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Solo Bloody Solo

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iGRF View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote iGRF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Solo Bloody Solo
    Posted: 20 Apr 19 at 11:24pm
Now don't all laugh at once, but I've bought a bloody Solo in a moment of madness from a chap of my acquaintence who desperately needed to sell and remove it from his drive.

There's an Easter regatta down the lake so I though I'd give it a spin, if I like it I'll keep it if not, I'll move it on, at least that's how I convinced myself to exercise the No of boats I should own formula of N +1. I was also a little the worse for wear alcoholically speaking when the chap rang up.

So it was I now find myself racing a bloody Solo.

How anybody bigger than me does it I don't know, the chap that preceded me looks like he's heavy with unborn child. I'm not surprised he's thinking of giving up sailing all this passed through my mind as my foot slipped on all the gubbins in the middle and i fell back the wrong side of it thereby inducing my first near swim. A dry capsize but now the boats full of water and that was pretty much it. I was thirty minutes into a race and still hanging in there with a couple of Solutions, & Lasers. ordinarily a dry capsize is survivable but not in this boat with its self balers, bungs and flap all failing miserably. If that isn't enough, the boom catching in the back of my impact vest, not to mention my head, God knows what it would do to a full on buoyancy garment. So game over and it was only that my chum in his Laser missed a mark probably in hyseteria watching me, that I didn't post another DFL.

Today however was another day and this time I got the start Ok, rounded 2nd and held that for a lap until one by one the Lasers wore me down they are just a tad faster, I've settled into it now and its quirks, getting my leg over the gubbins before transitioning in the tack I quite like the hiking angle but can't really get far enough forward because of another bit of gubbins that enables the mainsheet block to slide from side to side, quite why I've no idea, but I'm beginning to realise its appeal, its a geeks boat this, so much to fiddle with and I can see why sails have two cringles on the downhaul now, it's all because of this stupid anachronism.

The sail is slotted along the boom and pinned one end, the halyard has to be fixed to the weirdest sort of sawtooth affair, more geekery, so the downhaul cunningham as you lot call it has to have another cleat so we all still have two cleats because of the damned Solo. All but one one Lasers got by me this time but I did manage to stay in the running for a deal longer than the previous day. There are somethings about it I'm beginning to warm to, its nicely balanced I like the sail, I like some of the gizmos, some well placed bungee to keep the boom out in light weather and the sail to return inward if the outhaul is released. Somebody who owned it previously enjoyed geekery.

Once upon a time it must have been one hell of a boat, but compared to the simple life of Solution sailing I'm not so sure, now if they made it as a wash through so the water didn't hang around and got rid of all that gubbins in the middle... Oh and just as I was putting it away thinking how much heavier it was guess what? I spotted a great big wadge of lead ffs, you'd have to be mental to take sailing Solo's seriously.. I don't think it's going to be a long term acquisition.

Edited by iGRF - 20 Apr 19 at 11:34pm
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davidyacht View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote davidyacht Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Apr 19 at 7:10am
iGRF, they are not without their quirks, but bear in mind that they were designed by Jack 70 years ago, and an element in the class consider any changes to be akin to walking on the fine manís grave ... I hound this out a few years ago when trying to achieve a rule change to get rid of the gubbins!

The lump of lead is because FRP boats can be built way lighter than wooden boats, but the class has chosen to keep the wooden boats competitive on weight, so providing an affordable entry point into the class.

Ref. Dry capsizes ... the key to having a boat empty of water is not to be in the boat when you right the capsize ... it will then come up perfectly dry.  This is the point of the handles on the centreboard case which you will require to pull yourself back in.

Most of the sailmakers have tuning guides, on the North website their guide gives guidance on mast step positions, which includes an upright or a raked setup, the upright setup may be kinder on your head and shoulders.  My top tip is to calibrate the kicker, so that you have a position that sets a boom height that you can comfortably tack under ... then if you want to flatten the main off a bit more use the main sheet to snug it down.

Stick with it a while, they are nice boats to sail once you have worked them out ... and if you give up, at least they have good residuals so you should be able to exit for the same as your original investment.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote iGRF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Apr 19 at 2:57pm
I'm sure if dear old Jack were around today and had the benefit of everything that has come along, he'd be the first to raise the deck, dump the Gubbins and that sawtooth thing and permit an adjustable forestay it's a geek boat, it's got a thing in it that lets the mainsheet block move from side to side yet you can't depower via the forestay. It's got an absurd arrangement to hang the tiller off the back but put all the wiggle stuff through the hole first and tilt it sideways or there's no chance to get it on easily.

