Our sea trial took us from north of Fort Lauderdale to Coconut Grove Marina in Miami, and it proved the Tiara F44 is made for those who demand the most luxurious living appointments supported by a well-engineered, seaworthy, smooth-handling hull with powerful propulsion that is reliable, smooth and easily controlled offshore. And, of course, there’s its flying bridge.
Running boats is our main thing, and the only thing better than running a boat designed and built like the F44 is running a boat designed and built like the F44 from a flying bridge. The commanding view proves a benefit whether at sea or while docking. And the feelings of power and control one experiences from up top face few rivals.
Still, the softer side pervades. The bridge is almost as cool a place for your crew as it is for you. Here, arrayed together amid the posh digs and socializing, an aspect of boating thrives that an express cruiser just can’t provide. And thanks to that big house, a flying-bridge boat’s accommodations below are bigger too.
Dockside, our first steps were the four that took us to the aft deck from the transom platform. We could choose either a port or starboard stairway. That arrangement is convenient for port- or starboard-side docking, and differs from Regal’s 42 Flybridge ($852,725 powered by Volvo Penta IPS 600s), which boasts just one set of steps, allowing for more cockpit seating. We climbed down through the center hatch to the engine-room deck. Dual IPS 600s left ample space in between for convenient access to the genset. Also comfortably reachable were all filters, pumps and maintenance points on both motors and vessel.
The bright and airy salon evoked intimacy and exuded style, thanks to thoughtful execution of its décor and layout. A lower helm, a worthwhile option for many boaters, is available. We continued on, mounting the steps to the bridge to journey south. Threatening weather made the hardtop and acrylic curtains a welcome benefit.
Toggling the joystick, we pulled away from the slip into the narrow passage between opposing bow pulpits and pivoted the boat toward the canal leading to the Intracoastal Waterway. The IPS joystick control is smooth and easy to master, and the application of power plus steering is so intuitive, a child could put the Tiara in and out of its slip with little practice.
IPS engines employ both turbo- and superchargers. The former adds efficient power by tapping normally wasted exhaust gases to spin up a turbine and compress more air for the combustion chambers. Superchargers on each engine respond nearly instantaneously to joystick input, giving the control we experienced.
At sea, you can cruise using only the joystick on Volvo Penta’s latest models, but we found it awkward to suspend our hand over the joystick. We griped about wanting a more substantial armrest to steady the hand on the stick, and Tiara has since responded with improved ergonomics.
The flybridge normally gives the roughest ride thanks to the amplification of rocking at the top-of-the-world view. But we were comfortable loping along.
All this plus the glass-cockpit controls that displayed engine functions gave us command of the autopilot and more, and spoke to an excellent relationship between hull dynamics, power and control. In our eyes, Tiara had earned bragging rights on engineering so far.
Once tucked in at Coconut Grove, we perused the amenities earlier ignored.
Tiara skillfully brought “bright and cheery” into the F44 salon. First, you enter from the aft deck via center-opening, heavily framed, tempered-glass and stainless-steel doors, which create a broad entryway, opening the salon to the cockpit seating. We think this combination of the indoors with the out-of-doors will prove a boon to entertaining. Along the port side was a wine cooler on our test boat, then two short steps to an L-shaped lounge that wraps around the forward bulkhead ending at the stateroom companionway. A table with flawless satin folds open or closed as space demands. This raises and lowers to serve either coffee or supper. A buffet with sink along the port side is flanked by another settee reaching to the forward bulkhead. A flat-panel TV is suspended above in its dedicated cabinet, and there is a double-drawer refrigerator and freezer below.
The master stateroom has private access to the head, the size of which is comfortable for larger men, like myself, whether showering or shaving. Porcelain fixtures and stainless-steel faucets are modern and stylish. A VIP stateroom has access to a second head with shower.
While many premium boatbuilders offer opulent luxury on board, it was clear to us that Tiara would only be satisfied with such upper-crust appointments as long as they were carried by the strong performance of the properly engineered, seaworthy ship we take the F44 to be.
* Salon sliding doors open wide to give open-air ambience in the living quarters and meld the indoors with the outdoors in a seamless fashion that’s great for entertaining and moving about the boat.
* Woodwork in the living quarters is impeccable with rich varnish over perfectly fitting joints.
* Engine-room access is ample, easing maintenance costs.
* Port and starboard steps to the cockpit add access options but decrease usable space.
* More seating on the aft deck would be welcome when entertaining.
Price: $1,004,140 (with test power)
Available Power: Pod Drive
How We Tested
Engines: Twin 435 hp IPS 600 diesel pods
Props: T2 bronze propsets
Gear Ratio: 1.82:1
Fuel Load: 350 gal.
Water on Board: 118 gal.
Crew Weight: 1,000 lb.
Tiara Yachts - Holland, Michigan; 616-392-7163; tiarayachts.com