Pirelli 35, a 11 meters rib with a sporty DNA – TEST


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Pirelli 35
Pirelli 35

AFTER THE SUCCESS OF THE PIRELLI 42 launched in 2020 by Tecnorib, licensee of the Pirelli brand, a smaller yet attractive version has come: the Pirelli 35, an 11-meter walkaround boat. I went to Varazze to sea trial it with a useful experience behind me: I had already tested the Pirelli 42 during the 2020 Genoa Boat Show.

What we will talk about in this article:

Pirelli 35 Tecnorib

The Pirelli 35 is a sporty boat, not least because it was designed in collaboration with the Mannerfelt Design Team, a studio that has won 25 world championships with its racing boats. One of the peculiarities of the hull of the Pirelli 35 is that it has a double step, i.e. two steps along the hull that create an air pocket between the surface of the water and the hull itself, acting as a cushion. This translates into lower friction, lower consumption, and higher top speed. The lines immediately suggest that the typical owner of this dinghy will be a lover of performance and design. With Pirelli, the message that power is nothing without control has gone down in history.


Pirelli 35 – Deck Layout

With this new unit, Tecnorib is not betraying the historic maxim of the Pirelli brand. Before delving into the sailing sensations of this dinghy, let’s get on board to see how Tecnorib’s modern walkaround philosophy has been translated into less than seven feet in length. The first sensation is that there is plenty of space onboard, starting from the stern platform. The version I tested in Varazze is powered by two Mercruiser engines of 300 HP each (total 600 HP) with sterndrive transmission, a solution that makes it possible to exploit the entire extension of the large stern platform. As well as a bathing ladder, the platform also has two lockers for storing mooring lines, for example, or anything else that is useful to have close by when getting on and off the water, like a sort of miniature beach area. In the outboard version, this space is undoubtedly more sacrificed, but not completely, also because the engines, installed at the extreme stern, leave a rather large walkable surface around. Generally speaking, there’s plenty of room to move around on the side-decks, including in front of the bow sundeck, which makes it easy to move around freely and safely, no matter where you want to go onboard.

The Pirelli 35 tested has a layout with a sundeck that shares the back with the dining area just beyond, which has a central table and double bench. The helm station is protected at the bow by the windscreen that starts above the bow sundeck and joins up with the T-top, which is supported by a central cabinet with a fridge, sink, and possible hob. On the left of the wheelhouse, there is access to the below deck, an area equipped with a double bed designed more for resting during the day than for sleeping. Here, mirrors and furnishings are cleverly used to give a greater idea of space. Now, it’s time to talk about the real performance of this boat at sea. I take the controls, fasten the safety catch and look around before setting off. It’s a useful habit when you take over the boat, partly so you can see what’s around you before you set off, including the other boats. On the other hand also to assess any blind spots from the wheelhouse.

The windscreen pillars are quite thick, but the large glass and the open space on the sides mean that you can still have a practically optimal view at all times even when sitting comfortably at the helm. It’s not the first time I’ve been at the helm of a RIB with such powerful propulsion, but given the characteristics of the Pirelli 35 and its racing soul, I’m curious to see how the two souls, performance and comfort, have been reconciled. In Varazze, I find light wind conditions (about 8 knots) and light waves. I start accelerating calmly to gain confidence with a boat I don’t know. I push on the accelerator, we get the boat up on plane and I reach the cruising speed, around 3500 rpm, between 26 and 30 knots. At this speed, the Tecnorib Pirelli 35 passes over the waves without anyone on board realizing it as if we were on flat water. The result obtained with this hull allows the boat to offer a mix of adrenaline, smoothness, and control that makes you want to keep steering around without ever stopping.

The feeling it leaves me with is one of great confidence, “user-friendly” even for the less experienced. It’s a thoroughbred, of course, and in the 600 HP version, which isn’t the most powerful, we’ve reached 43 knots with the wind at our backs, but this goes hand in hand with an ease of use that makes this boat safe even for those who are new to speed and performance. In short, an inflatable boat to have fun when sailing and enjoying time with friends and family or even as a couple when you are at anchor. These features make it suitable not only as a day cruiser but also as a versatile tender.

Performance – Pirelli 35

Specifications Pirelli 35

LOa 11,1 m
B.max 3,8 m
Tube diameter: 0,6 m
Hull and deck design: Mannerfelt Design Team – TecnoRib
Air compartment: 6
Number of passengers: 12
Fuel tank capacity: 750 l
Water tank capacity: 150 l


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By Gregorio Ferrari




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