The tidal turbines represent a new frontier for extracting energy from tides source. Despite the technology being mature, new solutions aimed at improving performance, reliability with reduced environmental impact, manufacturing and installation costs are currently under investigation. The Rim-driven turbine (abbreviated as RDT) was recently proposed. A RDT resembles a ducted turbine (abbreviated as DT), as both contain blades and a duct. The present study aims at investigating the detail performance and flow field of a RDT in a real flow based on the China Zhaitang Island’s tidal current data. To show the difference between the RDT and DT, simulations are also performed on the corresponding DT. It is found that the power and thrust for the two configurations exhibit time-periodic behavior that is consistent with the wave frequency. At axial flow, the fluctuation amplitude on the power and thrust increase with the increase of tip speed ratio. The RDT has higher power output when operating at lower tip speed ratio and has a potential reduction in flow resistance and disturbance with respect to the DT. At yawed flow, the fluctuation amplitude on the power and thrust decrease with the increase of yaw angle. The RDT has less capable of compensating the effect of yawed inflow in reducing the power than the DT at larger yaw angle. In addition, the power and thrust generates micro-amplitude fluctuation integrated into the main waveform, which the frequency is consistent with the turbine rotation frequency. The wake characteristics analysis reveals that the yawed flow field is more turbulent, and the two configurations suffer strong unsteady flow separation along the whole span. Strong interactions are observed between the rotor’s main wake and the duct’s upper wake. The yaw angle primarily determines the downstream wake deflection direction and significantly changes the wake shape and vortex structures. Meanwhile, the wake flow is found to recover more quickly at larger yaw angle. Besides, due to the open-center of RDT, a part free-stream flow is allowed to travel through and forms an obvious high velocity zone. The presence of open-center of RDT has avoided the low velocity zone, improved the wake structure and accelerated wakes recover, which seems to give an advantageous effect in operating a RDT.