Pirelli 1900 TecnoRib: not everything is as it seems

Not everything is as it seems:  Pirelli 1900 Tecnorib is a supermaxi with surface propellers and a black hardtop made of carbon. If you are expecting an extreme RIB, you are wrong. It’s designed for cruising with the family and for easy, problem-free travel

by Niccolò Volpati

The world has changed and even the Cannes boat show is no longer what it was. You used to find numerous sailing boats moored one next to the other. However, for the last few years maxi ribs have dominated the scene. At the most recent show, the most eye-catching example was certainly the Pirelli 1900 TecnoRib. The figures are rather impressive: 18.5 metres long, over 5 metres wide and two 800 hp engines, each with surface propellers.

Pirelli 1900

There are a lot of people on the landing stage. I climb aboard with numerous other journalists – my turn has come. The sea is quite calm in the Bay of Cannes, but there are a few waves. After a few measurements with the sound level meter and GPS, I am the first to be passed the controls because I am right next to the helmsman. I don’t feel particularly confident.

It’s not the first time I’ve tried a boat with surface propellers, but it’s not happened often and these have six blades and an 80-cm diameter.

I feel the eyes of the other journalists upon me. I don’t know them, they’re not the regulars I tend to meet during tests. I grip the helm, swallow hard and start to push down the throttle. The thrust is what you would expect. It is not immediate with surface propellers, but when it comes you feel it. You really feel it! The plotter display shows the speed. In the space of just a few seconds we have reached around 40 knots and at top speed we reach 42.6 knots.

PIRELLI 1900 Tecnorib

I steer straight. I try to catch the waves so as to bounce as little as possible. The keel helps me, because the V-shaped bow manages to cut through the 30 cm of wave without us even feeling it. I realise that I can’t go straight ahead all the way to Mandelieu. Sooner or later I’ll have to turn. I do it, hoping I won’t show myself up. I feel like I can hear the others laughing behind me.

Surprisingly, despite its 18.5-m length and 40+ knots, the boat is as agile as a gazelle. It turns with great ease. It certainly didn’t feel like we were about to capsize. I start to enjoy myself. I turn and then turn back the other way, as if there weren’t two outboard engines in the stern. It feels like driving a car with power steering. Stable, safe, easy to handle.

Who would ever have thought it? I stop before I’m taken for a “poser”. I hand over the controls to the next journalist, albeit probably with a bit of a smile on my face as if to say: did you see? Let’s see how you manage… He does a good job too, as do all those who follow. This is not so much due to the ability of the pilots, as to the boat and its propulsion.

It is fitted with Top System T65 propulsion with various automatic adjustments. Simply set your chosen travelling style – sports or cruising – and the system automatically finds the right balance. All the helmsman has to do is keep it on course. The electronics applied to the propulsion also assist with turns. This is why we all seemed such pros. The Pirelli 1900 Tecnorib turns and approaches beautifully, with no cause for fear.

PIRELLI 1900 Tecnorib

Her qualities in the water at not just due to the Top System. The waterlines of the keel are particularly successful because they combine high performance with ease of steering. What is more, the RIB is particularly light thanks to the infusion construction of its hull and deck, and its carbon hardtop.

It features a full-screen console because the windscreen forms a single piece with the Top. The air is kept well away from your face and this helps to produce a feeling of added safety.

When travelling at 40 knots, it actually feels like 20. The use of carbon enabled Tecnorib to make it 600 kg lighter. This, coupled with its limited displacement and its performance at high speed, means great fuel savings. At top speed, the two Man engines consume just over 300 litres/hour, but if you are happy to travel at just under 40 knots, they consume around 200 litres/hour in total.

It doesn’t just offer easy cruising, but also easy docking using a joystick that operates simultaneously on the propulsion and on the bow propeller. Even when queuing up, as we await our turn to re-enter the crowded boat show harbour, we look like real pros. In fact, the joystick enables us to remain motionless, to move forward just a few centimetres, to revolve and to move sideways, as if we were expert dockers. Thanks to its easy cruising and easy docking, the Pirelli 1900 can certainly be described as an easy rib.

Via Resegone 18
I-20027 Rescaldina (MI)
+39 02 72080357
[email protected]

PIRELLI 1900 TecnoRib
Project: Mannerfelt Design Team (hull) • AM Architettura Annalisa Martinoni (interiors)

Hull: LOA 18.50m • Maximum beam 5.30m • Light mass displacement 16,500 kg • Fuel tank volume 2,000 l • Water tank volume 600 l

Main propulsion: 2xMan i6-800 • Common Rail • 6 cylinders in line • Bore and Stroke 126mm x166 mm • Displacement 12.42 l • Outlet mechanical power 588 kW • Maximum rotational speed 2300/min • Weight 1215 kg • Transmissions Top System T65 with surface propellers

EC Certification: CAT B

Price: 1.300.000 € with 2×800 hp Man 1.450.000 € with 2×1000 hp Cat (January 2018)

(Pirelli 1900 TecnoRib: not everything is as it seems – Barchemagazine.com – January 2018)