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Solo techniques.

Printed From: Yachts and Yachting Online
Category: Dinghy classes
Forum Name: Technique
Forum Discription: 'How to' section for dinghy questions and answers
Printed Date: 23 Apr 21 at 8:17am
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 9.665y -

Topic: Solo techniques.
Posted By: 423zero
Subject: Solo techniques.
Date Posted: 06 Jul 20 at 8:57am
I have an option to purchase a 'Solo' want to be sure I am getting best out of it, will buy it if OK, got it on long term test.
Links for tuning and sailing please.


Posted By: ian.r.mcdonald
Date Posted: 06 Jul 20 at 10:33am
Buy the class training video from the Solo class website.

A tiny bit out of date in places as many wooden boats are included but being presented by " The Master" Jim Hunt more than balances that out.

And who knows? You may decide to buy a Classic and have both a nice fast boat and a chunk of money to do so something else with

Posted By: NickM99
Date Posted: 06 Jul 20 at 10:46am
Some of the class's popular sail makers, e.g. North, HD, have tuning guides on their websites.  Key is getting the right mast rake and rig tension (or should I say slackness?)  Also you want to make sure you have the right mast for your weight and a matching sail.

Posted By: A2Z
Date Posted: 06 Jul 20 at 11:09am
P&B, North, Rooster and HD all have guides on the sites.  
My top tip is that it is very hard to make a Solo go faster than anyone else’s, especially in flat water.  So the winner is the one who makes the fewest mistakes (slows down the least and sails the shortest course) and positions themselves tactically well - rather than the one who can sail fastest in a straight line.  
I know that is generically true of all classes but it seems more so in the Solo as the hull shape limits top speed.

Posted By: 423zero
Date Posted: 06 Jul 20 at 12:01pm
What is the weight range?
How many different rigs?


Posted By: A2Z
Date Posted: 06 Jul 20 at 12:23pm
65-100kg, probably 80kg about optimal but fairly wide range competitive at club or local open level. D+ is pretty standard rig, some bigger framed people use a Cumulus, or there is Zeta or C (sleeved) for smaller folk.  Also superspars equivalents (M1,3 and 7?).  D+ works fine for most though.  Sails from North, Hyde, HD, McNamara, Edge, Lennon, Morgan etc all seem to go well - but probably better resale with North or HD who are actively involved in the class. 

Oh, and don’t sail with the board right down - you get too much weather helm.

Posted By: Paramedic
Date Posted: 06 Jul 20 at 4:48pm
My experience.

D+ vs Cumulus. You won't notice the difference. Cumulus more likely to be down to weight and won't crease at deck level in a bad capsize. D+ is supposed to have better gust response - having used both I would have a Cumulus I think. Weight range and bend numbers for a side taper cumulus and D+ are the same. Front taper cumulus is a bit stiffer - I have not knowingly used one of these. I currently have a side taper Cumulus and will be sticking with it.

If you are on the border re weight between to masts go for the stiffer one. You'll benefit downwind.


If you are sailing nationals sized beats with between two and five well planned tacks per beat yes, the mega rake theory holds up. On small/medium pools you need the downwind speed as well and it is faster upwind to be able to tack on shifts without the boom catching your back and capsizing.

The Solo class is very fashion conscious and if you apply the basics to some of the fashions you'll find they don't hold up at all venues. Its quite a good boat as singlehanders go with good racing.

Posted By: 423zero
Date Posted: 06 Jul 20 at 5:44pm
Will be the widest single hander I have sailed, looks large compared to a Laser.


Posted By: davidyacht
Date Posted: 06 Jul 20 at 7:35pm
I have had 5 or 6 Solos and am reasonably competitive for an old (60 year old) bloke doing ok at club level and achieving by goals at National and Nations Cup level.  I weigh 83kg which I think is spot on.

