Boat Review: Tiara 50 Coupe

The Tiara 50 Coupe marks the beginning of this builder's new era in style and comfort. By Dennis Caprio. Photos courtesy of Tiara Yachts.

Tiara 50 Coupe Bow

Life is about change,” said Tom Slikkers, Tiara Yachts CEO, “and modern buyers have changed the way they use their boats.” That theory, backed by research, guided Tiara in creating its 50 Coupe. This builder’s loyal fans may not believe their eyes when they first see this yacht. Her crisp, contemporary styling differs significantly from the company’s past models, looking fresh. She’s also a lot of the same, carrying on Tiara’s commitment to high-quality hardware, finishes and equipment, and to solid construction. Some may ask, “Is this new yacht really a Tiara?” She certainly is.

Tiara 50 Coupe Profile

This is a big boat, but the design team has cleverly disguised her mass with a graceful reverse sheer line, an airy superstructure and a contrasting color on the topsides, which mimics the S-shaped sheer line of a sport-fishing boat and seems to lengthen the yacht’s profile. The coach roof appears to float above the deck, even though the supporting structure is clearly visible. Dark sail panels at the after end of the house trick us into thinking they aren’t there. If they were white, the boat would look significantly different. Although styling may be an important part of this yacht’s recipe, the accommodations on the main deck and below tell the most important story.

Tiara 50 Coupe Stern

Nowadays, some yachtsmen like to use their boats in much the same way they would a seaside cottage: weekends, maybe a week’s vacation or longer stay. Easy access to the outdoors, the water and casual entertaining are just as important aboard the family’s yacht as they are at the cottage, so Tiara designed the 50 Coupe’s salon and cockpit to function as the social area. The optional and huge Nautical Structures hydraulic swim platform ($58,100) on our test boat extends the area. It lowers into the water so that swimmers can climb aboard easily and so that the tender can be handled without special equipment.

Tiara 50 Coupe Cockpit

On the same level as the swim platform is a huge stowage compartment, or garage, accessed via a single electrical door hinged at the top. Opening the door provides quick access to a pair of hatches, which uncover the Volvo Penta IPS pod drives. This area also has dedicated stowage for fenders and mooring lines. When the door is closed, the owner can quickly retrieve lines and other small items via a hatch in the top of the door. This hatch also serves as a preparation center for cooking on the Kenyon electric grill mounted in the port side of the garage module. Although the cockpit is a couple of steps up from the swim platform, the treads are deep and easy to negotiate. During fine weather, the cockpit invites outdoor dining at the fold-out teak table. A comfortable bench seat hard against the transom module seats two for dining and four during cocktail hour. Stools, which stow under the table, provide additional seating for two at meals, and they double as an ottoman. Tucked into the forward corner of the cockpit on each side and against the bulkhead is an aft-facing chair.

Tiara 50 Coupe Salon

Sliding-glass doors open into the remarkably bright salon. In keeping with the cottage lifestyle, Tiara placed the galley immediately inside the doors and on the same level as the cockpit so that the cook can socialize with his guests while he prepares the meal. The location too is convenient to the dining areas in both the cockpit and salon. Most of the stowage and appliances hide behind cabinet doors, which adds to the pleasure of hanging out in the lounge up two steps and forward of the galley.

Tiara 50 Coupe Galley

On the starboard side of the galley, dual 120-volt Isotherm drawer refrigeration units (one a refrigerator/freezer), their stainless-steel faces glowing in the light, seem more than large enough for a week on the water. The three-burner electric cooktop and sink share space on the port side. One of my favorite features of the galley is the way the acrylic doors of the stowage cabinets above the counters open from the bottom and stay in whatever position you choose. My second favorite part was hidden within the cabinet that forms the foot of the L-shaped counter on the port side. Opening the doors reveals what appears to be a normal space, but an additional shelf rolls out of the area outboard of the cabinet. This space would be wasted otherwise, because it’s too hard to reach. A tasteful blend of teak and walnut in the furniture and Amtico Marine walnut on the sole contrasts nicely with the white overhead and white Ultraleather upholstery on the settee, skipper’s chair and companion seat. The companion seat swivels to face forward or aft, and the backrest adjusts to accommodate each position. The helmsman’s chair swivels 90 degrees to face the settee.

