LOA: 31’ 6”
BEAM: 12’ 0”
DRAFT: 3’ 0”
DISPL.: 12,300 lb.
FUEL: 245 gal.
WATER: 38 gal.
HULL TYPE: Modified-V
TRANSOM DEADRISE: 18-degrees
YEAR BUILT: 1979-2004
The only, true improvement for Tiara’s venerate 3100 Open, since its inception in 1979 to the end of the line for that thread in 2004, was advancements in technology. The builder nailed what the boating public wanted on so many levels, right out of the box. For many decades, the original conceptual magic endured.
Tiara Yachts has re-invigorated the 31-foot, express cruiser with a new model launch this year. In keeping with Tiara’s mantra, it’s not a radical departure from the style that made Holland, MI famous. Side by side, other than a molded-in windshield, a modernly constructed hardtop, radius versus hard edges and a raked transom, the lineage is pronounced and unmistakable.
e her older siblings, today’s version has a gas and diesel option. Vintage models were predominately gas-powered with big-block, 454 cubic-inch engines that pushed the modified-V hull, to an honest 20-knot cruise; the performance bar that was set for that era. Later, larger 8.1L engines added speed. The less common, diesel package bumped the cruise to mid-20 knots.
One of the most knowledgeable Tiara minds I’ve come across over the years is boat broker and Tiara specialist, Carl Bettano.
“In 26 years of business, I’ve sold 80, 31-foot Tiaras. In my opinion, one of her best features was the ease of handling. One person can confidently run, maneuver and dock the boat. Of all the 31’s I’ve sold, maybe five were diesel,” says Bettano.
The diesel options were post 1992. The makeover of the original model increased the size of the engine compartment and slightly raised the bridge deck, allowing for larger engine applications.
“In 1992, there were some style changes to the interior and new cockpit seating arrangements. The most significant change was a four-degree increase in deadrise (from 14 to 18 degrees) and the addition of “prop pockets,” reported Jack Hornor, in a review published on the BoatUS website.
He also keenly observed that Tiara’s 31-footer is true to her model’s designation and is actually almost 35 feet from platform to pulpit; Unlike other manufacturers that cheat the tape with small waterline lengths, relying on add-ons to make model size. Lastly, Hornor noted, “access for maintenance of machinery is very difficult and gets worse with an addition of the optional generator.”
From my personal experience, and in speaking with owners, the first 3100s were a little wet and not stellar performers in a pronounced head sea, or an on-the-quarter chop. The increased deadrise of the next generation improved the ride considerably, yet still not in the class of a true deep-V.
Tiara has always been, in my opinion, a leader in quality construction and conservative design. The 3100 sports a low-profile, cabin trunk that doesn’t inhibit the view from the helm, yet still provides generous headroom in the cabin below. Ambient light pours in through multiple overhead hatches and a trio of port lights on each side of the hull.
The cabin indeed has all the amenities for great weekend cruising or an overnighter in the canyon, typical of Tiara’s Open series. There were different floor plans over the years, however, the most preferred was an island-berth forward and a very serviceable, U-shape dinette to starboard. The galley is to port with counter top, microwave, refrigerator, sink, cooktop and storage. The ship’s service panel is easily accessible on the aft cabin bulkhead, forward of the helm above.
The starboard-side helm has enough flush-mount, surface area for the electronics of the day, though a reach for today’s large screens. Gauges are a quick glance away and drink holders are inserted for the skipper below the aluminum windshield.
Dr. Stu Levine of Baldwin, NY picked up his 1998, Down Time, from a Nantucket, RI resident a bunch of years ago. He and his buddy had no reservations about jumping aboard and making the approximately, 70-mile, open-ocean run to Montauk, NY.
Levine endured years of neck surgeries and minimally used his boat, yet he just wouldn’t part with it. He’s glad he healed to get back aboard.
“Although I don’t run
100 miles offshore, the 3100 can handle most of what the bigger, more well-known, “pure-fishers” can. I never felt the boat would let me down. I know it sounds a bit cliché, but this boat does everything well,” said Levine.
The definition of hybrid is: anything of mixed origin. That can be viewed as a positive or a negative, whether it’s a hodge-podge of parts or the best pieces of each. The 3100 is a hybrid cruise/pocket fisherman and, in my opinion, it does a yeoman’s job at both.
As stated, its interior is conservative, functional, and comfortable. The helm, mid-deck, and cockpit will serve most fishermen admirably, with room for coolers and fighting fish with a full crew. The cruising family has enough square feet for recliners, deck chairs and table.
Many fishermen cringe at the sight of a swim platform. From experience, it can be used to an advantage. It’s a perfect place for a live well or storage for an additional cooler. The depth of the platform is not obtrusive for anyone fishing, even a stubby stand-up, and most gaffing or netting can be easily handled in the cockpit corner.
A transom door was incorporated into the design. Many 3100s have the foldaway aft cockpit seat; it’s totally hidden under the coaming pads, leaving an uncluttered area. There’s an aft facing double-wide bench that abuts the helm. In today’s marketing era, no doubt it would be labeled mezzanine seating.
“She really was a high-end cruiser. The guys that were serious fisherman bought Cabos, Bertrams and Blackfins back in the day, but her layout offered fisherman a stable platform and large cockpit.” said Carl Bettano.
For someone looking for one of the original pocket-fishermans, it’s a solid choice. If you can find a diesel version, it doesn’t take much outfitting to create a great vessel for every type of fishing, limited only by the range of her fuel.