Waterbikes are like bees: They stop buzzing around at night. Still, prudent skippers will swivel their heads and scan as much after dark as they do in bright daylight. In acknowledgment of this, there are both red and white lights mounted under the hardtop of the Tiara 4200 Open. Flip a switch and the entire helm deck glows red instead of white. Typical Tiara. Many boatbuilders install a single red light, usually just above the helm itself. This gives the salesperson something to point out at the boat show. And it does help preserve your night vision-until you look over your shoulder.
Going the extra mile is the name of the 4200 Open's game. It's fast and efficient, and it provides a soft, sure ride. Since we leadered and released a number of sailfish during our test, I can attest to its fishability. I balked, however, at the accessibility to the air conditioner and a couple of other details. But when the fishing's done and you've reached your destination, the accommodations are well crafted and luxurious.
RUN, RABBIT, RUN. Given the 4200 Open's high level of execution throughout, my list for comparison shopping is short: Cabo's 40 Express ($595,000 powered by twin 690-bhp MAN D2876LE diesel inboards). When tested by us, that 42'10"-by-15'9", 28,000-pound express topped a class-beating 42 mph. And it accomplished that while carrying 400 gallons of fuel, a dry water tank, a crew of three, and a tower. Cruising at 1800 rpm and 33.9 mph, the Cabo burned 50.2 gph for a range of 317 miles.
Punch the throttles aboard the 4200 Open. Our test boat hurtled to 39.6 mph with 520 gallons of fuel, 130 gallons of water, and a crew of four under a hardtop ($24,680). With the 700-bhp Caterpillar C-12 diesels spooled up and turning 1800 rpm, it made 30.5 mph and burned 40 gph, netting a 357-mile range. Different motors. Different loads. Different day. One's a bit faster, one has a bit more range. Like apples and oranges, they're both sweet.
Ride quality aboard the 4200 Open is excellent. Run in the trough, head downsea, or make a head-on assault into the waves. The Tiara tracks precisely, always answers the helm, and never jolted us. A fairly full entry keeps its bow from plunging. Generous bow flare and reversed chines deflect spray so the ride is dry. Visibility, in general, is excellent thanks to the height of the helm deck, three steps above the cockpit. Still, the thick windshield mullions caused me to stretch my neck on occasion. The chair-and-a-half helm bench counters this somewhat by adjusting up and down, fore and aft, at the touch of a button. The two-level footrest, molded into the helm, complements its wide range of travel.
EXPRESS YOURSELF. The 4200 Open is on the cruisey side of fishing. The slightly reversed transom looks great, and it didn't stop us from catching sails and dolphin. But tournament anglers will prefer the vertical transom on the Cabo. Also, although the 4200 Open's cockpit is spacious at 87 square feet and incorporates a backing plate in the sole for a fighting chair, you must cough up another $12,230 to get a livewell, locking rod stowage, a rigging station with a freezer, and a macerator for the insole boxes. The Cabo's 100-square-foot cockpit comes equipped to fish, though its cockpit seating is accomplished by hopping up on the bait station. The 4200 Open's standard arrangement includes a transom door, an aft-facing lounge with engine room access, a foldaway transom lounge, and fresh- and raw-water washdown systems. A gripe: On the transom are boarding steps, as per ABYC recommendation and common sense. But these lead from several feet below the water to the waterline on center, several feet from the transom door. Need I say more?
The upper cockpit, or helm deck, features a day hatch to the engine room and an L-lounge and table to port. There's stowage below and a drink cooler built in one end with a side-mounted lid. If the lid-a door, really-were higher, more ice and cans would fit in the space. Abaft the helm seat is a wetbar with sink, refrigerator, cutting board, 110-volt outlet, and another cooler. The arrangement is well thought out: With the cockpit seating deployed, your guests can spread out. And since the air conditioning/heat is ducted to the helm, comfort is ensured.
HEAVY METAL. Tiara's toggle system is one of the better ways of skinning the engine mount cat. This setup consists of a thick steel rod running laterally through the stringers and pinning vibration-attenuating, saddle-type mounts in place. Those CATs ain't going nowhere.
Fuel tanks are fiberglass. Wiring and plumbing are labeled, well supported, and neatly run. The oil exchange system handles both motors, both sets of gears, and the generator. In all, the rigging and installation is comparable to the oft-heralded Cabo, though I took exception to two things. The air conditioner, which is pinned between the port engine and the hull, is virtually inaccessible. Second, the portside shaft seal is hidden beneath the genset. More mundane service items, however, such as filters, batteries, bilge pumps, and dipsticks, were all in easy reach. The shower sump pump is serviced through a hatch in the salon sole.
FORESTRY. That sole in the salon is teak, by the way, as are the bulkhead coverings. Tiara's lovely, conservatively salty interior also includes a thickly varnished, gloriously grained bird's-eye maple table with teak edge banding. Countertops are solid-surface faux-granite, with under-mount sinks. The headliner is snare-drum tight. The galley is equipped with such high-end appliances as a ceramic cooktop and Sub-Zero refrigeration. Pull up the sole hatch here and you'll discover large stowage bins, perfect for paper towels, cereal boxes, or other bulky goods.
Without considering parking the kids under the hardtop for the night, the 4200 Open sleeps five. Captain and mate enjoy the innerspring island berth in the forward stateroom. This is complete with two cedar-lined hanging lockers, a flat-screen TV, and private access to the head.
Up to three can sleep in the convertible salon lounge. The bottom half folds out to form a double bunk; a pipe berth above it folds out to sleep a third. When used for lounging, the bottom section also incorporates a recliner, perfect for viewing the flat-screen TV in the entertainment center opposite.
The head incorporates a linen closet in addition to the MSD and shower. Not content with relying solely on the shower door's magnetic catch, Tiara installed a turn button to make sure it's secure. Another extra mile.
The Highs: No other boat fishes and cruises with so little compromise. Turn buttons, Cheerios stowage, colored lights: The details are in the details. Supercozy is the cabin.
The Lows: Transom steps to where? Drink-cooler door limits its capacity. Access to the air conditioner and the portside prop shaft seal is unacceptable.
EXTRA POINT: Opening ports are optional aboard Tiaras. They can leak. And boaters in most climates prefer to rely on the air conditioner for controlling temperature and humidity.
Displacement (lbs., approx.)..........28,000
Minimum cockpit depth..................2'6"
Max. cabin headroom...........7'0"
Fuel capacity (gal.).....520
Water capacity (gal.).....130
Price (w/test power).......$576,200
Standard power Twin 535-bhp Cummins QSM-11 diesel inboards.
Optional power Twin 535-bhp Cummins QSM-11 diesel inboards.
Test boat power 700-bhp Caterpillar C-12 in-line-6 diesel inboards with 732 cid, 5.1" bore x 5.9" stroke, swinging 27" x 37" four-bladed Nibral props through 1.73:1 reductions.
Standard equipment (major items): Windlass; Anchor washdowns (fresh and raw water); windshield power vent; cockpit wetbar; coaming pads; cockpit shower; raw/freshwater washdowns; central vacuum; 2 LCD TVs; AM/FM/CD/ DVD stereo w/6 speakers; 22,000-Btu a/c; vacuum-flush commode; microwave; 2-burner ceramic cooktop; microwave/convection oven; Sub-Zero refrigerator/freezer; 30a/120v, 50a/240v shorepower; 8kW genset; battery charger; oil exchange system; fuel/water separators; internal sea strainers; fiberglass fuel tanks; water heater.