Solo Dinghy - Possible design changes survey.

Please find some information around the possible design changes, please read before you take the Design Changes Survey.

Some time ago Will Loy looked into the possible changes and created the article copied below. Winder Boats created a prototype of a Solo with a reduced center board capping. The capping could be both reduced in width and height. These changes did find support amongst the membership, but at the time it was decided not to take them to a vote at the AGM.


Copy of the Committee's decision on around Carbon Masts.

Solo Carbon Mast

Further to my email of 18th June regarding the issue of carbon masts, and in line with my proposal toconsider the pro’s and con’s I now lay out the opinions of the committee in summary as follows:

1. Suppliers consideration of the benefits are as follows:

Reduction in breakages and permanent bent masts.
Improvement of bending curve and sail shape.
Improvement in sideways bend characteristic to enable different weights of sailors to compete more evenly.

Features of a carbon mast

The Ceilidh mast is proposed with an integrated sail track.
The mast should be 2 parts for ease of transport
Design should incorporate a standard bottom section up to just below the hounds, with a choice of 3 tops to provide different bend characteristics.

Specifications for rule modification.

Minimum weight? (current bare tube 6,1kg)
Centre of gravity? (normally not lower than length X from the foot, currently 2800mm) Optional integrated track. ( allows our competitors to provide alternatives)
Limitation on stiffness of material to be used (to avoid very expensive masts) Minimum and maximum dimensions (to avoid very expensive masts)

Maintenance Carbon mast

Carbon masts are traditionally somewhat sensitive for UV.
We suggest as standard to not paint the mast, but to keep it in a cover when not being used.

Cost carbon mast

We believe that it should be possible to offer a carbon mast for the solo for a target price of€1000,00 incl. taxes

Where possible all fittings should be standard to allow replacement if required.

We have made a video in which some of the pro are mentioned like

  • Accessible for a wider group of sailors

  • Better response in gusts

  • Easier sailing in waves

  • It looks very good

  • Maybe we can stop the sailors flow to the RS Aero a bit and attract some younger


  • Easy transport (it wil fit on a solo hull)

  • When the mast is damaged there is only one part damaged

    2. Considerations of the Committee

    ND: no changes in the last 10 years, maybe time for some change. Other changes to be considered at the same time. Significant risk to class.

    AL: consideration to other changes perhaps more important

WL: DNA style changes would require a postal vote according to the RYA

SE: Existing highly successful class, with extremely tight racing, low speed differences. Strong and durable boats with long competitive lives making them relatively low cost to own and run. Can be raced competitively by a wide range of weights, ages and strengths. Making a new boat faster risks the future of the class, making the old boats uncompetitive, whereas currently you can race competitively for as little as £3k. Existing range of masts to accommodate a range of weights, with the construction being very durable. Very few examples of bent masts, and good second handmarket for masts also. Europe’s and OK’s were forced into carbon masts, and both suffered massive depletion of their numbers. If taken to the next stage, investigate with other suppliers of carbon masts.

DL: changes in the past to construction of the boat appear to have assisted in the longevity of theboat. Doesn’t appear to be a strength problem with existing masts. Extreme caution required ascannot risk splitting the class. There are appealing features of a carbon mast, not least the look ofthe boat and it’s attractiveness to a younger generation.

PBu: potential for reputable mast builder to offer a trade-in for existing masts so open to all. Similarly sailmakers may need to recut the luff curve.

GC: Light weight helms are not necessarily currently disadvantaged, cited Tom Gillard’s Pusinelliresult. Caution required about the suggested €1000 cost, a mast made in two halves could be asmuch as £2,000. Carbon is finely engineered, and not as durable for general wear and tear around the dinghy park. Beware the stalling impact of changes to the boat rules in hampering new boat builds.

GM: One of the attractions of the existing Solo is being able to utilise more of less standard equipment, new or old and have an equal chance. Cited Richie Bailey in a new boat and James Boyce in an older boat. Carbon masts with different top sections may lead to competitors changing top sections depending on conditions albeit this is possible with sail choice on the day also now. Having to protect a carbon mast in a mast bag is cumbersome and may put some off. Blaze Class voted for a carbon mast but design spec was for same bend characteristics as alloy section to avoid a performance difference. However carbon would be preferable given the gust response in these circumstances.

JS: Carbon masts do little for the Solo other than add cost and any potential weight reduction / performance improvement may alienate existing Solos.

SW: Speaking from Merlin experience, carbon masts are easier to sail, as well as lighter. However masts have to be matched with crew weight, making cost again a major factor. Masts are delicate and spares needed.

DP: may split the fleet with two classes. Not a positive for the class.

PBa: Risky for the class, potentially very unpopular at club level as many owners would not want to buy the new rig and end up with two fleets. Essential for competitive sailors to move to the new spec to remain competitive. May put off infrequent travellers who will feel they are unlikely to be competitive with a traditional rig. Boats without the new rig would be devalued since to bring themback to competitiveness they would need to invest maybe more than the boat’s value. Others mayconsider it is time for a change to another class rather than upgrading their boat. Other suggestionsrelating to Class’ direction and seeking input by way of a questionnaire.

3. Other areas for consideration for change brought up in the discussion

  • Weight reduction

  • Centre board capping

  • Reducing floating height above water during a capsize

  • Carbon Boom

  • Postal voting

    4. What next?

    The balance of the discussion provides us with a clear committee position, that being that we are not supportive of a move to allow carbon masts at this time.

    Should any members wish to bring a motion to AGM, this would require such a motion to be brought in within the timescale before the meeting, so the earliest would be 2020.

    The other areas for consideration are worthy of further discussion, and it is my suggestion in linewith DP’s proposal that a questionnaire should be sent to all members to gather views on acceptability of these, at that time we can also confirm members views on carbon masts and we can discuss at the next committee meeting how this can be organised.

    Doug Latta NSCA President

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