Boat Review by: Rick Layzell
As one of the few remaining family run, fully independent US Manufacturers, S2 Yachts builds the Tiara brand with a strong foundation in pride of craftsmanship. The Tiara commitment to exceptional quality in everything they do begins at their Holland, Michigan factory door and stays true in every model they craft.
From hull design to furniture concepts, from wiring looms to hand laid fiberglass, and from product development to quality control, the Tiara brand is never far from the watchful and passionate eyes of the Slikkers family. When Leon Slikkers founded Tiara in 1974 he may never have dreamed that 3 of his sons and their family members would pursue their own careers on the heels of his original dreams.
Today, Tiara stands in a unique market position with a well-earned reputation for exceptional models ranging from 34 – 53’ across six strategic market categories. We were honoured to be given the opportunity to experience and evaluate the 43 LS. With smaller siblings in the LS Series at 34 & 38’ and a big brother at 48’, the 43 LS has superbly continued the series commitment to a stunning blend of sport and style.
At 43’ 6” (13.26 m) LOA and carrying a 13’ (3.96 m) beam, the 43 LS actually looks humble and yet sexy in the water. She simply doesn’t appear to be a boat that carries a dry weight of 21,800 lbs (9,888 kg). And then you realize there’s 1350 HP of Mercury muscle nestled on her transom. That’s the moment you know you are truly in for something special.
As you walk down the docks you are (at least I was, thanks to her dock position) initially greeted by a massive forward seating area – social zone #1 for me. My eyes then moved to the stern and the award-winning rear lounger –social zone #2. Then I came forward to midships and was drawn to the moulded fiberglass full beam hardtop with integrated sun visor and a one piece forward windshield surrounding an exceptional helm station – social zone #3. And finally the below deck features – social zone #4. None of this speaks to the incredible hull side finish and the subtly custom-painted Mercury engines on the transom.
Social zone #1 – the bow section. As a child we all wanted to sit up in the bow while Dad drove the boat. As an adult, the 43 LS bow section makes me want to sit up there (I hadn’t driven her yet!). Here you’ll find a seamlessly integrated anchor locker and windlass with all the appropriate safety features, plus generously sized low profile grab rails on the starboard side walkthrough from the helm to the bow. The forward-facing chaise loungers integrate moveable armrests and beverage holders, and there are port and starboard side tables. The high gloss teak table uses interchangeable posts and readily converts the entire bow into a giant sunpad. Control features allow this social zone to play its own music if desired – a parent’s dream come true.
Social zone #2 – to the stern of the boat where we are greeted by an incredibly easy to use manually rotating U-shaped lounger (thank the engineers and designers for this one). Yes, with a simple pull of a handle this gorgeous lounger moves from forward facing to stern facing. Outfitted with a high gloss height adjustable teak table, exceptional vinyl treatments, cup holders, storage and more, this award-winning design also converts into a sunpad.
Social zone #3 – the helm. Unobstructed views for each of the four guests across the 4-person helm seating (dual center seat is powered) are stunning. All 4 seats have flip up bolsters and fold down footrests and the instrumentation is first class. The helm features - two Garmin 16” GPS MAP displays, Garmin VHF & Auto Pilot, Fusion sound system with a unit at the helm and remotes in the cabin, the bow and the arch and 15 JL audio speakers, and Lenco electric trim tabs with Auto-Retract. The ‘JPO’ in the Mercury engine model stands for ‘Joy Stick Piloting’ and provides intuitive 360-degree boat control for docking and maneuvering in tight quarters, plus the convenience of Skyhook sea-holding features and integrated auto piloting.
Located directly behind the helm station is a walk thru with access to the mid-cockpit galley. If you love to entertain this will become one of your favourite spaces. It features a solid surface countertop, sink with hot & cold water, integrated cutting board, ample sized electric grill, a pair of 2.6 cu. Ft. drawer refrigerators, storage galore, and a tilt-out waste receptacle. Our test model was additionally equipped with the optional ice maker (a must have IMO). It’s easy to imagine an afternoon or evening on the hook with family and friends, laughing and loving life while sharing moments from the galley.
Social zone #4 – below deck. With a bowrider configuration it would be easy to misconstrue the 43 LS as a day boat – until you ease below on solid teak steps into the beautifully appointed salon. The fiberglass hull & deck liner incorporate sound dampening insulation – meaning that if someone needs a rest they can do so comfortably and quietly on the full berth Innerspring mattress or the mid cabin berth. The private head compartment features non-skid flooring, a full shower, solid surface countertop with ceramic sink, VacuFlush toilet, more lighting than I’ve ever seen in a head compartment, and a separate AC/heat vent. You’ll find exceptionally well-crafted storage, hanging lockers and seating areas, an LED TV, microwave, and more. Pay close attention to the craftsmanship of the wood components throughout the interior. They are exceptional. More interior features worth noting:
All of the above discoveries took place during our test day during wind and rainstorm breaks – what a great way to use our time! We eased away from the dock late morning to capture some running footage and again mid-afternoon for some specific testing data.
The joystick controls perfectly articulated the 3 x 450 HP engines as we eased away from the dock and into the open waters of the St. Lawrence River. The purring sound of the V8 4.6 L engines quickly transformed to a soft growl as we eased into the throttle and then added the sweet sounds of the super chargers as we began putting the 43 LS through her paces.
I typically like to capture holeshot results and then push our test boats into some tight turns and twists to learn the hulls range and scope. We collectively decided that calculating holeshot on a boat of this size would be irrelevant but for those that need the testosterone boost I can unequivocally assure you that the 450R’s screamed to life when we hammered down and her full 43’ length was on plane in a hurry. Tight twists and turns at a variety of speeds showed a testament to the engineering hull engineering. Under safe conditions we could readily push the 43 LS into a sharp corner either port or starboard and she never missed a beat. This might be the truest tracking hull I’ve ever had the pleasure of running – certainly in a big boat she is.
The range of cruising speeds and results of top speeds will always be dictated by your own variables of guests and gear, fuel, and water system fill rates, ambient air and water temperature, as well as wind and current and more. On a relatively calm day at 24 degrees Celsius with 2 guys on board and a 3/8 tank of fuel our results were impressive. We encountered a very enjoyable 23 mph @ 3450 RPM cruise and a second at 20.7 mph @ 3300 RPM – this time with the Lenco tabs all the way down. Top speed really put me over the proverbial top with repeated results of over 56 mph @ 5800 RPM.
I was appreciative of the shared perspectives of two different co-pilots during our test day. Both men, skilled in their own way, pushed the 43 LS in different ways and she never yielded. Hard cornering was flawless, pushing her direct into some steep waves was never a concern, and the run up from cruising to wide open was just plain fun!
The Tiara 43 LS is a winner in so many categories – as a day boat, an over nighter, an entertainer, a sports car, and so much more. Leon Slikkers himself would surely be proud of what his family and his team have engineered, and any consumer lucky enough to own this craft would share that same pride for years to come.
|Dry weight:||21,800 lbs||9,888 kg|
|Fuel Capacity:||400 US gal||1514 L|
|Base Engine / Drive:||Triple 450 Mercury|