Rio Yachts steps out of its “comfort zone” of fiberglass boats and approaches a new world: inflatable boats. The first specimen is called Rio Inagua S, and already from here we can see the intention to do it one’s own way. No numerical reference to length, just the S that stands for Rio’s “little one,” an almost 11-meter (but vessel) all-spice that, with its hull and two 300-horsepower Mercury V8s, has no trouble caressing 50 knots.
Rio Inagua S
Of course, on its side Rio Yachts has thousands of units put in the water in some 60 years, or more, of history. But with inflatables it is different. It is a binary unto itself in the boating world. And that is why the Rio is so surprising. The first model, the Inagua S, is just the first in a “rib division” that unabashedly targets the high-end of the market. The two ranges will be Inagua for open and Exuma, for cabin cruisers.
Rio Yachts – Inagua S
Rio Yachts – Inagua S is a model that follows the philosophy that has made Rio Yachts’ latest creations successful, namely the Rio Daytona 34 and the
Rio Daytona 46
. The trend is now clear to everyone: the ones that are going mainstream are day boats (with perhaps one or two cabins below deck, depending on size).
Why an inflatable boat? Ribs have a comfort of use, including in terms of handling and safety, that has won over owners of large yachts, for use not just as a tender, but just as a boat to enjoy the sea to the fullest. In this sense, however, a boat must meet high quality standards.
I boarded this maxi-rib in Genoa, at the 2022 Boat Show, where this boat made its debut. At the dock, to its right, the Inagua has no boat and I can study its line without letting my imagination work. The line is streamlined for real, projecting forward to give an idea of speed. Contributing to this idea are the tubulars, with the sharply cut aft cone, which rise going toward the bow while remaining in contact with the water only at the aft end. The beam as well appears remarkable to me and is actually 3.70 meters which related to the 10.9 meters of overall length is far from few.
You board through two wide swim platforms on either side of the two engines, which actually provide easy access to the ship.
The need to maintain a significant amount of space in this transit area has certainly “eaten” some space from the aft sunbathing area, which in turn is limited by a C-shaped sofa with a hideaway table in front of the cabinet under the T-top. In any case, forward of the dashboard a second sundeck provides an additional relaxation area with significant storage space underneath. Opposite, at the front of the center console, we find access to the boat’s toilet/changing room.
On board, one moves easily all along the hull, where several handrails have also been placed, all in the right positions, some perhaps a bit hidden. However, we are talking about a number 1, a project that the shipyard said it will work on further for that optimization that comes precisely from feedback.
Inagua, in general, seems comfortable and with a nice layout. The work of designer Marino Alfani, already the author of many Rio Yachts, also promises 49/50 knots of top speed. All that remains is to get out of the harbor and see how it fares.
In Genoa, conditions are tough. No storms, but a turn of wind often seen in the Ligurian capital, in which the sirocco is embraced by the libeccio, “kneading” the sea resulting in an annoying, erratic and unpredictable cross-wave ahead. It’s those days when even the stabilizers struggle because each flutter is different from the one before. The average height is about one meter and I start to accelerate in stages. I don’t know how this boat performs, but it takes me a short time to get comfortable, and that’s a good sign. The Inagua is very powerful, precisely 600 outboard horsepower, but it is not nervous, and above all it conveys a good deal of solidity. Between 3500 and 4000 rpm is the ideal cruising speed where the boat is in the range of 23 to 30 knots, with fuel consumption ranging from about 60 to 85 liters per hour.
At 30 knots, 4,000 rpm, you whizz smoothly from wave to wave with the hull not flapping and no strange noises or creaks. Obviously there is more in the throttles to push, and I easily take another 1,000 rpm, touching and exceeding 40 knots. The level of alertness here must perforce be higher, and with one last push, taking advantage of an all-too-quiet moment of water, the tachometer registers 5,500, the speed 43. Inagua is undoubtedly a lot of fun and conveys that confidence whereby one feels like seeing how far one can go. Rationality, however, must prevail over adrenaline and gradually I return to the 30 knots where it is indeed total comfort, a real pleasure to be at the helm despite the day. I notice that all along the deck the boat is dry, which denotes good work on the water lines and the tubulars.
This Rio Inagua S in conclusion makes it say good first for the shipyard that debuts among inflatable boats with an original, fun, and overall apt vehicle. With the fine-tuning that will surely be there on the models being built, it has all the makings of carving out a good slice of the market and serving as a springboard for the rest of the “rib division” of Rio Yachts.
|Length Over All (LOA)||10.9 m|
|Hull Length||10.8 m|
|Baglio Massimo||3.7 m|
|Dry displacement||3,700 kg|
|Standard Motorization||2×300 hp outboard|
|Peak speed||50 knots|
|Fuel tank||620 l|
|Fresh water tank||95 l|
|Diam. max. tubulars||0.68 m|