and converted to a chaise lounge, above deck was a little tight but it did have everything we were looking for. But for us that is where the good news ended. When we went below decks, nothing worked for us. It was narrow, the dinette was too small unless you always wanted to be cozy, the main berth was too small for me to lay out and then fit her on it too, The midcabin was like crawling into a cave, and I couldn't stand up in the head without my head hitting the top. The Galley was the nicest part and really not bad at all.

Wait a minute your saying! Crownline makes a 325 SCR... yes they do. We looked at it too, that boat is more of a sports cuddy cabin than an Express cruiser which we were looking at. It was a lot more like the Formula Super Sports.

9th Place:

Sea Ray 310 Sundancer; From the very second we saw the Sea Ray we liked the way it looked. It has a very distinctive style to it, very contemporary and Italian. The surface of the vinyl seats looked really high end and it had an upscale feel throughout the boat. We started out thinking "Wow Sea Ray is really nice, and worth a more in depth look". Which we did, we really started to dig and look harder at it. That's when we started to notice things; Things that you wouldn't see unless you were looking for them. When my wife and I look at a boat that we're about to spend 250k on we try everything out to see what it would be like if we actually owned the boat. When I laid on the forward berth my head was up against the bulkhead and my feet were up against the other one, and my wife couldn't fit beside me unless she was curled up. The midcabin was tiny and really only for young kids, the dinette table was very small and we had trouble fitting our two settings on it and more definitely wasn't happening. Then we noticed build quality issues and other things, it started to feel like the Sea Ray was a very old mold for the hull that they dressed up to save money instead of redoing it. One of the things we noticed was the floor was laminate (no problem there, lots of the boats had it), but that it wasn't pieced together correctly and we would actually partially trip on the joints. The ultraleather only had one stitch line keeping the cushions together and there was fraying and a couple of split seams. The wood work wasn't finished in places that you would expect it to be.

I noticed that Sea Ray doesn't do stepped hulls, when I asked the sales person why they choose not to do them he told me "Well, stepped hulls are very inefficient and they make all boats that have them very unstable. Sea Ray makes some of the safest boats on the water and a stepped hull is the opposite of safe". There was no stand or catwalk in the engine room so you are either standing on stringers or in the actual bilge. Then the sales person wouldn't negotiate beyond the normal 20% off of list, wouldn't budge at all.

8th Place:

Rinker 320 EX; The Rinker was very nice, it had good proportions the lines were attractive. The cockpit size was very nice indeed and it had a wide beam. Materials were pleasant and felt good to the touch, we liked the flowing cockpit. Cabin was nice and that's what we felt after a good go through, nice. Just nice, that's all it didn't offend us really it did what it promised. There was a couple of things, the berth was a little too small forward (I started to notice this as a trend with dedicated fixed forward berths), and the dinette wasn't as big as we were hoping it would be, but that was it. It just didn't really wow us, it was kinda like a Toyota Camry. Very competent, doesn't offend, does everything asked, and is a good worker plus lots of standard features. When it came to the price we were very surprised how much the List was (it was more $$ than the bigger Four Winns), now to be fair the salesperson came down a lot in price to appeal to us, but we just weren't that enthralled with the boat to want to pursue it further.

7th Place:

Monterey 315 SY: When we went to the Monterey Dealer and asked about the 315 he did have one in stock but warned us that it's a very old model and they're going to replace it in a couple of years. He recommended that we look at the 335, but that boat was much to much $$ for our budget. So fair dues, he told us it was going to be replaced in a couple of years. One thing we were told is that Monterey is a lower end boat, kinda like Larson, Rinker and such. Boy, we didn't see it! That boat was built like a tank, everything had the look of being not just built, but over built. It felt very solid, but very dated. If anyone can remember the cabin layout from the Bayliner 335 Cruiser, same thing. We finished up thinking we agreed with the sales person and they needed to redesign this boat. He gave us numbers anyway and the price was very attractive and that's why it finished in 7th with us. But we wanted a boat within 2016 and not 2018 and didn't want to wait for the redesign.

6th Place:

Four Winns 335 Vista, This was another very pretty boat. And the photos on the website made it look even better. We were very eager to see it in person, and we were more impressed by the layout than anything else. Things were placed well and there was tons of space for everything. Ergonomics were fantastic and we loved how easy it was to set up the canvas (never fun on a boat). Unfortunately it wasn't comfortable at all, the seating in the cabin was lumpy and the mattress would have to be replaced aftermarket. There wasn't as much headroom as we thought for a 34' boat and the exterior seats weren't positioned for as much comfort long term as we had hoped. The price was nice for the size boat though making it a good value/ features.

