3800 Open — By Richard Thiel — June 2000
The Heart of the Matter
|Part 2: Tiara 3800 Open continued|
The bridge deck is elevated, as is common in fishing boats,
to enhance visibility and prevent shipped water from intruding into the control area and cabin. Regardless of their nautical predilections, all owners will love the 3800’s engine access: The entire bridge deck–seats, built-ins, and all–raises electrically to a span of 2'6". (A small day hatch is available for daily maintenance checks.) Typical of Tiara’s commitment to finish, drains for this large module are concealed inside a two-piece molding. Below, there’s two feet between each Cummins diesel engine and the hull (solid glass below the waterline, balsa-cored above), unless you order the Glendinning CableMaster, whose collector bin occupies most of the aft starboard side. The optional 8-kW hushboxed Onan sits fully aft, accessible on three sides. Notable here is the unique Tiara engine mounting system, which uses brass pins or "toggles" passing through the plywood "Tech-Lam" engine beds to secure the live engine mounts, a system the builder claims is more positive and less prone to misalignment.
With the 3800’s bridge deck down, there’s room for a crew of anglers or a family of cruisers. To port is a five-person, L-shape settee, which with the insertion of a forward filler becomes a comfortable lounge. Four shallow drink holders and a large Plexiglas chart compartment occupy the forward bulkhead. To starboard the helm seat, with standard electric fore/aft adjustment, offers room for the captain and at least one mate. Abaft this seat is a stowage cabinet that can be ordered with an icemaker. Thanks to the deck’s elevation, visibility while either standing or seated is excellent, enhanced by a distortion-free, curved glass windshield that is contained in a unique composite frame designed and constructed by Tiara. Mirroring the engine hatch design, the entire instrument console tips forward for easy electronics installation.
The 3800’s owner has almost as much opportunity to express him- or herself inside as outside. While only one layout is offered–big V-berth stateroom forward, head with separate shower, compact galley to port, and large U-shape settee to starboard–there are plenty of choices, and they won’t all be decided according to whether you fish or cruise. Carpet is standard, but most boats will no doubt have the teak and holly sole found on our test boat, a feature that’s become something of a Tiara trademark. (Solid teak is also available.) The standard interior woodwork is traditional teak, but our boat had the optional honey ash veneer interior, which I preferred. Other options include two AM/FM stereo/CD units and a TV that mounts on an innovative turntable so it can be viewed from either the saloon or the stateroom.
Of course, anglers and cruisers alike are attracted by performance, and here there are only two choices: 450-hp Cummins or 435-hp Caterpillars. While the minor difference in horsepower is unlikely to substantially affect your performance results, note that the Caterpillars are V-8s while the Cummins are in-line sixes, so there will be some difference in engine room space. Either way, expect good seakeeping from the modified-V hull form, which on test day provided a dry, smooth ride in small to moderate seas. More impressive to me was the solidity of the ride, testament to Tiara’s tab-and-slot method of affixing virtually every major interior component, far superior to simple glues or screws.
With a brand-new hull with prop pockets, cambered and curved transom, shapely engine air intakes, and composite windshield, the 3800 represents the latest evolutionary step at Tiara–what some in the company informally call the third generation. But in terms of design flexibility, quality, and superior fit and finish, this Tiara is completely conventional. Indeed, she represents not only the heart of the lineup but also in many ways the soul of her builder.
Tiara Yachts (616) 392-7163. Fax: (616) 394-7466. www.tiarayachts.com.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.