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SOL boat?

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
I believe this is just a knock of of the Sunfish. It’s a product of the owner of Sunfishdirect.com. His selling price for Sols is the same as a Sunfish, so he will make a lot more per boat selling Sols than Sunfish. But every Sunfish knockoff ever introduced has failed so we will see how he does.
 

mixmkr

Well-Known Member
I like the idea of the bigger cockpit...but sometimes I like to sit on the "transom" and butt steer...which isnt an option on these...so in the end, the jury is still out. I DO like the flag design. Looks sleek.
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
This is very curious.
Sunfish Direct (Chris McLellan; owner) imports Sunfish from LP (Portugal) and is a valued Sunfish Dealer (of which there are very few). Unless the SOL hull comes from LP, this seems like commercial suicide.

In response to another question, the Rocket is an improved version of the Phantom. The latter was, what many considered, an improved version of the Sunfish.
Dave Clark (son of Steve Clark) bought the Phantom molds and built a more up-to-date LIGHTER version based on those molds which they named Rocket.
There's a thread on the Dinghy forum of Sailing Anarchy with details.
 

Dale Tanski

New Member
I agree that you are correct in stating that there are very few valued Sunfish dealers. Indeed LP has treated the average dealer like crap. They see no value in any dealer that is why they went down the "boat in a box" route delivered directly to the customer. They have been unable to supply as required parts, sails, boats or support. I find it interesting that you can purchase a complete new boat but $20 parts are not available. Remember the sail ring shortage? Then there was the sail debacle. In order for a dealer to purchase a new "authorized" sail, they had to order one of each color plus a white race sail. Let's not even talk about price. Why any one would want to invest the time and money to be a LP dealer today escapes me.
I believe that you are incorrect in your statement that unless the SOL hull comes from LP, it would be like commercial suicide. Commercial suicide is when you rely on someone else out of your control for your success. LP has had a abysmal record on being able to supply parts and boats over the last five years. Do you really think they will get any better?
I hope the SOL is a huge success. If nothing else the SOL is made in AMERICA. For that reason alone I would buy one. Oh but they wont be class legal! Again why chase a dying class?
We have a Monday night small boat series here in Buffalo. It is a run what you brung affair. We race Force 5's against Lasers, Sunfish against clones and FJ's against 420's. On any given night we have over a dozen boats and over 30 members. 3 minute start sequence and 6 to eight real short windward leeward races a night full of friendly banter and fun. On average we have 100 starts a season for $50. Have you noticed that racing sailboats big or little has been dying? Name one Sunfish class regatta in your area. There will be very few. Again, LP spends tens of thousands of dollars sending world boats with special sails to god knows where for a handful of the best of the best to play and a dealer can't buy a replacement daggerboard. Oh I forgot, which board? Old school angled, new, newest, composite? Oh that's right you can no longer purchase a wooden blade, you have to purchase a $400 composite one for your 10 year old to go out and sail. Isn't wood a renewable resource? Pick one and stick with it, isn't it one design?
From what I have read the introduction price on the SOL includes a deck cover and Dynamic dolly. Dynamic dolly... where did they come from? LP acquired Seitech and guess what... It became so difficult to acquire one or parts for one that a couple of frustrated sailors started the Dynamic Dolly company! Problem solved. I for one am hoping that SOL has just solved the Sunfish problem.
One last thing, "every Sunfish knockoff ever introduced has failed", funny there are an incredible number of failed boats out there being enjoyed by lots of people. This forum is a testament of that fact as so many questions regarding one are on here. It would appear that perhaps LP's Sunfish is about the join the ranks of failed boats.
LP and many of the others have forgotten that the reason that the manufacture or the class is there is because of the sailors, not the other way around.
Dale
 
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Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
Thanks for that perspective Dale; I agree with ~90%.

