Sorry for the delay in responding:
1. SMJ I am
shocked that any type of diesel
would pose a greater risk of fire!!!! Still makes no ssnse to me, but hey!
2. As to the performance of a Solaris, it depends upon what model you are considering. SMJ has a 36 which is VERY similar to a Manta
(both pulled from designs by Eric Lerouge) and which performs quite well indeed. It has the same under-bridgedeck shape (compound curves) which really do tend to reduce slamming. The principal difference is with respect to interior
finish - the Solaris, while extremely solidly built (to Lloyds 100 A1 unlimited offshore
standards), nevertheless made use of a great deal of glued on carpeting/vinyl which will need replacing by now.
My boat (the Sunstream 40) was modified from the Cherokee 35 which was designed by Rod Macalpine-Downie (another boat which SMJ owned in the past, if I am not mistaken). Macalpine-Downey also designed the Tornado cat in the late 60's and some say that there have been virtually no improvements in hull
design for performance daysailing cats since this seminal design.
Many of the same design elements are present in the Cherokee/Sunstream 40 - fine entry with small knuckles forward, u-shaped underbody with a minimal prismatic coefficient. Having said all of that, the performance of my boat is modest in absolute terms. Yes, she tacks readily even in light air. Yes, she performs well in reaching conditions. However her performance to windward leaves much to be desired (anything closer than about 50 degrees true causes a substantial drop in speed and, due to the relatively low bridgedeck, the risk of pounding).
Part of the problem with the Sunstream 40 was that when the boat was lengthened aft, the rig was also moved aft to permit
rig - hardly ideal on the wind
. However for a cruising boat, I have found that it is an ideal rig and I am prepared to lose some performance to windward for its other advantages:
1. the mast
is mounted at the aft coachouse bulkhead, the strongest point of the boat and a location which permits all of the lines to be led directly to the cockpit
without the need for turning blocks, etc.
2. the furling
staysail works perfectly in heavy air and permits a heavier sail that can be reefed and used as a proper storm jib
. This is a safety
issue as it does not require going forward to install a galerider, or equivalent over the furled genoa
. It also moves the storm sails
inboard, where it should be and ensures proper sail shape when reefed down (reefing a genoa
by about 85% ruins the shape and, since lighter weight dacron is used, leads to blown out sails).
3. Since there are separate tracks/winches for the staysail/storm jib
, one can ensure proper lead angles.
The 32 was also pulled from an Eric Lerouge design (again, like the Manta) and perfroms extremely well.
The other Solaris Cats, including the original 36 and the 42, while extremely well built and comodious, tend to perform rather poorly and to suffer from extensive pounding.
Anyway, those are my comments on performance of Solaris cats. Others may differ.