Rio 46 Air, testing an exceptional fast cruiser (13.88 m) – From the Archives

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Rio 46 Air
Rio 46 Air

Outstanding boats at their birth and, today, used equally great. Chosen and selected from the Motor Boats archives, we have already seen the Portofino 11 Metre; the Continental 50 S; the Rizzardi 55 Incredible; the Mig 43; and the Prestige 60. And now it’s the turn of an equally exciting boat, a design with an edge: the
Rio 46 Air
, an excellent second-hand boat to say the least, as good for everyday use as for cruising, a balanced blend of style, comfort and performance.

Rio 46 Air

Since its first public appearance, Genoa Boat Show in 2009, the
Rio 46 Air
had intrigued and fascinated the public, but it was with due time, like any good thing, that it won hearts. The product of Piergiorgio Scarani’s hands, aesthetically it admitted no criticism, a quality soon joined by performance (over 32 knots), attention to detail and enviable space (4 + 2 beds). A boat that is extremely complete, versatile, and laden with that typical savoir-faire of well-executed Made in Italy.

Rio 46 Air
Rio 46 Air

Rio 46 Air – Design and Exterior

Even at a first glance, the design of the Rio 46 Air appears pleasing, clean, with large side windows that contribute to the momentum of the still life in an original and eye-catching design. The hull is marine, just enough to provide excellent sailing in a good range of situations, and, the greater length accentuates its versatility. The boat’s profile also knows how to be aggressive, to stand out without blending in, but without coming across as arrogant, or excessive, and the hard top frames it well. Overall, the 46 Air knows how to combine beautiful design with attention to detail aligned with the shipyard’s tradition, both outside and inside, adding, which never hurts, truly excellent livability.

Rio 46 Air

In terms of space, immediately welcoming is a large aft bathing platform, which conveys safety even to the less “seafaring.” Access to the cockpit is provided by a stainless steel and designer crystal hatch, but it is preceded by the tender garage (also good for storing ropes and fenders), which is accessible from the dashboard and is carved out under the cockpit sundeck. Lifting is mechanized, practical, as well as the volumes are well utilized, especially by the large sundeck, from which well enjoy life on board, protected even when sailing. Adjacent to the starboard broadside is the bar cabinet, which can be accessorized as desired, although the sink and icebox are present by default.

Rio 46 Air – Cockpit

This is immediately followed by an inviting dinette, with a round sofa and coffee table with folding doors to reduce clutter. Instead of the classic chaise longue, more space is provided on the port broadside for the tambour, made of two transparent pieces, abundantly illuminating the underside of the deck. The dashboard, located on the starboard side, is quite traditional and follows the Rio design (until then at least), gathering all the instruments in nice order. Moving on to the hard top, the canopy slides over half of its surface area, turning the 46 Air into a full-fledged open. To get to the bow, the foredecks are well sized, while most of the forward spaces are covered by the large sundeck area, an immense lounging area launched out to sea.

Rio 46 Air – Bow sundeck

Rio 46 Air – Interior

Walking down the staircase located in the dinette, one descends below deck, to be immediately captivated by the warmth of the woods, that of the bamboo floor threaded with aluminum and those of the walnut bulkheads, all, with beautiful matte finishes. The wide tambours provide interior brightness that further expands the perceived sense of space, flooding the large L-shaped kitchen with light.

Rio 46 Air – Dinette

The owner’s cabin is in the center of the boat, full beam, and benefits from two large windows overlooking the sea, just above the waterline, which offer an extraordinary view and brightness as soon as you put the bow out of the harbor. The bed is centrally located, well sized, while to starboard there is a piece of furniture running along the entire broadside, covered with low padding, designed to be used also as a chaise-longue from which to admire the sea.

Rio 46 Air – View from the master cabin

On the left, the sloping keel deck expands the cabin’s volumes, while the bathroom is well equipped, with a separate shower stall that also incorporates a toilet. The height is livable, from 1.80 to 1.30 meters in the lowest area under the cockpit and at the bed.

Rio 46 Air – Master Cabin

No less generous is the size of the guest cabin, which is located at the apex of the bow and is furnished with a classic center bed and a well-articulated, full bathroom. Finally, in the dinette, you have the possibility to close the spaces, creating, in case of need, a third cabin. Final tidbit for already excellent interiors, now capable of accommodating not 4, but 6 people.

Rio 46 Air - Bow Cabin
Rio 46 Air – Bow Cabin

Rio 46 Air – Construction and Plant Engineering

In terms of production, the Rio 46 Air boasts top quality fiberglass, hand layered in an experienced shipyard. The attention to detail is evident, as is the attention to detail in the execution of all plant engineering. In fact, the shipyard’s tradition and the high industrialization of the project guarantee on the quality of all the on-board equipment, just take a look at the engine room to immediately confirm this, everything is in order, precise and of quality.

Rio 46 Air – Upper engine room access

Propulsion and Performance

In terms of propulsion, coming to the point, the Rio 46 is offered with a pair of Volvo IPS 500s, a detail that was initially criticized, believing them to be undersized by most. The denial came as soon as the boat touched the water, showing how the shipyard had instead seen through it, having designed an excellent hull, capable, in testing, of over 32 knots. But, to better understand the performance of this boat, let us leave room for the testimony from our archive:

It is time to let go of the moorings. The joystick of the Volvo IPSs proves extraordinary in maneuvering, and soon we gained the open sea in front of Castellammare di Stabia. There is no wind, the temperature is acceptable, but the bad weather of the previous days has left a long wave that immediately whips the Rio’s hull.

Acceleration is good, glide is easily achieved without resorting to flaps, which are relegated to rougher sea situations. The boat’s handling is remarkable, and its docility and responsiveness to steering wheel stresses leads us to hazard very tight turns, which are tackled in the utmost safety. Even the passage over the wave is smooth, a few hits are inevitable, especially when we cross our wake. But the 46 Air proceeds very smoothly, conveying the feeling of being perfectly comfortable. We have confirmation that the choice of the IPS 500 is centered. We don’t feel the need for extra power and the fuel consumption is really low, any rush to higher power is likely to upset a balance that seems just fine to me.

Rio 46 Air - Data recorded during the test
Rio 46 Air – Data recorded during the test

Technical Specs

Length Over All (LOA) 13.88 m
Length at Waterline (LWL) 10.93 m
Baglio Massimo (B.max) 4.00 m
Fishing 0.71 m
Dry Displacement 12.2 t
Full Load Displacement 14.5 t
Maximum Motorization 2x 370 hp Volvo IPS 500
Fuel Tank 900 L
Fresh Water Tank 330 L
Beds 4 + 2
People Scope 12
Contact Rio Yachts


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