Tiara 5000 Open

When I started out to write this boat test, the working title was “Gentleman’s Fishboat,” and one look at the Tiara 5000 and you might guess that was apropos. But in going over my notes and trying to get a handle on this boat, I came to the conclusion that “an upscale fishing boat for the occasional angler” was not an accurate description. Nor do I believe that the 5000 is a crossover boat, an elegant amalgam designed to both cruise and fish.

Then what is it? Let me resort to that refuge of boat testers, the automotive metaphor. If the 5000 were a car, she would be neither SUV nor sports sedan. And she certainly wouldn’t be one of those hideous luxury pickup trucks being introduced by Lincoln and Cadillac. No, she'd be unique, a classy two-plus-two luxury sports sedan with four-wheel drive and some sort of height-adjustable suspension that would let you actually take it off-road. Most owners of this car wouldn’t think of doing so but nevertheless would take great comfort in the knowledge that they could.

Inlike manner Tiara freely admits that the vast majority—upwards of 90 percent—of 5000 owners will primarily cruise this boat and likely never seriously fish her. But most will nevertheless order her like our test boat, with most or all of the fishing options and, who knows, maybe even ‘riggers and a tower. Why? I suspect simply for the pleasure of knowing that if they did want to get into some serious fishing, they could.

And indeed they could, for notwithstanding her owner's intentions, a 5000 rigged like our boat is nothing short of a serious angling platform. A two-piece transom door and cockpit-sole fighting-chair reinforcement are standard, as are four Lee rod holders, fresh-and raw-water washdowns, and inwhale bolsters. Although there is no toerail, aft freeboard is low enough that I was able to bend over and nearly touch the water. Aft, you'll find a seven-foot long fishbox covered by a double and a single hatch to make access in a hurry easier. Immediately in front of the tuna door is a circular dunnage box that can be ordered as a livewell ($1,240), while in each aft corner sit large scuppers with elegant polished stainless steel grates designed to empty the cockpit quickly and safely. Along the transom was the only hint that our boat wasn't headed for a tournament: Tiara's elegant foldaway seat, a $2,480 option remarkable for its combination of comfort and easy operation.

An aft-facing seat at the forward end of the cockpit is standard, but this goes away when you order the port-side bait-prep center, with which you get a freezer, sink, and tackle drawers. The craftily designed sink portion swings away to give you easy engine room access. (There's also a day hatch on the bridge deck.) Below, you'll find ready access to everything and as clean--everything is either gelcoated or painted--and logically laid-out a space as you'll find anywhere. Strainers and Racors are right at hand, and all fuel lines are clearly labeled, both here and beneath the cockpit fuel tank access hatch.

Two steps keep the bridge deck dry when you're backing down (or just washing down the cockpit), and here you have a space that can serve anglers and cruisers with equal efficiency. A large settee lies to port, from which you could conceivably watch baits--an aft-facing cockpit seat is the only fishing feature a fishing-equipped 5000 lacks--but you and a crowd can certainly eat at it. Simply flip the forward passenger seatback (it faces a chart flat and drink holders), and you have U-shape seating for six burly guys. Remove the pedestals from under that seat and the table from its receiver in the seat's forward face, and it becomes a dinette. A standard wet bar with glass and bottle stowage, cutting board, ice maker/refrigerator lies directly to starboard. There's even a 120-volt outlet here for a hook sharpener--or a blender.

This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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