Tiara 3800 Open — By Richard Thiel — June 2000
The Heart of the Matter
|The 3800 Open is not only the midpoint of the Tiara lineup, it’s also an affirmation of what this builder does best.|
You have to wonder what the Slikkers family is thinking these days. In 1984 the biggest boat they built was 36 feet. Now they’ve introduced a new 38-footer that is the midpoint in a line stretching from 29 feet all the way to 50 feet. Even by today’s standards, that’s a remarkable success story.
But the new 3800 is the heart of the Tiara line not just in terms of length. It is precisely the kind of boat that made this builder the success it is: a roomy, open, truly dual-purpose craft that is well engineered and superbly finished. Featuring styling cues found on the flagship 50-footer, it replaces the 3700 Open, which was introduced in 1995 and is bracketed by the 3500 and 4100 Opens. (At present, the 3800 is not offered in the Express Series–3500, 4000, and 5000–which with a smaller cockpit and larger cabin is oriented more toward cruising.)
The Open line, which debuted in 1979 with the ubiquitous 3100, has always been about choice. Each Open can be ordered as anything from a tournament-ready fishboat (about one of five are) to a cushy cruiser. Most are outfitted like our test boat, with enough gear to make them capable of chasing anything up to a grander while retaining the comforts and amenities that make them ideal for cruising. To facilitate this, these boats have relatively limited standard equipment lists and a maximized options menu. For instance, the 3800’s Fishing Group offers 11 options, including everything from lockable cockpit rod stowage to two in-sole cockpit fishboxes with circulating system and macerator. Two bait-prep centers with livewells are also available, but as part of the Seating Group, which just goes to show you how much of a crossover boat this is.
To accommodate anglers and cruisers alike, the 3800 has a big cockpit: 6'8" wide by 11'7" long. Rod racks line either side, and those optional locking covers for them mean you don’t have to lug valuable rigs back into the cabin every night. A standard in-sole dunnage box, which can be ordered as a livewell, sits in front of the standard starboard transom door and gate; unfortunately you cannot lift its hatch fully open unless you lift the gate. Centerline is a large hatch that provides access to the bilge and rudder quadrants. It can be outfitted with a lift-out fishbox that’s secured by convenient snap rings. In standard form it drains directly into the bilge, an adequate setup for cruisers who will use it for dry stowage or as an ice chest. Anglers will want to order the optional macerator with pump-out. A third, smaller hatch located forward on centerline opens to reveal a complete, logically arranged, well-labeled fuel manifold.
In standard trim, two-person seats occupy the forward end of the cockpit to port and starboard, but an optional bait-prep station with cutting board, deep livewell/sink, and two tackle drawers can replace the one to port. Molded-in steps to either side provide easy access to eight-inch-wide side decks serviced by handrails on the windshield frame and optional radar arch. Regardless of whether you’re fighting a fish or dropping the hook, you’ll find forward access easy and safe thanks to the sturdy bowrail that is mounted atop an inch-and-a-half-high toerail and Tiara’s famous nonskid. (Actually there are two types: an aggressive pattern for the deck and a milder version for the top of the house where people might sit or recline.) The standard chain locker is a separate molding so odors can’t get into the cabin. The pulpit and stainless steel roller are standard, but a Maxwell rope/chain or all-chain windlass is optional.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.