2009 TIARA YACHTS 3900 SOVRAN HARDTOP CRUISER - Courtesy of Canadian Yachting Magazine's Andy Adams
Couple’s Getaway Yacht with Guest Space Too!
Occasionally during the cruising season, a couple suddenly needs to accommodate a group of guests…kids, or possibly kids with kids; group sleeping accommodations may be a requirement. You just don’t want to suffer 80% of the time to have accommodations to satisfy 20% of the time. Now you don't have too!
We think that the Tiara 3900 Sovran can do an outstanding job of delighting a cruising couple and yet can also accommodate when the whole gang comes onboard. Here is how this plays out.
Basically, the cabin is maximized for a couple. The salon is five steps down on lovely floating teak steps through the big screened entrance hatch. Compared to the exterior, where attractive but functional white fiberglass seems to dominate, the cabin is full of teak and we were told it is all taken from one tree and matched to keep the grain and colour as close as possible. Subtle but very elegant.
The salon is open and bright even considering the extensive use of teak on the cabinetry, sides and flooring. Two floor hatches offer access to tanks and other systems. To port is a dinette with a gorgeous inlaid dining table before a three-seat couch. Here is guest trick #1: the seatback lifts and hooks on straps to make a single berth while the seat cushion makes a second berth. These would be ideal for kids or teenagers.
There are three storage lockers over the dining area along with two very serious looking opening Bomar port holes. These are the real thing with thick frames and screw down dogs. There is also a cedar-lined hanging locker in the salon with the fire extinguisher inside.
The galley is on the starboard side with a very big expanse of counter space when all the filters are in place. It's a composite top with a Kenyon two-burner stove top, trash container and a very large, round stainless-steel sink, all with fillers. Overhead are four lockers including one which carries the waste tank level indicator. Fiddles along the hull side past the two Bomar port holes keep your spices from sliding around.
The test boat was also equipped with a Panasonic inverter microwave concealed underneath the counter behind a slide-away door . Below that is a large bin for pots and pans. We really like the huge two-door Nova Kool ‘fridge/freezer combination. The design includes a rounded front drawer section that looks handsome and overall, we'd say this is a great galley for the size of this boat.
The forward or master statement carries on that elegant curved design, this time with rolling door panels on tracks that have a locking foot release. There is a Sharp flat screen television on the bulkhead. Then, there is a big Bomar deck hatch with screens to let in lots of daylight, side lockers and a big drawer underneath the berth. The berth also lifts for large item storage, giving a place to store cushions like the one that goes to the cockpit as a filler to make up another sleeping area.
Speaking of that, there is an open mid-cabin which includes a Bose sound system and a Sharp Aquos 32-inch flat screen television, but the highlight here is the electric couch mechanism; press a button and it slides slowly forward to make up another big double berth. There is storage under the seat cushions and although the area is fairly low, it makes a comfortable conversation pit. If it was our boat, we might make do with a smaller flat screen there and put the big one on an articulated mount in the salon where more people could see it easily.
There's a single head one step down from the salon floor level. The door has a magnetic latch to hold it open and the head enjoys about 6' 4" of height. It's equipped with a very nice vessel sink and a perfectly positioned shaving or make-up mirror on the bulkhead. Again, there is an opening Bomar hatch, plus a vacuum flush head, lots of elegant teak trim and very nice hardware and faucets.
We liked the small side counter and deceptively big storage area below, giving ample space for towels, toilet paper and other items. An attractive hidden towel bar is here too.
The shower stall has a clear acrylic door. There's a seat as well as standing headroom and three big handrails in case the boat is rocking when you're trying to have a shower.
Moving outside, there is a hand-held shower with hot and cold running water at the transom by the swim platform. The boat is seriously equipped for salt water use and has an aggressive, diamond-patterned nonskid floor, although the test boat also had removable carpeting which adds comfort. The wide side decks are the same diamond nonskid pattern to facilitate going forward. If you're stepping onboard from the side, you can grab a cabin-mounted handrail, but most people will prefer to step on the swim platform from a floating dock.
Tiara includes a generous trunk in the transom with storage for lines and fenders as well as the fresh and the raw water wash down. Electrical connections are on the port side along with Glendinning cable masters. The lid has a gasket to make sure that water doesn't intrude.
The front deck features a moulded-in pulpit with remote control spotlight, Danforth anchor, big cleats and an anchor locker, all surrounded by a fully welded stainless-steel bow rail.
There is a sun pad on the deck for tanning and we were impressed by the three huge windshield wipers. The cabin glass areas are quite large. We also appreciated the huge engine room vents in the sides and the little touches like the cabin roof handrail being white instead of stainless steel so as not to detract from the styling.
To ward off reflections in those big windshield sections, the dashboard top is finished in black and the center windshield section opens electrically; an overhead hatch increases cockpit and helm ventilation.
The helm seat is electric and has a very long range of travel. Adding to driver comfort is a two-level foot rest for standing or sitting and the large glass areas give a panoramic view in all directions.
The performance was strong too. The Tiara 3900 Sovran only took 12 seconds to plane; in under 30 seconds we were at top speed and yet we never lost sight of the horizon, even driving from a seated position. The twin Volvo Penta IPS 500 drives are very effective. We felt that the 3900 Sovran rode level even without putting the tabs down. With full tabs, we could throttle back to 22 MPH, still on plane. Our GPS showed 38.5 MPH at wide open throttle!
Tiara fits Raymarine E90 multi-function displays plus a small digital engine display at the helm and we like the joystick control for the IPS drives being mounted on the centerline for easy judgments when docking.
The companion seat is high to give passengers a great view, there’s a removable table for the companion side too; Tiara has placed Imtra LED overhead and foot lighting throughout the boat for convenience and safety.
From the bridge level, it’s down a step to the cockpit by the refreshment center. This has a Nova Kool refrigerator, a sink, trash area and more.
Overall, this is a comfortable, well laid out boat for a couple that can be easily be converted to sleep two adults in the mid cabin, two more in the salon and two more adults under the stern curtain, if you wanted a full house. This would make a perfect grandparent get-away boat that can also manage important family get-togethers.
The Tiara 3900 Sovran is easy to handle thanks to the Volvo Penta IPS and joystick docking, so two people can manage it easily and the turn of speed puts distant anchorages within easy range.
By Andy Adams