The smallest boat Tiara makes is a 31 and it offers two models, the Coronet 3100, and the 3100 Open which now comes standard with a hardtop, so she is not quite as “open” as she used to be. Nonetheless, she is a classic and the subject of our report. Not surprisingly she is one of the most popular boats in the Tiara line and her modern styling and go-anywhere hull make her a boat that is appropriate for a wide range of applications, the most popular of which is as a day boat for cruising and entertaining. Her roots, however, are in fishing and she can still do that with élan.
Mission of the Tiara 3100 Open
The Tiara 3100 is designed for multiple uses including fishing, scuba diving, over night cruising and day-boat entertaining. She comes standard with a composite hardtop which allows her raised bridge deck to be buttoned up aft with optional cruising canvas so she can effectively be a three-season boat. She comes standard with twin 375-hp Crusader 6.0 L gas engines and conventional drives. Diesel engines are an option.
The Tiara 3100 Open has continually evolved over the years and as a result her staying power in the marketplace has been impressive.
Tiara has long been respected by both consumers and people working in the boating industry as one of the leading exponents for quality fit-and-finish. And while much of the industry has caught up on this score, Tiara remains very much at the top. It's glass work, joiner, upholstery and even the wiring runs and plumbing which can't be readily seen, is first rate.
Virtually without exception, the components that Tiara uses are tops in their category and the builder's installations are without exception by-the-book and generally faultless.
There is nothing like the "Test of Time" to refine a product to discover its best use of space. Certainly that has happened to the Tiara 3100 Open which is now better than ever in many ways.
Designed with Personality
Tiara designs have always had their own unique look and it is easy for veteran boaters to recognize a Tiara profile literally a mile away. One of the neat tricks that Tiara's designers have been able to pull off is to keep the exterior lines of the 3100 Open modern, with a slightly reversed transom, rounded stern quarters, and generally softer lines -- yet still recognizable as a Tiara.
The 3100 is usually the most popular in the company's line, and certainly it is the oldest. That is a testament to the functionality and utility of the basic boat and its reputation along the docks of the world. It has stood the test of time, but Tiara has not stood still. Each year or so, the model is tweaked to keep her fresh.
The Tiara 3100 Open is actually 36'4" (11.07 m) LOA from the bow pulpit to her swim platform -- the way most builders measure boats these days.
●Standard Hardtop and High Windshield. The composite hardtop is integrated with the fiberglass windshield frame to eliminate the need for a strip of isinglass between the windshield and the hardtop which is annoying, and, frankly, less than optimum boat building. The skipper is able to stand at the helm and look through clear glass as he should.
●Standard Swim Platform. The fiberglass swim platform is 40” (1.01 m) fore and aft and is rounded on the sides in order to blend harmoniously with the reverse transom and rounded tumble home stern. At the same time, the rounding keeps it from dragging in sharp turns which Tiara says she can make at WOT speeds.
●Standard Cockpit Seating. A fold-away transom bench seat comes as standard or an in-transom livewell with wing hatches can be fitted instead for an extra $1,760. There is also a double-wide mezzanine seat behind the helm seat facing the cockpit.
●14-Degree Deadrise Bottom. At the transom the bottom’s deadrise is 14-degrees. This is a development that we have seen in larger boats the last number of years as designers make the bow sections finer to slice through waves and the aft section 14 or 15-degrees to be more fuel-efficient, allow the boat to go faster, and add stability at rest.
The 3100 can be divided into two parts: On Deck and Below Decks. When it comes to storage on deck she has plenty: ("D") Under seat storage. ("A") Below cockpit deck storage that can be used as fishboxes as they are self-draining. ("B") Access hatch to the "Pump Room" and steering gear. ("C") Location for optional cabinet or refrigerator.
●Propeller Pockets/Shallow Draft. By molding-in tunnels for the running gear Tiara is able to reduce the down angle of the drive shaft and have a draft of only 2’8” (0.82 m). The combination of a shallow down angle for the drive shafts and the tunnel effect on forward thrust gives the 3100 improved performance over a standard inboard design.
●Fiberglass Fuel Tank. The 3100 has a fiberglass fuel tank which is the safest, most durable material to use on a boat, particularly for gasoline. See the "Fuel Tank Story" below.
●Tiara’s Reputation. Tiara is one of America’s most respected family-owned recreational boat builders in this size range. Now run by the third generation of Slikkers in Holland, Michigan, the founder (Leon Slikkers) and the second generation still keep an oar in. The Slikkers’ know that one of the keys to their success is customer satisfaction, and over the years they have done what it takes to keep their owners happy.
("A") Hand-hold; ("B") Latch for access to "Pump Room"; ("C") Latch for hatch to storage or fishbox on port side; ("D") 30 AMP shore power connections.
