Solaris celebrates 40 years-and we tried their 42-footer!


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Solaris is celebrating its 40th anniversary, and to mark the occasion the shipyard made its yachts available in a sailing paradise, Porto Rotondo. We could not miss it, not least so that our own Giorgio Murnik could try the Solaris 42 at sea.

Solaris fleet moored in Porto Rotondo

It’s a beautiful day on the coast, the 15-knot breeze hints at good sea outings. As we approach the Yachting Club, we look out into the gulf where a fleet of sleek sailboats are approaching the harbor upwind; quite a sight indeed!

After half an hour all boats are neatly moored at the dock, and while owners, clients, guests and crews clear the final maneuvers we have a chance to take a look at the creatures of Tripp, Acebal and Peterson: there are eleven boats including the 42′, the 44′, the 48′, the 60′, the 72′ DH, the 72′ Classic and in world premiere the brand new Solaris 58.

We take the opportunity to go out to sea in the Solaris 42, designed by Soto Acebal: sunshine on the sea and thunderstorms inland, a bit unpredictable perhaps, but surely the day will give us some wind.


Upon leaving port, the forecast is confirmed: a 12-knot breeze immediately inflates the sails of our boat. The route to Cape Figari requires us to windward to get out of the gulf, the boat is heeled and we need to work a bit on the sails to harness its full power, but at the helm it remains maneuverable even in gusts exceeding 15 knots real. There are five of us in the boat, which allows me to see that the cockpit is comfortable and there is plenty of room to maneuver without bothering each other or to sit comfortably while others maneuver.
The feeling you get is that of a boat with excellent pitch and a very rigid hull, which is confirmed by going below deck in this gait: not a creak. The boat’s reactions are not nervous at all, but rather smooth, despite accelerations that are almost instantaneous: just a small gust and the speed increases by half a knot from 7.9-8 to 8.4 with peaks of 8.5 knots on the bottom.
The mainsail carriage is within easy reach of the helmsman as well as the mainsheet deferred to the winches, which are located immediately in front of the wheels. The textile backstay put off on the hydraulic jack is super comfortable, and it doesn’t spend much time that the crew gets busy finding the ideal trim. With the sails perfectly to the mark, even the rudder that is a bit hard at heeled boat (as is normal given its dive and the wide stern of this boat) softens and its accuracy is noticeable.

We are almost across the Gulf of Marinella, we pass the north cardinal of Punta Volpe and lean determined to reach our destination, unfortunately not enough to raise the gennaker, this treat we reserve for the return trip; Even on the traverse, white-sail speeds are very good, the wind has dropped a little and the log hardly moves away from eight knots and if it does it is more to go up than to go down. Past Punta Sabina the thunderstorms that could be glimpsed inland have moved eastward, and on the bow a black cloud advises us to change course, the wind makes strange jumps so, we lean determinedly and point to Mortorio, managing for a few minutes to raise the gennaker. Even at the carriers as well as at the flat-boat transom we can leave the rudder to itself, evidence that the hull is very well balanced, the wind has dropped a bit, and speeds (with 10 knots of real) are around 7 knots (highs by tightening a bit, lows by resting up to 135 degrees).

The Solaris 42 specimen on which I am standing has three cabins, the owner’s stateroom forward with private bath has a very interesting movable bulkhead system that forms a separate shower stall, the saloon has a U-shaped dinette on the port side with a chart table on the opposite side served by an armchair and chaise longue (it is a good 80 cm deep), immediately behind the chart table area is the L-shaped galley and the first aft cabin, which on the port side has its twin with the aft bath opposite the galley on the opposite side of the staircase that features properly shaped steps fitted with a transparent rubberizing that is nothing short of formidable as an anti-slip solution, leaving nothing to the anti-aesthetics of the classic black sandblasted tape.

3:4 panoramic dinette

Construction like manic attention to detail is one of the shipyard’s strengths and is also confirmed in its entirety on the 42′: hull and deck are made of Airex sandwich of PVC, E-glass fiber, and Vinylester, are vacuum laminated and bonded during lamination as well as the reinforcing latticework found on the hull and the 40 mm composite main bulkheads. At the points of greatest stress, lamination occurs in unidirectional and bidirectional.

The bulb is bolted with 12 studs counterplated with plates of extraordinary width and thickness (the studs are bigger than my thumb–unfortunately I don’t have a gauge with me, but I can assure you that I don’t have fairy hands–and they are 30 centimeters apart in lateral distance), the mast is through and the lamination on which it rests (actually above the lamination there is a plate that allows the mast foot to be moved 15 mm fore or aft), like that of the keel is thicker. The mainsails are made of composite, positioned at the broadside, and are also laminated uni and bidirectional vacuum to the hull. The keel is made of cast iron coated in epoxy materials, and the torpedo bulb is made of lead.




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