Issue: July/August 2005
Tiara powerboats are new to Australia and the Tiara 32 is the first model to be tested by the Modern Boating team. But Tiara's reputation did precede this review. My father asked me about these boats after a recent trip to Akuna Bay. He said the Tiaras were one of the prettiest new boats on the marina, which at the time seemed surprising because I hadn't heard of them. (I'm meant to know these things!)
Fast forward a few weeks and the Modern Boating team were all at sea on the latest Tiara 32.
Tiara's history stretches back more than 50 years to when the company's founder, Leon Slikker, worked in the joinery department of the classic American boat builder Chris Craft. To cut a long story short, Leon went out on his own and produced Slik Craft. By 1963, all of his boats were built out of fibreglass. His original company was bought out by AMF in the late 60s, but by the mid 70s he got back into boat building starting with S2 Yachts. Today, the company is still based in Michigan where it builds most of Tiaras range of boats, while also producing S2 Yachts and Pursuit motorboats out of facilities in Florida.
An interesting side story is that the family are Seventh Day Adventist, which could explain why drink holders and beverage stowage areas are not as abundant when compared to most other US production boats.
The Tiara range features 12 boats starting at 29 feet up to a 52-footer. With wide walkways, generous outdoor areas and well-presented interiors, the Tiara 32 offers a good balance between day boat and overnighter and is a top introduction to the entire Tiara range.
We tested the Tiara 32 off the entrance to Pittwater, north of Sydney, where the conditions were slight with some varied chop and slush.
The vessel was powered by twin Volvo 310hp D6 common rail diesel engines, which delivered a cruise speed around 23 knots and a maximum speed of 26 knots.
The shaft drives offered balanced acceleration out of the hole and delivered enough grunt to provide the overbuilt vessel with a good range of planing speeds and a trolling speed of 7 knots at 1200rpm.
The Tiara ethos is build em strong, so nothing can ever go wrong and at 7.25 tonnes the Tiara 32 is not the lightweight in her class. For example, the similarly styled, locally built Caribbean 32 weighs around 5000kg. The weight of the vessel is evident as she held her own across the modest chop and carved through rather than jumped over the lumps. The hull felt as though she had a solid hold onto the sea and in the turns it didn't lurch excessively nor did it want to come off the plane at lower revs. The Tiara 32 is a solid vessel. At rest, her weight also gave her an inherent stability, ideal for off shore fishing.
The 32 we reviewed was configured for general use with a fishing twist, hence the added live bait tank (with night lights and water meters) behind the removable aft bench seat. Mike, the Australasian Tiara distributor, reckons these boats are so well suited to fishing that after a long stint away from the lines, the Tiara has enticed him back into the angling game.
The helm was equipped with an array of instruments including Volvo Penta digital instrumentation. This provides data on engine revs, volts, oil and fuel consumption. There was a Navman GPS Plotter, rudder angle gauges, VHF radio, Clarion sound system and switches for things like the windlass, engine room lights and trim tabs. A nice touch was the two-way hardtop light that went from standard Halogen to red for night driving.
The stainless steel wheel and large, power-operated helm seat gives a commanding driving position with good visibility. For fresh air, there was a small opening window forward of the helm supplementing the powered Ocean Air ventilation system.
This craft had air-conditioning installed, but with no generator onboard, it was for shore power use only. Adjacent to the helm there was a large L-shaped settee and a dash located chart table/stowage area. The rest of the cockpit was multipurpose. It was set-up with removable bench seats so the area could be used as a fishing platform. With the seats removed, the wide combings and padded leg rests come into their own for the fishing folk.
There was plenty of underfloor stowage and access to the engine room required the removal of a few cushions and the flick of a switch. The transom had a well-built, solid door for access to the swim platform. Here was a freshwater shower and foldaway swim ladder. There was a large wet bar behind the helm and moulded step-up to the walkways.
The Tiara 32's interior was a mixture of soft tones consisting of teak laminates and light durable Ultraleather upholstery. The galley was serviced by a small sink, fridge and microwave. To the side was a flat screen TV and DVD player that could be viewed from the settee. Forward of this was a double island berth separated from the main saloon by curtains. The saloon is flooded with natural light from three large deck hatches and several portholes. The head also benefits from natural light, has plastic coated switches, a small shower and Corian bench tops. The stairs down to the saloon have built-in stowage and give access to the electronics. Another stand out electronics feature was the lift -up dash that gave easy access for anyone wanting to service helm wiring or equipment.
The Tiara 32 is a proven newcomer to the Australian market. With a base price of $430,000 and a price as tested with hardtop of only $455,000, she is a heavyweight in the category. But the Tiara is a premium product that will endure the test of time and provide endless fun for the whole family.
Tiara Yachts, a division of S2 Yachts, has a rich boat-building heritage which extends for more than four decades. Tiara takes great pride in providing its customers with yachts of sublime quality for years of enjoyment, while maintaining a high resale value. Its headquarters are in Holland, Michigan. Tiara Yachts also maintains a second manufacturing location in Swansboro, North Carolina, to facilitate production of the 5200 Express, 5000 Open, and 4400 Express. The product line includes Open and Express models with inboard power from 29-52 feet. S2 Yachts also produce Pursuit boats from 22-38 in inboard, outboard and stern drive configurations.
The 32 is powered by twin Volvo 310hp D6 common rail diesel engines delivering the following results logged from the onboard GPS. The engines fitted snugly in the room, but there isn't enough extra space for a generator. All hoses were double clamped, the shafts used packless seals and there were four batteries for the house and engines.
With two adults onboard the Tiara 32 produced the following rpm-to speed readings.
Speed to RPM: 7 knots @ 1200 rpm, 21 knots @ 3100 rpm, 22.5 knots @ 3200, 23 knots @ 3250, 26 knots @ 3550 rpm.
LOA: 35 1
DRY WEIGHT: 7236kg
+ Solid hull
Removable cockpit seating
– No genset
Story and Photos by Andrew Richardson.