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Old 07-03-2016, 19:52   #1
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Solent Rig

What is the value of the Solent rig? I seem to see more and boats sporting this set-up, so I would like to know the advantage. Or if there is one over a cutter rig? My boat has a cutter rig, with the staysail having about a third the area of the Yankee. Works great in heavy weather. I can reef the Yankee a bit until its shape is lost, then I can roll it in and set the staysail. Boat stands straight up and off she goes with so much less sail area. And the staysail can be reefed it the wind climbs. In the Solent rig, the second stay is no more than a foot aft the forestay. I bet the second jib has about 85% the area of the main jib. Not much help for a reef.

What am I missing here? Thanks.
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Old 07-03-2016, 19:59   #2
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Re: Solent Rig

Don't forget that you could have a 150 genny and something like a 90 or 100% staysail - a huge difference in sail area.
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Old 07-03-2016, 20:13   #3
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Re: Solent Rig

On the Solent rig, I assume? Yes, you could, but that leaves at best a 50% area offset between the two sails. I have a 100% Yankee (660 sq ft) that is twice as large (66%) as my staysail (200 sq ft).
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Old 07-03-2016, 20:31   #4
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Re: Solent Rig

A Solent rig is good for sailing downwind wing-on-wing poled out with the main down.
They are a bit of a PITA going upwind.

So definitely a "gentleman's rig"


The solent also does away with the cutter's requirement for backstays.
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Old 07-03-2016, 21:06   #5
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Re: Solent Rig

A silent offers a lot of flexibility in sail selection. Say a 165 on the front sail and a 100 on the second. This effectively gives you a massive reaching sail for off the wind, and an inside non-overlapping sail for bashing upwind. There is also nothing saying you can't add a cutter stay sail to a Solent rig.
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Old 07-03-2016, 21:19   #6
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Re: Solent Rig

The main attraction of a Solent vs a conventional cutter is that there is no need for running backs or other means of supporting the center of the mast in way of the inner forestay.

I've lived with a fractional Solent rig for 13 years and 53,000 miles now, and have become used to its foibles. The biggest drawback is having to roll up the genoa every time you tack or gybe. This is a PITA for sure! Our rig has a 120% genoa (around 450 sq ft) and a ~250 sq ft Solent jib, which is on a roller too. We carry the full genoa to windward up to around 25 knots apparent, and then change down to the full Solent. That is good to ~30-32 apparent (if we are driving the boat hard that day!), and then we put one or two reefs in the big mainsail. When that gets to be overpowered, we put a few rolls in the Solent, and then strike it completely. By that time we are not having fun, but the boat will work to windward slowly at ~40-45 degrees apparent... maybe with the third reef pulled in. Not a great way to spend the day, though!

Sailing deep angles, we pole out the genoa to windward, and in light airs will unroll the Solent as well, adjusting the angle of the main to best advantage.

Getting back to your comparison of cutter to Solent, I'd favor the cutter, simply because on most cutters the gap between the forestays is big enough to let the Genoa blow through when tacking.

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Old 07-03-2016, 21:22   #7
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Re: Solent Rig

Problem with many staysails is that they are too small. Often the headsail is furled upwind and at say 25 knots you can no longer carry it so out comes the staysail. You find you don't have the power to punch thru the seas at 25 knots with the little staysail but with a 90% solent rig you would be good to go and you could still furl it down to 75% and still have decent enough shape to go upwind. I often found that I had a gap of 5-10 knots of wind before the small staysail was the right size for the job. Getting rid of runners is nice plus using a twin headsail downwind. I think over time you will see fewer and fewer stay sails and more solents.
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Old 07-03-2016, 21:38   #8
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Re: Solent Rig

How about setting it up like this. You have a 135% on your furler, & by the time you've wound it up enough for it to lose it's shape, it's down to 105% or so. Thus it's good for everything from light'ish air, up until it's time to take a reef in the main. Say 20kts.

Then, your Solent stay is setup so that it's tack is 2' or so behind the headstay (& is detachable - see below). With the top of the stay being 2'-4' below your regular headstay.
So now, when you set your Solent, it fills about 75-80% of your foretriangle. Being that it's clew is cut so that it's a foot or three in front of your spar & shrouds.