Tiara 50 Coupe Stateroom

Habitual cruising owners ought to love the staterooms. A queen-size berth with headboard against the starboard side dominates the master stateroom amidships. When the owners wake up in the morning, they’ll have a fine view out the large window above the settee opposite their berth. An identical window is above the headboard, and both of them have a small porthole to provide a cross flow of fresh air on cool evenings. A carpet of neutral shade covers the cabin sole and feels luxurious on bare feet. The shower in the master head is spacious enough for full-size humans.

Tiara 50 Coupe Interior

Tucked away in the bow is the VIP stateroom. It’s cozy, but far from cramped. It too has a carpeted sole, a generously sized cedar-back hanging locker like the one in the master cabin and a head (also the day-head) that’s nearly identical to the owner’s. Entrance to each stateroom is via bifold doors. The space between the two cabins basks in natural light from the large windshield above, and on the port side of this area, Tiara built in a utility room containing a stacked washer and dryer and linen stowage.

Tiara 50 Coupe Running

Of course, all of this luxury won’t compensate for mediocre performance. Not to worry, though: Tiara has everything under control. The 50 Coupe rides on the same bottom as Tiara’s 4800 Convertible, which has proved to be a seakindly yacht. Although the dimensions are nearly identical, the Coupe is all new from the waterline to the coach roof. In order to ease the development process, Tiara left the engine room roughly amidships, over the longitudinal center of buoyancy. The big Volvo Penta diesels transmit their power to the pod drives via jack shafts.

Tiara 50 Coupe From Above

When I climbed aboard for sea ­trials on a September Sunday morning on Lake Michigan, winds, uncharacteristically, blew out of the northeast at 18 to 25 knots, whipping up heinous seas. At Tiara’s yachting facility on Lake Macatawa in Holland, Michigan, however, the Tiara 50 Coupe, tied to a wooden dock, rested fairly quietly in the lee of the shoreline. In fact, this long and narrow lake didn’t reveal anything of the turmoil outside the inlet.

Tiara 50 Coupe Helm

After we cleared the inlet, the skipper turned south to stay in quieter water for a while and then headed west into the slop. The 50 Coupe tracked well in beam seas and in following seas, and the ride at our cruising speed of about 30 knots was comfortable enough, but as a passenger, I preferred 20 to 25 knots. During my time at the helm, I found the steering to be light and, because of the vectored thrust of the IPS pods, quite quick. Although the helm seat adjusts to accommodate tall through short drivers, I prefer to stand when the seas are feisty. My vantage point let me see that the most impressive feature at the helm was the new and optional Volvo Penta glass cockpit system ($47,500), which includes an electronics suite. The displays were clear, bright and easy to read.

Tiara 50 Coupe Under Way

At first glance, the Tiara 50 Coupe may seem like a bold step from a traditionally conservative builder. But Tiara has done its homework and has maintained its focus on delivering the high quality yacht its customers expect with an eye-catching and new look that should have broad appeal.

Tiara 50 Coupe Specifications

Tiara 50 Coupe Specifications:
LOA: 54'6" (w/ std. swim platform)
BEAM: 15'11"
DRAFT: 4'6"
(fully loaded)
DISPL.: 47,200 lb. (dry)
FUEL: 700 gal.
WATER: 200 gal.
ENGINES: 2 x 750 hp Volvo IPS II 950 diesels
DEADRISE: 12.2 degrees
BASE PRICE: $1,377,725 w/
IPS II 950s; $1,324,392 w/ IPS II 800s

tiara50_plan.jpg

Tiara Yachts, 616-392-7163; tiarayachts.com

Tiara 50 Coupe Boat Test

TEST CONDITIONS:
Speeds were measured by GPS on Lake Michigan off Holland, Michigan, in short seas of 3 to 5 feet and winds of 18 to 25 knots with 87 percent fuel, 100 percent water and 10 persons aboard. Fuel consumption was measured with the Volvo Penta electronic engine-monitoring system. Sound levels were measured at the helm with sliding sunroof and aft doors open.