Light, bright, and fun, Rio is the embodiment of the modern superyacht — her colorful, casually stylish interior and contemporary exterior seem to personify the ever-younger owner demographic. The fully custom 62-meter CRN was drawn by Omega Architects with strong horizontal lines that culminate at a plumb bow. Her amenities include all the musthaves: from a beach club with hammam to an owner's deck with private foredeck lounge. Floor-to-ceiling windows facing cutaway bulwarks let the sunshine in unimpeded, and communal spaces inside and out are open-plan, flowing effortlessly from one social area to the next.
For her captain, David Kirkbride, she's a dream job. After joining the industry 19 years ago, the 39-year-old has been working as a captain since he got his master's ticket at age 31. His commands until now have been 50-meteryachts, so Rio represents a nice step up in length and volume.
He met the owners when he was their charter captain. "They were fun clients, which made those two weeks fun for everybody," he says. "The chemistry was there .. .it clicked straight away. We kept in contact and they always said they were keen for me to come work for them if they ever bought a boat." When he received a message from them with the brochure of Rio saying, "We're thinking of this. Are you interested?" his "yes" came quickly.
Rio's owners got involved late in the build after the commissioning owner pulled out. They set to work with Pulina Exclusive Interiors to conceive an interior that matched their personality and chose a cheerful palette of carnival-esque colors. "It suits the name Rio," says Kirkbride.
While the interior was being redesigned, Capt. Kirkbride took his time hiring crew, a strategy he says paid off. "I didn't want just anybody because knowing how the family are and how they entertain, they want a family environment around them and I want that environment around myself as well. I want a happy crew. I want a crew that work well together and a crew that work well on their own. And I've ticked all those boxes, in my eyes."
Since delivery in May, Rio spent the summer cruising the Med, mainly being enjoyed by the owners, plus one successful two-week charter. "There's not one area on board that doesn't get used," says Kirkbride, "from the Jacuzzi on the owner's deck forward to the Jacuzzi on the bridge deck. Even the kids have taken over the beach club as their evening area to watch TV, listen to music, and fish off the stern."
Rio's accommodations are particularly comfortable. In addition to the forwardfacing owner's suite on the upper deck, there are two generous VIP suites that stretch the full beam, one on the main deck and one on the lower deck, where three more guest cabins and a gym are also found. The crew quarters are relatively commodious, too, offering plenty of storage. The bridge deck hosts both the captain's cabin and an officer's cabin. Down below, "the smallest cabin, the most forward one, is still better than the cabin I had as a chief officer on a 63-meter," says Kirkbride.
Propulsion-wise, Rio is straightforward; a bulbous bow leads the displacement hull through the water at up to 15 knots, pushed by two 3512C ACERT Caterpillars. At double the gross tonnage of a 50-meter, her heft means that Capt. Kirkbride has to think ro steps ahead instead of five, he says, since she takes longer to respond, but he praises the way the boat handles at sea and how she maneuvers in port.
When asked what he likes best about his job, Capt. Kirkbride answers, "I like who I work for and the people I work with. My crew are a family and we all look after each other."
Can't ask for more than that.
This article was originally featured in the November 2022 issue of Dockwalk.