Panache and performance
Sailing Today|August 2020
Panache and performance
Performance-cruisers like the Italian Solaris 47 are designed to enjoy both sides of the yachting equation. Does she meet the brief? Kevin Green finds out
Kevin Green

Standing out amid the acres of gleaming yachts at the Cannes Boat Show last summer was the Solaris 47. Her lines, drafted by Argentinian naval architect Javier Soto Acebal, were striking for their modernity, yet the boat was unmistakably a product of the Solaris yard, founded almost 40 years ago on the Venetian lagoon.

The arrival of the 47 and also a 50 has been Solaris’ response to increasing customer demand for performance-cruiser yachts aimed at the more discerning sailor. The yard produces as many as 40-50 of these models annually from a range that currently consists of nine production models between 37ft and 72 feet. Quality is at the heart of the privately owned yard’s philosophy and one reason why it has produced the iconic Wally supermaxis in the past, clearly demonstrating the standard that this relatively small yard operates at.

The result is a predictably slippery and stylish yacht and the boat I tested was a highly optioned-up version with full carbon rig from Hall Spars, range-topping North 3Di carbon sails and a deep lead bulbed keel to give a high stability ratio.

Keeping costs reasonable means the hull is vinyl ester and polyester sandwich (but carbon versions on larger models are available). Volume and beam are generous, which creates a spacious hull with a discreet chine running aft from midships and fine plumb bow well-suited to windward sailing. Unusually in this size of hull, there’s a large dinghy garage as well.

Plenty of volume allows for a semi-flush deck profile which is particularly suited to regatta sailing but in cruise-mode, the discreet spray dodger can be elevated.

On deck, the artificial teak cladding and hidden halyards, along with flush hatches, give that Swan-like flavour while the wide and open cockpit is functional with twin binnacles. In front of them, and divided by a passageway large enough for dedicated trimmers to work, are two sets of electric Harken Performa 60.1 winches. One set controls the German mainsheet which is secured on a single block, and jammers are ideally placed allowing all lines to feed into these winches.

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August 2020