The Tiara 3100 Open has been one of the builder’s most popular models since it was first introduced in 1979. Today’s model is several iterations removed from the original and the only thing that is the same as the ‘79 model is the name. Today, the Tiara 3100 is a completely different boat which has modern styling with a reverse transom, rounded quarters and a slight tumble home, and even a different bottom. Forward she has a moderate amount of bow flare to help keep her dry.
Truth in Advertising. Her on-deck hull length – from transom to stem -- is 30’6” (9.29 m), thus Tiara calls her a 3100. With her standard bow pulpit, which is part of the deck molding, she is 33’1” (10.1 m) long to the transom. Add the 40” (1.01 m) standard swim platform and she is 36’4” (11.07 m) long. In other words, most other builders these days would call her a “36.” Tiara is one of the few builders that holds to the traditional nomenclature, which makes an obvious statement in itself since it is more descriptive to what the actual boat is.
Her beam is 12’6” (3.81 m) and she displaces 13,225 lbs. (5,999 kg) dry. Her cockpit is 64 square feet and her bridge deck is 55 square feet. Below she has accommodations for four people, including one in a Pullman berth above the settee.
The "mezzanine" seat faces aft and is on the raised bridge deck platform. Storage is underneath. Anglers will like this seat as it is the best place to sit while trolling and watching the lines.
The cockpit can seat four or five people on the fold-down transom bench seat and the double mezzanine seat facing aft. There is storage under the mez seat and an optional refrigerator can be installed in the console under the bridge deck seating to port and accessed from the cockpit. The transom seat can be traded for a standard bait well (add $1,760). There are two longitudinal storage bins in the cockpit sole, port and starboard, that can be used as fish boxes. Padded coamings are standard.
To starboard is a standard transom door that permits access to the huge swim platform. Hawes pipes port and starboard keep the gunwale clean and large cleats are mounted on the bulwarks below. Four rod holders are standard and are mounted in the fiberglass covering boards. The cockpit is self bailing.
There is not enough room in the cockpit to mount a conventional swivel fighting chair with foot rest. Portable fighting chairs can be accommodated.
The helm console is a dark color to greatly reduce reflection in the windshield. Note the large expanse of real estate for navigation screens and engine diagnostic read outs. "A" -- Switches to primary equipment. The red rocker is for the horn. "B"-- Molded-in foot rest. "C" -- Circuit breakers to all systems are handy to the helm. "D" -- Manual engine room fire suppression system. "E" -- Lenco electric trim tab rockers. "F" -- Rocker switches for secondary accessories.
The helm seat slides fore and aft 6" and can hold two people. Like the settee opposite, it pivots forward when accessing the engine room.
The extra-wide helm seat can handle two people and adjusts 6” fore and aft. There is storage underneath. The instrument panel has plenty of real estate for two large screens and other gauges and electronics. The panel is hinged for easy access behind the panel.
Settee. On the port side is an L-shaped settee large enough for three people with storage underneath. The standard fiberglass table has two pedestals for support. A third person can sit here facing forward in addition to the two people on the helm seat. The table is removable which improves access to the seating.
The pedestal table can be removed to improve access to the settee. Note the hinge in the deck at right; this is where the bridge deck pivots open to allow access to the engine room.
High Windscreen. The windshield frame is fiberglass, not aluminum, which is commonly used. The safety glass is encapsulated which reduces maintenance and eliminates leaks. Small isinglass side curtains above the glass on the side is standard. With this isinglass in place the bridge deck is effectively enclosed on three sides to make the bridge deck a cozy place to be on cool mornings.
Hardtop. The standard hardtop is affixed to the fiberglass windshield frame forward and is supported aft by a fiberglass arch. The hardtop is composite and has both red and white LED lights overhead, a Bomar hatch on the centerline, and pads on the top for equipment including out swivel-type riggers.
To access the engine room, which is below the bridge deck, there is a hydraulic ram which is electrically actuated from the cockpit.
Part II of the 3100 Open's story is her cabin below which is one large open area with an enclosed wet head.
The double bed is on an island in the bow; there is storage underneath which is reached by raising the foam mattress. The standard deck is Amtico synthetic. A solid teak or a teak and holly deck are optional. The rest of the wood is teak.
An island berth is forward and has a foam mattress and storage below. Two steps up to port and starboard ease getting into the bed and changing linens. To starboard is a L-shaped settee which can be made into a sleeper. The seat back makes into a Pullman supported by chains from the overhead, allowing the boat to sleep four. Natural light comes in from an overhead hatch and three oval-shaped, stainless steel opening portlights.
A sound system comes standard and there are speakers in both the cabin and in the cockpit.
