— By Capt. Ken Kreisler
— December 2003
Scion of Success
|The latest Tiara to join the fleet is poised to replace a mainstay in the company’s lineup.|
When you step through the hefty transom door from the optional swim platform and onto the aggressive diamond nonskid of the Tiara 3200 Open’s cockpit sole, you’re stepping onto history. How so, you ask? Well, while not as momentous an event as, let’s say, the discovery of a tenth planet, this boat represents a milestone for a family-owned business from Holland, Michigan, that is approaching its 30th year of building boats.
It all started in 1946 when Leon Slikkers walked into the joiner department at the Chris-Craft factory in Holland and began his first shift making cabin tops. And while the idea for the first Tiara was still many years away—Slikkers would not found Tiara until 1974—the desire to not only be part of the boatbuilding community but make it better was already taking hold in his mind.
Slikkers went on to start his first company, Slickcraft, in 1955 and, after selling out to AMF almost a decade and a half later, began to solidify his boatbuilding vision. First came S2 sailing yachts (because of a noncompete agreement with AMF) and Tiara. Pursuit followed in 1977 (in 1987, S2 would cease sailboat production). Two years later the first of the Tiara 3100 Series was launched, a line of boats that would go on to become the most successful in the company’s history.
In January the 3100 will make way for the 3200 Open, which is both a foot longer and wider than her sibling and equipped, according to Rob Everse, Tiara’s marketing manager, with a host of enticing standard features (like 12,000-Btu Marine Air air conditioning) and plenty of options.
Considering the success of the 3100 and the adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” you might wonder how Tiara made this boat different. So did I. To answer that question and a couple of others, I spent a day aboard a 3200 with Everse as she was being delivered to her new owner at the Portland Boat Works marina in Portland, Connecticut. Luckily for me, a new 3100 Series Limited Edition was docked right next to her.
I immediately noticed subtle differences in the two boats’ profiles. The most apparent are the 3200’s reverse transom compared to the 3100’s traditionally squared-off aft one, composite windshield frame—the 3100 has an aluminum frame—and an optional hardtop built specifically to blend in with the 3200’s new profile. That windshield, by the way, has an electrically operated opening lower section in the center pane, three washers and wipers, well-placed grabrails to either outboard side, and distortion-free tempered safety glass. In addition, the corner pilasters found on the 3100 are gone, thus providing better sightlines to either corner.
“We’ve also built in lots of room for wiring runs right up here in the hardtop,” Everse pointed out. I could see how that would result in a clean-looking electronics installation. The hardtop also had a pair of screened Bomar hatches, a pair of flush-mounted stereo speakers, and built-in lighting, which includes a pair of reds for running at night.
Everse pointed out more changes, including the addition of Tiara’s trademark retractable transom lounge, an in-house fabricated composite fuel tank, and improved scuppers in the self-draining cockpit with a new plenum-style draining system that Everse says can empty deck water four times faster than the 3100’s design.
This article originally appeared in the November 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.