Friday, December 30, 2005

Boats I'd Like to Sail - Swift Solo

Thanks to Hold Fast for pointing me to another boat I'd like to sail. I have previously posted about the RS700 and the Musto Skiff which are commercially made fiberglass skiffs. The Swift Solo is an S-glass / carbon Kevlar construction with a cedar core (instead of foam) and carbon spars. It has a self tacking / self sheeting jib and a self launching spinnaker and pole. The boat can be made as a kit and the results are beautiful.

Comparison to the RS700 and Musto Skiff

Note: there are some errors in the above chart. the spars for the Musto
are all carbon, the racks are not adjustable, and the sail area is slightly off.

The unusual thing about the Swift Solo is that it has a jib. Julian Bethwaite comments on this on the class webpage:
"Having a jib on a single-hander combined with the main/jib sheeting system keeps the boat balanced across a wide wind range; it also has excellent windward performance. It needs a softer mast to take full advantage of the sheeting feature, but even as it is rigged now, when bearing away in a puff the boat responds immediately and impressively! Most single-handers can't respond like this.

A second advantage to sloop-rigging is that it lowers the rig plan compared with cat-rigging. This allows the 24 1/2 er to perform well without wings because the rig aspect is more moderate (compared with a boat having racks and a cat rig setup) therefore the boat is easier to sail through gust/lull wind variations. You won't get dumped in the water when the wind drops and it is easier to respond to sudden wind changes. The moderate sail plan has low drag and goes upwind surprisingly fast. I easily stayed in front of a 5o5 going to weather.

The spinnaker is big-possibly too big-but it works and is very manageable. It is possible to sail low and fast downwind.

Some other pluses:
1. Gunwale angles set up well so no need for foot loops.
2. Very positive steering
3. High boom so easy to tack
4. Main sheet, effectively 1:1 so easy and simple trim
5. Great feeling going upwind
6. Feels comfortable to get low on the wire.
7. No vices in bearing away.

Some minuses:
1. Hull a bit full 3ft back from bow
2. Top of mast too stiff
3. Main sheet is stiff
4. Footrails not high enough

In conclusion, this is a very good design! This boat would be great for sailing by yourself whenever you want. It gives good skiff feel and would teach great boat handling." - Julian Bethwaite

I think the Swift Solo would be a fun boat to sail but I'm not sure that I could build it myself; although I am an engineer by training I have never built anything like this. I do have a section of basement that is wired as a large home workshop but I have none of the tools. I bet my brother, who is really an engineer and has composites experience, could help me build one though. The boat looks like quite a complicated beast to sail, but it goes fast and there are boats in the US and Canada.


hold fast said...

i first saw the Swift Solo in a copy of WoodenBoat some years ago. The article goes a long way to explain how the "relativity control" works; how the main and jib can be sheeted with a single line in hand, yet still be adjusted for individual best performance. Neat neat ideas there...

Anonymous said...

I just happened by while doing a little search. I have built and sail a Swift Solo. They are not hard to build and if you buy your strips, you don't need a lot of special tools. You can get by with a razor saw, staple gun, orbital sander, hammer, and screw driver.

The boat is not as complicated as it looks but it is more involved than a Laser.

The boat handles well and the learning curve will be a little less steep than the MPS.

For me this has been the best project I've done to date and very glad I did.

Anonymous said...

Any ida on what total finished costs will be?

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sildenafil citrate said...

I agree with the second advantage , I think that it is really good!to sloop-rigging is that it lowers the rig plan compared with cat-rigging. is one of the best thing in the world!

escort tenerife said...

It won't work in reality, that's exactly what I consider.