Tiara Yachts’ new 4800 Convertible is a sign of the times. She is Tiara’s largest convertible, she has three staterooms and two heads packed into 48’, and we can see her going toe-to-toe with even bigger battlewagons. In many respects the Tiara has all of the functionality of a 55’ convertible but is on the order of $700,000 less than 6-sleeper convertibles in the mid-50’ range from top-tier builders. And, Tiara has always been a top-tier builder, right there with Viking, Hatteras and Bertram, although generally building smaller boats. The Tiara 4800 Convertible might just be a giant killer. With clever design, Tiara (which is not known for building inexpensive boats) has produced what we think is a remarkably good value for someone looking for a large battlewagon for offshore fishing, or just plain cruising and entertaining.
- Fresh white gelcoat hull & deck
- Platinum bootline
- Bennett Marine 24V hydraulic recessed trim tabs
- Starboard entry to salon with sliding tinted glass
- Teak-covered cockpit step to mezzanine seat &
salon entry door
- Fresh and raw water washdown outlets
- Self-draining cockpit with scupper drains
- Clarion AM/FM/CD stereo with four (4)
flybridge speakers, two lower cockpit speakers,
& remote panel located in lower cockpit
- Mold & mildew resistant vinyl hull and
- Two Sub-Zero drawer-style refrigerator/
freezer units; one unit includes icemaker
|Length Overall||48' 5'' / 14.76 m|
Currently no test numbers
2 x 885-hp CAT C18 ACERT
2 x 1015-hp CAT C18 ACERT
|Deck Warranty Extended||Five year transferable limited warranty|
|Hull Warranty Extended||Five year transferable limited warranty|
As you can see from the accommodations plan above the Tiara 4800 Convertible has a third cabin shoe-horned into the starboard side and has nestled part of it under the settee in the salon. This is a clever and creative utilization of space. Just forward is the stacked washer/dryer that every boat this size should have, but some don’t.
In the forward cabin Tiara has a double berth on the bottom and a single up on top which makes use of the bow flair. This is an old, tried-and-true configuration that works well on a convertible. When the boat is full of guys out fishing for a few days, the two berths are used as singles. When the boat is in cruising mode and there is a husband-and-wife couple in the forward cabin, they can cuddle up in the double (women love it that way). Or, of course, the couple can use the two singles and get some rest. We haven’t seen this configuration much in 20 years, but we far prefer it to the centerline queen berth that most builders install and which is very limiting in its function. Thank you Tiara Yachts for bringing back a good, old idea.
The master stateroom is wrapped in lots of wood paneling that have sweeping curves that give what is a relatively small space a cozy, functional yachty feel. We think Tiara has done a terrific job of providing both three staterooms in a small space.
Frankly, the heads are surprisingly large given all that is going on here and please note that both the toilets and the sinks or showers can be used at the same time. Again, Tiara designers have made relatively large radiuses on the bulkheads and cabinets and this gives the yacht a pleasing, soft look and actually creates the illusion of there being more room than there actually is.
This is one of our prerequisites for a cruising heads – namely that a couple can use the head at the same time getting ready for a cocktail party, or an early-morning posting on the bridge. Tiara has accomplished that trick, which is the sign of good yacht design.
The main salon is conventional in concept, put better than conventional in execution. Note that the aft counter in the galley has a sweeping curve. Likewise the forward part of the sofa has a curve and the settee is oval. All of these pleasing curves keep the salon from having a squared-off, boxy look as you see in some convertibles this size. The flat screen TV hides away in the entertainment cabinet on the starboard side of the boat.
The sofa can be made into a double bed so you can sleep two more people here, making the boat an eight-sleeper if you want to, in a pinch. Grandchildren love boats and will gladly sleep most anywhere and this is a good place for them.
The Business End is Critical
The cockpit has 140 sq. ft. of fighting space, a mezzanine, and all of the refers, fishboxes, baitwells, etc, that every convertible in class has. If you will be using this boat primarily for fishing and can live without the live well, you can trade it out for a fold away seat into the gunwale of the stern. If you are going to use this boat primarily for cruising and entertaining, we would recommend this option.
Tiara has long understood that the dynamics of offshore sportfishing are changing, and all builders of convertibles will tell you that half of their customers buy the boats for cruising. Tiara was one of the first builders to pick up on that trend over 15 years a go, and the old Tiara 31 had seating tucked out of the way in the gunwales of its cockpit which turned in quite handy during cocktail parties aboard.
Flying Bridge Trend
The flying bridge of the Tiara 4800 has a center console helm. This is the flavor of the month on the offshore tournament circuit, but we are not convinced that it is an improvement on more standard layouts that extend the helm console over to the port side, but so be it.
Because Tiara is working hard to take care of two types of customers – both hard core anglers and cruising folks – the company has done a good job of taking care of both constituents with this layout. Note that there is a navigator’s seat next to the skipper’s chair. You always need two sets of eyes at the helm facing forward when running and hats off to Tiara for putting two seats there (some other builders have only one).
Also, by placing a bench seat in front of the helm, two people can face forward while running. Tiara tells us that the boat has about a 6.5-degree running angle at best cruise speeds, so it will be a bit more comfortable facing forward. This layout looks versatile.
Power for the Glory
Standard power is a pair of Cat-18s, 885-hp diesels that will give her 19.4 knots at 1700 rpms, burning 56.5 gph (.34 nmpg). Want to go faster? C-18 ACERTs (1015-hp) will push her 41 mph WOT, says Tiara. With the higher horsepower engines, the best cruise speed is 20 knots burning 47.7 gph and getting .49 nmpg, according to the builder. We haven’t tested the boat, but will take Tiara’s word for it.
The big engines actually get better fuel economy at best cruise than the 885-hp mills. Why? The reason is that extra horsepower in the Cat C-18 ACERTs is funneled through ZF trannies with 2.00:1 gear ratios turning huge 30 x 45 x 6 props, vs on the regular C-18s’s hooked up to ZF gear ratios of 1.77:1 turning props of 21 x 38 x 4 blades.
Bucks or Knots?
So, which way should you go? The difference in operating cost at best cruise for a boat being used 100 hours (travelling 2,000 n miles) a season at best cruise would be just over $3000 (at $3.00 per gallon fuel) for the C-18s ACERTs over the C-18 885-hp engines. You’ll have to own the boat a long time (about 20 years) before getting back the difference in initial cost.
If you are a cowboy and want to run WOT for 100 hours a season (travelling 3600 n miles) with the 1015-hp ACERTs you’ll only save about $700 a year in $3-per-gallon fuel over the 885-hp C-18s.
The base MSRP price of the Tiara 4800 with the C-18s is $1,339,550. Upgraded to the C-18 ACERTs and larger, 6-blade props, it is $63,050 more at an MSRP base price of $1,402,600.
These MSRP prices may seem like a lot of money, but if so, we invite you to take a look the cost of convertibles in the mid-50-foot range from America’s best builders. What we think you will find is another foot or so of beam, more displacement, somewhat more room inside, but about the same speeds and functionality. Virtually all of the boats will have two or three staterooms and two heads. Are these marginal improvements worth $700k or more to you? If so, go for it.