|Beam||10' 3"||Fuel||300 gals|
|Draft||1' 9"||Engines||Yamaha 250|
|Weight||6500 lbs||Speed||35.4 kn|
An oldy but goody? Well, not that old. Just old enough to get a good idea of how well certain levels of acclaimed quality stand up to the test of time. As to our test sample here, the answer is pretty well.
We've always felt that one of the more outstanding features of the Tiara/Pursuit line of boats was a high degree of practical considerations combined with a fair amount of styling to yield a boat that is neither Spartan or dated. As you can see from the profile photo above, sheer good looks is not the primary consideration here, for her lines are a wee bit on the clunky side. Yet it's not unattractive, either.
What you get for that trade-off is a small boat with a lot of interior space and many practical features. The kind of features that you don't get when style becomes the primary consideration.
A pure fisherman, the cockpit is vol - lum' - in - ous. Or just plain big. It's not going to wow you with a lot of gimmickry; it's just a nice, big open space that let's you do your thing without always bumping into or falling over things. Even when fitted with a small fixed fighting chair, as this one is, there's still plenty of room to move around it. The cockpit liner is mated to the hull side so that there's plenty of gunwale overhang so that you can stand and lean over the side without feeling like you'll fall overboard.
Of particular interest to me was the bait & tackle center that forms the transom. A good 16" wide, this forms a great workbench with the bait and fish boxes below. It also doubles as convenient seating, striking down my frequent gripe that so many fish boats don't give passengers anywhere to sit.
One of the first builders to make use of the integral platform/motor mounting system, there's a nice flush walk-thru transom door that makes steeping out on the platform easy. Especially with rod in hand while you're doing your darnedest to keep that fish from tangling up in the motors. The platform is flat, not angled as so many are, making it easy to stand up back there. The area is 20" wide and had the motors been rigged properly, there'd be no hoses or cables to trip over as there are on this one.
The seating modules almost look like motor boxes on a Bertram since they have seats on the back side with stowage hatches under. The lids are properly designed so that the contents don't get wet. How rare!
The deck has a large removable section that's a foot narrower than the perimeter of the cockpit, meaning that it's not so big that you can't remove it easily. You need to be able to remove it because there's lot's of stuff down under there that needs working on. Like a 3.5 Kw Onan generator, batteries and other things.
Believe it or not, access to at least the front side of the generator is pretty good. Equally hard to believe is that after seven years, the generator was not all rusty. It's shoved back beyond the edge of the hatch so that water won't drip on it. There was a problem beginning here with some plywood decking that was poorly supported and was starting to sag under the weight of batteries. That can be dealt with easily enough.
Structural Issues - Basically no problem there. Both the deck and hull sides are balsa cored which gives it a nice, solid feeling. Running along in a light chop, she's not noisy like many boats are. You don't hear things like parts of the liner slapping against the hull. While not much of the internal hull is visible, we didn't find anything broken. The bottom had no stress cracks on it, nor any blisters.
The hull is still screwed to the deck, but at least there's a wood backing strip to help anchor the screws. The rub rails are holding up well (stainless banding on top of extruded plastic) although there is the usual weakness at the aft gunwales where the side deck inserts are screwed in place. Pursuit/Tiara hasn't exactly a spectacular record when it comes to stress cracking of the gel coat, but this boat didn't have much.
The helm layout is very similar to most of the Tiara line and is one of the really nice features. Made up of two angled surfaces, the lower face being 16" wide and the upper, more vertical face being 20" wide. As you can see from the photo, this yields lots of options for mounting electronic gizmos, though on this one it rather looks like pieces were added one-at-a-time, without any planning.
Ergonomically, the set up is excellent with an 18" destroyer wheel and the engine controls set up high and just right. I can tell you that docking this boat in difficult conditions is a breeze. With the engines set fairly far apart, the amount of control was very good. It was a simple matter to just warp the boat around a piling and back it into a slip.
Gotta get up to the foredeck in a hurry to handle lines, or the anchor? No problem, the side decks are 10" wide with plenty of hand holds to make it easy and safe.