Thus, it's a "reef & a half" smaller than your previous (1/3rd rolled) jib. And thus good to say 30kts +/-. And from there, you've got 2 reefs which you can still take in the main, prior to putting up storm canvas; forward, & or on the spar itself.

Also, if you like, you can rig up your 2nd stay so that it's both a Solent, & a Cutter Stay. Which gives you heaps more options. Including; hanking all kinds of jibs & light air canvas onto the Solent Stay, going to smaller jibs yet on the Solent Stay. And when you're in an area where it blows hard, regularly, simply move the base of the stay back to the Cutter position. It's not as if the sail will know the difference.
And as has been said, you don't have to fiddle with runners.

Here's the original thread on detachable Solent/Cutter stays Removable Cutter Stay vs Solent Stay
And then my 1st commentary on making a stay do dual duty (which has evolved a bit since then). Removable Cutter Stay vs Solent Stay
There's a 2nd commentary a bit further on in the thread, as well.

But also, given the advances in Synthetic Rigging, it's an easy setup to assemble. As if you use a Sparcraft Snapshackle to attach the stay/it's hardware to the deck, then it takes but a moment to move it forward or aft, including re-tensioning the stay in it's new position.

So to me, making said stay do double duty only make sense. As it opens up the range of sails which you can fly, greatly. That, & since the stay's not fixed, you can take it aft, when you're somewhere where you'll be tacking a lot.
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Old 07-03-2016, 21:52   #9
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Re: Solent Rig

Isn't a solent sail (used for downwind sailing) second best to a full-rigged, square sailer?
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Old 08-03-2016, 05:05   #10
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Re: Solent Rig

I've played with Solent stays on a few boats. There isn't a perfect solution, but a Solent stay is a pretty good compromise overall.

A 64 foot schooner I sailed had a Genoa on a furler, a Yankee just aft of it also on a furler plus a staysail. This was great offshore, but had a lot of windage and weight aloft and fwd, and of course the Genoa needed to be rolled away every tack or gybe.

On a couple of smaller boats we've rigged up removable Solent stays aft of the furler. This has been great for a heavy weather jib, or a big light Genoa. But adds a lot of complexity and clutter. It's often not easy to keep the sail hanked on and also detach the stay. You end up with a big bagged sail on the sidedeck. Or you have to unhank the sail and then shift the stay. Then stopping the now slack and overlong stay banging about the spreaders is another issue. There are good ways of doing it but its not easy with the sail still hanked on in rough conditions.

It would be nice to be able to slack it from above so the sail could stay lashed down up forward, or maybe some other cunning plan...

I'm not sure having two tack positions is worth the extra complexity, given in strong winds most sloops seem to do fine with a storm jib set forward, and overall running two headsails is usually less efficient than one bigger one, if that's the thinking.

I like Jim and Ann's idea of a solent on a furler on a highfeild lever that can be dropped aft for short tacking. But that has its own issues...

I disadvantage of the Solent stay concept is the reduced rig stiffness fore and aft compared to a proper cutter. But then a cutter rig can do nasty things to sloop rigs that aren't designed for the point loads at the upper spreaders.

A well designed Solent can help stiffen up a masthead rig by giving a small amount more prebend if the stay is slightly fractional, helping slightly to oppose the aft pull of the mainsail, and stop the rig inverting, especially if reefed.
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Old 08-03-2016, 07:25   #11
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Re: Solent Rig

One other point is that the headstay is the one most worked and all things being equal the one most prone to failure. The solent stay offers a back up .
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Old 08-03-2016, 07:50   #12
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Re: Solent Rig

Thanks for all the insights. I am not planning on re-rigging my boat; just wanted to know why Solents seemed to be growing in popularity, and I got some good, helpful answers.

One can clearly see that tacking the Solent rig when using the main jib is PITA. One can tack the cutter rig when flying the jib, but it is not as neatly nor easily done as a sloop rig, but it is not hard.

For what it is worth, a cutter can be set up with jumper stays which obviate the need for backstays.
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Old 08-03-2016, 09:52   #13
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Re: Solent Rig

Moody,

The inner sail on a Solent is typically a non-overlapping sail. Very often set up as a self tacking jib. When short tacking, even in light wind it is an ideal sail since it tacks quickly and requires minimum fuss. The forward sail then becomes primarily a reaching/off wind sail. Which is why I suggest going to code zero size on it.
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