Fresh Perspective

To get an outisde opinion on Tiara’s new 43 LE, Editor-in-Chief Dan Harding enlists the hardest person to impress: his father-in-law.

New chapters. Turning the page from who you were to who you are about to become can be equal parts exciting and terrifying. My father-in-law Bryan and I both found ourselves neck-deep in new lives recently. He had just retired from a successful career as a computer programmer, working for premiere financial institutions. For decades he would make the long commute to Manhattan, where he’d put in even longer hours. Weekends were sacred, as they were reserved for spending time with family. That’s just the way it was for a long time.

The author and his father-in-law escape diaper duty for a fast ride on the new 43 LE.

The author and his father-in-law escape diaper duty for a fast ride on the new 43 LE.

Just days into retirement, he was still figuring out how to navigate his newfound free time. Without much interest in golf or fly-fishing, he looked forward to traveling and spending time with his children, plans that were largely grounded courtesy of the pandemic.

As for me, my life changed with the official launch of my son, Connor. I traded long, carefree weekends with friends for dirty diapers, sleep deprivation and enough lullabies to make you insane.

My father-in-law’s life and mine would intersect when he visited our home in Connecticut to lend a hand with the little one. It was an action (read: diaper) filled week. I’d like to say that the week he and my mother-in-law spent with us was calm and that we all harmoniously fell into our new roles, but that wouldn’t be completely honest. There were times we all wanted to join Connor in throwing a temper tantrum. Okay, maybe that was just me.

We tried to stay in our channels, and I have to say, my in-laws were like the Coast Guard—you don’t want to run into them constantly, but you’re glad they’re on standby should you need help. I probably should have been on paternity leave at this time, but when I learned that the Tiara 43 LE would be available to test just down the road from me, well, let’s just say my arm didn’t need to be twisted to hard. I jumped at the chance to escape on the water for a few hours, to run a fast boat and decompress.

As much as I was looking forward to the break, I knew there was another person who could use a time out from baby talk. I did something I never thought I’d do: I asked my father-in-law if he wanted to tag along. He didn’t hesitate.

Now, there’s a reason that in a world full of made-up national holidays there’s not a national take-your-father-in-law-to-work day. The very thought of it would have previously sent a shiver up my spine. It’s a high-risk, low-reward maneuver however you slice it.

Swivel seating, amenities everywhere and a fold-down TV speak to the entertaining focus of the newest Tiara. 

Swivel seating, amenities everywhere and a fold-down TV speak to the entertaining focus of the newest Tiara. 

I’m pretty sure everyone wants their father-in-law to think of them as a hard-working provider. Would a peek behind the curtain at just how fun my job is shatter my carefully cultivated image? I mean, he spent his entire career dressed in formal attire while working at large financial institutions. My work attire typically involves shorts and sunscreen.

But on the plus side, I’ve been hearing for years about a trend of grandparents buying boats as a way of bringing family together. If there was even a sliver of a chance that he could catch the boating bug, well, I had to shoot that shot.

The new Tiara 43 LE is the sistership to the 43 LS I tested in Michigan last year. I had the chance to see this boat on the production line and ran it up and down Lake Michigan. Knowing the boat inside and out would surely help me impress my father-in-law, or so I hoped. I’ve always had an easier time impressing myself than him.

Warning: Reclining on this cockpit seating can cause sudden naps.

Warning: Reclining on this cockpit seating can cause sudden naps. 

We were there to meet the boat in Old Saybrook as she pulled up to the fuel dock. In a time of canceled boat shows, the 43 and her crew were on a banjo-string-tight schedule, running the boat down the coast with frequent stops at their dealers to take prospective clients out on the water. On a September afternoon on the sleepy Connecticut River, I expected we would be one of the only sea trials that day. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The demand to climb aboard this boat was so high we had to elbow our way into a single-hour time slot before another would-be owner tagged in.