5th Place:

Larson 315 Cabrio; The main reason why this boat made it so far up the list was because of PRICE. A 32 footer with a list price of $217k and a best price of $170k with every option box ticked is unbelievable. But then it didn't have options that I required, like the axius/ joystick (although at that price I was willing to consider it more). The interior was okay looking but not great (again for the $$ savings I should of expected it). The main probelm we faced was we couldn't find anyone who owned one long term and could tell us how well they held up over time. I found lots on Yachtworld for sale, but nobody would tell me anything other than "Never let me down" and "Maintained with an open checkbook" and "Best boat I ever owned". I couldn't even find a mechanic to give me the inside story, most of them hadn't seen a Larson cross their paths over 25 feet. Which is why this boat never rose any higher.

4th Place:

Cruisers 315 Express; This boat was a really good competitor with the Four Winns, except this boat had space in the cabin where the Four Winns didn't. It was also very comfortable to sit in/ on where the other boat wasn't. One thing we loved was how quiet the cabin was when we entered it and closed the companionway hatch. It was spooky silent in there, absolute serenity. Pricing on it was really good too, but the mid cabin was there sort of. I didn't want to climb inside it but you certainly could. It's downfall in the end was we weren't allowed to sea trial it (we really wanted to) without a signed contract that says we're going to buy it upon finish. It wasn't refundable, which is what stopped it from being a top 3 boat we didn't want to risk promising we were going to buy something we hadn't even driven yet.

3rd Place:

Formula 310 PC; This was my personal First place choice. I loved everything about this boat. The build quality was unbeatable, second to none, not even the Cobalt could compare to the fit and finish of this boat. Everything worked and was super Ergonomic and functional. The design was a little bit dated, but I didn't care, it was easy to overlook considering how much time they put into this boat! Thing was a rock, and I was sold and ready to sign a check to buy it. We Sea Trialed our top 3 with a refundable deposit on each (about $2500) in the ocean. The 3 days we took them out were all very windy and we had 4-6' seas each time. (I viewed that as very fortunate, that way I could see what they're like in bad weather if we get caught). This boat rode like a dream, I would've felt comfortable in 10 footers. Unfortunately the major downside to this boat is the price, I knew going into it that it would be higher than the rest. I still thought it was worth it for the build and quality. List was $425,505 best price factory direct was $289,357. Definitely a good deal, but we did make a budget for a reason and 39k over top of our budget was going to make this boat a real stretch to afford for years ahead. We didn't want a stretch we wanted something that wasn't going to make us broke. I mentioned slightly used, but my wife didn't want to hear it. Sorry Formula, maybe next time

2nd Place:

Chaparral 310 Signature; (This was both of our #2) In the end the top 2 were neck and neck, I mean it was down to picking nits to find our winner for our boat. Up top the Chaparral was attractive and the build quality was very impressive. Not as good as the Bodacious Formula, but not far from it either. Our real world tests were positive and the pricing was in budget and nearly the same as the Winner (within 300 hundred bucks). The Layout below decks was a mirror image of the first place winner forward of the steps below. So what were the things that stopped the Chap from winning. The twin engines were smaller than I was looking for, 4.5's instead of the 6.2's (for comparison at the same price point) and the fuel tank was smaller too (118 gal versus 150). You couldn't get a built in Cockpit Grill, it had to be externally mounted. Finally the Midcabin was tight, not bad you could still fit two adults in there, there just wasn't very much space. Otherwise these guys were a toss up.

1st Place:

Regal 32 Express; (This was her #1) The Regal and Chaparral were literally just a couple of points apart. I was initially worried about the build quality of the Regal, because some people had said that they're not very good. But I talked to some independent Mechanics who've all said that over the last 10 years Regal has made some big leaps and bounds to bring it up to the high(er) end product it is now. It had the larger engines for the same money as the Chaparral and a bigger fuel tank. The range was also better with about 40 more miles per tank then the Chap. It also had the built in Grill in the cockpit and the same innovative layout in the cabin that the Chap had with one major difference. The Midcabin was actually a Master Stateroom! I was blown away when I saw a full beam midcabin with an actual (I got the tape measure out) king sized innerspring bed with extra space on the sides and storage. It was so big it could fit the two of us with room for more people. The other major difference is that the Regal had a power folding radar arch that was standard and not an optional extra. The List price was $312K and the dealer got us a great deal at $226,000 (I know that my page says 216k but it was really 226). We bought it 6 weeks ago and then took delivery at the beginning of this month.

