I’ve owned boats for 50 years. I built them from wood and plans, restored basket cases in both wood and glass, and purchased them new. But for the past decade, I entertained a naval architecture fantasy that came to fruition earlier this year.
My Regulator 23’s price tag exceeded what I ever imagined I would spend on a boat, but it had a number of things in the plus column that made writing the check much easier. I needed a heavier hull with a deeper vee that would afford me ocean access in a greater range of conditions. The Regulator’s weight and 24 degrees of deadrise filled that need. No more U-turns at the mouth of Manasquan Inlet because conditions outside were too snotty. She is a safe and solid fishing platform that theoretically should increase my time-on-water-to-fish-caught ratio dramatically.
I primarily fish alone and for years had to set and retrieve multiple trolled baits while pressing my hip against the helm to maintain a straight course. The Regulator’s basic electronics package included an autopilot, which makes setting up and attending to a multiple-line spread easier and safer.
Aesthetics also came into play. My boat is a “looker,” and the lines drawn by naval architect Lou Codega create the appearance that she’s doing 50 knots while tied up in the slip. She represents the perfect marriage of form and function.
On the day I signed the contract, my wife and I proceeded to the nearest bar to celebrate. I was sipping scotch when I received a text from my sales guy, Josh Jedry: “Congratulations on your new fiberglass baby.” Indeed, the past several months have stirred an excitement in me commensurate with the arrival of a newborn.
As my boat was built, I received the equivalent of nautical sonograms in the form of photographic progress reports from the factory, showing each stage of construction. The hull being pulled from the mold, the stringers being installed, the hull liner and deck cap being put in place. This was no longer a fantasy!
The delivery got underway May 29, when my 23 began its journey up Interstate 95 from North Carolina, arriving at the dealer in New Jersey the next day. The driver had specific instructions to call when he was two hours out to provide ample time for me to assemble family and friends to help me welcome my new arrival.
I remember getting choked up as the shrink wrap was removed, realizing that this beautiful piece of engineering was mine. This would be my last boat. The only boat I would ever need. I thought of the fish I would catch from her deck and how, finally, I could use the phrase “my Regulator.” I smiled and thought that, someday, my grandkids will call her their Regulator.
Freelance writer Frank Saccente lives in Point Pleasant, New Jersey, and has spent most of his life on and around the waters of the Jersey Shore. He winters with his wife in the Florida Keys, where they fish, kayak, boardsail and warm their bones. In a former life, he spent 33 years educating the youth of America.