There are shipyards that are not afraid to whip their boats on or let them face journalists to see the results of an irrevocable definitive test.
And Rio Yachts staff has had no hesitation in accepting our request to test the Paranà 38, an innovative cruiser that had already raised our curiosity some months ago. So, when we are told that her newly owner is planning a transfer to Sardinia, we immediately seize the opportunity and hop on board.
Rio Yachts certainly needs no introduction. The Scarani family has been building extraordinary boats since 1961 and we already wrote an article about the brand some weeks ago. It’s, however, worth saying a few words about their delivery method that we’ve the opportunity to witness first-hand.
Thanks to its proximity to Lake Garda, Italy, the shipyard can easily test its boats through technical launches in those wonderful waters and provide the lucky owner with sailing yacht basics. At a second stage, the shipyard carries the boat to the location chosen by the owner for the launch. In our case, it is the Marina di Varazze, in Liguria, Italy.
Here, the boat is subject to a complete accurate check executed by the tester of the shipyard, Claudio Torri, a highly capable and experienced technician we have had as our travelling companion during the sea trial. Claudio knowns every detail of these boats, he checks them and explains all their specifications to both the owner and journalists, like in our case.
The delivery process of these yachts is synonym with a great customer focus and shows the construction quality of these wonderful boats, as reasonably expected from a brand of this stature.
The Paranà 38 is a luxurious 12-metre open cruiser providing with extraordinary performance and considerable comfort, made possible by some innovative design solutions. She’s a real sailing machine that can host two couples of friends for long-distance cruises in total comfort. The extraordinary customization level offered by this shipyard makes every single boat completely different from the previous ones, literally tailor-made according to the owners’ needs and profile both in terms of interior and exterior layouts and of engine options.
In particular, the boat of our sea trial is powered by two Volvo Penta D4 300 four-cylinder engines with a capacity of 3.7 liters that we have found simply great. With imperceptible vibration levels and powerful even at lower rpm, they have proved to be extremely fuel-efficient during the whole sea trial despite a very high cruising speed. In our opinion, the shipyard has chosen a perfect match, really able to maximize the marine qualities of this hull.
Space arrangement has been cleverly designed to ensure both comfortable safe cruises and nice days at sea to sunbathe and have fun. More specifically, the cockpit is the area that has astonished us the most because of its spaciousness. It, in fact, extends up to the pilot’s station that, equipped with whatever it takes for a safe navigation, leaves a lot of room to open-air conviviality. On its left is positioned a highly comfortable chaise longue that, both while sailing and when at anchor, has been literally rushed by all the passengers during the cruise.
Abaft, thanks to a large electrically-foldable table (that, when closed, becomes an integral part of the cockpit), a large sofa allows 4/5 people to have lunch comfortably. The same table can even convert the sofa into an additional spacious aft sun pad.
Behind the pilot’s house, a bar/kitchen cabinet is equipped with a supplementary refrigerator and carefully positioned to serve guests on board. The bathing platform in the stern is very large and ensures simple mooring maneuvers and easy access to water toys. When necessary, it can even accommodate a tender or a jet-ski.
The whole cockpit is covered and really fresh when at anchor,even if the real “gem” here is the soft top, that is a practical sliding roof easily adjustable to let in the light or keep out the summer heat. The result is that passengers can use the area to have dinner at night or take respite from the sun by closing it. When sailing, on the contrary, it’s better to open it so that fresh air can come in.
Despite their size, lateral passages are comfortable, safe and equipped with well-located handrails. We have used them even in navigation and we have liked them very much.
The bow houses a spacious sun pad that, equipped with cup holders, creates a sunbathing/relaxation area featuring a not inconsiderable size if compared to the overall one of the boat.
The only things we haven’t like much in this area are the lateral “camper” fasteners which close the upper rectangles of the roll bar, certainly useful in rainy conditions but a little unattractive.
One among the things we have liked the most is the quality of materials and finishes, the high-level wood details in both interior and exterior environments. Fine materials and different textures of woods are luxuriously matched together for an astonishing visual impact. More specifically, the owner has chosen a bamboo-wood flooring for interiors. A nice stepladder leads to the upper deck.
