Solaris has been on a mission. Since the late noughties it has transformed itself from a little-known Italian yard building a handful of high-end semi-custom yachts a year, into a visionary builder of possibly the most modern range of performance cruisers in today’s market. It has been an impressive run and one might be forgiven for thinking that having launched no less than 12 new designs in as many years, the Solaris development team might be running out of steam. On the contrary, 2020 was an equally busy year which saw the launch of the record-selling Solaris 64RS, the all carbon flagship Solaris 111 and the development of the new Solaris 60 and the new entry model Solaris 40, both of which will be unveiled in early 2021.
So how do the latest designs differ?
While they may share the same ethos of uncompromising construction quality, they offer the sailor a quantum leap in ease of handling and liveability. Starting with the sailing, which is what a Solaris is mainly about, the new 60 has a full width cockpit sole at the helm stations. This has many benefits; it enables the wheels to be positioned further outboard providing the helmsmen with a completely unhindered view forward, perfect for seeing the waves and jib or code zero luff. It also gives a wider space between the wheels which helps easy movement around the cockpit and provides a large space for an optional central mainsheet pod.
Continuing on, the helmsmen are also kept dry from any water running along the windward deck and the additional cockpit width also allows the option of twin cockpit tables, again making movement easier and safer and provides a larger area for alfresco dining.
There are even options for the helmsmen’s seats, the standard being folding wing-seats, perfect for the more sporty helmsmen and an option for L-shaped side-and-aft seats with integral storage lockers. Movement from the cockpit to the side deck is made easier by virtue of a step just in front of the helm positions.
The perfectly balanced sail plan with self-tacking jib makes single-handed tacking effortless and the yacht has a wider ‘sweet spot’ so the performance comes easily, the hull accelerates quickly from a tack and points very high. The broad aft sections give the boat great stability, and the twin rudders provide reassuring directional stability, especially under full power on a reach, where a single rudder yacht will typically be most exposed to weather helm.
New Solaris 60
On the new 60, the twin rudders also allow for a fore and aft tender garage with its own sealer pod, which makes the launching and retrieval of a 3.2m tender optimal.
Sometimes it’s the small details that matter, and keen observers will notice the composite chainplates have now been recessed below the toe rail to provide a flush optic, and the backstay ram is no longer mounted on the stern but is concealed below the transom garage floor.
New Solaris 40
The new Solaris 40 is a breakthrough in her class. Sharing the same full width helm positions as her larger sister, the large cockpit feels more as if it belongs to a 50-footer. The generous hull form gives incredible volume and forward buoyancy, and the large hull windows and hatch design ensure increased natural light to make the interior feel modern, light and well ventilated.
Another unique feature of the new 40 is the forward chine, a first for Solaris, which provides increased hull form stability, a drier ride going to windward and increased interior volume.