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Tiara 3600 Coronet

Way Too Cool

Thanks to a multifaceted, comfy-in-all-climes approach to onboard enjoyment, the Tiara 3600 Coronet is a great dayboat as well as a superior weekender.

I had already tested the new Tiara 3600 Coronet for the Power & Motoryacht New Boat Buyer’s Guide 2013 (on newsstands now), but I found myself admiring her at a boat show when two teenagers emerged from her interior.

“This is, like, way too cool,” said one.

“This is the one Mom and Dad have to get,” said the other, adding, “We’d have our own cabin!”

I moved on, reflecting that this is exactly why Tiara Yachts has flourished. The company is able to read the minds of boat owners (and their decision-making broods), creating boats that fit their needs rather than trying to force-feed folks on preconceived notions. And that ability has created the Tiara mystique of sensible, well-built, and thoroughly enjoyable boats from this family-owned company. 

Fashioned to be a comfortable and good-looking dayboat with an interior suitable for long weekends aboard, the new 3600 Coronet  has the classic Tiara styling genes, with just a hint of Down East thrown in to create a yacht that is pretty from any angle.

I made the comment in my earlier review that the 3600 Coronet was 75 percent cockpit and 50 percent cabin, thereby prompting one of Power & Motor-yacht’s editors to make a snippy comment about how I must have failed fifth-grade mathematics. 

While I did come close to tanking that dreary subject, it only takes a quick tour of the 3600 to learn “the new math.” Tiara made two decisions early in the design process. First, they focused on making the cockpit the primary living area, since this is where people spend the majority of their boating time. Second, they created a comfortable interior that is an inviting retreat, unlike the Motel 6-type cabins found on many so-called dayboats. 

The result is a yacht that doesn’t try to be everything to everyone. The cabin, for example, has nary a settee (well, except for a small one I’ll mention in a moment) because they suck up space like a Star Trek black hole and, besides, Tiara created a settee-laden outdoor living room on the bridgedeck that can be easily enclosed if the weather is too hot, cold, or wet. No, Tiara realized that boat owners mostly use the cabin to prep a salad or make sandwiches, for sleeping, and of course, for showering and that other stuff. 

And here’s what Tiara gains by not trying to shove a useless settee into the cabin. They get two cabins with berths large enough for two real-sized couples who want double berths. They get a spacious head with a separate stall shower complete with Lucite door. Moreover, they get a galley with electric cooktop, fridge, microwave, and lockers. And it’s all done in three color schemes that are not just attractive, but downright posh. 

What about the cockpit, you ask? Well, that’s the alfresco living room for the 3600, but Tiara Yachts is located in Holland, Michigan, where the weather is not always sunshine and fluffy clouds.

Better Boat: Composite Windshield Frames

Composite Windshield Frames

For anyone who has ever owned a boat with an aluminum-framed windshield and who has watched the aluminum corrode (even under paint) into a nautical version of leprosy, composite frames are a godsend. Tiara Yachts (and sister company, Pursuit Boats) benefit from a sophisticated composite windshield frame construction that not only will never corrode or warp, but which allows for extremely slim pillars for better vision.

The starting point for each windshield frame is a foam core, made from two-part foam in a high-pressure mold much like that for surfboards. The foam “blank” is then wrapped in fiberglass laminate and placed in another mold from which, after more pressure is applied during a resin-infusion process, the finished frame emerges. This frame, carefully trimmed and insulated, is then fitted with tempered glass to create a durable and consistent windshield that is vastly superior to the aluminum type.

So the design boffins at Tiara came up with more cockpit flexibility than a Swiss Army knife has blades. Let’s take nice weather. With your guests aboard, you’ll slide open the extra-large sunroof in the optional hardtop over the bridgedeck, toggle a rocker switch to open the center panel of the windshield for a breeze, and you’re as close to a runabout as you can get. 

Your guests are everywhere: in the L-shaped settee at the stern with its optional table, on the two aft-facing double seats on the mezzanine, or around the L-lounge opposite the skipper, who is on a double-wide seat with electric adjustments. Also tucked under the hardtop is the optional entertainment center, by the way, with electric grill, Vitrifrigo fridge drawer, and a fold-out flatscreen TV for watching the game.

