Back in 1969, when Paul Kuck was building his first boat, he was saying: "With God's help and a steadfast commitment to integrity, we will develop a team of exceptional people and relationships to provide exceptional customer satisfaction."
Indeed, having these words in mind, during our visit at the Regal factory in Orlando, Florida, we realised that they are not just words or a marketing slogan, but an actual operating mode and an inviolable rule.
Let’s start from the beginning. MPM Sports & Leisure, representatives of the famous Regal Boats in Cyprus, invited us to attend as media, the annual sales and media conference, organised by Regal on November 13-16, in Orlando, Florida, USA. The conference’s objective was the presentation of the company’s new models along with older, successful series, which have been upgraded, to all representatives and reporters from all over the world.
After a quite long journey, we arrived in beautiful Orlando and, without wasting any time, we found ourselves in Regal’s huge factory. It is worth noting that the company owns one more factory in the region of Georgia a total of more than 60000 m2 space and more than 600 employees. Truly, at the first glance around the plant, you can tell that this is a giant in the field of power boats, while as you enter the premises and, more specifically, the showroom, the spectacle is amazing. Impressive Bowrides from 19-27 ft, spacious and cleverly designed Cuddies from 22.50-32.50 ft, the well known –in the American market-Deckboats with their unique character, the Express Cruisers of 25.65-35 ft, for the development of which the company has made important investments regarding its R&D and, finally, the imposing Sportyachts from 38-52 ft.
An amazing showroom, which captures the eye with its glamorous exhibits; Hydrodynamic lines with an impressive finish and shiny accessories; A combination of fibber and stainless steel that fascinates even the ones that have indulged in powerboats. You could see Regal’s people everywhere, willing to answer every question, while one day was not enough to go through all the boats in detail.
After this exciting experience, it was time for a short welcoming meeting with the company’s owners, Tim and Duane Kuck, sons of the memorable Paul and Carol Kuck, who started this company from scratch. Tim and Duane’s few, but kind, words, showed their true dedication and love for what they do and, also, their great excitement for our visit. Moreover, we had the opportunity to meet other important members of the Regal family as well, some of who have been in the company for more than 15 years. The whole scene gave the sense of a caring family, but with a strong professionalism regarding what they do.
The tour continued into the heart of the plant, in huge areas where tens of professionals produce artworks every day. We had the chance to see up close all production stages, from that of the smallest 19-ft boat, to that of the biggest, 52-ft boat. Organisation, precision and perfection are words that can be used to characterize everything we had seen, while a highly qualified company representative was explained to us explicitly, the whole production process. The production is divided into several stages. A visitor can watch the way in which a boat starts from the mold and is gradually built up until it is complete. A process that is not only exciting to watch, but also, indicative of the excellent work of the people of Regal, which characterizes all stages of production.
What is also impressing is the fact that the company owns specialized departments, at which the different parts of the interior and exterior decoration of the boats, are made from raw materials. Special attention is paid when the fibber class layers are about to be made. This process always requires a proper temperature and humidity; otherwise the whole project will fail, since an inappropriate temperature will not allow the material to perform 100 %, resulting in losses. The areas where cable, upholstery, decorative wooden furniture and many other parts of the boats are made, give the impression of a high quality working environment for the people of Regal, who produce approximately 40 boats per week.
Carried away by the outstanding premises and the endless way we had to go in order to visit all sections, we did not realize that it was already time to return to the hotel for dinner and the reception that people in Regal had planned for us.
The next day in Orlando, we were in Cocoa Beach, excited and anxious, since we were about to perform a test drive of the company’s three largest powerboats, the 42 sport coupe, the 46 sport coupe and the 52 sport coupe. Everything was perfect and each boat was all set with its crew to take us for a ride and give the chance to live an unforgettable experience. After trying all three boats, what made a real impression on us was the superb cruising, even on steep, tight turns, which were managed excellently, with no signs of instability or disturbing behaviour. The acoustic engine did not allow the slightest noise to exit the huge and powerful Volvo engines. All boats were equipped with the IPS Volvo Penta system, which really made the boat’s departure and parking a simple game with a single lever, which can be handled by a 10-year-old child!
The boats are designed to provide comfort to the passengers, with smart and functional areas that create the sense of a spacious, luxury apartment. Leather settees, teak exterior floors, granite, walnut wood in the rooms, modern appliances, comfortable beds, beautiful carpets and many other accessories offer a unique sensation in each boat. Besides, the company has proceeded to the implementation of the ‘custom-fit-program’, according to which the owners can give their own character to the boat, selecting products of their own choice from a wide range of available materials and accessories. The comfortable area of governance provides the captain with a three-dimensional image, while all instruments are cleverly placed in a way that they can be checked at a glance, so that driving remains easy and comfortable under any circumstances.
After the test drive we moved to Conway Lake for the rest of the day, where one of the owners, Duane Kuck, lives. Ther simplicity of these people along with their hospitality, made us feel like part of their family, while the landscape that we encountered was something that we do not come across with here, in Cyprus. The house yard, covered with grass, extended until the lake, where owned piers were built. Regal’s team was waiting for us there, ready to start the test drives with several boats from 19 ft until 25 ft. Just like in the large boats, the passengers’ comfort is a major concern of the company in the small boats as well. The smart combination of leather with teak floors, add a nice character to the open boats, which are quite roomy and comfortable for both family rides and other activities. However, appearance is not their only advantage, since the company worked hard to build ergonomic hulls in order to save fuels, even during high bends.
The minimisation of frictions along with the stability in water is a huge advantage for these boats, which easily exceeded 40 knots, raising the adrenaline.
Of course, we also had the chance to sit behind the wheel of the available models but it was soon time for the reports’ team to return to the hotel, where dinner was planned.
It was a spectacular evening during which the company awarded the vendors that excelled in the last year and thanked the reporters for their participation in the conference…
It is also worth noting that the company foresaw the economic recession long before it appeared and implemented the right strategies that helped her to avoid firing any member of its staff, remained free of credits and debts and at the same time accomplished the design of new boats, which aim both at quality and economy. Therefore, Regal gained an important advantage amongst its competitors, since, while the global market for vessels decreased, the company’s share increased.
We renewed our appointment for the next conference, which will take place in two years, this time in a European country. I am certain that with Regal’s strategy we can anticipate even more surprising products in the field of powerboats.
We would like to thank Mr Phillipos Kourri the sales Manages of Regal boats in Cyprus for all the help he gave is in participating in this trip
For more information regarding the Regal powerboats, contact the company’s official representative in Cyprus, MPM SPORTS & LEISURE, 8 Markos Drakos str Engomi , Nicosia. Tel:22742707.
By Petros Aristidou