If I sailed inland on flat water I could probably get away with a Cumulus, but it becomes a handful when it gets windy and gusty.  At my weight I would not consider anything other than a D+.  The D+’s that buckled were from a particular batch from three or four years ago, I haven’t seen a bent or buckled D+ for some time.  There were also some heavy D+’s a while back ... I went to weigh one in at a champs a while back and the measurer stated that it was the heaviest that he had seen ... which is probably why it survived me driving over it the same day!

Sail wise the main players at the front of the fleet are HD, P&B, North, Hyde and Impact, you pays your money and takes your choice.  All have very good tuning guides.  The principles of rig set up are broadly similar. 

You could do a lot worse than searching for Charlie Cumbley or Peter Mitchell tuning session videos on YouTube to get an idea on setups.

Probably the must negative comments are about tacking and low booms.  I would submit that comfort and performance is rewarded by good technique, and whilst I used to return from a days sailing with battered and bruised shoulders, I have not been in contact with the boom for a long time after identifying why this happens.

Elsewhere someone has commented about centreboard positions ... this is covered pretty comprehensively in the North Tuning guide, basically it is very easy to be overboarded because it is so big (the joke is that Jack had an Enterprise centreboard lying around and used it), but in truth you will be rewarded with a balanced helm if you sail flat.

I have sailed lots and lots of different dinghies but I have thoroughly enjoyed sailing these quirky little boats for 12 or so years, nice people at Club, Regional and National level.

Hope that this helps, please feel free to PM me if I can help.


Happily living in the past

Posted By: 423zero
Date Posted: 07 Jul 20 at 6:00am
Will know more Saturday, get out on the water.


Posted By: Paramedic
Date Posted: 10 Jul 20 at 9:26pm
David have you ever used a cumulus? 

I ask as I thought exactly the same as you, I had a new winder 2, D+ etc etc and sold it as its was second boat and replaced it with a much older mk1 which i've restored from a bit of a wreck. If anything I think the  2000AD Mk1/Cumulus/Milanes foils is faster. Its feels much, much smoother. And I wasn't slow in the mk2.

Posted By: davidyacht
Date Posted: 11 Jul 20 at 7:32am
Yes, had two Winder 1 Solos with Cumulus (side weld) and Milanes board, and a selection of North SM8 and Hunt sails.  Bearing in mind we are discussing pretty small differences in a one design class, here are some thoughts.

I now sail a Winder 2, I think it is marginally easier to sail than a Winder 1.  With more rocker it is easier to tack.  The Winder 1 seems to plane marginally earlier.  

The Cumulus is probably as good if not better than the D+ rig in F0 - F3.  It is stiffer and is good for heavyweights.  The set up is quite different as it doesn’t respond to sailing with the traveller down in the same way as the D+ rig, so one tends to sail with a bit more twist.  My reservation about the Cumulus is that because it is so stiff fore and aft I reached a point (I am 83kg) where it seemed impossible to de power and it had poor gust response.  

Also the side weld Cumulus required a different cut sail, then to go this route is to carve a lonely furrow.

However if you are heavier, and sail on sheltered flat water the Cumulus might have more going for it in my opinion.

I have no idea how the more recent front taper Cumulus masts perform.

Happily living in the past

Posted By: Paramedic
Date Posted: 11 Jul 20 at 8:30am

Mine is a side tapered mast, possibly original to the boat.

I'm a bit heavier (certainly post lockdown!), and I am sailing on sheltered flat water. I put a lot of the different "feel" of the boat down to the board. The other thing that stuck enemy mind was that a "stiff" cumulus is almost as stiff as an Alto according to some GP and Fireball sailors so I wondered if a "soft" one might be about the same as a D+, though on paper the numbers are the same. 

Downgrading the boat was a real sticking point and I wasn't keen on doing it, but apart from the smoother feel I haven't noticed a significant difference - though it must be pointed out that i've yet to race it properly. 

Posted By: davidyacht
Date Posted: 11 Jul 20 at 9:58am
As if a bar chat ... I would suggest that you probably tick some of the boxes as to why the Cumulus would be a good mast for you.  I had a Milanes “flexi tip” centreboard which seemed quite special on three boats back ... I should have kept it!

Happily living in the past

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