I agree its a great sail, once in position and the hinking is as acceptable as hiking is ever going to be. (I had a great sail in The Farr today which has kind of done it for me on the hiking front other than on restricted waters like the lake) I also think this winters carbonise a Streaker plan might also go ahead wether they like it or not, but the Solo does have a strange attraction and I'm not sure exactly what it is, I'm sure it must be the lure that there's more to be had, but I've no idea what it is yet and the pull is in the search for Solo enlightenment, or is it just early stages of madness setting in?

Edited by iGRF - 21 Apr 19 at 2:59pm
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ColPrice2002 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Apr 19 at 3:04pm
If you're having trouble getting under the boom, you probably have too much kicker!

Off wind, sail with the kicker looser than you would normally - some sail twist is required!

Tacking - I find it easier to tack by "diving" across the hull rather than the "traditional" method of crouching in the middle of the boat.

Sail upwind with the boom just over the quarter of the hull, using about 5 cm of traveller. You won't need Cunningham till F4.

Yes it's uncomfortable sitting on the traveller ends - most Solos now have only a short traveller - you don't need a full width one.
Lastly, in jack holt's day, the mast was wood and upright. Nowadays metal masts, mast bend and rake have changed, so you will find the boat better balanced upwind with 3/4 centreboard rather than all of it.
You should be able to keep up with the lasers upwind - though they may have a slight pointing advantage - don't let them get too close to your leeward gunnel.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote iGRF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Apr 19 at 3:53pm
Had no problem with them up wind or surprisingly on a dead run, but it was a reaching course and I had trouble with speed out of the turns one bugger even managed to go round the outside and still nail me, there seems to be a lot of boat 'under' the water with the subsequent 'football' effect. (If you'ever tried towing a round ball or buoy the more power it dives down) but the upside in the lulls, which sadly there were not enough of it was quite breezy, it does roll on when the Lasers slow down it's got good 'glide' potential, which would probably be a whole lot better once I've dumped all that lead over the side. ;-)
How much are they supposed to weigh? I should think over the years it can't have gotten lighter, I looked it up it was built by Speed sails in 2008 so it's over ten years old, you must be able to legitimately lose the lead as the boat ages.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ColPrice2002 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Apr 19 at 9:03pm
I've had another Solo sail over me on a reach - probably new/old sail problem...

If you want to lose the lead, it's a remeasurement. If it's frp, then it probably not gained too much weight, wooden hulls may be a bit heavier, but it shouldn't make too much difference ( max 3kg lead correctors).

Lasers are faster on a reach, unfortunately...
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Post Options Post Options   Quote davidyacht Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Apr 19 at 10:02pm
Speed hull should be a good one, same mould as Winder Mk2 which is deriguer.

Reaching speed is about sailing dead flat, not being over boarded (lift the plate till the helm goes light) and sheet on a single purchase straight from the boom.

You need to set up the mast as per the tuning guides; what mast and sail are you using?

By the way, yes I think Jack would have done something different with todayís technology, but for all its faults it offers very good racing.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote 423zero Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Apr 19 at 8:17am
We have a couple of Solo's at my club, can't say I have noticed them struggling to get under the boom, one of them is well over 6foot.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ColPrice2002 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Apr 19 at 8:54am
The tuning guides indicate that more mast rake upwind is faster. Because the Solo has a hot stepped mast and a slot in the foredeck, the range of rake is limited. That means balancing upwind/downwind performance, so most top competition sailors go for upwind performance, lots of mast rake. Many older helms (me!), Will have moderate rake, leaving space to tack/gybe.

Tacking across the hull helps a lot (turn into wind, roll the hull on top of you, stand up when the boom goes over your head, and change sides).
Gybing you let the kicker off.

It's all much easier with continuous control lines.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote davidyacht Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Apr 19 at 9:49am
Originally posted by ColPrice2002


It's all much easier with continuous control lines.

Had several Solos without continuous lines, though last two have had them.  Really is a case for line management ... balance them up on the downwind legs.  If you are to have only one continuous line make it the kicker ... it is possible to set up continuous lines without drilling holes in the capping ... which is a painful job using many drill bits.
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