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BOATS

BOAT TESTS

Tiara 4800 Convertible

I turned my back to the optional teak helm, and with an unobstructed view of the cockpit, I pictured my angler—complete with his gold Penn VSX16 loaded up with green high-vis line—reeling for his life as I backed the Tiara 4800 Convertible down after an imaginary hot white marlin. I pushed the Glendinning controls into reverse until there was a full-on ocean-meets-transom moment. The standard transom door and top-locking gate showed no signs of leakage, and while some water did splash up and over, the cockpit stayed mostly dry. She danced backwards and spun around, displaying fleet-footed finesse and grace. While all this was a mere simulation on a warm mid-February Miami morning, the 4800’s handling and aggressiveness made me see her piscatorial possibilities.

If I were going to seriously fish the 4800, I’d remove the optional ($3,980) 30-inch-deep swim platform, as it’s a fishing-line hazard and counteracts the boat’s line-preserving Bennett recessed trim tabs. (All Tiaras over 43 feet have recessed tabs.) That said, the builder’s commitment to fishing was clearly evident in the cockpit, which comes standard with two in-deck macerated fishboxes that can easily hold a few rod-breaking bigeye tuna. On centerline, there’s a 2'x2' aluminum backing plate for a fighting chair laminated into the balsa-cored deck. Live-bait aficionados will likely go for the optional ($3,880) 80-gallon livewell. It has a powerful pump, which can be accessed from the lazarette and can evacuate those 80 gallons of seawater in just five minutes. Tiara says its research has shown that a livewell’s high turnover rate is the most efficient way to keep live bait, well, alive, and this one’s interior contours prevent baits from banging into the walls, getting damaged, and dying off. (When goggle eyes are running $120 a dozen on tournament day you want every one of them to have constant water and room to swim.)

My boat was also fitted out with a bait-prep station to starboard, complete with a cutting board, lure tubes, and leader holders. To accommodate it, the ladder leading to the flying bridge was curved. Gentlemen fishermen (or those with bad knees) can eliminate the station and install a molded-in bridge stairway, a $4,200 option that also costs you some cockpit square-footage. Other fishy options include Rupp outriggers, a six-rod rocket launcher on the flying bridge, port and starboard under-gunwale rod stowage, and teaser reels.

This boat was not only rigged to chase pelagics, she was powered to get you to them fast, thanks to optional 1,015-hp Caterpillar C18s, which come at an upcharge of about $58,000 over the standard 885-hp Cat C18s. (Yes, it’s the same model designation.) The extra horsepower produced a cruise speed of 35.6 mph at 2000 rpm while the Cats burned 68 gph and provided 0.52 mpg. Based on her 1,000-gallon fuel capacity, the 4800 has a cruise-speed range of 471 statute miles. At 2350 rpm (WOT), my 4800 hit an average top hop of 41.4 mph, a speed that will cost you 100 gph, but still offers a relatively efficient 0.41 mpg and 373-statute-mile range. I also recorded a 1000-rpm speed of 12.6 mph, so if slow trolling live or dead bait is your thing, I suggest getting the optional trolling valves ($9,920).

Regarding her fuel capacity, those 1,000 gallons come from two athwartships tanks, one under the cockpit, the other just forward of the engine room. The aft tank feeds the port motor while the forward tanks runs the starboard diesel and the standard 13.5-kW Onan genset. (An auxiliary 5-kW Onan genset with soundshield is available as an option. It’ll run you about $17,160.) This independent setup provides a margin of safety: What are the chances of a problem in both fuel systems? But keep in mind the forward tank will burn fuel more quickly thanks to the genset.

Besides having fish-chasing agility, the Tiara 4800 was also impressive in flat-out runs and turns. This is due in part to standard power-assisted Teleflex SeaStar steering. After a little wheel time, I’d venture to say she’d be a pleasure to run out to the canyons and ply the 1,000-fathom line for “the man in the blue suit” (blue marlin). And while you’re at the helm, your guests can easily watch baits from the cockpit mezzanine, the flying bridge, or even from the saloon via the optional cockpit camera ($1,310) hooked up to that Sharp TV.

The flat-calm conditions on test day certainly contributed to my test boat’s efficiency, but so did her easily planing, modified-V form and a hull that is as solid as it is quick. The 4800 is built with a hand-laid, solid-fiberglass bottom and balsa-cored hull sides, which ensure rigidity and strength without adding excessive weight. And less weight means more efficiency.

The flat-calm conditions on test day certainly contributed to my test boat’s efficiency, but so did her easily planing, modified-V form and a hull that is as solid as it is quick. The 4800 is built with a hand-laid, solid-fiberglass bottom and balsa-cored hull sides, which ensure rigidity and strength without adding excessive weight. And less weight means more efficiency.

But while this convertible combines the muscle of a sprinter with the endurance of a marathoner, her big powerplants eat up a lot of engine-room space. Headroom here is 4'10", and inside it’s a tight fit, even for me at 5'7". Accessing the batteries, Cablemaster, and ice chipper, which are outboard of the port motor, requires some gut sucking to get around the front of the engine. Big engines in a relatively small space is the trade-off for outstanding performance.

Space is not an issue in the saloon, which offers 6'7" headroom. An Ultraleather L-shape settee provides a clear view of the retractable 37-inch Sharp LCD TV to starboard, but I wasn’t fond of the fact that it faces aft. When the boat is running, gravity is basically forcing you off of it. I’d prefer to see it moved to the aft bulkhead, facing forward. One very cool option here are the electrically operated remote-control blinds for the cabin-side and aft windows. Granted the price tag is $4,560 for them, but it’s worth it. (And make sure you hide the remote from the kids.)

The 4800’s interior also features an impressive amalgam of Tiara’s trademark grain-matched, satin-finish teak, including bulkheads and galley cabinetry. The optional teak-and-holly sole (teak is standard) is equally impressive. And while you’re sitting in this warm and woody environment, you can cool down after a day of hard fishing thanks to 20,000-Btus of standard Marine Air air conditioning.

Keeping your food cool are four drawer-type Sub-Zeros (two ‘fridge, two freezer) in the port-side galley. A standard issue Quartz countertop with tile backsplash, a three-burner electric cooktop from Kenyon, a microwave/convection oven from Sharp, and pasta-pot-deep stowage round out the amenities here.

Your crew will appreciate the forepeak stateroom, too. Why? Because Tiara was willing to trade off a little bit of floor space for a true double berth in the bottom bunk of this standard two-bunk setup. (With a traditional forepeak bunk arrangement you usually get two singles.) For teams spending time on the tournament circuit, this is preferred to a step-up queen as it gives you an extra place for someone to rest.

Rounding out the accommodations are the port-side amidships master with an en suite head and a guest stateroom across from it that’s equipped with bunks. The forepeak and second guest stateroom, which are both equipped with optional ($1,220 each) Sharp Aquos flat-panels TVs, share a head. If you stockpile rods—as many anglers do—you can add rod stowage facilities in the guest staterooms for $320 per room.

One thing is certain: The 4800 makes the case that Tiara is committed to constructing offshore-capable and angler-friendly convertibles that are ready to battle big fish. Are you?


>Tiara Yachts (616) 3927163.

This article originally appeared in the April 2009 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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