Last summer after we ran the Tiara 50 Coupe, we reported back with words like “confidence,” and “beefier”. The phrase “significant advance” even came into play. And we don’t use these words lightly. But after spending a day running around Lake Michigan on the newest Tiara, the 44 Coupe, once again they seem completely appropriate.
First, let’s address how and why the 44 Coupe instills confidence. The integrated Volvo Glass Cockpit control system is about as technologically superior to a standard wheel and throttles as 2014 Lexus is to a 1944 Studebaker. And while I personally prefer using the wheel as opposed to a joystick at cruising speeds—don’t worry, you can choose either—that joystick makes slow-speed precision maneuvering a piece of cake. Turn it and the boat spins, push it sideways and the boat slides like it was on tracks. If you had a deficit of confidence when docking in the past, this rig is the sure cure.
Whichever item you use to control the boat, you’ll be down-right shocked the first time you put it into a hard turn. The 50 felt sporty for its size, sure, but the 44 Coupe responds more like a speed boat than a cruiser, digging in and carving out turns that simply wouldn’t be possible on most boats with this much mass.
Ready to find out why “beefier” applies? You may not be able to see construction touches like a resin-infused beam system, structural aluminum buried in pillars, and additional structural support around the IPS pod drives, but all of those things are part of the 44 Coupe. And even if you can’t see them, you can feel them when the 44 Coupe starts crunching through waves. Full disclosure: it was pitifully calm when we ran this boat. In order to do some wave-smacking I had to make a series of S-turns, pull a 180, then roar back through our own wakes. But a 44-footer throws up nice-sized wakes, and when I made the maneuver, the hull bounded right through them without any vibrations, rattles, or shuddering.
Another example of beef: the sunshade. Yes, I know these things are standard fare on modern cruisers, but if you’ve ever deployed one, you probably noticed it seemed a bit on the flimsy side. Not this one (though it is a $17,800 up-charge, which seems a bit steep for shade). Or, look at the bowrail. Slam a galley cabinet. Jump on the companionway stairs. Wherever and whatever you look at, pretty much everything on the 44 Coupe could accurately be described as “beefy”.
Brute strength aside, the Tiara 44 Coupe has another advantage over its competitors when it comes to seakeeping abilities. When designing the boat, Tiara decided to move the iron horses forward and couple them to the IPS pod drives via a jackshaft. Moving the weight forward keeps the boat’s running attitude ideal regardless of its fuel load. On many competitors’ boats, shifting fuel loads cause shifting running attributes. But not in this case. Why doesn’t everyone use this design? There’s a trade-off in interior volume. While moving the engines forward may enhance the boat’s ride, it also cuts into the space available for the mid-cabin stateroom. That explains why on the 50, the full-beam mid-cabin is the master, but on the 44, the master is forward and the mid-cabin becomes a guest stateroom.
Naturally, a few other trade-offs have to be made when a model’s foot-print shrinks from 50’ to 44’. Another difference you can spot between the larger and smaller siblings is in the saloon. There’s less counter space in the galley, the dinette and settee on the 50 are essentially merged on the 44, and there isn’t room for the 50’s slick flip-back passenger’s seat (which can face either forward or aft). Beyond that, the 44 maintains the lines and attitude of the 50 from stem to stern. The anchor is tucked into an integrated hawse and windlass system in the bow, eliminating the need for a pulpit. The saloon is surrounded by glass including a glass sliding door, for 360-degree views. A huge sunroof is integrated into the hard top, and an open companionway—the “atrium,” in modern marine parlance—plus multiple ports and skylights bring natural lighting to every corner of the cabin. And entertaining in the cockpit is enhanced with an aft ground tackle station that wisely incorporates the electric grill. It’s as far as possible from the cabin entry, so you can whip up a batch of fish tacos without the smell wafting its way into your bedding.
One other way the Tiara 44 Coupe is like the 50: its looks. And this is a differentiating factor between the Coupes and Tiara’s past models. These boats have a much more modern eye-appeal, set off by touches like the “levitating” hard-top (just look at the pictures, and you’ll know why they gave it that name), and the sleek profile. In fact, those used to seeing Tiara models like the Coronet 3900 or the 3100 Open will note quite a difference in styling. And some of those styling changes are bound to make their way into other Tiaras. Though they won’t be introduced until the Ft. Lauderdale boat show, updated 31 and 36 Coronets are on the way, and we hear they’ll benefit from touches like the Coupe’s integrated anchoring system, and new exterior upholstery.
Tiara rolled out the 44 Coupe at a base MSRP of $903,000, and with it comes a solid list of standard features, including the Glass Cockpit and joystick control. In fact, the options list is surprisingly short and to get the cost of the boat over a mil you’ll have to start adding glitz and glam like a teak-inlaid hydraulic lift swim platform, that sun shade, and a whole lot more.
So, what about the phrase “significantly advanced”? Where does that one come into play? In case you hadn’t noticed, from stem to stern. While the Coupe 50 represented the introduction of a new Tiara look and feel, the 44 is confirmation that underneath all of that newness, the Coupe series is still all Tiara, through and through.
Originally Published By: Boats.com August 25th, 2014