Here, on the left, the dinette offers a practical beautiful linear galley equipped with a sink and induction stoves. Providing with a considerable stowage capacity, the galley has a sufficiently large worktop and a couple of cabinets using every inch of the space available.
On the starboard side, near the stepladder, the switchboard is fully-equipped and covered with a smoked crystal panel that, when lowered, becomes a practical worktop. The fine sofa in the dinette is huge and allows 5-6 guests to have dinner indoor on cold nights. The same sofa is available in a convertible version that brings to 6 the total number of beds available on board the Paranà 38.
In the bow, the owner’s cabin is furnished with a large centrally-located bed whose mattress measures 192 cm x 150 cm (L x W). Inner height is always above 190 cm and the space above the mattress is above-average. The VIP cabin is, on the contrary, in the stern. It is a real apartment, separated from the other environments and equipped with an en-suite bathroom and a hallway. If I were the owner, I would certainly choose this cabin. The bed is very large: 196 x 155 cm. Of course, the space above the mattress is lower but equally sufficient and, in fact, I have chosen this cabin to spend my night on board.
The two bathrooms, equipped with XXL bathroom fixture, are spacious and well-finished. The larger one has a shower, separated by a crystal panel from the rest of the bathroom, a very clever solution which avoids mopping up the whole environment after having shower. But now, let’s see how this boat behaves at sea.
Marina di Varazze – Capraia: 97 nautical miles
This sea trial envisages two days of off-shore navigation for a total of 220 nautical miles. To face the crossing, we’ve planned two routes: the first is from the Marina di Varazze to Capraia (97 miles) while the second foresees the arrival in Porto Pozzo after 120 miles. They are undoubtedly two demanding crossings, both in the open sea, which enable us to whip the Paranà 38 on and test her qualities and performance in a very accurate manner. Well, now, let us get down to the facts!
It’s 08:00 in the morning when we sail off from the Marina di Varazze and put the bow out the inner breakwater. The boat hosts three passengers, both the fuel and water tank are full and we have to sail 100 miles. With a 144-degree bow and engines at the lower rpm, we start our sea trial. As already said, our travelling companions are the tester of the shipyard, Claudio Torri, and Rio Yachts International Sales Manager Massimo Jannone, to whom we ask for a live video presentation of the boat while we document and check everything on board.
As we push the throttles of the two Volvo D4 300 forward, speed promptly increases while the torque expresses all its power on propellers and we perceive that pleasant feeling of being pushed back by acceleration. Planing is great, flaps are set to zero, the bow is horizontal and the wake behind us is perfectly regular. We engage the autopilot, we let the flaps set to zero and set rpm at 3,000 evolutions a minute. Under these conditions, we’re sailing at 29 knots by consuming 80 l/h, equal to 2.75 l/mile, which is synonym with a considerable fuel-efficiency considering this speed and the 8.5-ton laden displacement of the boat.
Navigation proceeds in the best way, the sea is slightly rough, almost flat. Both the hull and engines provide us with excellent comfort while we continue on our crossing always maintaining our 29-knot speed. Engines are at their ease at this speed, temperatures and fuel consumption are always constant.
While enjoying a quite chat with the other passengers, we find ourselves about ten miles off Capraia in a flash, after less than three hours of navigation. Now, it’s time for me to take the helm and test the real behavior of the boat. With the boat stationary, I immediately test the maximum acceleration; so, as I push throttles forward, the engine immediately releases all its horsepower. In just 7 seconds, the boat starts planing and, in 18 seconds, it reaches its top speed: 36.6 knots at 3,500 rpm.
The responsiveness of the engine and the fact that we are still full loaded make me like this yacht very much. By speeding up from 26-27 knots, a pleasant push is still perceivable. I perform some turns and a smile immediately appears on my face since I think ” there a lot of fun to be had here!”.