Right now, the relationship between Sunfish Direct (SD) and Laser Performance (LP) appears 'complex', at least to me, an outsider.
In addition to being an authorized Sunfish dealer, SD has had a business relationship with LP for several years by reselling 'leftover' boats from the Worlds (2022, 2021). They have also been selling 'excess' Worlds sails. I hope there was a financial benefit to both parties, but I am afraid that this relationship will not last now that SD will be selling SOL boats. I note that several LP dealers have been dropped by LP after these dealers started selling ILCAs.
Although I wish that the SOL will gain market share over time (and get more people sailing), I doubt that these boats will ever be integrated into the Sunfish class (ISCA). ISCA provides a great platform for those wanting to compete in one-design racing. ISCA membership appears to be steady with the class being especially popular in Middle and South America. I must add that LP has supported the Sunfish Worlds by providing boats and support and I hope that they will continue to do so. For instance, they provided about 100 boats for the 2021 Worlds in Florida and about 70 boats for the recent Worlds in Italy. On the negative side, I agree that parts etc. have been a real (long standing) problem.

I have read from others with significant knowledge of the dinghy industry that it is really hard to make dinghy manufacturing financially viable. Just note all the Sunfish-like dinghies that are not built anymore.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
I like the cupholders. And that there is another lateen board boat option for those who can't find a Sunfish in good shape.

Doesn't seem that the balance would be good with 2 people, one of them so far aft. Shifting from side to side for tacks might be more of a challenge for some without an aft deck.

And the stripes on the faux deck should follow the curve of the gunwale, not run straight :)
 
I really like the blue SOL with the wood, reminds me of the boat I learned on as a kid! So much nostalgia, brings back happy memories were made on the lake at my grandparents during summer vacations.
 

tag

my2fish
Well they are a Michigan based company, and are not too far from Detroit - I thought SOL around here meant "Same Old Lions" as is frequently shouted out after they snatch defeat from the jaws of victory each week. I'd avoid buying a SOL sailboat in Honolulu blue and silver colors.
 

cmac233

Member
Check out the SOL in action with Sailing World as part of the 2023 Boat of the Year review.

 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
I watched the video and came to realize that I REALLY like the cubby on my fish!
Paddle, lunch, water, sponge, bailer, racing instructions (some of the time); where would I store all of that on a SOL?

PS: It has dawned upon me that Sunfish Direct and SERO innovation (manufacturer of the SOL) are distinct entities although they clearly share people. How well this would play with LP remains to be seen.

SERO SOL Boat Builder (seroinnovation.com)

PS: If I ever were to get really interested in a SOL, I would want to know more about the construction and weight of the hull.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
I would like to know the makeup of a cored composite hull, if they have used a lamination method that discourages water intrusion into the core and/or core materials that won't be damaged by moisture and/or gain weight.
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
I watched the video and came to realize that I REALLY like the cubby on my fish!
Paddle, lunch, water, sponge, bailer, racing instructions (some of the time); where would I store all of that on a SOL?

PS: It has dawned upon me that Sunfish Direct and SERO innovation (manufacturer of the SOL) are distinct entities although they clearly share people. How well this would play with LP remains to be seen.

SERO SOL Boat Builder (seroinnovation.com)

PS: If I ever were to get really interested in a SOL, I would want to know more about the construction and weight of the hull.
A friend of mine was at the Annapolis boat show and he says the boat weighs 120 lbs. If LP were to start producing enough boats, like they did back when they first bought Sunfish, there would be no need for the Sol. And if you want to race, you will need a Sunfish - I can't imagine enough Sol owners will want to race to make it a viable racing fleet.
 
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cmac233

Member
Here is some info on the SOL I think will be helpful and will answer many of the questions being asked on this thread.

Key Features
• A modern twist on the classic board boat. Accessible to new sailors yet advanced enough to race.
• Open cockpit design offers comfort for up to a family of four. This, combined with built in straps, allows you to haul all your gear for a day on the water or a weekend adventure.
• Buyers can choose from a number of options to create a boat that is uniquely theirs! In addition to sail designs and boat decals, we offer a variety of colors for the handles, optional SeaDek, and extended splash guard.
• High quality construction with cored deck and hull, using a vacuum infusion process.
• Compatible with readily available components.
• American built and proudly being manufactured in New Baltimore, MI.

