Outboard overload. That’s what I was feeling after hours spent walking the docks at a major boat show recently. I like those big, gleaming motors as much as the next person, but I was ready for a respite when I wandered into the Regal booth, where I found the 38 Grande Coupe—with a pair of Volvo Penta sterndrives under its hatch.
I’ve always been a fan of I/Os on family cruisers and have owned two. For me, the admiration starts at the transom, where a big, open swim platform is one of the most frequently used features. If boating is all about being close to the water, then the type of access offered on a sterndrive craft is a benefit. On the 38 Grande Coupe, the platform is full beam (just shy of 12 feet) and 4 feet deep, large enough for the whole crew to sit and dip their toes.
From the platform, there’s access to the engines; this boat had 380-hp Volvo Penta V8 Catalyst EVC gas sterndrives, although diesels are an option. Push a button and up goes the electric hatch, which lifts high enough to allow standing rather than stooping. Serviceability is good, with everything from engine fills and bilge pumps to batteries and float switches within reach. The show boat had an optional Seakeeper gyrostabilizer as well as Volvo’s Easy Drain, a raw-water draining system that’s activated with a single knob. For boaters in the Northeast, it should make winterizing easier.
The deck layout on the 38 Grande Coupe has the cockpit and salon on the same level, separated by a sliding door. The galley is at the after end of the salon, so it can serve the cockpit when the electric window is lowered. Forward, the helm station has Volvo’s Glass Cockpit. The multifunction touchscreen display provides an overview of all navigation and engine data and it comes standard with the boat, as does a joystick.
The 38 offers nice accommodations for overnighting. The master stateroom forward has a California queen berth, hullside windows and a split head—unusual in a boat this size. The amidships stateroom has a king berth that converts into twins. Headroom here is not standing, so the space might be better for kids, although the captain may stake a claim to that big mattress.
Regal says the 38 should cruise at 26 knots with the 380-hp Volvos and do about 39 knots running at wide-open throttle. That speed should make for a sporty ride, but if you’re looking for even more at the top end, an outboard version of this cruiser—the 38 XO—is due out this spring.
This article originally appeared in the March 2019 issue.