To port at the bottom of the companionway is a small wet head with Corian counter, VacuFlush head, exhaust fan and opening port light. Forward of that is a cedar-lined hanging locker and what Tiara calls a “pocket galley.” The galley has sink, pressure hot and cold water, a one burner stove top, microwave, and a 2.3 cubic feet / 46 Liter drawer-type refrigerator. The counter top is Corian. The cabin sole is dark walnut Amtico.
A solid teak cabin sole is available ($1,640) as is teak and holly ($1,940). Headroom in the cabin is 6’4”(1.93 m).
The settee to starboard seats three. The outboard back rest swings up to form a Pullman berth so the boat can sleep four people.
The Tiara 3100 comes powered with the 6.0 L 375-hp Crusader gasoline engine and twin 330-hp Cummins QSB 5.9 diesels are optional. The drive is a conventional inboard system. Twin 1-1/2” stainless steel shafts go through bronze struts and are fitted with Nibral props. The axe-head rudders are also made of bronze.
The engine room is completely gel coated which makes keeping it clean a dream. The 3100 has bronze seacocks below the waterline, raw water sea strainers, and auxiliary fuel filters. Specially molded fiberglass air intake vents are affixed to the hull, port and starboard. There is an automatic/manual fire extinguishing system as standard.
We would recommend installing the optional oil changing system ($1,840). Other options depend on how the boat will be used. Folks wanting A/C will opt for the 10,000 BTU system ($5,020) and the 5kW Westerbeke generator which will power it ($17,220).
Tiara calls this its "Pocket Galley" and it has gotten a lot of functionality into a small space. Standard equipment includes a refrigerator, microwave, sink with hot and cold pressure water, a single burner stove top, and a Corian counter. The steps at right are to ease access to the raised bed.
We have not tested the 3100 Open, so we can not pass on any first-hand information about her ride, handling, running angle or any of the rest of it. The folks at Tiara have posted some performance numbers on their website so we are passing a few key figures along. According to Tiara when powered by twin 6.0 375-hp Crusader gas engines—
• WOT Speed – 40.7 mph.
• Best Cruise Speed and MPG – 30. 4 mph/1.0 smpg
• Range at Best Cruise – 189 statute miles (90% of fuel capacity)
When powered by twin Cummins 330-hp QSB 5.9 diesels, Tiara reported—
• WOT Speed – 38.3 mph
• Best Cruise Speed and MPG – 30.5 mph/1.35 smpg
• Range at Best Cruise – 255 statute miles (90% of fuel capacity)
The "Fuel Tank" Story
In 2000 Tiara discovered that several of the aluminum fuel tanks in some of its boats built from 1983 to 1993, including the 3100 Open, were vulnerable to bilge, water. In cases where saltwater could get into the bilge this water could corrode the aluminum fuel tank eventually causing a fuel leak. Tiara tracked down over 450 of the involved models, inspected them and changed the fuel tanks to correct the problem. This corrective work was done entirely at Tiara's expense even though the boats were out of warranty. The owner of one of the effected boats with whom we spoke with at the time told us that the work was done quickly, the deck was restored perfectly, and it was done at no cost to him.
We know of only one other case of a boat builder in the last 45 years taking such wide-ranging preventive action when a defect was found.
Tank Solution. Typically boat builders use aluminum fuel tanks because they are less expensive and easier to fabricate than are fiberglass fuel tanks. However, aluminum tanks are susceptible to corrosion which can be particularly rapid if salts are in the water. The tops of the tanks are vulnerable if water puddles there, and the bottoms are at risk if they sit in water or sit on padding that holds moisture.
The best solution to this potential problem is to build fiberglass fuel tanks which is what Tiara has done in the case of the 3100 Open.
The mezzanine seat is ideal for watching baits when trolling.
The 3100 Open has an MSRP of $293,470 when powered by the standard twin 375-hp gas engines. The boat is well-equipped and not many options are necessary. We have mentioned the cost of most of the major optional components in the report above, the most expensive of which is the generator ($17,220) and the A/C system ($5,020).
When we look over the options list we see only three others which we would consider adding to the boat. The first one is the optional three-piece cruising canvas that buttons up the aft end of the bridge deck, which effectively turns the 3100 into a three season vessel. It costs $1,940.
The second is the cockpit refrigerator that installs on the port side --$1,460.
The third option is purely aesthetic: we would seriously consider having Tiara cover the hull in polyurethane paint. We feel the tremendous improvement in looks of any boat from gel coat white to a beautiful color is worth the cost. Polyurethane paint, when properly applied, also greatly reduces the required maintenance of a boat.
Gel coat oxidizes rapidly and should be compounded regularly, particularly in the south where UV degradation is the worst. Polyurethane paint usually keeps its luster for as long as ten years. The cost savings in maintenance should greatly ameliorate the added cost of the paint for those keeping the boat five or ten years.
Originally published by: BoatTest.com