2022 was a record year for Solaris including strong sales in the UK, and with over €10m of yachts to launch in 2023, the Berthon team will be busy at the commissioning bases in northeast Italy throughout 2023. Despite the gloomy backdrop caused by world events, momentum and appreciation of the Solaris range has continued with new and repeat owners looking for high-quality, modern performance cruising yachts. With a return of some of the major boat shows in the latter part of 2022, we were happy to be re-acquainted with many old faces and some new ones, all interested in finding out more about these easily shorthanded scrumptious sailing yachts.
Looking back over the year, we started 2022 with the news that boot Düsseldorf was once again cancelled due to Covid. The plan had been to premiere the new Solaris 50’ at the show and being the best-selling model in the range, it was decided to make a special launch event in April at Marina Hannibal, now owned by Red Bull, Italy’s oldest marina and only 15 minutes’ drive from the Solaris shipyard.
Solaris is renowned for being at the cutting edge of design innovation, (watched carefully by the competition who frequently try to copy details a few years down the line) and the new 50 sets the tone for all subsequent models, so the importance of this new design cannot be over emphasised.
Designer, Javier Soto Acebal was live on the big screen from Argentina and explained the differences in the new 50 compared to the previous model. He admitted to losing the first 2 weeks, coming up with worse designs, as the previous 50 was so good! Eventually he successfully penned the new model with the following key changes;
The fore and aft dinghy garage which makes launching and retrieval of the 2.5m RIB much easier and being in its own enclosed pod, there is no possibility of water entering other parts of the bilge.
The steering wheels are positioned fully outboard, making the helmsman’s view of the jib, code luffs and oncoming waves very close to perfect.
The side decks end forward of the steering wheels and a half step make movement from the cockpit to the side decks much easier, adding the advantage that water does not reach the helmsman.
The cockpit is larger, which provides the option of twin cockpit tables.
Twin rudder blades improve directional stability, reduce weather helm and enable the yacht to carry more sail area in higher wind speeds, resulting in safer and faster sailing.
Soto could doubtless have spoken all day about the nuances and intricacies of the design, but as time was pressing and the audience were not all naval architects, he kept it brief. As Solaris is a performance yacht, the technical differences of new versus old are interesting to know;
18% more stable by virtue of the hull form stability, in particular fuller forward sections.
4% increased wetted surface, although the same wetted surface when the windward rudder blade flies clear of the water.
Faster above 5 knots of wind.
Slower below 5 knots of wind.
The result of all these changes is a yacht that is easier and more forgiving to sail, but still maintains the crisp and connected feel at the helm. Solaris have even introduced a new interior customization option by design house Poltrona Frau, to give owners the opportunity to create an individual and top-end interior.
Solaris are built for sailors and having sailed the 50’ extensively during the season, the overall verdict is a definite thumbs up. As one owner put it “I have a beautiful yacht and my apartment in Milan all in one”.
The next main event of 2022 were the Solaris Days and Solaris Cup which took place over the long weekend holiday of June 2nd to 5th in the beautiful Sardinian waters off Porto Rotondo.
This event has become a major highlight in our annual calendar, where prospective new owners can mingle with owners and sea trial different yachts in a relaxed and non-sales environment. It is an increasingly popular event, with 51 yachts attending with their accompanying owners and crew. Light airs were the order of the day on the water, causing some interesting battles between the old and new 50’s, and with the typically superb Italian evening social events, so everyone had a great time and it was certainly another perfect rendezvous for the owners’ and crews, including the flagship Solaris 111’.
In addition to the launch of the 50’ we attended Cannes Yachting festival displaying the Solaris 40’ 50’, 60’ and 64’RS.
More locally we attend the Southampton Boat Show and introduced our rather sportive Solaris 40, another recent launch from the yard. With her metallic blue steel topsides and full teak decks, she certainly turned heads and received a lot of positive attention.
Aquileia, the home of Solaris, is fast becoming a bit of a second home for us also, with frequent yard visits for prospective clients, to specify their yacht or with owners just keen to follow the build process, and of course launches and commissioning. The team are an enthusiastic and passionate bunch and a warm welcome is always assured.
The original site was expanded back in 2018 and again this year there are plans for further development to increase and improve the facility, which reflects the continued success and investment in the yachts.
Aquileia is itself is a small town in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of North-East Italy, in the Province of Udine. With a population of about 3,000, it was once a significant Roman city with perhaps as many as 200,000 residents. Aquileia is also an important archaeological site with UNESCO World Heritage status. It is ideally located between Venice and Trieste, making it easy to reach, with the added bonus of turning a yard visit into an impromptu break.
Looking forward to 2023 we have a busy year ahead of us; the yard has a full order book though 2023 and running in to 2024. We have numerous yachts to launch and commission through the year from spring to late summer. Add to this our yard visits, sea trials, events and shows, we’re looking forward to what will be a very busy and a great year. Bring it on!