Having the Boating Icom cover girl aboard during our sea trial might have been distracting, but I was so captured by the Tiara Sport 38 LX that I barely noticed.
Full disclosure: I’m a Tiara fan. Been one for years. I like the styling and the way they’re put together, and have enjoyed the heck out of Tiaras owned by friends. But this wasn’t the Tiara of olden days. It’s not even a Tiara—it’s a Tiara Sport.
First, three big kickers—Mercury Verado 400s—hung on the stern. On many outboard boats, you lose the swim platform, but the 38 LX has an ample platform to step aboard from a dock or climb aboard from a swim. I liked the one-level cockpit sole from transom to bow with no steps to trip Aunt Edna, and our test boat sported the optional faux-teak deck that looks terrific.
Interior and Accessories
Tiara gets points for inventive aft seating with immense flexibility, with options to face aft or forward, chaises with adjustable backs, and to lay flat as sun pads. And the space not used to house inboard or sterndrive engines creates tons of stowage, plus room for the standard Onan 5 kW diesel genset—you need it for the air conditioner, grill and other at-anchor niceties—and an optional Seakeeper 3 gyro.
Under the standard full-beam hardtop with sunroof, you’ll find an L-shaped dinette to starboard with a gorgeous teak table, and an outdoor kitchen to port with a sink, drawer fridge and optional Kenyon grill. A Fusion Apollo sound system is standard; sit in front of the two Star Wars-like speakers behind the dinette, crank up the bass, and they’ll clean your teeth.
The skipper’s office isn’t neglected, with a double helm seat with fold-up bolsters for standing and a thoughtful touch: dual footrests at different heights. A padded anti-glare eyebrow shades twin Garmin 16-inch monitors, the Mercury joystick (a bow thruster is also standard), and digital throttles for smooth shifting. The double-wide companion seat is as innovative as the aft seating, and it swivels to face the dinette.
I liked that the entire helm console tilts aft, giving full access to wiring, electronics and systems. Competitors lack this convenience. When it comes time to add or repair electronics, or even chase down a short, you’ll appreciate this touch.
Forward, past the recessed spray door, the bow seating wraps around, with folding armrests and undercushion stowage. Parents take note: The coaming backrests are a full 40 inches high for kiddy security.
If you need the loo, the bulkhead in front of the companion seat opens like a gull wing, revealing a spacious compartment (5 feet, 5 inches of headroom), with a teak step and designer flooring, VacuFlush electric head, and air conditioning. An opening door on the forward side of the starboard console reveals an open compartment for water-toy stowage, but you can transform this with an optional mini berth for naps.
Anchor handling will prove push-button easy, with a hidden horizontal windlass tucked under a bow hatch. A switch at the helm or a wired remote at the bow deploy the 22-pound stainless-steel plow anchor over a roller built into the stem.
Tiara Sport offers three engine options. Our test boat boasted the base-priced triple Mercury Verado 400s, but Yamaha fanciers can opt for triple F350s, or Seven Marine fans can choose twin 527 hp outboards with contra-rotating dual propsets.
Our Mercs pushed us to over 55 mph (48-plus knots), which is more than enough to thrill everyone aboard. Cruise speed with these is right around 30 mph at 4,000 rpm, sipping 33 gph for 0.9 mpg, which isn’t bad when you’re pushing 9 tons of sleek, waterborne family fun through the water.
Speaking of that, the Tiara Sport 38 LX has a 20-degree deadrise at the transom, plus two full-length strakes underwater and a wide chine flat from bow to stern. What that means is the 38 LX slices the water like a Henckels chef’s knife through soft cheese. The strakes act like shock absorbers to soften the ride, the chines throw spray out to the side, and the result is what I’ve come to love about Tiaras: soft-riding, stable and seaworthy in all conditions.
If you’re shopping, look at the Tiara Sport 38 LS ($642,590); it’s the same hull, but with a walk-around deck and full cabin with berth and shower. For a dual-console comparison, sea-trial Grady-White’s Freedom 375 ($606,900 with triple Yamaha F350s, Helm Master and Bow Thruster). It’s 18 inches shorter, 8 inches beamier, and available with triple Yamaha outboards up to 1,275 hp.
How We Tested
- Engines: Triple 400 hp Mercury 400 Verados
- Drive/Prop: Outboard/Mercury Enertia ECO 16″ x 17″ 3-blade stainless steel
- Gear Ratio: 1.75:1 Fuel Load: 331 gal. Water: 50 gal. Crew Weight: 450 lb.
- Convertible seating throughout handles everything from entertaining to sunning.
- Deep gutters on all deck hatches and the self-bailing cockpit handle even heavy rain.
- Makefast sunshade (standard) emerges from the hardtop to shade the aft cockpit.
- No shower in the head, so you must use the hot-and-cold shower on the stern.
- Intended as and serving wonderfully in the role of a dayboat, the Tiara Sport 38 LX offers fewer commodious sleeping accommodations compared to similar boats.
Pricing and Specs
|Displacement (approx.):||18,000 lb. (dry)|
|Transom Deadrise:||20 degrees|
|Max Cabin Headroom:||5’5″|
|Fuel Capacity:||331 gal.|
|Available Power:||Triple Mercury 400 Verados, triple Yamaha 350 hp V-8s, twin Seven Marine 527 hp V-8s|
Speed, Efficiency, Operation
Tiara Sport – Holland, Michigan; 616-392-7163; tiarasport.com