If it’s rainy or cold (or too hot), just weatherproof the helm deck with the soft enclosure and turn on the heat or air-conditioning. Yes, you lose the settee at the stern, but you still have a comfy dinette/lounge and the entertainment center to keep you happy.

The master stateroom is forward and, get this, it has a quilted innerspring mattress just like real residential beds, so you’ll sleep well. The entire berth hinges up on gas lifts to reveal a cavernous bin and the cabin closes off with teak trifold doors for privacy.

Under the raised bridgedeck is the amidships berth, which has another deep and comfy double mattress. There is a smallish settee in the port corner, and the mattress folds out of the way to provide more foot space (there is good headroom) when pulling on your pants. A curtain closes off this area, which is perfect for a second couple … or kids, like the two teenagers I saw at the boat show.

The standard interior finish is teak, with a hardwood teak sole, and a maple interior is optional. Either way, you get ample fresh air from a forward hatch plus four opening portlights.

The helm console is flawless gelcoat in colors (your choice of carbon, blue, or sand) that don’t reflect in the curved windshield, so the skipper’s view forward is impressive, and the slim composite windshield pillars minimize blind spots (see “Better Boat: Composite Windshield Frames,” opposite). The entire helm tilts forward for easy access to the electronic systems.

The dash panel is sized for three flush-mounted monitors of your choice, and our test boat had the lovely to behold and even nicer to hold optional teak wheel. Rocker switches are neatly accessible on the dash and side panel, while breakers are right below the wheel. I liked the built-in steps and the teak footrest for the helm seat which, when slid aft, leaves ample space to stand behind the wheel. Even better, the Mercury SmartCraft shifter is perfectly positioned whether you’re seated for a day cruise or standing while docking.

On deck, Tiara hasn’t missed a beat either. There’s a sturdy walk-through transom door to the extra-wide (45-inch) teak-clad swim platform, welded stainless steel grabrails surround the foredeck, and the wide side decks have both grabrails and a good nonslip surface.

The 3600 Coronet is available with a mix-and-match variety of propulsion choices that should meet the needs and budget of every owner, with options including twin gas, twin conventional diesel, or twin diesels with pod drives. All come from either Cummins Marine or Mercury Marine, all have roughly the same horsepower ratings, and all most likely provide respectable performance numbers.

The base engine is the 380-horsepower Mercury 8.2L gas with shaft drive, and our test boat had the mid-range 380-horsepower Cummins QSB5.9 diesels, also with shafts. That same Cummins diesel can be optioned with ZF pod drives. The pods, because they are mounted in tunnels, add only two inches to the boat’s draft.

Access to the engines for daily service checks is through a hatch in the cockpit sole near the helm, but the entire aft section of the bridgedeck also raises on electric lifts to open the entire engine room for service. Our test boat had the optional 5-kilowatt Onan genset, which is mounted aft between the two main engines.

In the engine room, the high quality of the Coronet’s construction is visible, with the bilges entirely gelcoated for easy cleaning and the foam-cored stringers encapsulated in hand-laid fiberglass and integrated into the hull.  There is a five-year warranty on the hull, deck, and fiberglass fuel tank. 

With the optional Cummins diesels, we topped out at nearly 32 knots with all our tanks full and four people aboard, so the 3600 Coronet is no slouch on performance. Even better, when backed off to around 2500 rpm, she cruised comfortably at 26 knots at almost exactly one mile per gallon. This gives owners two good choices: go fast to get home quickly, or cruise comfortably and economically.

I liked the way the 3600 handled, too. In lumpy conditions inshore, she threw spray out to the side and, in the confused seas of the Gulf Stream, she was dry, soft-riding, and entirely predictable.

So yes, the two kids I saw at the boat show were right: The Tiara 3600 Coronet is, like, way too cool. And additionally, she’s well built, thoughtfully designed, and a thoroughly likable dayboat with occasional weekender ambitions. I just hope Mom and Dad took the kids’ advice.

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This article originally appeared in the March 2013 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.