Tiara 3200 Open - Danisha



July 24, 2018

The end of this particular adventure finally arrived. We have sold Doodlebug the Leopard 47PC and she has headed north towards her new family and hopefully escaping any further exposure to damaging hurricanes.

We have enjoyed playing with her and pray that her new owners will enjoy her as much as we have.



November 1, 2018

The Leopard power cat Doodlebug was perfect for what we needed at the time. Lots of room for guests. Blue water capable. Comfortable for living aboard for months at a time. However we are now spending more time ashore on the east coast of Puerto Rico, caressed by pollen-free trade winds, basking in sunshine with blue skies, fluffy clouds and just the occasional category 5 to clean out the rain gutters. Doodlebug the 47PC was just too big for our needs. I began the search for an island runabout, a “week-ender”. I wanted a vessel I could single-hand, somewhere between 30 and 35 feet LOA so that she could handle offshore conditions, plus inboard diesel engines. Once you add the last condition, the list of possible vessels decreases dramatically. Over a period of months, I looked at a 34 foot Boston Whaler Defiance (interior was trashed), a couple of Bertram’s (difficult to single hand) and almost bought a SeaRay. The latter was little used, is not really an offshore boat but was cheap. I did a full survey on the Sea Ray and it failed the oil analysis dramatically. I then found a 2005 Tiara 3200 Open in nearby Fajardo. One owner, low hours and has been meticulously cared for. The owners had named her “Danisha” after a daughter they didn’t have. They had a son instead and in lieu of sensibly trying again, they gave their chosen name to the Tiara.

And Danisha? The Urban dictionary gives the definition of Danisha as, “a really pretty girl, an amazing kisser, very nice and smart. She's always making people laugh and cheering people up, she's the perfect best friend. She's a very sensitive and very emotional person. She's friends with everyone at her school. A lot of people are jealous of her but she doesn’t let it bother her. She's a very cool person cares about everyone she meets. She loves her friends dearly. If you ever met her you'll love her.” When you read this, you can almost smell High School. I notice that the Urban dictionary is not big on spelling and the like but hey, this is the new paradigm.

Google also shows that Danisha (derivative of Daniel) is a popular Islamic name. This will be handy if we ever need to park her on a Paris boulevard.

Thus we introduce Motor Cruiser “Danisha” – she is probably too short to be considered a “Yacht” and you know the old saying, “If you don’t know whether you have a yacht or a boat, you have a boat.”

The Tiara 3200 Open is an offshore boat with inboard diesels, in this case twin turbocharged Volvo Pentas producing 370 HP each. 740 HP on a vessel weighing in at 7 tons! By comparison, Doodlebug the ketch weighed 18 tons and had an 85 HP engine. Doodlebug the Leopard Power cat weighed in at 15 tons and boasted a total of 300 HP. Danisha cruises “economically” at around 25 knots and at this speed, allegedly burns diesel at the rate of 1.25 mpg giving her a range of about 250 miles. She sleeps four in air-conditioned space with a generator providing power, has a galley with a two burner stove, fridge, freezer, microwave, TV, Vacu-flush toilet, hot and cold water, shower and water-maker. Not exactly “roughing it”.

Annette came out on the sea-trial with me and although she has a long history of motion sickness at the commencement of a voyage and indeed got queasy riding the several hundred yards between the slip in Fajardo and the travel-lift. She found that the Tiara ride at speed, with the previous owner performing his last set of maritime “doughnuts”, didn’t bother her at all. A huge sigh of relief from me.

Our nearest “cool” beach is on the west end of the island of Vieques, supposedly has great snorkeling, the lobsters throw themselves aboard etc. and is 13 miles away - about a 30 minute run in the Tiara. Hardly time to finish the first beer;

The first voyage!

Wednesday evening we received the news that we had finally “closed” on the Tiara 3200 Open we had been trying to purchase. The vessel lay in a marina at Fajardo and we had determined to move her closer to home, thus it was on Thursday that I was finally able to board “our” boat and began checking her out for a sea departure. I checked the through-hulls – couldn’t reach them but at least I now know where they are and then checked out the automatic bilge pumps for manual operation. Two of the four pumps seemed to function but the forward bilge was about 8 inches deep in water. I checked the fluid levels in the two engines and tried to start them. The starters made a half hearted groan for a couple of turns and gave up. On the sea-trial, I has suspected the batteries were shot, had asked the surveyor to check these and he had reported them to be in “good condition”. The instrument panel monitor showed the house batteries had dropped to a mere 1 volt output. With visions of $1,000 worth of replacement batteries in mind, I found my meter and began to test the batteries individually. On the first battery, I almost burned my hand on the terminal it was so hot and it sparked as I touched the cable. Two hours later, while laying full length across the top of a Volvo diesel engine, I had cleaned off all of the battery terminals and cable ends with a combination of file and wire brush. When next I tried to start the engines, they fired up instantly. I couldn’t start the generator though and gave up for the day.

