Solaris Yachts: since 1974, a history rich in know-how, Classic Boat and innovation

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Solaris Yachts
Solaris One; 14.30 x 4.21 m; Doug Peterson

Solaris Yachts

If today we can still appreciate so many of the boats that have survived the last century, excellent Classic Boats that are still able to excite, credit is undoubtedly due to the hands and minds behind their creation. We have already seen some of the great designers behind the signatures, but, if these boats have since seen the light of day, it is certainly also thanks to the yards behind them, enlightened realities capable of maintaining quality standards that are still commendable today. In this micro-series, aimed at celebrating some of the great shipyards, we have already seen such brands as
Hallberg Rassy
,
Dufour
,
Cantieri del Pardo
e
Baltic Yachts
. Now, it is time to celebrate another great Italian reality, Solaris Yachts.

Solaris Yachts
Solaris 36; 11.06 x 3.72 m; 1977; Frans Maas

Solaris Yachts – Origins as Se.Ri.Gi

The 1970s are, for boating, the real discovery of a new frontier. Fiberglass has just entered the market with force, and serial production of quality hulls is beginning to establish itself as not only a concrete, but also a qualitatively important and pursuable reality. At the same time, the IOR and new concepts launched sailing into a new season, opening the era of major regattas in parallel with a real boom in yachting. So many suddenly can afford to go boating. In this context, construction sites are springing up just about everywhere, but not all of them are destined to remain excellences, surviving for a long time. This is not the case for Solaris, which, born in Aquileia in 1974 as Se.Ri.Gi, instead offers us a cross-section of boating now nearly 50 years old. A history of boats and success marked by various innovations and some of the biggest names.

Solaris Yachts
Se.Ri.Gi Shipyards; Aquileia; 1974

It all began in 1974 in Aquileia. Along the Natissa River, which flows directly into the upper Adriatic, a place that has always been permeated by seafaring tradition. The Se.Rigi.Gi (now Solaris) construction site opens here. The shipyard’s early work is initially staging operations of others’ designs and productions, including hulls from the Benello shipyard, but the build quality and attention to detail immediately caused a stir, bringing the fledgling shipyard into the good spotlight and into a new direction. In 1977, however, the entrepreneurial spirit of the shipyard decided to initiate a first round of autonomous projects, relying from the outset on signatures of all quality. Thus were born the brand’s first two boats, the

Solaris 37

, designed by Frans Maas, and the

Solaris 47

, signed by Sparkman & Stephens.

Solaris Yachts
Solaris 47; 14.30 x 4.06 m; 1979; Sparkman & Stephens

Doug Peterson and the “eighties”

The 1980s were the yard’s first real moment of affirmation, with the Solaris brand now becoming a synonym for prestigious and qualitatively impeccable boats. These are the establishment years of the
Solaris 36
and the subsequent

Solaris 39

by Maas, an improved revision of the 37′, now even more refined in its lines and comfortable in its interior, qualities that would make it an evergreen, synonymous with performance and safety.

Solaris Yachts
Solaris 39; 12.02 x 3.75; 1981; Frans Maas

The big hit of the 1980s also came with a new pen to sign off on the projects, archistar Doug Peterson, who in 1984 signed a cult site, the Solaris One, true bluewater ante-litteram, a boat that concedes nothing to IOR ratings and whose sole purpose is to sail the best, anytime, anywhere.

Solaris Yachts
Solaris One; 14.30 x 4.21 m; Doug Peterson

The mid-1980s thus began to see a decisive establishment of Solaris, which, taking advantage of its own boom in orders, extended its production area. In 1985 the area becomes 7,000 square meters, more than 2,000 of which are indoor and with facilities capable of accommodating boats up to 25 meters in size. Some of the brand’s other major projects were born during this period, including the
Solaris 48
(in racer and center cockpit variants) and the
Solaris Two
. But, excelling over all, is here the
Solaris Zero
signed by Doug Peterson in ’87, 65 feet strong and designed to be a true offshore fast-cruiser.

Solaris Zero; 19.70 x 5.40 m; Doug Peterson

The litmus test of the 1990s

With the 1990s comes a showdown. The beginning of the decade, in fact, is marked by a period of major economic recession, the trigger for a significant sectoral crisis at the European and global level. Solaris responds with inventiveness, however, coping with the problems by diversifying on several fronts. The production of new models is thus flanked by the parallel refit and refitting, combined with the opening of several external collaborations. Among these, important to note, is a production phase with Fincantieri in Monfalcone that allows the brand to gain know-how in relation to the use and processing of composite materials.

However, the decade did not see the production of new models stop and, indeed, saw the birth of boats of the caliber of the
Solaris 55 CC
and the yard’s flagship, the
Solaris Zero 76′
by Peterson.

Solaris Zero 76′; 23.30 x 5.82 m; Doug Peterson

Building on the experience developed with Fincantieri, the 1990s also saw Solaris produce the innovative
Solaris 62
, built in advanced composite with glass fabrics, Kevlar, carbon and epoxy resins.

Solaris 62; 18.66 x 5.1 m;

Solaris Yachts – The 2000s

With the new millennium Solaris asserts itself and focuses production on an increasingly semi-custom-directed front. Hull molds thus become the main component of boat similarity, but the entire realization of volumes and layouts can now change, adapting to specific owner needs. It was in 2001, however, that the two projects that, more than any other, gave the shipyard a fresh imprint and, more importantly, put it in the spotlight as a brand capable of making high-tech, high-performance hulls. In fact, the
Solaris 55 Open
designed by Andrea Vallicelli and, in parallel, the Farr
52 IMS “Mascalzone Latino XI”
, the latter intended to prepare the crew for the2003 America’s Cup.

Solaris 52 IMS Mascalzone Latino XI; 15.82 x 4.09; Bruce Farr

With 2002, the yard further expanded its production area to about 26,000 square meters. The size attainable by built hulls is growing. At the same time, prototypes of the new series, the
Solaris 44
and the
Solaris 36 One Design
. In 2006, however, the
Solaris 48
signed by Bill Tripp, fully kicking off a new design season, mirrored 2 years later by the
Solaris 60
, also by Tripp.

Solaris 48; Bill Tripp

In 2010 the shipyard, changing hands to a consortium led by G. Giuliani, became Solaris Yachts de facto, kicking off a new and further season, mainly the child of Javier Soto Acebal’s design hand. Among the most recent creations are the new
Solaris 40 ST
e

Solaris 74 RS

, about the latter of which we will have more news with the launching of the first unit later this year.


Three “tidbits” about Classic Boats


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