Tiara 3900 Convertible — By Capt. Patrick Sciacca
— September 2005
The Return of the Crown
Part 2: The 3900 offers an impressive turn of speed, a long list of standard amenities, plenty of options, solid construction, and the ability to function as either a serious sportfisherman or a family cruiser.
As well equipped as the 3900 is for fishing, she’s equally adept at entertaining for tournament lay days or cruising with the family. Immediately upon entering from the cockpit and to port there’s an Ultraleather L-shape settee that faces more L-shape seating (also Ultraleather) in the dinette across, and both offer clean views of the standard 26-inch Sony flat-panel TV forward and to starboard. The seating was quite comfy, and I sat high enough to take in views through all the windows. (Regarding comfort, Tiara found that by mixing high- and low-density foam, you get a comfortable but not-so-soft-I’m-sinking-into-the-furniture feel.) The table for the dinette stows in the forward master stateroom’s cedar-lined closet, allowing the settee to convert to a double berth. The port-side galley is down from the saloon and has a clean look with everything flush-fit, including the standard two-burner EuroKera cooktop. Access to the below-deck’s and saloon’s air conditioning units are through an in-sole hatch here.
The 3900’s interior features her builder’s familiar satin-finish teak throughout. After touring the Tiara factory later that day and watching employees doing the joiner work, I understood why the grain matching and clean corners were some of the best I’ve seen from a production builder. My test boat had the optional teak-and-holly sole; plain teak is standard.
The 3900’s accommodations area is laid out as efficiently as her entertainment areas, with the aforementioned master forward having a double-size step-up berth. Just aft and to starboard is the guest stateroom with bunks. Everyone shares one head with a circular shower stall, just aft to port of the master. With 6'6" headroom throughout the saloon and below decks, the 3900 felt as spacious here as in her cockpit.
However, there were two places where I felt cramped. The first was the aforementioned flying bridge. I could manage my 5'7", 160-pound frame around the back of the helm seats against the hardtop piping, but it was tight, and trying to get between the seats was a no go. In addition, the seating in front of the helm, which accommodates four, doesn’t provide a lot of room to stretch your legs. (My legs reached the front of the flying-bridge when they were extended.) I’ve been on several similar-size convertibles that have more legroom here.
But the toughest spot for me was the engine room. While regular maintenance points are inboard on the engines, which have 29 inches between them, outboard access required ducking and crawling, especially on the port side. The Racors and sea strainers are aft but also require ducking and stretching. And, the standard 11.5-kW Onan genset is all the way forward in a hushbox behind a bulkhead panel that must be removed for access. I couldn’t see another place for the genset, but if it has to sit forward, I’d rather not have a panel in front of it so that routine maintenance would be easier.
Despite these space issues, I think Tiara has made a strong statement about its commitment to quality and to its return to the convertible market. The 3900 offers an impressive turn of speed, a long list of standard amenities, plenty of options, solid construction, and the ability to function as either a serious sportfisherman or a family cruiser. And most important, her builder has obviously done its homework and attended to the details to ensure buyers will be getting the best boat possible. And ultimately, that’s what makes this boat worth her price.
Tiara Yachts ( (616) 392-7163. www.tiarayachts.com.
This article originally appeared in the October 2005 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.