The boat bends without ever losing stability, even when I dare a series of sudden accelerations and decelerations. Since there are no waves, I opt for some tight turns reaching and crossing the wake. The hull ensures soft passages and great stability. So, after about 15 minutes spent in exciting maneuvers, to my regret, I give the wheel to the captain who resumes our course. However, I manage to convince him to take a detour before entering the port: Cala del Ceppo is in fact one among my favourite anchorages and the pictures below can tell you why.
I personally take care of the anchoring maneuver. The locker is spacious and accommodates both the anchor and the chain with no problem. The appreciable height of the barbotin enables the chain to get disengaged quickly and have an easy anchorage. My first bath of the season glorifies an excellent cruise but duty calls us, so we raise the anchor and we head towards the port where, supported by the excellent bow thruster, we come alongside the filling station to refuel.
We’ve covered 112 miles (course + maneuvers + stop in the anchorage) with 305 litres of fuel and an overage fuel consumption of 2.73 l/mile. I don’t want to diminish electronic devices but I believe that this is the most accurate and the safest system in the world and I like to use it.
We dock and take a nap in the shadow of the soft top. Then, the rest of the day flows quietly in this piece of heaven. We have dinner and finally go to bed. Each passenger chooses the cabin he prefers. I take the guest one that is a real private apartment. I lie on the huge bed and instantly fall into the arms of Morpheus, with the colours and emotions of this wonderful day in my eyes.
Capraia – Porto Pozzo: 117 nautical miles
It’s 6:00 in the morning when the alarm clock brings me back to reality. We still have a long crossing to do and a flight from Olbia in the night and I really want to stop for a bath in Rondinara because, out of season, this anchorage is simply wonderful.
We’ll see whether our Paranà 38 will be able to perform this small miracle of distance compression and enable us to achieve our plans. Just a few minutes to take a coffee ( than bring us to life) in the first bar open in Caprai and then, at 7:12, we sail off and go out of the port in a morning that looks like a painting.
We resume our course at 3,000 rpm and little less than 28 knots (south of Capraia, a contrary stream of about 1 knot is quite frequent) and we engage the autopilot. The boat stacks up miles as easily as the day before. After about 50 miles, sea condition changes and it becomes a little rough. However, the hull of the Paranà apparently does not care and continues to be light.
Near San Cipriano, just before the mouth of the gulf of Porto Vecchio, we have to face the usual 20-knot thermal wind. This is a very frequent condition in these area which usually generates short steep annoying waves. We reduce speed to 23 knots, we set flaps to a few degrees (it’s the first time during this cruise) and go on sailing with no problem.
The hull of the Paranà continues to astonish us with its comfort and marine qualities. Shortly after, we enter the Rondinara Bay, leaving the wind out (as the local orography wants). Our eyes are delighted by a picture postcard view that, although I’ve been coming here for years, never ceases to amaze me. I reach the bow and help the captain to bypass the large rock (50 cm deep) which ideally separates the two imperfect halves of the anchorage. In addition to us, just two boats are there while we drop the anchor in just two metres of water and in one among the most beautiful places of the Mediterranean. It’s 10:53 and we’ve covered 96 miles in less than 4 hours at an average speed of 26 knots and a fuel consumption of 2.8l/mile.
We enjoy a new bath and, then, we have a walk around the anchorage before climbing on a high ground from which we take some photographs of the Paranà 38. Then, the cruel time reminds us that we still have to cross the Strait of Bonifacio and get Porto Pozzo.
This time, it’s Massimo who takes the helm and, covering one among the most beautiful courses I know, we cross the strait, the islands and reach Sardinia in a heartbeat. We dock in Porto Pozzo ahead of schedule. We get the boat in order and take the last, deserved, shots. Then, reluctantly and slowly, we walk backpacked the dock that definitively separates us from this two inebriating days of sea.
I turn around and I find myself giving a last look to our travelling companion. This is not an ordinary boat. Many boats are beautiful, some are even fast and performing but only a few ones have a character and are able to conquer the heart of people. Well, the Paranà 38 is certainly one of these boats.
|Minimum planing speed||2150||14||49||3,50|
|Economical cruising speed||2750||25||68||2,72|
|Top cruising speed||3000||29||80||2,76|