Monday, February 4, 2019

THE BEAUTIFUL SOLARIS 44


The old Solaris 44
One of the most beautiful boats at Dusseldorf was the Solaris 44. I was a bit confused about it before seeing the boat. There is a recent Solaris 44, a 2011 nice design by Soto Acebal and since they had not changed the name I thought that perhaps it was a MKII, with the same hull, a different cabin design and a new interior.

Not so, it is a completely different boat, also designed by Soto and if the old design still looks modern, the new one is just gorgeous. The hulls are very different even if with the same beam. It is impressive the design evolution in only 7 years.

Above the new one, below the old one.
We can see that even if the previous hull cannot be considered an outdated one and the boat still looks very well, the new hull is much more contemporary,  inspired on offshore racers' hulls like the ones on the Volvos and not as on the previous 44, on the traditional line of IRC racers.

This one will certainly be easier to sail fast downwind and easier on autopilot, a better hull for a reduced crew as they are normally on cruising boats.


Both boats have the same beam but on the new one it is brought all to the transom. If we compare it to the one of the Jeanneau SO 440, that is not a beamy boat (the Oceanis is a lot beamier), we will see that the Solaris 44 is narrower than the Jeanneau ( 4.18-4.29m) and that has a bigger water line, (12.71-12.00).

Regarding light displacement the Solaris is heavier ( 9900 - 8561kg) but that 1339 kg difference corresponds practically to the difference in weight between the ballast on the two boats (1320kg) having the Solaris to be built much more strongly to be able to resist the much bigger RM forces generated by extra ballast.

Above the new one, below the old one
Regarding B/D ratio the Solaris has a much bigger one, (36.4% -26.6%) and the RM generated by ballast is substantially increased on the Solaris by a bigger standard draft (2.60 to 2.20m) and a more efficient keel design. Obviously the safety stability and the AVS on the Solaris would be much better than the ones on the Jeanneau SO 44.

Regarding boat power, the superior hull form stability on the Jeanneau will be more than compensated by the big difference on RM generated by the ballast, that is not only much bigger but also much lower, and that makes the Solaris  a more powerful boat. The bigger difference in performance will be in stronger winds, demanding conditions and upwind.

The difference in boat power and stability is expressed on the relation between the sail area and displacement (SA/D) that is higher on the Solaris (26.0-23.9). Curiously the Solaris, even if considerably heavier, due to its  bigger LWL, is proportionally lighter, having a smaller D/L (133.6 - 137.8).

Above the new one, below the old one

In what regards hull building, Jeanneau uses its industrial method of a "contre moule" that is bonded to the monolithic hull while the Solaris uses vacuum infusion on a sandwich hull with airex core and E-glass fibers, with bow and main bulkhead also in sandwich composite (the others bulkheads are in plywood) and the floors and keel structure in a laminate structure with reinforcements in carbon, all strongly laminated to the hull while the bulkheads are laminated to the deck.

Contrary to Solaris little is said about the Jeanneau building methods that are similar to the ones used on Oceanis making vast use of bonding agents, little, if any, lamination in what regards fixing the boat structure or the bulkheads, that are normally  made of plywood. The boat structure is a "contre moule" in the form of a structural grid.

The Solaris, much more expensive to build is also a stronger boat, not only due to the sandwich hull but to the effect of a  structural cage formed by the bulkheads laminated to the hull and deck.

Above the new one, below the old one
I never liked too much  the interior of the previous Solaris 44 version, with all the cabinets in white and with some odd angles. The new one is more traditional, very well finished even if I don't like the standard white oak finish that I saw in Dusseldorf. Finished in teak (option) it would be much nicer.

Nothing fancy, just comfortable, cozy and practical and well designed, I am relatively tall, 1.88m and the ones taller than me may find the interior height a bit on the short side but on Solaris they have chosen to maintain a low windage and a low profile...and there are no miracles. For once they thought first about sailing  and instead of making a huge volume interior that demands a huge freeboard, they made a reasonable dimensioned one, a sailboat's one, not really an apartment like.

It has good storage on the interior and exterior with a considerably sized sail locker, a big stern locker and a cockpit side locker for the liferaft. It has standard 4 winches nicely positioned near the wheels and a self taking jib rail.

The Solaris 44 price seems very nice but it is good to remember that it comes without sails, genoa track, without main traveler, only with 4 winches, none electric, without electronics, without folding propeller, without mounted mast and without transport. The basic price without VAT is 318 900 euros.

