The convertible flybridge design predates LORAN, articulating drives, and even fiberglass, but this segment has long been dominated by fishing boats ranging from the classic Bertram 31 to the epic Hatteras 70 GT. Sure, there have been a few cruisers in there from the likes of Carver and Sea Ray, and more recently builders like Maritimo. But for the most part, if you wanted a cruising convertible you had to choose between de-fanged fishboats, or expresses that were retro-designed to add a bridge—making them look and/or perform out of kilter.
Now, however, we have the Tiara 50 Flybridge to talk about.
True, this boat’s heredity does trace back to an express model, the Tiara 50 Coupe, which was introduced in 2013. Yet take another look at the above picture. The 50 Flybridge looks stylish and more importantly, proportionally ideal. This is in no small part due to the fact that Tiara didn’t try to cram a massive upper deck onto the bridge, but instead, chose to incorporate a helm station, port and starboard lounges, a wet bar with refrigerator, sink, cutting board, and stowage compartments, and an aft sun lounge. Had they tried to extend the bridge farther aft and add on components like a dinette and an outdoor galley, both looks and performance would have taken a hit. Extending the bridge any farther aft would also have completely covered the cockpit. That may be advantageous during the dog days of summer, but it also means you can’t enjoy the sun’s warming rays the rest of the year. What about extending the bridge farther forward to make additional room up top? There are plenty of models out there that have tried it, and to be frank, they look just plain weird—like a body-builder with giant arms and spindly legs.
The close attention to proper proportion continues inside the cabin. The saloon dinette isn’t huge, nor does it crowd the aft galley or the lower helm station. The two-stateroom layout allows for a huge full-beam master and a generous forward guest cabin, each with its own head and shower. Sure, some boats of this size feature three staterooms—but all are significantly smaller and one is usually a glorified closet.
If you really need that extra private space for kids or a mis-behaving crewmember, you can have the utility room converted into a third stateroom for a $4,345 up-charge (base price starts at a hair over $1.6 mil). This would, IMHO, be a big mistake. Having that utility room is a great feature, which includes a stacked washer/dryer and gets you an invaluable bulk stowage area most boats this size just can’t offer.
As far as trim level, décor, and luxury goes, well, I’ll leave it to the photos to speak for themselves. Obviously the 50 Flybridge is built to be more of a yacht than a boat, which is no surprise coming from Tiara. What is a bit more surprising is the yacht-like level of self-sufficiency the 50 Flybridge offers. Remember, that utility room? It’ll make long-distance trips more of a realistic option; then add in a few items like the reverse-osmosis watermaker ($25K), the full enclosure for the flybridge ($27K), and the KVH TracVision TV5 satellite antenna ($14K), and you’ll be ready for a seriously extended vacation aboard.
Just how far will you be able to cruise in the 50 Flybridge? According to Tiara, with a pair of Volvo Penta IPS II P4 pod drives range is over 300 miles at cruising speeds between 21.5 and 33.4 MPH, excluding a 10-percent fuel reserve. At best cruise (28.5 MPH, turning 2100 RPM) it maxes-out at 313 miles. Those are certainly respectable numbers for a boat that weighs well over 20 tons and stretches past 54 feet in length, but more important is the handling that this power package provides. Specifically, the dockside handling. Those pod drives, coupled with a joystick, make close-quarters maneuvering a piece of cake. And although it isn’t my favored way to run the boat (old habits die hard) you can also use the joystick to run the boat at any speed.
No, you won’t find fishing rods or gaffs on the Tiara 50 Flybridge. Nor will you find the largest number of berths, the biggest engines, or the largest number of seats for a boat of this LOA. What you will find is proportional balance. Feng Shui, yin and yang, poise—call it whatever you like. The Tiara 50 Flybridge has got it.
Other Choices: The Sealine T50 might be of interest to those looking at the 50 Flybridge, and if an enclosed bridge strikes you as attractive, take a look at the Maritimo M50. A less expensive alternative might be the Ovation 52.
For more information, visit Tiara.
See Tiara 50 Flybridge listings.
|Fuel capacity||650 gal.|
|Water capacity||150 gal.|