North Sails Tuning Guide
The Solo is a boat with a relatively simple rig. Once you are on the water there is little adjustment possible. It is essential therefore that you get the right rig settings before launching. When setting up a new boat you need to establish the following:
Mast Foot Position
In the past we suggested 2 mast foot positions, but in recent years when sailing in a mixed upwind/downwind race track I have found I liked the one setting for all conditions so this is what we would recommend. If you are sailing on a club course with limited upwind and more offwind then use. Measuring from the front edge of the mast foot to the outside edge of the transom should be as close to 3065mm as possible.
PLEASE NOTE with this setting the boom will be lower, if you have limited mobility, sail at a venue where you are constantly tacking or on a club course with more offwind than upwind please feel free to move the heel aft to a setting nearer 3052 mm to keep the boom higher, make it easier to tack and bias performance more to downwind. Secondary to this is boats prior to approximately 2008 may struggle to move the heel forward to this measurement due to the bulkhead position.
This is controlled by forestay tension, set the forestay so its tight when the back of the mast hits the back of the mast gate, then release the forestay tension by 2 holes on the adjuster, this is the base rake. For those with a mast cutout [please check your mast manufacturer for warranty on this] you can set the average.
Because Solo’s are relatively easy to sail a boatspeed advantage is hard to find. The settings that have been used for this tuning guide are based around a Solo sailor weighing 8085kg using a Selden D+ mast and North Sail. However these settings still apply providing you use the correct mast and sail combination for your weight.
The settings are dependent on sea state, weight, mast, sail and fitness. So in a force 3 a 90kg helm would be on full power settings whereas a 75kg helm with the same rig would be on overpowered settings. The overlap between settings can be achieved with a combination of rig, sail and centreboard adjustment. There are different ways to achieve the same result. If for example you are caught out with light/medium settings in strong breeze raise the centreboard further, use more kicker tension (to bend the mast) cunningham and outhaul tension.
Use a combination of mainsheet tension, kicker tension and traveller position to find the best speed upwind. As a general rule start in light winds with the traveller positioned so that the boom end is over the inboard edge of the sidetank and mainsheet tensioned so that all the leech tell tails are flying. As the wind increases use more mainsheet tension and ease the traveller to stop the boom getting too close to the centreline. Kicker tension in light winds should be set just slack so that it controls leech twist out of tacks. As the breeze increases and you have to ease the mainsheet to keep the boat flat use kicker to control the leech profile, and adjust the traveller (usually move inboard) to keep the boom roughly over the outside edge of the quarter. Once fully overpowered use kicker upwind to increase low down mast bend and flatten the mainsail and pull the traveller to the centreline and leave it.
In a Solo body position is extremely important. In very light airs your body weight should be centred on the thwart, but do not move forward of this point however light it is. Once you are sat on the side deck move back so that your front leg is pressed against the thwart. As you become fully hiked move back to 150mm from thwart, and then up to 300mm as the wind increases.
Use only enough centreboard so that the rudder is neutral when the boat is flat with the following sail settings:
Leave the outhaul on its upwind setting. The inhaul (if adjustable) should be released so its slack. The kicker should be slack or just in tension to stop the leech opening too much in the gusts.
Ease outhaul so that lens foot is fully eased, ease the inhaul until slack. Set the kicker so that the top batten flies
approximately 90 degrees to the boat, this allows the leech to open and maximise speed. If planing is a possibility
keep the boat as flat as possible and take the mainsheet 2:1 from the boom.
Only ease the outhaul on tighter reaches if you can use more power. Ease Inhaul until slack. Once on the broader reaches and run ease outhaul to allow a little depth in the foot. Set the kicker as for medium airs or ease to depower on the reaches. This is also very quick on the run to allow running by the lee. By spending time on the water preferably with a tuning partner you will be able to establish the right settings for all conditions. This will allow you to concentrate more of your energies on finding the quickest way round the course.
Good luck on the water!
P+B Tuning Guide
Wind Light Medium Heavy
Forestay - 1 hole up 1 hole up
Mast rake 5960mm 5940mm 5920mm
Shrouds - + 1/2 hole down + 1/2 hole down
Chocks 1 2 1
The solo is a relatively simple one-design class. With speed differences minimal and a boat that has little adjustment on the water it is essential that the right rig settings are chosen before launching.
Mast foot position
The distance from the front of the mast, at the heel to the outside of the transom
should be 3060mm
Set – up
Use your forestay and shrouds so that the mast sits as per the instructions below:
The measurement is best achieved without the sail raised. Push the mast to the back of the gate and adjust the forestay so that it is just under tension. This position is your datum point from which the following will apply.
All our measurements are reliant on the mast having the track cut away a deck level to gain more movement.
• First define your rake – pull a tape measure to the top of the mast and
measure to the top of the gooseneck black band the measurement for this is
• Once you have achieved this measurement take the tape to top of transom check your rake measurement and move you forestay position until you reach 5960mm
• To set the shrouds pull the mast forward at deck level, the mast will just touch the front of the gate.
For the D+ section the measurement should be 8mm from cut out to the back of the mast gate.
For cumulus and M7 and masts the mast will touch the back of the mast gate, these masts are not cut away.
We supply 2.5 chocks, when a chock is not in use it should be placed behind the mast, so that it eliminates movement.
Turn the boat on its side and lower the board to find the vertical position. This is your datum point to work from so mark it clearly on the handle of the board. In very light conditions the board should be positioned forward of the vertical point and slowly raised as the wind increases and you begin to hike. With increasing wind raise the board beyond the vertical point to reduce the weather helm and de-power the boat.
In very light airs the traveller should be positioned 50mil from in the centreline of the boat. With increasing wind ease from this position up to a maximum of 240mm using the mainsheet tension to control the leech.
• Light airs cleat 50 - 100mm off the centreline
• Medium 100 – 160mm off centre line
• Heavy 160 –240mm from centre line
This should be set so the slack is just taken out of the system when the main is sheeted in. As the wind increases it can be used to de-power the sail bending the mast a flattening the sail.
In heavy airs the kicker must be eased before you tack!
In very light winds the sail should be pulled out to the black band, in medium airs ease outhaul up to 60mm from band. When over powered pull sail out to black band to increase power downwind ease this up to 75mm.
This is an effective way to de-power the sail flattening the sail and opening the leach.
Use only to remove excess creases in the medium conditions but can be pulled hard to de-power in the heavy and can be used in very light airs to flatten the entry to the sail.
It should be set with the block level to the blue band on the mast. Your datum setting is to have the inhaul pulled on until the tack eye is set above the old pin hole in the boom. This would be your medium air setting.
In light to medium airs ease the inhaul a little giving more power and height whilst you can hold it. As the wind increases bring the inhaul back in to lose some of the power.This also work in choppy conditions.
When going down wind ease the inhaul to remove distortion and increase power.
Go fast tips
A common mistake for Solo sailors is to use too much mainsheet tension bringing down the boom too close to the centreline, closing the leech and stalling the sail. As a general rule one will aim for the second leech tell tale down from the top to be streaming 85% of the time. This means the leech is nice and open but not too open, the right balance between height and power. If you have to ease the mainsheet too much it means the traveller is too close to the centreline and needs to be eased a little allowing you to sheet on and vice versa. All the time aiming for the boom to be just inside the back quarter (for med airs)