So I believe it’s more than fair to say that boat-show time in Miami can be hectic. With multiple venues, multiple languages and multiple bleeping traffic jams at every turn, anyone who has ever attended will tell you that a moment’s respite is at a high premium. That’s why I was happy to step aboard the Tiara Yachts F53 Flybridge one morning during the show with the builder’s director of marketing, David Glenn. We made our way up the stairs to the yacht’s namesake (sort of) flybridge and plopped onto the comfortable furniture for a chat, me at the U-shaped dining settee aft and him at the U-shaped seating that snakes around the helm forward. We talked mostly about books and surfing, and with the isinglass zipped up and the air conditioner blasting, we were cool, relaxed and away from the crowds, even as prospective buyers prowled the main deck, checking out the wares. That ability to get away is a big reason to consider a flybridge yacht: Sometimes, you just need some peace.
On the F53, the flybridge has a relatively large 188 square feet of space, which is significantly more than what her sistership, the F44 Flybridge , has with an approximately 122-square-foot flybridge deck. The increased square footage allows for extra seating and entertainment space. The F53’s beaminess (along with, of course, her significantly longer length overall) helps to create the added volume; at her widest, she is 15 feet 11 inches from point to point, and is 4 inches wider than a same-class model from a competing builder — even though the Tiara (at 54 feet 6 inches length overall) is nearly 2 feet shorter than the other model in question.
The flybridge helm, with twin 16-inch Garmin screens, has seating for two more people. A console in the center of the deck has an ice maker, refrigerator, cutting board and sink for when your appetite catches up to you, but you still want that peace we discussed earlier. Furthermore, a hardtop provides protection from the sun.
Not too long after the show, I had a chance to give the F53 a kick in the tires off Stuart, Florida. One of my favorite things about this yacht happened to be the very first thing I checked out when I stepped on board for the second time: the swim platform, which Tiara has effectively turned into an entertainment space by putting in a transom grill with another refrigerator, ice maker and cutting board. It’s a really smart use of space that helps the yacht feel even larger. There’s also stowage for water toys and lines in the transom, and the swim platform is hydraulic for easy water access and tender launching.
THE POINTY END
The Tiara F53 Flybridge has a bow deck that is easily accessible via her 11.25-inch-wide side decks (a benefit of the yacht’s beaminess) and has twin sun pads that create an additional entertainment space.
The backrests on the after section of the U-shaped seating around the helm may make those seats the best in the house when running. Guests will have the wind in their hair, can stretch out their legs and can face forward, which helps to keep stomachs comfortable if the seas get sloppy.
See any cleats aft on the yacht? No, you don’t, and the omission is by design. Hidden cleats are to port and starboard of the swim-platform stairs. The flush design makes the yacht’s aesthetic lines that much cleaner.
Wield the Shield
The standard cockpit has aft seating and a high-gloss, foldable teak table. A cool little design detail that the F53 adopted from bigger boats is a small compartment to starboard that hides joystick controls for docking.
In the salon, another high-gloss teak table raises and lowers electrically, and can seat five comfortably on an L-shaped settee. Food to be served at that table can be cooked on the three-burner Kenyon cooktop in the galley aft. A refrigerated wine rack that fits 16 bottles — a full case — is an option that I’d imagine will be quite popular. (What’s a sunset cruise without a properly chilled glass of sauvignon blanc?) Another option in the salon is an indoor helm, which should be helpful for owners who cruise the Great Lakes and other more rugged climes, though my test boat had only an upper helm.
On the accommodations level, the amidships, en suite master has an athwartships queen berth and 6 feet 2 inches of headroom. The forepeak VIP with scissor berths has notable stowage, including a cedar-lined locker to starboard that hints at the F53’s cruising credentials (if you’re planning on going for a long poke, you need somewhere to put your stuff). There’s room for an optional third stateroom with two bunks to port, or that space can be a de facto laundry room.
As for performance, the motoryacht’s twin 725 hp Volvo Penta IPS950s provide not only power but also the maneuverability expected of pods at both fast and slow speeds. The F53 that I tested handled a steady chop on a blustery bay with confidence-inducing ease. Unfortunately, a suspected freshly bent prop stopped the vessel from hitting her top performance numbers, but the builder says she has a top-end of 33.6 knots. At 2,300 rpm, the F53 makes a 29-knot cruise speed. For making longer passages, this vessel can slow-cruise at 14.3 knots while burning just 30.8 gallons per hour. At that speed, owners could make the 191-mile hop from South Florida to the Abacos’ Marsh Harbour in a little more than 13 hours, which is doable in a single day.
Stairway to Heaven
Cruising to those Bahamian islands (or some other exotic port of call) strikes me as a perfect use for this yacht, with her fun outdoor spaces, good stowage, and a flybridge that lets guests get away from it all — something Tiara clearly understands is important. And something I understood immediately as I climbed down from my little oasis in the sky on that day back in Miami and stepped back out once more into the blistering breach.