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Solaris Review | 2020


By Alan McIlroy and Richard Baldwin

Solaris – Of the Sun, the choice of name seems more appropriate than ever today. In the company’s 45 year history, it would be fair to say that Solaris Yachts is now enjoying the rewards of their uncompromising approach to build quality, investment in design and in recent years, the investment it has made in its manufacturing facility. Solaris still based on the original site in Aquileia, and the full order book and the demand for build slots is testimony to the increasing brand recognition and popularity of the current range of yachts.

A little background about Solaris: Solaris USP – the build, clients are often surprised that I spend so much time reciting my mantra about the build and structure of Solaris Yachts but if you really appreciate sailing you will understand that strength of build and therefore stiffness in a yacht is the keystone. The well designed hull with dreadnought bow full beam at the stern and low soft chines increasing righting moment and waterline line length and flush deck, easily worked cockpit and achingly good interiors come as standard.

Solaris now offer a strong established range of yachts from the successful 44′ debuted in September 2018 to the Solaris 111′ RS due to launch in the summer of 2020. The principals of unrivalled strength of build, incomparable joinery, sleek lines and ease of handling extends through the range.

New launches 2020

Not resting on their laurels, Solaris keep the current range of Xavier Soto Acebal designs under constant review and scrutiny, applying the knowledge and experience gained to the new models. 2020 will see the launch of three new yachts, the 40′, 60′ and 80′ RS with further designs on the drawing board.

The new 40′

Derived from the new 44′ and replacing the 37′, this will be an exciting new launch. The smallest Solaris, she carries all the DNA of her bigger sister ships. The beam is carried aft, with soft chine, twin rudders and dreadnought bow. This will provide a stiff powerful hull design reducing pitching in a seaway. The full width cockpit with twin wheels set well outboard allows for an unimpeded view of the head sail. Sailing handling will fall in line with the existing range with all lines led aft below deck providing effortless management for the powerful sail plan.

The new 60′

Currently in build and due for launch in the spring, she promises to be a deeply cool yacht. With full width aft deck and wheel positions outboard, she is unashamedly a drivers’ yacht. Her design was driven by the idea of creating a mini maxi high performance yacht, the length of 18.31m bringing her into class.

The new 80′ RS

In line with the rest of the RS range, the 80′ RS is aimed at those who value comfort and quality of life on-board combined with all that is good about Solaris. Ease of handling is evident throughout the Solaris range but added length in the 80′ RS creates a higher level of comfort below decks and a flexibility in the general layout for guests and crew. The 80′ RS is built at the Solaris Advanced composite materials facility using pre-preg SPRINT technology.

In 2020 the Solaris Maxi Yachts Division will launch the 111′ RS. She heralds a new era for Solaris Yachts. The semi-custom approach allows owners to tailor their yacht to fit with their individual style and requirements. Like the 80′ RS, the 111′ RS is built at the Solaris Advanced composite materials facility using pre-preg SPRINT technology, utilising the latest pre-preg full carbon construction technology. The custom interiors are created using composite sandwich techniques allowing for light weight, custom interiors to meet client requirements.

Recent launches

With over 20 hulls built, the 44′ has been very well received. We have a happy owner of the 44′ berthed at our marina in Lymington. Interest in the 44′ is very strong, and I see her as a very useful yacht in our more northern European waters for those owners who enjoy a high performance cruising with a spot of racing on occasions.

The RS 64′ premiered at Düsseldorf this year. The smallest of the RS Range, she was an instant success with 10 hulls on order in less than 12 months. The 64′ challenges the more traditional cruising yacht with her clean decks, fore and aft dinghy garage and innovative use of space below decks. For owners looking in the 18m/19m range for a bluewater or Mediterranean cruising yacht, I would urge you to check out the Solaris 64′ RS.

Is Solaris just a cool looking Mediterranean yacht?

A word from Richard…

We are frequently asked if Solaris Yachts are suitable for heavy weather and bluewater sailing, probably because the open cockpit and flush deck design gives the impression of being unapologetically ‘sporty’ and ‘Mediterranean’.

To answer this question, we need to consider two fundamentals. Firstly, how she is built. The advanced construction and engineering that goes into every Solaris, (as detailed in Alan’s comments to the left) clearly demonstrate the yard’s unswerving emphasis and commitment to quality. Secondly, is how the yacht really feels and performs at sea. From my own experience over the last 11 years of many Solaris deliveries, races and sea trials, everything about the Solaris construction translates, in the real world of sailing, into a quiet, stiff, reassuring and safe yacht.

But don’t just take my word for it. I can recount a not untypical sea trial earlier this year with a potential client who was attracted by everything he’d seen and read about Solaris, but having owned heavier yachts in the past, was sceptical about her suitability for his bluewater plans, and wanted to put the yacht to the test.

We took a Solaris 55′ out of Varazze in 20 to 25 knots of breeze with a very short chop. The client had all but signed on the dotted line for a well-known bluewater alternative, having sailed that yacht in similar conditions. We set out with self-tacking jib and one reef in the main and he was immediately impressed at how easy, light and responsive the yacht was to helm, how she sat very stiffly at a low angle of heel on the stern chine and was able to carry that amount of sail effortlessly and point so well without slamming or shipping waves over the deck (and yes the spray hood was down and we all stayed perfectly dry in the cockpit). In fact, our client even asked us to shake the reef out of the main!

In comparison, the other yacht which he’d tested, with a rounded hull shape, narrower stern and shorter keel, had heeled over much further, made far more leeway, and couldn’t point as well. Suffice to say the client in question now has a Solaris in-build.

As they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and I would strongly recommend anyone with similar reservations to come for a test sail, you might be pleasantly surprised.

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