Tiara's new 4200 Open has a familiar feel. While her styling is in step with the builder's latest offerings, she was inspired by and replaces its popular 4100 Open. I fished aboard the 4100 shortly after her introduction in 1996, and while I do not recall my exact words at the time, I was impressed. In fact, I have long felt the 4100 was one of the builder's best hulls. A hard act to follow, but Tiara has skillfully moved forward.
"Owners have been telling us that they wanted a more stylish look", said John Garland, Tiara's vice president of design. Tiara has loosened its tie in recent years, and the 4200 has the satisfying, soft look that is popular these days. She incorporates Tiara's new fiberglass windshield design, a feature that is attractive and practical, as aluminum-framed windscreens tend to shed paint. Her corners are rounded a bit, and her sheer has a gentle S-curve that terminates in a shapely transom.
Tiara's experience with the 4100 demonstrated that while most owners cruise, roughly 20 percent fish casually and 10 percent take angling quite seriously. For this reason, the 4200 is offered with options designed to fit a particular owner's mission.
For example, aft-facing cockpit seating can be substituted for a bait-prep center with a sink, freezer and tackle drawers. A fold-down transom seat tucks out of the way, and there is a transom door and cockpit shower. A cooler box can be configured as a live well, and there is an under-sole fishbox/stowage locker that can be plumbed with a macerator (it discharges overboard).
The 4200's bridge can be capped with a factory fiberglass hardtop or a custom tower. Our test boat had the molded fiberglass hardtop, an impressive affair with painted aluminum supports and a fitted isinglass enclosure. Hatches provide natural ventilation, and an air-conditioning discharge is placed to please the captain. An L-shape settee serves as a stowage locker for life jackets, and the wet bar can be fitted with a refrigerator or ice maker.
Her main cabin layout is similar to the 4100's, however, the L-shape settee is larger, more plush and fitted with a section that has a recliner. A 22-inch flat-screen TV is positioned for easy viewing, and a Bose sound system is positioned for easy listening. The settee back tips up to form a single Pullman-style berth.
The U-shape galley is finished with Corian countertops and has a two-burner cooktop, a microwave/convection oven and an under-counter Sub-Zero refrigerator/freezer.
The satin-finished teak joinery and teak-and-holly sole are Tiara trademarks that I find a pleasing alternative to more radical high-gloss interiors, which seem the rage.
A stateroom with a queen island berth is forward and has a private head with a molded fiberglass shower. The stateroom door is not fully framed and has a gap at the top. I do not favor this Tiara standard, as it compromises privacy.
Tiara has always been good at utilizing every inch of a design. This is because, as Garland said, "Over the years, we have discovered that our customers are cruising for longer periods of time. What might have easily been written off as lost space aboard the 4200 is put to use. This includes stowage in the settee, beneath the galley sole and beneath the berth. A portion of the electrical panel is stashed out of the way under the steps in the cabin entryway. While this is a clever space-saving idea, it makes the panel a bit hard to see.
The view from the helm is excellent thanks in part to the Stidd helm seat, which is adjustable with the push of a button (up/down, fore/aft). A molded-in tiered footrest allows for comfort, regardless of the chair's position. The console is designed to accommodate the engine instrumentation and a fair share of electronics-at least two large displays. The console's tilt-back design is a Tiara innovation that simplifies access to the backside of the instruments. The destroyer-style (vertical) wheel is a standard feature that serious fishermen will simply have to accept.
Marine diesels and owner expectations have changed quite a bit since I tested the Detroit Diesel 6V92TA-powered 4100. She had a cruising speed of about 28 knots. A pair of 435 hp 3208TA Caterpillars were also offered and yielded a 25-knot cruise.
"Everybody wants to go fast today", Garland said. "There's no magic. You just add horsepower."
Tiara chose 700 hp Caterpillar C12s for hull number one. I recorded a cruising speed of 30.4 knots at 2100 rpm, and noted a combined fuel burn of 56 gallons per hour on the Caterpillar electronics. The C12s have what it takes to get the 4200 up and running in a hurry. From a dead stop, it took less than 30 seconds to reach a maximum speed of 33.4 knots, without any significant smoke.
The 4200's hull form has fine convex sections forward that moderate to 17.5 degrees of deadrise at the transom. She has a shallow keel to enhance directional stability, and shallow propeller pockets to reduce shaft angle and draft. Her ride at cruising speed was comfortable and dry in the 2- to 4-foot seas. The Teleflex steering was responsive, and the Bennett trim tabs were only necessary for minor adjustments to athwartships trim.
Big horsepower in small boats often results in tight enginerooms, which is the case with the 4200. The engineroom is accessible from the cockpit, as well as via a hatch adjacent to the helm. On hull number one (our test boat), access about the space was limited to the centerline, which will make it difficult to service components outboard of the engines.
Garland indicated that Tiara's team was looking into the problem and said access would be much better with the 660 hp Cummins QSM11 package. Garland also said Tiara's sea trials with the QSM11s yielded a maximum speed of 35.1 knots, which is slightly more than our test 4200 achieved.
While the C12s are a solid choice, considering Garland's observations and my own, I would probably opt for the 660 hp QSM11s.
Tiara has been noted in the past for the effort it puts into tooling, and the 4200's gelcoat finish follows in form. It is virtually flawless. The hull laminate is a solid blend of stitched and woven reinforcements and polyester resin. A vinylester skin coat is used below the waterline to reduce the chance of blistering.
The bottom laminate is supported by a network of fiberglass stingers built over foam and wood forms, which are supported by marine plywood bulkheads and web frames. Balsa coring is used to stiffen the topsides and exterior decks.
I have written before that Tiara's designs are a product of evolution, not revolution. This is a compliment, for as some builders chase one trend or another, Tiara's brand and pedigree have followed a steady course. This is why Tiara owners keep coming back, and why other yachtsmen gravitate to the marque.
It is also why the 4200 is worthy of consideration.
Contact: Tiara Yachts, (616) 392-7163;