We live like royalty aboard the Tiara 3200 Open on a run from San Juan to the Bitter End...

We were, in a very real sense, following in Columbus' wake, only in reverse. On his second voyage in 1493, his discoveries included the U.S. and British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, making landfall first at what is now St. Croix. It is not hard to imagine his fragile fleet ghosting over the diamond-scattered sea, coasting the exposed tops of marine mountains, remnants of extinct volcanoes, peering at their dense thatch with hungry, Hidalgo eyes.

Our fleet was very different, consisting of 16 Tiara yachts of varying style and vintage, all headed down-island for an owner's rendezvous at Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands. Our flagship was the new 3200 Open.

Aboard this sleek, blue-hulled Elena was captain/owner Rolando Maynulut Montilla and his beautiful wife, the eopnymous Elena. They are both beautiful people, courteous in the Old World manner, thoroughly modern in style and outlook, an enchanting combination. Also with us were Dan Ramos of Volvo Penta and Dave Northrop from Tiara.

Close by was a seven-year-old Tiara 43 that I remembered vividly. Many years ago, I was part of a two-boat flotilla attempting to deliver that 43 from Miami to San Juan. We made it as far as Long Island in the Bahamas before getting blown out of the water by a stiff nor'easter. Now, here she was again, in Bristol fashion, and once more under the command of my old friend Willy Cidre, the Tiara dealer in San Juan.

It was in Old San Juan that our leisurely peregrination southward really began, even though we shipped out of Fajardo, an hour east. One of the early colonists to arrive here was Juan Ponce de Leon. He came first to Hispaniola in 1504 and built a wonderful stone mansion in the middle of what are now cane fields and cattle pastures. He then moved onto Puerto Rico as governor and built a fine family home just down the slope from what would soon become one of the grandest fortresses in the Caribbean, Castillo de San Felipe del Morro-a structure surpassed only by the magnificent fort at Cartagena de las Indies. The town below the fort grew rapidly, if higgledy-piggledy, and now, more than 400 years later, it is an enclave of narrow alleys, streets paved with gleaming blue bricks, plazuelas of infinite charm and sidewalk cafes.

We left Fajardo to the quiet rhythm of purring diesels at about eight in the morning, a day bright with promise, and surged hopefully into Bahia Demajagua. We were on a bearing of 90 degrees that took us out into the Sanda de Vieques, past Culebra, to our port, and the very long profile of Vieques to starboard. The sea had lain down some from previous days, but still greeted us with confused anger. Once clear of Culebra, we entered the Virgin Passage with St. Thomas looming in the horizon.

...

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This review/article originally appeared in Motorboating & Yachting Magazine, September 2004 and is written by Roy Attaway. For more great boat reviews, visit their website and subscribe at: https://www.mby.com/subscriptions/motorboat-yachting-subscriptions

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  • 43' TIARA 4300 SOVRAN (2008) "HAT TRICK" *LLC*
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  • 43' TIARA 4300 OPEN (2001)
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  • 40' TIARA 4000 EXPRESS (1999)
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  • 40' TIARA 4000 EXPRESS (1995)
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    40' TIARA 4000 EXPRESS (1995) "TALARIS"

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  • 40' TIARA 4000 EXPRESS (1999)
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  • 36' TIARA 3600 OPEN (2005)
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  • 35' TIARA 3500 OPEN (2000)
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