The first of a new generation of sport yachts from 31 to 58 feet, the Tiara 50 Coupe mixes modern styling with quality construction and engineering.
By Chris Landry
The 50 Coupe made its first major boat-show appearance in Fort Lauderdale this fall, but I had the opportunity in September to check out the 35-knot sport yacht powered with the new Volvo Penta IPS950s and D11 diesels. The Tiara 50 Coupe departs from the more traditional Tiara profile. The Holland, Michigan-based builder has used contemporary interior elements, such as modular settees and angular door handles but has maintained some brand design characteristics like the Tiara swept sheer and deck wings. “While we have an aesthetic departure from what made a Tiara, we want to make sure that all those basic Tiara DNA elements are there so that the future customer is getting to experience ‘a Tiara,’” says S2 Yachts CEO Tom Slikkers.
“We opened the boat up so it all feels like one space,” says George Hetzel, S2 vice president of sales and marketing. “‘Social Zones’ throughout the boat are connected and we’ve eliminated barriers. We want the boat to be like home.” Tiara plans to introduce a flying-bridge version of the 50 in the spring.
The yacht can be ordered with two or three staterooms and crew’s quarters. In both cases, Tiara makes the amidships section of the lower deck the home for a full-beam master stateroom with private head and hull-side windows. With the sliding glass doors open, the cockpit, galley, saloon and bridgedeck are all connected.
Moving forward from the cockpit, you step into a full galley. A seating area with a dining/coffee table fills the port side of the saloon. There’s a 40-inch LCD TV and entertainment center opposite. The companion seat can face forward or aft. Overhead, the hardtop sunroof opens and two skylights on the companion dash direct light into the cabin.
Light plays a key role throughout the boat: The hullside windows, cabin skylights, sunroof, and large windshield and side windows light up the boat and put you in better touch with your surroundings.
“I think we were very creative in the ways we have brought in the natural daylight in areas like the staterooms and heads,” Slikkers says.
Tiara hand-lays the 50 with a solid fiberglass bottom and balsa-cored sides and decks. The company uses vinylester resin in the skincoat for osmotic-blister protection followed with a high-grade polyester. Resin infusion is used to construct the hardtop, and the builder employs Resin Transfer Mold technology for the hatches, doors and other small parts. You’ll find no rough fiberglass edges or unfinished hatches on the 50. The stringers are built with a “ply-foam,” a combination of wood and foam in fiberglass sandwich construction, says Tiara engineering manager Adam Rolinski.
The builder backs away the balsa in through-hull areas and fills them with composite material, taking great care to seal the installation to guarantee no water intrusion, says Rolinski.
The 50 Coupe becomes the first North American production yacht with Volvo Penta’s Glass Cockpit, an integrated electronics system that collects all navigation, engine, and mechanical information and delivers it to touchscreen displays from eight to 19 inches.
The 50 Coupe was outfitted with twin 15-inch screens. The Glass Cockpit included “Joystick Driving” technology that allows joystick steering at high speeds in addition to displacement and docking speeds. Jackshafts link the amidships engines to the pod drives. The installation places the center of gravity low and forward for ride quality. She stepped onto plane with minimal bow rise. I never lost sight of the horizon while seated—a sign of a well-designed boat. Sightlines rank right up there with the best I’ve seen.
At 26 knots, the boat gets 0.5 nautical miles to the gallon. In fact, that number rings up at nearly every cruising rpm. I heard no rattling or clanking or other noises, indicating tight construction practices. Bottom line: She performed solidly in all areas.
Tiara Yachts, 616-394-7466; www.tiarayachts.com