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Tiara 4300 Open

Tiara's Open series sets the standard for the cruise-and-fish crossover genre.

June 11, 2010
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Tiara 4300 Open

Tiara 4300 Open

Tiara 4300 Open

Tiara 4300 Open

Tiara 4300 Open

Tiara 4300 Open

****_Like to fish _and cruise? Tiara’s 4300 Open is the latest from the masters of splitting the difference. It offers the big cockpit, rough-water ability and fishability of the blue-water set while delivering the fineries that ensure weekends at the cove lack for naught.

Tiara’s Open series launched in 1979 with the 3100. The fish-and-cruise paradigm hasn’t changed. But the look has: Tiara’s signature tumblehome transom has been replaced with squared quarters.

The upright transom adds two feet of cockpit, says tiara engineer Rick Eggerding. What’s two feet? Consider an angler, reeled to the swivel and needing to shuffle forward so another can sink the gaff. And without the reverse, grabbing the leader is a shorter reach. While cruising, the 95-squarefoot ’pit provides milling-about space plus room for eight deck chairs and a couple of cocktail tables. Built-in fixed and folding lounges are also available. The square transom looks “sport-fishy” and is crowned to please the eye and to ensure that dew runs off rather than pools. I love it when looks and utility combine in the same feature.

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This cockpit boasts a raised mezzanine to port, allowing guests to cheer on anglers, or simply ponder the horizon, while remaining out from underfoot. Gaff and mop stowage is within. There’s a rigging station with sink and cutting board. This cabinet, like the one comprising the wet bar, is clean and modular, featuring radiused edges, full overlay doors, hidden hinges and recessed latches. While everybody likes eye candy, the seamlessness ensures easy washdown when blood and scales start flying.

Cockpit mezzanines are starting to show aboard other midsize boats, such as Cabo’s new 44 Hardtop ($989,000, with twin 800 hp Man Diesel inboards) with its integral helm enclosure, debuting this fall, and the new pod-propelled Viking 42 Open (price not available at press time) with its tournament-style centerline helm. Both boats have bigger cockpits, at 120 square feet, and come standard with fishing features like the tackle drawers ($1,530) and transom livewell ($3,980) options installed aboard my tester. The 4300 Open comes with an aluminum backing plate for a fight chair bonded into the cockpit sole, as I discovered while inspecting the lazarette. I also found Tiara’s hallmark rigging quality while touring the bilge. Not only were pumps, fills and through-hull fittings easy to access, but the rudder posts were capped by an extruded fiberglass beam that would serve as an engine bearer aboard many boats.

As someone who goes forward in rough weather often, I appreciated the steps to the side decks, the thigh-high rails and the sturdy grab rail. The lipped edge of the hardtop ($33,780) also proved a worthy handhold. Ground tackle stows in a huge locker, notable for the double-sided finish of its lid, a quick-disconnect washdown spigot and a chain stop to take the load off the windlass. I grimaced at discovering the windlass relay and terminal block were installed four feet from the hatch opening. No reason this couldn’t be installed right at the cutout for easier service, as Tiara agreed when I pointed it out. A sun pad ($1,950) and auxiliary shore-power inlets ($4,640) are available for the foredeck.

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Tiara’s fold-down helm allows outstanding access to wiring, and the day hatch in the sole here makes quick fluid checks possible without disrupting guests. For intensive service, the entire helm deck lifts hydraulically. Visibility from the Stidd helm seat is great under way, even looking aft, where I could clearly see both transom corners. That’s as important for docking as it is for backing on a billfish. Guests will enjoy the sprawling companion lounge, which is raised so all can share the captain’s view. A table and wet bar make the helm deck perfect for entertaining.

Belowdecks is a forest of teak, including the sole and book-matched cabinetry, offset by the taut, tasteful, ivory-colored fabric headliner. Typical of fish boats, there are no portholes. Atypically, Tiara offers ports as a factory option. A skylight and two deck hatches are standard.

The salon settee converts to a double berth, and its backrest swings up to create a Pullman berth. The master stateroom is privatized, as is the head, by solid, raised-panel wood doors. There’s private entry to the head from here, where a shower with clear enclosure, tiled sole and decorator vanity await. Access to the guest stateroom, with its over/ under berths, is opposite the head. The 4300 Open sleeps seven.

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Running the 4300 Open, I was struck by the lack of vibration and noise. Pods get all the praise for silence, but at least half their hush comes from engines using common-rail injection, like the CMD QSM-11 inboards under the Tiara’s hatch. Add robust engine mounting, generous insulation and dialed-in prop tip clearances, and you’ve got a conversation-friendly environment under way. The shafts are efficient, too.

Steaming along at 30 knots, after attaining plane without losing sight of the horizon, I was impressed that this 15-ton express would have carried on for 375 miles with full fuel. I didn’t have that kind of time. But, certainly, such long legs make this package as suitable for an extended cruise as it does for chasing fish on faraway grounds. And that’s the point of a boat like the 4300 Open.

Comparable models: Cabo 44 Hardtop Express, Viking 42 Open

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