On Friday I brought a wet/dry vacuum to the boat to dry out the forward bilge so that I could at least see the two bilge pumps located there. I plugged in the vacuum and nothing. No power. I checked all of the outlets but the story was the same – no power. I did get to the generator and using the “on engine” controls, helpfully buried deep in the engine room so that they were only visible using a mirror and flashlight, fired up the generator and ran it. It too ran smoothly and output power to run everything aboard - except for the necessary 110V outlets so that I could plug in my vacuum!

By Saturday the internet had confirmed that I really did need to remove the salon stairs in order to access the forward bilge pumps. The internet had also provided the intelligence of where to locate the GFCI breakers for the 110 volt outlets. There were two of these but I was only able to make one work. Nevertheless, I finally had a working 110V outlet and a couple of hours later had emptied the forward bilge of about 80 gallons of water and further, had removed the salon stairs. I was pleasantly surprised to find that both bilge pumps worked after they had been rewired and cleaned of clogging debris. I now had two working engines, a working generator and possibly four working bilge pumps. We were ready to take her out!

11/18/2018 The big day! Annette dropped me off at the marina in Fajardo with our friend Tony and after confirming that we had no boat hook aboard, she borrowed one from the marina office. Tony and I added the missing screws to hold the salon stairs back into place, put the beer, sandwiches and water in the fridge and cast off the lines at around 1120 hours, southbound for Palmas del Mar. With 740 horse power of turbocharged diesels growling at our feet, we eased out of Puerto Chico marina and turned south, southeast to pass between the island of Isleta and the “big island” of Puerto Rico. Normally this would have been a trivial operation, however I knew that the Garmin GPS was ill. As a backup, I had brought an iPad with iNavX software installed. Unfortunately, when we first arrived at the boat this morning, the iPad had shown ”discharged” and only now was up to a 12% charge. It was also very difficult to see the screen display in the bright sunlight plus the “power saver” setting kept blanking out the little we could see, all fixable issues if we had not been otherwise occupied. There was a clear run of about a mile and we increased throttles until we were planing at around 20 knots. Tony thought this was great and looked disappointed when I abruptly slowed down to crawling speed again. We were now quite close to the reefs of Cayo Ahogado, the Garmin display had inverted and the iPad display shut off. However, we didn’t run aground and were soon back in open water, heading towards Isla Cabeza de Perro (The island “Head of the Dog”). I had run the engines up to 3,000 rpm and the Tiara had begun to slam into the waves. By throttling back to 2,600 rpm or so, we had slowed to 17 knots but the ride was not unpleasant. We passed by the naval base at Roosevelt Roads and turned southwest towards Palmas increasing speed to around 22 knots.

1230 hours and we had passed between the breakwaters at Palmas and were attempting to reverse into a private slip at San Miguel. Annette and daughter Marian were on the dock to take lines and although my steering was a little rough on an unfamiliar boat, we passed between the pilings and Tony threw the stern lines. My idea was to attach the stern lines and then by putting the engines in forward to hold us away from the dock, we could sort out the bow lines. Both dockside cleats ripped out. The next part was not pretty but we eventually tied ourselves up to various planks, deck brackets and pilings. I was not happy with this and Annette and I agreed we could not leave the boat tied up that way. While I tidied up, she headed over to the nearby boatyard and reported back that we could tie up alongside their dock, about 200 yard away.

We slipped our lines and eased out of the dock at San Miguel. Annette had rescued the bow line and was walking it to the stern of the boat, talking as she went. I turned to the right to head for the boatyard when Annette went silent. I turned to look at her and discovered that I was alone. Where was she? About 30 yards behind the boat she popped into view, waved an arm and said cheerily that she was OK. She began to swim to the dock while Marian began clicking off as many pictures as she could get while I drove over to the boatyard and tied up. Another typical first voyage completed!