CLASSY CRUISER

THE TIARA F53 FLYBRIDGE IS DE­SIGNED FOR YOUR OWN PER­SONAL GET­AWAY.

Yachting - - CONTENTS - BY KEVIN KOENIG

The Tiara F53 Flybridge has a fam­ily-friendly lay­out, flex­i­ble cock­pit ar­range­ment, 29-knot cruise and three state­rooms.

So ibelieve it’ s more than fair to say that boat show time in Mi­ami can be hec­tic. With mul­ti­ple venues, mul­ti­ple lan­guages and mul­ti­ple bleep­ing traf­fic jams at ev­ery turn, any­one who has ever at­tended will tell you that a mo­ment’s re­spite is at a high pre­mium. That’s why I was happy to step aboard the Tiara Yachts F53 Flybridge one morn­ing dur­ing the show with the builder’s direc­tor of mar­ket­ing, David Glenn. We made our way up the stairs to the yacht’s name­sake (sort of ) flybridge and plopped onto the com­fort­able fur­ni­ture for a chat, me at the U-shaped din­ing set­tee aft and him at the U-shaped seat­ing that snakes around the helm for­ward. We talked mostly about books and surf­ing, and with the isin­glass zipped up and the air con­di­tioner blast­ing, we were cool, re­laxed and away from the crowds, even as prospec­tive buy­ers prowled the main deck, check­ing out the wares. That abil­ity to get away is a big rea­son to con­sider a flybridge yacht: Some­times, you just need some peace.

On the F53, the flybridge has a rel­a­tively large 188 square feet of space, which is sig­nif­i­cantly more than what her sis­ter­ship, the F44 Flybridge, has with an ap­prox­i­mately 122-square-foot flybridge deck. The in­creased square footage al­lows for ex­tra seat­ing and en­ter­tain­ment space. The F53’s beami­ness (along with, of course, her sig­nif­i­cantly longer length over­all) helps to cre­ate the added vol­ume; at her widest, she is 15 feet 11 inches from point to point, and is 4 inches wider than a same-class model from a com­pet­ing builder — even though the Tiara (at 54 feet 6 inches length over­all) is nearly 2 feet shorter than the other model in ques­tion.

The flybridge helm, with twin 16-inch Garmin screens, has seat­ing for two more peo­ple. A con­sole in the cen­ter of the deck has an ice maker, re­frig­er­a­tor, cut­ting board and sink for when your ap­petite catches up to you, but you still want that peace we dis­cussed ear­lier. Fur­ther­more, a hard­top pro­vides pro­tec­tion from the sun.

Not too long af­ter the show, I had a chance to give the F53 a kick in the tires off Stuart, Florida. One of my fa­vorite things about this yacht hap­pened to be the very first thing I checked out when I stepped on board for the sec­ond time: the swim plat­form, which Tiara has ef­fec­tively turned into an en­ter­tain­ment space by put­ting in a tran­som grill with an­other re­frig­er­a­tor, ice maker and cut­ting board. It’s a re­ally smart use of space that helps the yacht feel even larger. There’s also stowage for wa­ter toys and lines in the tran­som, and the swim plat­form is hy­draulic for easy wa­ter ac­cess and ten­der launch­ing.

The stan­dard cock­pit has aft seat­ing and a

high-gloss, fold­able teak ta­ble. A cool lit­tle de­sign de­tail that the F53 adopted from big­ger boats is a small com­part­ment to star­board that hides joy­stick con­trols for dock­ing.

In the sa­lon, an­other high-gloss teak ta­ble raises and low­ers elec­tri­cally, and can seat five com­fort­ably on an L-shaped set­tee. Food to be served at that ta­ble can be cooked on the three-burner Kenyon cook­top in the gal­ley aft. A re­frig­er­ated wine rack that fits 16 bot­tles — a full case — is an op­tion that I’d imag­ine will be quite pop­u­lar. (What’s a sun­set cruise without a prop­erly chilled glass of sauvi­gnon blanc?) An­other op­tion in the sa­lon is an in­door helm, which should be help­ful for own­ers who cruise the Great Lakes and other more rugged climes, though my test boat had only an up­per helm.

On the ac­com­mo­da­tions level, the amid­ships, en suite mas­ter has an athwartships queen berth and 6 feet 2 inches of head­room. The fore­peak VIP with scis­sor berths has no­table stowage, in­clud­ing a cedar-lined locker to star­board that hints at the F53’s cruis­ing cre­den­tials (if you’re plan­ning on go­ing for a long poke, you need some­where to put your stuff ). There’s room for an op­tional third state­room with two bunks to port, or that space can be a de facto laun­dry room.

As for per­for­mance, the mo­to­ry­acht’s twin 725 hp Volvo Penta IPS950s pro­vide not only power but also the ma­neu­ver­abil­ity ex­pected of pods at both fast and slow speeds. The F53 that I tested han­dled a steady chop on a blus­tery bay with con­fi­dence-in­duc­ing ease. Un­for­tu­nately, a sus­pected freshly bent prop stopped the ves­sel from hit­ting her top per­for­mance num­bers, but the builder says she has a top-end of 33.6 knots. At 2,300 rpm, the F53 makes a 29-knot cruise speed. For mak­ing longer pas­sages, this ves­sel can slow-cruise at 14.3 knots while burn­ing just 30.8 gal­lons per hour. At that speed, own­ers could make the 191-mile hop from South Florida to the Aba­cos’ Marsh Har­bour in a lit­tle more than 13 hours, which is doable in a sin­gle day.

Cruis­ing to those Bahamian is­lands (or some other ex­otic port of call) strikes me as a per­fect use for this yacht, with her fun out­door spa­ces, good stowage, and a flybridge that lets guests get away from it all — some­thing Tiara clearly un­der­stands is im­por­tant. And some­thing I un­der­stood im­me­di­ately as I climbed down from my lit­tle oa­sis in the sky on that day back in Mi­ami and stepped back out once more into the blis­ter­ing breach.

LOA 54'6" MAX BEAM 15'11"

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