Rio Colorado 44 develops and improves many of the ideas which made the success of 42 Air. It’s probably the best way for Rio Yachts to celebrate their 55th birthday.
1961, Sarnico, Lake Iseo. The Scarani family was starting their enterprise in boating. At the beginning it was wooden crafts, built in mahogany by skilled shipwrights and powered by Chris Craft and Rolls-Royce engines. Then came the years of “mass boating”, so it was time for small units built in fiberglass and sold by the thousands. Then again, they decided to upscale again and here we have Rio Yachts, large and prestigious boats well represented by the new Colorado 44.
Rio Colorado 44: the deck
It is hard to find a clear separation between external and internal space on board the Rio Colorado 44, although one of the main differences with the previous 42 Air (yeah, beside the two extra feet) is the dividing door between the cockpit and the salon. A glass door which can still be reduced to a minimum, so to create a unique area that, along with the opening hardtop, transforms Rio Colorado 44 in a proper open boat.
All in all, the only area to remain almost untouched is the foredeck, where the solarium plays the leading role. Why would anybody change that? The anchor winch is under the decking, while the generously sized passageways make it easy and safe to reach the bow thanks to railings on the outside and handrails hidden in the hardtop profile.
Talking of sunbathing, you can even remain in the cockpit because the dinette table is adjustable and turns into another sun bed. And if the sun gets too hot, a practical retractable awning provides shade over the area.
Three steps lead down to the swim platform, which can hydraulically lift to launch and haul a dinghy or a jet-ski.
Rio Colorado 44: the interiors
We’ve said of the dividing door that virtually disappears when it’s all open: it will be particularly appreciated as the galley is located to the back of the salon, midpoint of the square and the cockpit. A retractable TV screen leaves the room clean and unobstructed when closed, although when opened it can be in the way if you’re cooking. The beautiful design of the furniture is enhanced by the huge amount of light that comes from outside: I have rarely seen such a bright interior. That is why I suggest to go for the optional shade that filters the sun from the transparent roof. The dinette features another height adjustable table, while another small gem of design is the dahsboard the owner of our test boat (the very one pictured) still wanted analogue instruments, but it would look even better with just digital screens. The double seat for the driver has folding backrest to create a better support when piloting in upright position.
Five comfortable steps take us to the night deck. Actually, I encounter another living room, as requested by the owner, but this area could alternatively be used for a fourth cabin, a laundry room/pantry or a small office. Much light fills the air downstairs as well, creating a feeling of continuity with the upper deck.
The master cabin is amidships and takes the full beam, with good headroom by the entrance and along the port side, where there’s a low cabinet and a settee, while the rest of the cabin is lower to due to the bulkiness of the above square. The VIP cabin with a large center bed, a third cabin with bunk berths and two bathrooms complete the layout, and all the areas sport an elegant and cured touch as it’s customary for Rio Yachts.
Rio Colorado 44: the test
The sea is not properly calm in the Gulf of Naples, in addition our Rio Colorado 44 carries eight passengers and all the equipment for the summer holidays of her owner. It seems unlikely that we could get to the top speed of 35 knots measured by the yard in their tests. Forecast promptly confirmed, although 32 knots at 3200 rpm are a very respectable performance, even without working too much on the trim tabs. Fuel consumption returns goor reads as well, considering that our boat mounts the larger engines, a pair of Cummins QSB 6.7 2 × 480 HP with shaft drives. If speed is not your priority, you can also opt for twin Volvo Penta D6 pair of 2 × 360 HP with stern drives.
Getting to plane takes a not-so-fast 14 seconds, but it’s certainly not the main concern of the pleasure boater. A more interesting number is the minimum plane speed held at 1900 rpm for 13.5 knots and a fuel consumption of 70.5 liters per hour. This figure almost doubles at cruising speeds of around 22/24 knots, still acceptable considering the size of the Rio Colorado 44. The drive shaft transmission asks a toll in the wide turning radius, while the hull, more devoted to cruising than to face rough seas, denounced some “uncertainty” when crossing the taller waves. the response of the structure, however, is excellent, emphasizing the robust build and the quality of materials and their couplings.
The driving position, at least for my (not so pronounced…) height, limits the view while sitting, but the seatback of the bench folds to offer an excellent stand-up position. And the issue is made even less relevant buy the behavior of the boat, which pulls up very little before getting to plane. Beside the large turning radius, Rio Colorado 44 replies promptly to all rudder inputs and always returns a safe feeling. It’s really a pleasure being at the helm, and not just because we are in the Gulf of Naples.
Read also our report of Rio Colorado 56
The numbers of Rio Colorado 44
Length overall 14.11 m (46ft 3in)
Beam 4.00 m (13ft 1in)
Displacement 12500 Kg
Engines Cummins QSB 6.7 2×480 HP
Fuel reserve 1400 l (370 US gal)
Freah water reserve 330 l (87 US gal)
CE design category B
Designer Marino Alfani
Moderate sea, temperature 30°C (86° F), clean hull, fuel 700 l (184 US gal), water 200 l (52 US gal), 8 passengers
Indicative price (VAT not included)
With Cummins QSB 6.7 2×480 HP € 520,000
with Volvo Penta D6 2×360 HP € 495,000