I hope this information is helpful to you and saves you some time. PM me if you need anything more.
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Last edited by Dancecomp28; 07-30-2016 at 05:56 AM.
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Old 07-29-2016, 07:13 PM
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Buddy just sold his 2010 Regal 35 Sport Coupe. $209,000.00
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Old 07-30-2016, 05:57 AM
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I also have photos for all of the boats too if your friend would like them?
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Old 07-30-2016, 06:28 AM
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Dancecomp, I found your write-up and evaluation very interesting.
Should have got the Formula
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Old 07-30-2016, 07:45 AM
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Your list: Formula (MUCH better than the rest of your list), Regal, then SeaRay (owned a 2006 - JUNK - literally a Bayliner as they are same company). I looked at all you listed and ended up with a Chaparral - VERY happy. I'm convinced it's built TWICE as good as SeaRay.
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Old 07-30-2016, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Lucky69 View Post
Your list: Formula (MUCH better than the rest of your list), Regal, then SeaRay (owned a 2006 - JUNK - literally a Bayliner as they are same company). I looked at all you listed and ended up with a Chaparral - VERY happy. I'm convinced it's built TWICE as good as SeaRay.
Agreed, The Chaparral is an excellent boat and one worth considering very seriously. For us it was just minor differences that had us going with the Regal, but we probably would've been very happy with the Chaparral.
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Old 11-07-2017, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Dancecomp28 View Post

In the end we did make a final decision and we made a purchase brand new last month.

I'll explain all of the results, Starting from last to first.
This was so incredibly helpful in our decision to order our very first brand new boat! Thank you to @Dancecomp28 and everybody that contributed to this thread. We will be so excited to take delivery of our new 2018 Regal 33XO in March!!

We landed on ordering the 2018 33XO with the following options:
  • White hull with black boot stripe
  • Twin 300HP Yamahas
  • Optimus Joystick
  • 7.5kw Gas Generator
  • AC/Heat
  • Remote Spotlight
  • Cockpit Cover
  • Seagrass Carpet
  • Cockpit Refrigerator
  • Cockpit Grill
  • Windlass
  • Fender Clips
  • Foredeck sunpad
  • Companionway Screendoor
  • Underwater Lights
  • Seadek Swim Platform
  • Swim Platform Cleats
  • High Performance Stereo
  • Garmin VHF 100 Radio
  • Garmin HD Radar
  • Garmin Autopilot
  • Garmin 7612 GPS with b60 Transducer

From the feedback and analysis I've done in other threads, I believe some things I might want to do are:
  • Replace the anchor rode with either all chain or 8 plait + chain
  • See about an anchor locker washdown
  • See about dash controls for the windlass

Any other thoughts or suggestions? Our boat should go into production in the December/January timeframe with expected delivery in March.
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Old 11-07-2017, 10:46 AM
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Congrats and best of luck with it. I suspect that the next 4-5 months are going to be the longest months that you've ever experienced.......
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Old 11-07-2017, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by MyFishinAddiction View Post
Formula might be on the top of that tier in Quality but most of them have I/Os. I myself will never own a boat that stays in the water with twin I/Os but everyone is different and entitled to their own. Sea Rays have V-Drive options on everything larger than 30'. V-drives don't perform as well but they dont require much maintanence. It's a sacrifice for performance and fuel economy vs. less maintanence and durability. I like the style of the Sea Ray best, the formulas are a bit dated in my opinion. People love typically what they have and you'll see their bias comments defending their favorite make. I have been lucky enough to have owned 4 Formulas and 3 Sea Rays and I can say the Sea Ray name regardless of which is better is an easier sell in the future. Just my 2cents there is no bad choice here...
I agree with all of this although because of the performance advantage I'd take the I/O boat. I too have had 4 Searay cruisers and 2 Formulas (fastech's though)
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Old 11-07-2017, 03:18 PM
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Since this is going to be a new purchase, many boat companies that were traditionally I/O are offering outboards as an option.

With Formula, you have to be in the Sunsport or the Crossover product lines.

The 350 (35 foot) comes with 3 OB's and the 310 (31 foot) comes with 2 OB's . . . Mercury Verados or Mercury Racing engines.

Of the ones mentioned so far, I like Regal and SeaRay as runner ups. Cobalt, although good quality will not ride as nice as the Formulas in the chop.

With the others brands mentioned, (Chappy, Crownie, Rinker, Monty, etc) , you will have to look behind the shine to see the real difference in the boats.
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