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Tiara Yachts, one of the many class acts from the US industry

by Bob Wonders on 24 Mar 2011
Tiara 4800 convertible Tiara Yachts
One of the many pleasures in visiting American boat shows is the opportunity to inspect boast that one does not see regularly on one’s local market.

Although familiar with the marque, Tiara Yachts, I was nevertheless impressed with the range the family-owned company presented at the recent Miami International Boat Show.

For those less than totally familiar with this Michigan-based manufacturer, it boasts a proud and lengthy history.


The company was established by Leon Slikkers, current Chairman of the Board, his boat building career began when he started working for the Chris-Craft Boat Company in 1946.

Some 10-years later, Leon established the Slickcraft Boat Company, (sold to American Machine and Foundry (AMF) in 1969).

He was among the first boat manufacturers to experiment with fibreglass construction and within six-years all models made from timber were deleted from the company’s range.

There’s been a lot of water under the proverbial bridge since then, but success has been the order of the day for Leon and his sons, Robert, President of Tiara Yachts and David, CEO of S2 Yachts.

S2 Yachts is the parent company of both Tiara Yachts and Pursuit Boats, companies established by Leon Slikkers in 1976 (Tiara) and 1983 (Pursuit).

Leon has certainly been recognised for his efforts; in 1996 he was named Michigan Entrepreneur of the Year (Manufacturing Category) and in 1999 he was inducted into the prestigious National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) Hall of Fame.

He is obviously a boating industry leader in every sense and a man with an interesting story to tell, but for now we’ll concentrate on his boats.

Tiara Yachts currently produces a range comprising 13 models on three separate series, the five model sport boat range marketed as ‘Sovran’, a six model line-up simply marketed as ‘Open’ and two stylish convertibles, the 3900 and the 4800.

Looking over the 4800 Convertible I was immediately struck by its ‘fish friendliness’; in fact I’d take a bet that experienced anglers had some input into its design and fitout.

Some of the inclusions aboard the 4800 Convertible would have the average angler delighted; there’s even an oversized alloy backing plate beneath the cockpit sole to allow a fighting chair to be securely anchored.

An optional live well boasts a high capacity pump that changes the water easily to ensure fresh bait.

Excellent rod stowage, sizeable fish boxes, tournament-style helm on the flying bridge, it was obvious that a lot of thought went into the creation of the Tiara 4800 Convertible.

This is a true performer, too, with Caterpillar Marine Diesel engines (C-18 engines, 1015hp each) giving this sleek rig a healthy 36 knots at 2328rpm.

Like a true convertible, the 4800 Tiara has no forward facing window beneath the ‘bridge, but this has not detracted from the airiness of the spacious and delightfully furnished saloon.

The overall finish internally, from joinery to upholstery, head linings to plumbing, was all very much first class.

Accommodation included a superb master stateroom, a guest cabin forward with a choice of either under/over singles or a double berth option.

A well-equipped galley, three-burner cook top, and an innovative refrigerant system comprising four freezer drawers beneath the counter delivered some of the comforts of home.

The engine room was equally impressive, ample space to carry out routine maintenance on the big Cats and easy access from a roomy hatch in the expansive cockpit.

Manufacturers of flying bridge convertibles know they’re in a highly competitive segment of the boat building industry.

I have no idea how well Tiara Yachts performs against the tough competition out there, but having wandered through the Tiara 4800 Convertible, I figure other manufacturers would certainly view Tiara as a tough competitor.

For information on the Tiara range or to locate the name, location of your nearest dealer, simply visit the website, www.tiarayachts.com

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