The price of extras is expensive and quite probably they will make a substantial discount over them but I took the trouble to have a look at how much would cost a boat equipped for performance cruising, without teak on the deck or cabin ( 22 600 euros), equipped a bit like my own boat, without solar panels but with a bow thruster (that is already justified for this size of boat) and the price is not so nice anymore: 463 413 euros, ready to sail, in the water in Italy but without sails that will cost at least 15 000 euros and much more if they are high quality.

If we add 20% VAT, a Solaris well equipped for performance cruising, but without teak decks, air conditioning or generator, will cost ready to sail and delivered in Italy about 570 000 euros although far less than an Hallberg Rassy, that with more equipment than the standard Solaris 44, but much less than the one optional I am considering for the Solaris, with the same VAT, costs around 624 000 euros. The difference will be considerably bigger if we consider the same equipment.



A Jeanneau SO Odyssey 440 is much less expensive but if we go for the same sail hardware and extras the price will go for 400 000 euros or more. Yes, I had that experience, start to put similar sailing hardware on mass production boat and they still will be less expensive than a quality boat with the same equipment but they will be much more expensive than the standard version, equipped as it was thought, to offer cruising at the lower possible price. And in you sell the boat nobody is giving more money for all that extra equipment.



And of course, the rest you cannot add: the extra power, the extra overall stability, including reserve stability and AVS, the superior seaworthiness, the the much better performance in demanding conditions and better overall performance will always be different, no matter the equipment you put on the Jeanneau as well as the superior built, strength, and finish.


6 comments:

  1. Ciao Paulo, I think we should compare new Solaris 44 to X-4(6) or such a performance boatrather than Jeanney etc. Is the price similar or close?

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  2. You have misunderstood me, I was not trying to compare the Solaris 44 with the Jeanneau SO 440 but showing what are the differences between the two types of boats, besides finish and price.

    Many don't understand these differences that more than the jeanneau and the Solaris regards two different types of boats and I am not talking about one being more sportive than the other but about seaworthiness, safety stability and AVS.

    Journalists are responsable big time for this confusion, or for not clear it.

    The X4-6, a boat of the same type of the Solaris 44, it is however bigger, a 46ft and therefore more expensive. A standard X4-6 costs standard, without VAT, 407 500 and the boat exposed in Dusseldorf (without VAT) costed 644 055 euros. Way more expensive.

    It was also at Dusseldorf a nice X 4-3, a 43ft boat, more close to the Solaris 44 size (even if smaller). The standard price was 299 500 (without VAT) and the boat exposed costed 425 845 without VAT, a price just a bit smaller than the one of the Solaris 44.

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  3. Hull length on the X-4.6 is only 44'3. It's 46' when you include the bowsprit. So it is a good boat to compare. X-4.3 is a 41' hull plus bowsprit. I hate their new X-Yachts naming scheme. What a mess...

    This new Solaris looks great but 2.5 meter draft wouldn't work for me in New England. Sadly I can only manage a 2.2 meter draft where I keep a mooring.

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    Replies
    1. Yes you are right on all counts.

      If we look at the LWL we will see that the one on the Solaris is even bigger, by 36cm.

      The Solaris offers as an option a keel with 2.2m draft, the X4-6 only one with 2.3m draft.

      They had said to me on Solaris that they were trying to make the price of the 44 as low as possible and it seems it is true. The X4-6 is considerably more expensive and to have the same sailing hardware we will have still to add to that price two extra winches and the genoa traveler even if we have to take the price of the teak decks. Beautiful boat anyway with a great interior.

      The names of the models of the new X boats are ridiculous, I agree LOL.

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  4. The Solaris 44 that is on the photos, Baltazar, lost the rig some days ago in the end of the Caribbean 600, only at few miles from the finish.

    The boat was doing a decent race, for the this type of fast luxury cruiser having, near by, ahead, a Swan 57 and a XP 44 and had immediately behind of the fastest J122e a Gunfleet 58 and at already some distance, a very fast Grand Soleil 43, a Swan 45 and a Swan 48.

    Looking at the photo I would say the problem was just a pin not properly open that come out with catastrophic results. For the ones interested on the accident there is an interesting discussion here with photos:
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/ViF.Velisti/10157486270960931/?comment_id=10157532390360931&notif_id=1551073908153479&notif_t=group_comment

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