Boat Review by: Rick Layzell
When we were granted the opportunity to test the Tiara 43 LS earlier this year we knew we were fortunate as market demands have meant access to test boats has often been a challenge. But, then came the invitation to test the Tiara 43 LE with the brand new Mercury 600 HP V12 Verados, no less, and there were no doubts that we were truly blessed.
The 43 LE or ‘Luxury Express’ is the first in the series, and after this experience we can’t wait to see what Tiara has up their sleeve next. The LE is a multi-purpose craft, akin to a Swiss Army knife, as it answers so many needs and wants. She’s a stunning day boat, a dream entertainer, a beautiful overnighter and an all-round playful performer. She is exceptionally well appointed with craftsmanship exuding from every curve inside and out. And boy is she fun to drive!
At first sight, I immediately noticed the complete lack of any canvas (thank you Tiara) and the Concord Blue hull side colour. Against the white deck it is a stunning combo – plus matching those colours onto the engines was perfect. Walking along the port side it was impossible not to notice the social zones, and with advance research already done I was anxious to explore the rear transformational seating.
When we tested the LS model the rear lounge seat spun 180 degrees to either face forward into the cockpit or, by simply using the push button lock, face aft to watch the action off the transom. The LE takes this up a notch with the inclusion of the port side drop down folding terrace and a 45 degree position on the rear lounge to allow seated guests to join the action at the terrace as well. The terrace drop down is handsomely crafted and held secure with a very robust and safe latching system. It also incorporates a mount for the easy-to-use reboarding ladder and is dressed in the same synthetic teak flooring as is elsewhere on the 43 LE. When lowered, the terrace feels like a natural extension of the interior of the boat.
The rear lounge is appointed with luxury seating, multi texture vinyl’s and footrests, a high gloss teak table, electric grill, a solid surface buffet (or beverage mixing table), and a multitude of drink holders. Forward you’ll find a starboard side boarding door which houses an additional mount for the reboarding ladder, a pair of aft facing seats, and a Makefast powered sunshade that deploys beautifully from the hardtop for when additional shade is required.
The mid cockpit galley is outfitted with a pair of 120V/12V drawer style fridges, pantry storage, hot & cold water at the sink and generously sized solid surface countertops.
Looking up is where we see the molded full beam fiberglass hardtop and custom windshield. Test day was a perfect 25C degree day (82F) and I truly appreciated the ventilation from the sliding side glass panels. Above is a tempered glass skylight with a center mount Bomar hatch and built-in shades. LED overhead lighting helps set the mood and the electrically actuated fold down TV locks neatly into the hardtop. The optional retractable cockpit enclosure lends itself perfectly to accommodating longer boating seasons which is made even better with the 20,000 BTU cockpit AC/reverse heat system.
The double wide helm and companion seats both have flip up bolsters and armrests and – this is cool – both seats rotate to face inboard or aft to join the party in the rest of the boat. The helm itself is wrapped in a loving combination of leather, teak, detailed stitching giving the entire station a luxurious feel. A pair of 16” Garmin GPSMAP Displays are on hand to provide the captain multiple combinations of engine and on-board systems monitoring. The latest technology from Mercury’s’ Joystick Piloting for outboards was on hand – I especially loved the simple to use ‘Auto Heading’ feature. This control system uses its integrated electronic compass to lock onto your heading to keep your boat on course. One degree heading adjustments can be made from the joystick and 10 degree adjustments can be made from the control panel. With Skyhook and other new advancements at the helm, boating really has become simplified thanks to these new innovations. Word to the wise – that doesn’t mean boating has become automatic or foolproof – all captains need to always maintain full awareness of their surroundings. It does mean that getting there is easier, holding position has zero stress levers, and joystick docking is a breeze.
A safe walk to the foredeck is enhanced with the strength of the one piece welded 316 SS 1 ¼” bow rail. Once you arrive, you’ll find a recessed chaise lounge with its own integrated handholds and drink holders. You’ll also quickly come to appreciate the integrated thru stem anchor system, 35lb SS plow anchor, windlass with helm and handheld remote and necessary safety equipment. Our test boat added the optional full chain – an option that I personally wouldn’t be without.
Quietly moving below decks we were greeted by a warm combination of architectural teak and driftwood throughout the interior, which pairs beautifully to heighten the senses from the use of teak on the flooring and companionway steps. Sound dampening insulation throughout the cabin ensures blissful slumber in either the queen size pedestal berth or the private mid cabin with full size mattress. Privacy shades adorn all the windows, and I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of air that came in the opening port light in the mid cabin. Flat screen TV, hanging lockers, 12V LED lighting, 120V outlets, its own 10,000 BTU AC/reverse heat all round out the tastefully appointed interior.
The head compartment features a separate shower, VacuFlush toilet, exhaust fan, AC vent, teak flooring, 12V LED lighting, 120V outlet and another hullside window with opening port light.
Additional standard systems include a 9.0 kW diesel generator, 120/240V AC 50 amp 50’ retractable power cord, Lenco electric trim tabs, 4 x 12V multicolour underwater lights, Fusion Apollo sound system with JL audio digital amplification and 10 JL Audio speakers, 4.0 kW Lewmar bow thruster, fire suppression system in machinery compartment, and more. Our test boat was even equipped with the Seakeeper SK6 Gyro.
Finally, it was time to ease out into the St. Lawrence River and put this craft to the test. At 43’ 6” (13.26 m) and carrying a 13’ (3.96m) beam, the LE, like the LS, is a big machine. Easing her off the docks was a breeze with the joystick piloting and those V12’s purred. Our first runs to mid power repeatedly proved just how efficiently she found herself on step, and that was just the beginning of the fun. As we launched up to mid cruising speeds the sweet sound of the super chargers on the V12’s was impressive and it was impossible to not be blown away with how quietly these new 600 HP engines perform. And then we let them get to work, and they satisfied every ounce of love for horsepower in my entire being!
Repeatedly banking this 22,100 lb (10,024 kg) machine into the hardest turns I found myself met with an accommodating hull design that ensured we never lost our tracking and that we stayed on step. We experienced virtually zero cavitation, and she eased us out of those hard turns with grace and confidence.
Achieving optimum cruising speeds on a craft of this nature was difficult without consuming too many hours in our test day. Suffice to say that we played at a wide variety and were very impressed at all ranges. Were I ever to own something as refined as the Tiara 43 LE I would take the time to use, listen, and learn from my on board technologies including the Mercury Active Trim, Lewmar tabs, and the engines themselves to find the optimal speed with the optimal performance for the waters and types of boating I personally enjoy.
Top speed was a very impressive 54.9 MPH @ 6,200 RPM. No, that is not a typo folks – that is a legitimate GPS tracked 54.9 MPH result and wow does the 43 LE hull love to play in that range.
Clearly there were no details left behind on the drawing board in Tiara’s design room. From the lack of canvas to the incorporation of easy-to-use weather covers, to the extensive combination of social zones, to the obsessively detailed craftsmanship from bow to stern, the Tiara 43 LE is quite simply a stunning performer wrapped up in a Luxury Express dressing. The team behind the brand have clearly listened with intent to their customer base, and their teams and have invested heavily in all the right R&D to create one of the finest performing craft I have ever had the pleasure to run.
A huge shout of gratitude and thanks goes to Huck’s Marine & Resort for allowing us to run their rocket through its paces.
|Dry weight:||22,100 lbs||10,024 kg|
|Fuel Capacity:||400 US gal||1514 L|
|Base Engine / Drive:||Twin Mercury|
|Engine HP:||Twin 600 V12 Verado|