Here again, we have another tall, rather gawky looking windshield, but what you get for the sacrifice in style is more than worth it. First, it keeps the spray off both you and the instruments. And with $10k worth of goodies up there, it's hard to overestimate the value of that tall windshield. But with an opening center section, you get the best of both worlds with a cooling flow-thru breeze. You can have the style, I'll take the practicality of a set up like this.
The Cabin - Ah, well, it's just another cabin in a small boat. What can I say when so many are all the same? But it was air conditioned, so that made me happy. The enclosed head is adequately sized, but there's minimal deck space and the vee berth area is cramped. At least doing an overnighter is better than a sleeping bag on deck.
Performance - Unfortunately, we did not get the opportunity to take her out in the ocean. What with real 6 footers rolling out there, that's not a good place to be in a boat this size. And so we zoomed around the Intracoastal terrorizing the neighbors. Strange, but 35.4 knots seemed a lot faster, but that's what the GPS said. With at least 200 gallons of fuel aboard.
She's got a rather typically Tiara shaped bottom with a full bow and only a moderate deadrise. Don't expect anything special in the way of rough water performance or you'll be disappointed. She's a fair weather fisherman for sure and couldn't hold a candle to a Blackfin or any of the other performance dedicated boats.
The Yamaha 250's are original 1993's which, after seven years in salt water are holding up well. And those are 12 month years here in Florida. This one has the full Yamaha instrument package, including fuel manage system, that is still working. It also has Microcommander controls which I'm still having trouble warming up to. They move soooo easily -- too easily. I used my finger tips most daintily to do my docking. None of that macho, grab hold and push hard stuff. Working these things is like tip toeing through the tulips. But I'd take these over those horrible standard outboard motor controls any day. There were probably not standard, but an option. They are also verrrry expensive.
One of the more amazing features is a 300 gallon fuel capacity. When's the last time you saw an outboard boat with that much fuel? With full tanks, however, she rides a bit bow heavy as the tanks are amidships. How-however, in calm water she rides beautifully because she's well balanced with the tanks amidships. It leaps out of the hole with no squat.
Fitted with a marlin type tower and surrey top, we didn't notice any increased tenderness. Definitely not rolly-polly, probably because she's got good sized chine flats. All that fuel helps ballast her, too. So expect that she gets more tender with less fuel.
Gripes? Yes, there's a few. Like the plastic portholes in the cabin that are angled inward and dump a load of water in your lap if you open them without sponging the water out first because it collects on the outside. Plus they look rather chintzy. And then there's the large plastic inspection ports on the aft deck (4 of them) that feel spongy when you step on them. Every time I did, I looked down to see why the deck felt soft. Plastic hatch and door handles don't live up to expectations, particularly when they break off in your hand.
Then there's the primary DC circuit breaker panel installed under the bait well where all the circuit breakers had crapped out because, well, need I tell you that water has been getting to them? It's amazing that stray currents here didn't eat up the motors. This owner got lucky.
Though it came equipped with the generator and shore power system, the electrical system was minimalist and not as good as it should be for a boat that carries a high price tag. You'll find better on later models.
Overall, this is a decent quality boat, but it's not as good as it should be. The work of the bean counters and profit stretchers is clearly apparent. Structurally she outpaces most in her class, but when it comes to fitting out, she's an also-ran. Even so, she's got a lot to recommend her in the way of practical design and overall durability. Especially when you're not forking over the new list price, but less than half that amount.
If this is your kind of boat, it's hard to go wrong with making this choice.
David Pascoe is a second generation marine surveyor in his family who began his surveying career at age 16 as an apprentice in 1965 as the era of wooden boats was drawing to a close.
Certified by the National Association of Marine Surveyors in 1972, he has conducted over 5,000 pre purchase surveys in addition to having conducted hundreds of boating accident investigations, including fires, sinkings, hull failures and machinery failure analysis.
Over forty years of knowledge and experience are brought to bear in following books. David Pascoe is the author of:
In addition to readers in the United States, boaters and boat industry professionals worldwide from nearly 80 countries have purchased David Pascoe's books, since introduction of his first book in 2001.
In 2012, David Pascoe has retired from marine surveying business at age 65.
On November 23rd, 2018, David Pascoe has passed away at age 71.
Biography - Long version