Soling Day Sailor
The International Soling Class
HISTORY -The Soling was designed
as a day racer/sailer (without any compromising cruising accommodations)
In 1968 after a series of trials the ISAF selected the Soling
(over a number of designs created for the occasion) to be
the Olympic Three-Men Keelboat. Despite the subsequent appearance
of vast numbers and varieties of similarly sized keelboats,
its superiority continues to be recognised by its selection
for every Olympics since 1972 until the Australian Olympics
in the year 2000.
SAILORS - A major portion of
the world's outstanding sailors have raced and/or are still
racing Solings. Our Gold Medallists and World Champions include
Paul Elvström, Buddy Melges, Robbie Haines, Jochen Schumann,
Jesper Bank, Bill Buchan, Vincent and Gastao Brun, Glen Dexter,
Mark Bethwaite, Dave Curtis, John Kostecki, Helmar Nauck,
Marc Bouet, Larry Klein Manuel Doreste, Luis Doreste, Jeff
Madrigali , Gustavo Warburg, Bill Abbot, Sergey Pichuguin.
STATUS - The Soling is the training
ground for young (and not so young) sailors who aspire to
be great. The Class provides the world's best competition
within which the least is able to race against and learn the
skills of the greatest. Because it provides such ease of handling
combined with unusually sensitive responsiveness to sail and
hull trim, the Soling is the boat most commonly used in commercial
Sail-Training Schools all over the world.
VENUES - The Soling is raced
in 41 countries on six continents. Its quickness, manoeuvrability,
and tactical effectiveness suit it ideally for smooth-water
lake and bay sailing. Although most of its active fleets are
located on such waters, major championships are typically
conducted at sea where its heavy weather abilities are best
MATCH RACING - The Soling introduced
Match Racing to the Olympics and to the world. Today it is
the training ground for and means of entrance into the world
of match racing. A glance at the ISAF Match Race Ranking List
shows that the vast majority of the top ranked sailors - Russell
Coutts, Ed Baird, Peter Gilmour, Magnus Holmberg, Roy Heiner,
Chris Law - are either present or former Soling sailors.
FLEET RACING - Club racing takes
place at numerous venues on both coasts and inland in the
United States and Canada , in Australia , Japan , South Africa
, Argentina and Brazil , as well as almost every country in
Europe . National championships are conducted in 22 countries,
continental championships on four continents, and a World
Championship annually in rotation between those four continents.
The Worlds were or will be conducted in the following venues:
1991 - Rochester, USA, 1992 - Cadiz, Spain, 1993 - Phalaron,
Greece, 1994 - Helsinki, Finland, 1995 - Kingston, Canada,
1996 - Punta Ala, Italy, 1997 - Copenhagen, Denmark, 1998
- Milwaukee, USA , 1999 - Melbourne, Australia, 2000 - Murcia,
Spain, 2001 - Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2002 - Marblehead,
USA, 2003 - Balaton, Hungary & 2004 - Porto Alegre, Brasil.
SAFETY - The Soling is essentially
unsinkable and its multiple self-bailers and high floor keep
it ""dry"" in the heaviest
of weather. Measurement of continued compliance with the
Class Rules and inspections during competition ensure the
presence and proper maintenance of required safety equipment.
TYPICAL CREWS - Helmsmen can
be of any size, age (average 40+), and gender. Middle crews
tend to be large (200+ lbs), but many far lighter have been
successful (including Billy Abbott's 125lb wife Joanne who
finished fourth in the '96 Olympics). Foredeck crews are of
intermediate size, their brains, experience, and skill being
far more important than their brawn. All hike (when heeling
requires) using comfortable harnesses with ankle attachments
or straps. The Soling is a true three-men boat; all three
are essential to success (although inexperienced middle crews
can be quickly trained).
FLEET MIXTURE - The Soling Class
has been remarkable for its ability to maintain an enjoyable
mixture of club and Olympic sailors throughout its racing
programs. The majority of competitors at a usual World Championship,
although not Olympic aspirants themselves, enjoy going up
against and frequently beating the best. By the same token
most of the Olympic competitors are happy to contribute their
skills and their knowledge to the enhancement of the local
racing at their home clubs.
WOMEN IN SOLINGS - The Soling
was the only gender-mixed class in the '96 Olympics. Many
of its helmsmen are women and at least at the club level many
of its crews. In part because its sail controls are so easily
adjustable it is considered to be optimally suited for women's
match racing. The Vice-President of the Class is Rose Hoeksema
of Chicago .
MANAGEMENT ASHORE - The Soling
is typically kept ashore on a trailer and can be easily wheeled
by its crew to a hoist where it is launched in a few minutes.
An ordinary family car with a standard trailer hitch is sufficient
for towing to regattas.
SAIL AND RIGGING CONTROLS -
The Soling has controls for every aspect of sail and rig trim
- jib tack, halyard, sheet, and traveler, main Cunningham,
outhaul, sheet, vang, and traveler, spinnaker sheet and quy,
jibstay, backstay, and upper and lower shroud cars - led to
both sides of the boat with cascaded increases in power which
provide for fingertip adjustment