It was time to show Bryan what I knew—or didn’t know—about giving a new model a proper test. I started out by showing him perhaps the most standout—or rather sit-down—feature of the boat: the rotating cockpit seating. If you’ve been following Tiara even a little bit over the last few years, you’ve seen its rotating aft seating that faces forward one second and, with the lift of a latch and a tug, pirouettes to face aft the next. The seat on the LE is similar, except there’s a third cantilevered position that allows guests to enjoy the view off the fold-down gunwale to port. That trick with the gunwale is new to the Tiara lineup on this model.

The best seat in the house is unequivocally the one behind the helm. 

The best seat in the house is unequivocally the one behind the helm. 

So far, Bryan seemed somewhat impressed, even as I fumbled with the latch just a bit—sweaty palms and all. Stepping up through the 43’s aft doors—another new touch—I lowered a generous-sized television from the hardtop.

“I don’t know why anyone would, but you can watch a Mets game from any of these seats,” I offered. One point for television, minus one for the wise-cracking son-in-law.

We walked through the generous two-stateroom accommodations. Again, he seemed pretty impressed with the space but seemed to be thinking what I was: Can we get underway already? With triple 450-hp Mercury Racing outboards on the back and a purported top speed of 52 knots, I had a feeling this boat was going to make a fast impression.

We reclined on the aft seating as the company captain pointed us into Long Island Sound. The seating on this boat is simply some of the most comfortable I’ve ever lounged on, a feature that the Tiara design team takes great pride in. Had my father-in-law not been sitting a couple feet from me, I’m concerned I would have actually dozed off.

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In open water I felt a rush of excitement as Bryan slid in behind the helm. I may have even found some sick enjoyment in seeing him show just a hint of nervousness before kicking such a powerful horse—it’s usually me on the other side of that emotion. Any anxiety that he may have had before pushing on the throttles disappeared as the rpm rose. He brought us up to just about the boat’s top speed of 50 knots before carving several turns. Complete with a Tiara hat he looked content at the wheel. Could this really happen? Could I win him over and become the captain of his new 43 LE? Had my years of sending Power & Motoryacht to his doorstep built up enough interest in boating?

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We showed him how effective the Seakeeper was in reducing the boat’s roll. He was even more impressed. Hook. Line. Sinker. Dan, you’re a genius.

Before he could sign on the dotted line, we had to turn back for the barn; a real customer was waiting.

Dockside, with the 43 LE once again underway in front of us, Bryan and I chatted about the boat. In a last Hail Mary, I talked about all the things boating can offer a family.

“Joking aside, I really think this is a great boat for cruising with friends and family,” I offered. “It has something for everyone.”

A prospective owner who had sea trialed the boat before us was standing within ear shot, but with headphones in his ears, it appeared that he was zoning out on a conference call, or so we thought.

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“It’s just like you’re saying,” interjected the eavesdropper, “my boat is how I kept my kids hanging out with me, and it let me see who their friends were and how they interacted with them. They still come out on the boat with me.”

Had I actually been a broker and my father-in-law a buyer, it was one of those slam dunk, mic-drop moments. Alas, a new boat wasn’t in the cards for him, but I have a feeling he’ll be more than happy to join our growing family on boat trips.

My father-in-law and I are different in a lot of ways. He’s reserved, calm and calculated, and I’m, well, less so. But on this day out on the water pushing the 43 through its paces, driving a fast boat like a couple of kids, I realized that maybe we’re not so different after all.

Tiara 43 LE Test Report

TestReport_Tiara 43 LE

Tiara 43 LE Specifications:

LOA: 43'6"
Beam: 13'
Draft: 3'5"
Displ.: 22,100 lbs.
Fuel: 400 gal.
Water: 60 gal.
Power: 3/450-hp Mercury 450R
Optional Power: 3/425-hp Yamaha XTO
Price: $1.92 million

This article originally appeared in the March 2021 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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