When we climbed under the upturned mold at Tiara Yachts, I got my first good look at the 50-footer I would drive the next morning. As my eyes adjusted to the dim light, I could see it had two distinctive mushroom-shaped protrusions near the aft end — this boat was definitely going to be fitted with pod drives (twin Volvo IPS 950s units, as it turned out).

Tiara 50 Coupe Mold

The inside of the Tiara 50 mold is as smooth and shiny as any, but only a boat equipped with pod drives require mushroom-like shapes such as these to allow for the cut-outs and reinforcements needed to support the drives.

"It's the Bluewater 48 hull below the chines," said my companion, David Glenn, Tiara's marketing chief. "That's a solid, proven offshore hull. But from the chines up, it's brand new." He pointed out where the large 'midships master windows would be cut out and other ports forward, all predictors of an emphasis on lots of light in the interior. "These round ports will open," he added. Not something we usually see in the hull sides of a larger yacht, but not surprising to me, given the Midwestern penchant for practicality that's the norm at Tiara.

Tiara 50 Coupe mold

The inverted Tiara 50 hull mold shows distinct chines, below which (above in the picture) the shape is based on a proven Tiara offshore design. The master stateroom and opening port cut-outs are visible at lower right and left.

At the same time, this new model signals a big styling step toward what consumers are coming to expect in a million-dollar-plus express yacht, with spacious areas like the master stateroom, increased comfort, and a modern look throughout. Yet as I ducked under the edge of the hull into the bright light of the day, I noted that the sweeping sheerline was still distinctively Tiara, and that whetted my appetite for the next day's outing to see how the marriage of modern and traditional would work out in practice. I'll leave you with my first view of Hull No. 1 the next morning—and the promise of my review in a couple weeks.

Tiara 50 Coupe on Lake Macatawa

Sunrise on Lake Macatawa, Mich., and our first view of the Tiara 50 Coupe.


Read more about the Tiara 50 Coupe and its debut at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show.