Length: 13 ft 9 in
Beam: 4 ft 1 in
Hull weight: 120 lbs
Hull construction: Cored composite
Mast: Aluminum alloy
Sail area: 75 sq ft
Crew: 1-4
Built: USA
 

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Dale Tanski

New Member
I do indeed hope they are successful. One way to do that is to be real, practical and honest especially in the world we are surrounded by. It appears that marketing is playing a big part in the SOL. So lets get real...
Key features
• A modern twist on the classic board boat. Accessible to new sailors.
Anything is accessible to a new sailor if they have the time, money and desire. Most boats are accessible to new sailors. We see first time boat owners by 38 footers. "yet advanced enough to race." same strings to pull as that classic board boat. You can race 55 gallon drums around the buoys with a table cloth flying if you want.
• Open cockpit design offers comfort for up to a family of four. You could put a family of four aboard that classic board boat as well and many of us have, neither will be comfortable or perform. The open cockpit has the potential for an awful lot of water to collect. Open cockpit designs go hand in hand with open transoms solving that problem. This, combined with built in straps, allows you to haul all your gear for a day on the water or a weekend adventure. Let's face it, how many are going to weekend this boat? I agree with Wavedancer, the under deck cubby is probably more practical. Your life jacket remains dry in the cubby, in an open pan design it will become the sponge for even that smallest amount of water rolling around. Perhaps I would have just said a "spacious open non restricted cockpit design" and left it at that. Each owner can determine to what extent that feature is helpful.
• Buyers can choose from a number of options to create a boat that is uniquely theirs! In addition to sail designs and boat decals, we offer a variety of colors for the handles, optional SeaDek, and extended splash guard. Those are features but what about: Choose from a wide array of available colors and graphics as well as practical and performance accessories like adjustable outhaul, downhaul, quick adjust gooseneck, wind vane, adjustable tiller extension, deck mounted cam cleat?
• High quality construction with cored deck and hull, using a vacuum infusion process. The first time buyer typically doesn't know or care about coring or a vacuum infusion process. For a knowledgeable buyer it would be nice to know what the core material is. The infusion process tends to make the boats more uniform boat to boat. Perhaps a statement such as: A modern vacuum infusion building process assures consistent quality and remarkable lighter weight.
• Compatible with readily available components.
Wow, here is a beauty! What does this really mean? Does it mean that replacement parts will fit? Does it mean classic board boat parts will fit? Humm... Perhaps: Readily available replacement parts and accessories for carefree low-cost ownership.

Marketing has made some notable changes over the years. They use to simply state the positive features and leave it to the informed purchaser to decide. Apparently they all think the average customer is now clueless. Lately they find it necessary to tell you what you should think is important, how you are going to use it and when. Our local news affiliate has a tag line - 4 things you need to know today. Why don't they just present the news and we can decide what is important to retain for us.
I still think the boat has merit especially from the void that LP has created via their bad management. How it is marketed will be one of the keys to how well it sells. Stating the obvious would be helpful. How about using words such as: available, affordable, fun, fast, adaptable, durable. None of those words were used yet all of these words mean specific thing to each of us that reads them but not the same to any of us. Building the dream in the mind of the user is huge. Hobie did this in the 70's & 80's as they sold a great product and the Hobie way of life. They didn't sell you the product on the if come of day trips or weekend adventures, they sold you the product and you sold yourself on the possibility of daytrips and weekend adventures. They also didn't waste time mentioning colors of handles, the brochure made you more than aware of the possibilities just in its images.
Dale
 

don44

Member
For a short time I had a Star Dancer (Before I found my Sunfish) which had narrow side decks like this SOL and they sure made my posterior sore if I sailed very long. The Sunfish still is the timeless design!Screen Shot 2022-10-25 at 4.56.14 PM.png
 

sawyerspadre

Got kids, need Sunfish.
A friend of mine was at the Annapolis boat show and he says the boat weighs 120 lbs. If LP were to start producing enough boats, like they did back when they first bought Sunfish, there would be no need for the Sol. And if you want to race, you will need a Sunfish - I can't imagine enough Sol owners will want to race to make it a viable racing fleet.
but it might appeal to a yacht club that needs boats for a program. They need 10 boats and they can’t wait a few years, and all they care about is that the 10 boats are all the same and take the same parts.
 
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