The inlet was sloppy, with steep, cresting seas climbing upward of 6 feet. For smaller recreational boats, the conditions might have been dicey, but the new Tiara 5000 Open, like all Tiaras I have run, had a solid, heavy feel as she barged through the breakers. There was a bit of spray in the head and following seas, mostly due to the conditions, but she rose evenly at speed. She ran cleanly in beam seas, and her responsive Teleflex power steering helped cut turns with dispatch.
This boat more than secured her status, in my mind, as the crown jewel among Tiara's versatile Open designs.
In the 1990s, when many American boatbuilders chased one Euro-inspired design or another, Tiara Yachts held course. Some people found the family-owned company's approach a bit stuffy and old-fashioned, but Tiara's products evolved and its pedigree prospered.
The 5000 Open, which can be outfitted for fishing or cruising, is a result of that commitment to course. She is neither a stylist's vision of the future nor a nostalgic retro recreation. She is a bit softer, a little less jagged-an evolutionary refinement of Tiara's past designs.
Practical features include Tiara's new molded fiberglass windshield, an improvement compared with the traditional coated aluminum assembly that tended to deteriorate over time. Gone as well is the painted aluminum arch, replaced with an aluminum half-tower and fiberglass hardtop. Serious tournament types may not care for the subtle reverse of her transom, but she was designed primarily for recreational anglers. Tiara estimates one in five owners will fish, so the compromise seems acceptable.
Her hull design is similar to that of her siblings, with deep, slightly convex forward sections and 17 degrees of deadrise at the transom. A shallow keel aids in tracking, and mild propeller tunnels reduce shaft angle and draft.
Our test boat had a pair of 800 hp Caterpillar 3406Es, the only engines offered. In a light chop, we had a top speed of 31.6 knots. Cruising at 2050 rpm, we hit 28 knots. The Caterpillar electronics indicated 75 percent load and a total fuel burn of 60 gallons per hour.
The Rupp outriggers and cockpit bait prep center with sink and tackle drawers on our test boat will appeal to anglers, but those who cruise can substitute an aft-facing bench seat. Rods on our test boat were hidden in stowage beneath the bridge lounge, accessible from the cockpit. Additional rod stowage was beneath the coaming, and a fishbox plumbed with a macerator and a live well were under the cockpit sole. These areas can also be used for stowing spare parts, cruising supplies and deck gear.
A clever forward-facing transom bench seat tucks out of the way for fishing, yet is easily deployed for partying. A transom door is fitted, and cruisers can choose a standard swim platform or an extended platform designed to carry a tender. Those who select the latter likely will want to trade the transom bench seat for a low-profile davit.
The air-conditioned bridge deck is arranged with a U-shape lounge and a stowable table. The backrest on the forward section of the lounge pivots to provide forward companion seating. A wet bar is fitted with a sink, a refrigerator and an ice maker.
The helm console has space for two large electronic displays and other assorted goodies, and the tip-back design allows access to systems and electronics wiring. Accommodations are provided for single- or dual-lever controls.
Those familiar with Tiara will be surprised to find a tilt wheel in place of the traditional destroyer-style wheel. This is a significant improvement, especially for those who intend to fish. The arrangement puts more of the wheel within reach.
Belowdecks, Tiara's high standard for interior finish is ratcheted up. Teak is standard, but our test boat had flawless satin-finished cherry accented with leather upholstery and a cherry sole. Overhead, hatch borders were sculpted in cherry with integral shades.
The galley is finished with Corian counters and equipped with Sub-Zero drawer- and door-style refrigeration. The lounge area has a high-low table and is positioned to take advantage of a flat-screen television hidden in the cabinetwork.
The master stateroom has a queen-size berth with an innerspring mattress and a private head with a stall shower. There are two cedar-lined hanging lockers, and the push of a button accesses stowage beneath the berth. A television secured to a shelf seems a bit out of place and not in keeping with the 5000's high level of interior detail and finish. I would do away with it, or opt for a flat-screen unit.
The guest stateroom, which is amidships, has two single berths, a cedar-lined hanging locker and a private head with a stall shower. A cabinet between the berths accommodates a combination washer/dryer. This arrangement is a bit out of the ordinary, as the berth heads are forward and the cabinet is rather deep. Still, it works, and the appliance is a necessity on a boat this size.
The 5000 is built at Tiara's facility in Swansboro, North Carolina, which has been center stage in the company's drive to improve and modernize construction techniques. Always a leader in quality glasswork and finish, the company recently reevaluated and updated the structural design of its boats.
The hull laminate is a combination of multidirectional, stitched reinforcements and epoxy resin. Pound for pound, epoxy is stronger than polyester and less porous. Blistering should not be a problem. End-grain balsa coring is vacuum-bagged in the bottom and topside laminates, and is used to stiffen the superstructure and decks. Bulkheads are cored with high-density foam, and the stringer and web-frame system is molded in fiberglass and installed into the hull.
Fuel is carried in fiberglass tanks, a new feature for Tiara. Glass is more desirable than aluminum tanks.
Engineroom access is from the bridge deck and the cockpit. Tiara invested in upgrading its systems design and mechanical installations, which is evident in color-coded freshwater piping and a central distribution manifold. Noisy air-conditioning condensing units are centralized in the engineroom, a nice change from compressors groaning within the accommodations space.
The engineroom is a bit tight, and the condensing units are outboard of the engines, where they are slightly out of reach. Otherwise, service points appear to be accessible.
A 15.5kW generator provides ship's power, and a Glendinning Cablemaster system delivers shorepower through an isolation transformer. The latter is an important feature for those exposed to unreliable dockside power supplies. An additional shorepower receptacle at the bow is hidden in the chain locker.
The main electrical panel is in the engineroom and therefore not readily accessible, but most important accessories are controlled from the bridge.
Sound levels recorded during our test were some of the lowest I have noted on this type of boat. This is a credit to sound and vibration isolation techniques, and to the 5000's design. Smaller open designs have a bridge deck that can be raised for engine access, but the 5000's is sealed, helping to reduce the transmission of noise and vibration.
The 5000 Open is a premium production yacht and is priced accordingly. With Caterpillar power, she totals $1,009,850.
Contact: Tiara Yachts, (616) 392-7163; fax (616) 394-7466; www.tiarayachts.com.