I found more than aesthetics to cheer when assessing the clean lines gracing the Tiara 4300 Open. That’s because the engineering behind that fluid look makes maintenance easier, increases reliability, lowers noise levels and generally improves time spent aboard.
During our sea trial, Tiara engineer Andrew Bartlett was all business as he handed over the helm and recounted the tale of the 4300’s genesis. This taskmaster charged his team with finding solutions to make the boat clutter-free and clean. He sent them into boats armed with Sharpie markers and had them circle every caulk joint, fastener and piece of hardware and demanded the boat be made to look seamless and clean without losing function. His mantra: “Bring me back a solution.”
They did. Note the way in which the helm-deck furniture is integral to the engine hatch and sidewalls, rather than being separate modules bolted in place. There are no caulk seams, which, at best, are blemishes when new, and real eyesores once dirt and mold find their way in. And caulking requires maintenance, so the seamlessness negates this process.
Equipment reliability is enhanced as well. Since the helm deck, which covers the engines and lifts at the touch of a switch, is made of one piece, and since the seats and cabinets aren’t bolted through it, there’s no chance of drips corroding equipment beneath fastener holes or joints that will open and weep once a boat is coursing through the waves. Further, when these parts are all of a piece, the noise of fiberglass moving against fiberglass in a seaway is eliminated. And as anyone who’s owned a cruiser will appreciate, Tiara’s use of fiberglass doors and drawers ensures that these components don’t yellow and age at a different rate than the cabinets into which they are installed. In three years, this boat’s exterior will still match.
On the bow, the centerline skylight and deck hatches are recessed. Flush with the cabin trunk, they create a smooth look, and eliminate stubbed toes. Side-deck grab rails are powder-coated the same white as the gelcoat. A small thing? Maybe. But when viewed from the dock or tender, such blending ensures that the line of the boat is what catches the eye, rather than bolt-on “deck jewelry” that simply distracts.
Approaching the helm deck from the cockpit, the entertainment center, with its grill, sink and associated equipment, is canted to draw you in, and it bridges the cockpit and helm area. It’s welcoming, unlike the stark division that you’d more typically encounter between fishing and cruising areas. You can access this hub whether socializing on the helm deck, lounging in a chaise in the cockpit or minding the rods while trolling.
Topside, there is an expansive cockpit boasting a mezzanine where spectators can root for hooked up and reeling anglers. There are large, heavily insulated fish boxes to port and starboard, which are emptied via macerators, plus stowage for rods and mops, a livewell and all the accouterments an angler could want. In fact, the new transom shape — a traditional square, which replaces the iconic tumblehome that has bedecked Tiara Open series yachts for years — can also be construed as a fishing feature, since it makes for a shorter reach for the leader and a shorter swipe of the gaff.
Now invert the paradigm. Those fish boxes can stow deck chairs, swim floats or stores for an extended cruise. The cockpit can serve sun-worshippers sipping drinks from sweaty glasses while lounging in slatted teak chaises. Having nearly 100 square feet of space to do with what you will is a tremendous asset if versatility ranks high on your list of boating priorities.
Belowdecks, the 4300 Open boasts more leather and wood than a Renaissance festival. She’s spacious, not just because of her brawny dimensions, but also because of the way in which Tiara expanded the envelope. First, the chines run far forward before breaking the waterline. That increases width at the cabin sole in the forward sections. Second, the height of the cabin trunk provides enough headroom for an NBA player, yet doesn’t cause the boat to look like his high-top sneaker: The flow of the sheer, the way in which the windshield runs right up to the underside of the hardtop, and other design legerdemain ensure the sleek look of the 4300 Open.
The deck hatch/skylight assembly on the foredeck allows light to flood the cabin. In fish-boat style, hull ports aren’t standard but can be added as an option. Fitted with all the toys, a Pullman berth and convertible salon settee allow this two-stateroom layout to sleep seven, though a small family would be the most comfortable complement for spending a week on the hook.
The 4300 Open can roam for 325 miles at 30 knots. Twin inboards installed low and close to the center of gravity deliver balance and seakeeping properties. Yet, Tiara’s robust mounting, heavy insulation and abundant testing to get the prop tip clearances and tunnel geometry right are dialed in, making it as quiet and smooth as some pod-driven boats.
Rigging is over-the-top good. Check out the heavy cap, bolted to the stringers, that lends support to the rudder posts and prevents them from holing the bottom in a grounding. These, as well as through-hulls and pumps, can be accessed easily via the athwartship hatch in the after section of the cockpit sole. Though I think the ground bus terminals should be coated or shrink-sealed — those on my tester had already begun to turn green — the neat runs, labeling and easy access to service points will make this an easy boat to maintain. Fish or cruise, dive or party, these characteristics simply proffer more support for the 4300 Open’s multifaceted mission.
Displ.: 30,000 lb.
Fuel: 600 gal.
Water: 130 gal.
Power: 2 x 715-hp Cummins QSM-11 diesels (standard, as tested)
Base Price: $907,990
Price as Tested: $1,009,000
Tiara Yachts, 616-392-7163; tiarayachts.com