"Mid Size Power Boats" - Buyers' Guide by David Pascoe

Tiara 2700

Best Buy

Tiara 2700

The 2700 Open is probably Tiara's most successful model, having a production run from 1981 to about 1993. During that time it's undergone the usual changes and improvements, so that you'll find the later models generally better than earlier models.

As usual, besides good, solid construction, one of the real strong points of this boat is practical design. From a large, uncluttered cockpit, to sensibly designed seating modules, to good, all-around ergonomics, this is a boat for those whom freedom and ease of movement is paramount.

This specimen at ten years old (1988) hadn't had a lot of TLC or much use either, with only 450 hours on the engine meters. Powered with twin Crusader FWC 270 hp inboards, one engine had been rebuilt. Since 450 hours translates to 45 hours per year, that's probably the reason. But I'd also add that the exhausts are half submerged, and the exhaust riser height quite low, factors which don't help if you don't run a boat frequently.

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The helm is not as large as you'd find on later models, but it's still a very good layout. Notice the custom teak box added to change the view angle of the depth charter and GPS.

Cutting to the chase, overall we found few faults with this boat, as we already knew after surveying many of them. Its moderately light weight at 7500 lbs. and a real speedster with small engines, yet she holds together okay. She tops out at around 35 knots and will cruise at 25 at under 3000 RPM. The bottom deadrise is 20 degrees, so she's not a real competitor with serious deep water boats. Heading down Hawk Channel in the Florida Keys with a light chop, about 18",  the ride was, shall we say, choppy.

Structurally, everything is holding together fine except for the inadequately supported foredeck, which has a raised cabin trunk where there are cracks around the perimeter of the cabin trunk. In addition to this, the cabin overhead cabinet attached to the underside of the deck had fractured mica, testifying to the weakness of the deck. Its not falling apart, but you wouldn't want to jump on it either. 

The cabin sole is darn near on the bottom of the hull, and typical of most Tiaras of this vintage, you can feel every ripple in the water under your feet when standing in the cabin. This tends to be a bit disconcerting. The hull is all glass and the decks are balsa cored. Typically, we do not find any problems with the cores. The entire aft deck section is removable so that the fuel tank and exhaust system can be reached for service.

The cabin area is adequate, but that's about all. This is a cockpit boat. If you want cabin space, you'll need to look elsewhere.  As you step down into the cabin you can take two steps before running into a vee shaped table of set between the vee berths. Its supposed to be a sort of dinette, an idea that goes down with a mighty wimper. The table has two big legs but I think I'd ditch it all in a  big hurry. That will give you a four baby-step cabin where you won't have to fall over the table to try to sit down. Other than that its okay for two as an overnighter. I've made fish and spaghetti dinners on galleys smaller than this (like on motor boxes and a Coleman gas stove), so the galley isn't completely useless if you're the overnighter-camper type. With the sink and stove, the counter top is 40" long, but storage space is minimal.

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This is a two part motor box/seat module.  The top part slides back easily for easy access, while the lower base can also be removed.

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The table is just a wee bit too large for this space. It drops down to make for a single large berth. But most of the time it just gets in the way.

The head and shower area? Well, that's what they make fresh water washdowns for because you're not going to shower in there unless you have elfine proportions. The head is one of those Groco electric types that seems to grind itself to pieces on an annual basis. There are no fiberglass liners with the interior of this boat. With all that carpet glued all over everything, it fairly hushed. Very often you'll find the glue bleeding through the fabric making ugly stains. Fit and finish is ho hum with quite a bit of teak

This model has the two part cockpit seating modules. The upper part with a pedestal seat mounted, will slide aft easily to reveal the top of the engine. You can pull this part off and then lift base part completely off. We managed with no help to completely open up the engine space for quite good access. This is certainly better than one those huge boxes that's so heavy that no one but a couple of defensive linemen can move it.  The only problem with the engine space is they piled battery charger, batteries and waste system right between the engines in precisely the place where you don't want all this stuff. As you can image, someone had stepped all over this stuff and mangled it all to hell. Other than that no-so-minor detail, its pretty good.

One attractive thing about this boat is there's not much there to go wrong. This boat is the essence of simplicity and it's a good idea to keep it that way. Hardware and attachments are all fine. No junky plastic stuff except the hull side ports which all needed replacing. No faded feature strip tape peeling off. The aluminum windshield is holding up well.

However, the painted aluminum helm panel, well all the paint was gone and so was all that fancy lettering for the switches and stuff. A serious reconditioning job is in order here.

Another one of Tiara's strong points has been their helm designs. They always seem to be on the practical side with plenty of space for mounting things.  Big 24" destroyer wheel and quality Morse controls. Definitely like that wheel -- fingertip steering here folks.   Good stand up room with a convertible top plus good visibility. There's also adequate space on the fore deck and adequate cat walks down the sides.

Altogether this a well designed boat that is about as easy to maintain as possible. It's also a good one for those who do all their own maintenance, as virtually everything is fairly easily reached for servicing.

Originally over priced, ten years later it represents excellent value. Ten years later, it does not look like an old boat, and should still look good ten years from now. It's one of those boats that, with reasonable care, is good for at least 20 years.

Related article: Tiara Today

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Posted July 21, 1998.  Revised 4-14-00

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David Pascoe is a second generation marine surveyor in his family who began his surveying career at age 16 as an apprentice in 1965 as the era of wooden boats was drawing to a close.

Certified by the National Association of Marine Surveyors in 1972, he has conducted over 5,000 pre purchase surveys in addition to having conducted hundreds of boating accident investigations, including fires, sinkings, hull failures and machinery failure analysis.

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In 2012, David Pascoe has retired from marine surveying business at age 65.

On November 23rd, 2018, David Pascoe has passed away at age 71.

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Last reviewed February 26, 2016.