Designed by Diana with a Terence Disdale interior, the 52-metre RIO RITA was originally launched by the de Vries Shipyard of Feadship in 1984, and purchased the next year by her current owners. Always impressed by her seaworthiness, classic form, and interior, the
owners asked AMELS to carefully modernise the yacht, mainly to give guests easier access to the water and land, to enjoy a more tranquil yachting experience. The yacht would be lengthened by 4 metres to accommodate the alterations to the stern.
In order to keep the refit period as short as possible, the Refit team remanufactured many of the large items in advance of RIO RITA's arrival in Vlissingen. The team began by replacing the square transom stern with a swim platform and symmetrical curved stairs to the main deck. This stretched the yacht's length from 52 to 56 metres and increased her top speed from 15 to 16 knots. The owners like to anchor out in remote places, so the shipyard added a concealed high-holding kedge anchor and capstan on the deck astern.
The Refit team added a new hydraulic passerelle, replaced the old tender cranes with two hydraulic ones on the upper deck, and installed a saltwater whirlpool bath on the sundeck. Despite the added weight aloft, stability was minimally affected. Below, AMELS realigned the engines and shafts, upgraded the firefighting system, and added new soundproofing. RIO RITA was repainted completely outside, touched up inside, and had upholstery replaced in the existing Disdale style.
“My message to owners or captains contemplating a refit is:
Do it with Amels: there will be tangible economic benefits.”
RIO RITA's captain Alex Waugh summed up the experience: "RIO RITA has a good reputation - she’s a myth in her own time. This was my first refit in Holland and, besides Amels’ fine work, everything about it was a pleasant surprise. My crew loved living in Vlissingen, riding their bicycles around, enjoying good restaurants and bars. Housing was not expensive, and the Zeeland people are fantastic - open and friendly, with a great sense of humour. In a nutshell, it was a very good experience."