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26/10/2008 at 2:42pm : Nick Carter [Reply] [Report]
When did FRP Solos start to be built as opposed to GRP?
Is the foam in FRP boats limited to the flat panels of the hull and/or sidetanks or is it taken around into the centre board case etc? I ask because I have seen a GRP boat that had a GRP repair at the bottom of the centre board case where it joins the hull and this would be a bit iffey if you only beefed up one side of a FRP panel.
Have cracks around the centre board case been a problem with some Solos (eg the earliest GRP Solos) or does it ocurr much more with heavier crews and boats used on the sea?
Looking at the Solo's specification here minimum weight is not given. What is it?


26/10/2008 at 7:21pm : GRAHAM THOMAS THURSFIELD [Reply] [Report]
Hi Nick, Can't answer all your questions but I have an Omega solo that was built in 1984 and that is built with a foam sandwich construction. I only know for certain as I drilled a hole in it. The construction is the same for the centre board case. I'm sure more experienced solo sailors will fill in the rest.
Cheers Graham 3389.

26/10/2008 at 10:24pm : John Hunter [Reply] [Report]
Nick, I have some of the answers for you. The first Solos were built using plywood of nominal thickness with stringers and brass screws.There was an initial requirement that the dry hull with permanent fixed fittings but with the centreboard removed should not be less than 70Kg. In those early days it was probably a real work of art to get that weight down to 70Kg. However as a result of work done by Tony Thresher with the agreement of the Association over the years since about 1990 the modern construction methods using epoxy fillets instead of stringers and brass screws now make it easier to build a wooden hull below the 70Kg weight limit.In these instances the association allow a certified corrector weight to be fitted to the aft end of the centreboard casing to bring the hull weight up to the 70kg minimum.Such corrector weights are also fitted to the modern plastic boats. By clever application of modern build techniques it is probably possible to build a very light hull which if fitted with a very large corrector fitted low down on the centreboard casing would put it at significant advantage regarding rolling and pitching characteristics when compared with older boats. To prevent this the maximum corrector allowed is only 3Kg so there is no benefit in trying to build a super light hull.
The first GRP hulls started to become available in about 1970 with Solo 1359 built by Industrial Fibreglass Specialists.The first FRP boat was built by Omega Boats in 1982 Solo 3381. However FRP did not become popular until about 1989 when Holt and Severn started building them 3647 and 3650. FRP started to become a more common classification after 1992 when Don Marine had built a number 3911 and onwards.
GRP is not a very good classification because in the later years GRP may also have included foam but this might not always be clear. I own 3687 which is a Severn GRP boat built in about 1990 and is I believe a foam sandwich.
All the modern plastic Solos seem to be classified as FRP. Winder seem to have a good name in the Solo fleet for a good boat but they have only been building them since 2000 with 4278 being their first Solo. Prior to the Solo, Winder made a name making FRP Fireballs and they now also make Merlin Rockets.
Regards John 3687

27/10/2008 at 10:33am : Dave Cornish [Reply] [Report]
The difference with the newer sandwich boats (Winder, Speed, Boon et al) is the foam is epoxy. These have commonly been referred to as FRP. Earlier boats such as Holt and Severn used a different foam such as polyurethane and were still usually called GRP. Foam allowed hull stiffness without the weight. "Raw" GRP is somewhat denser than wood, so it was not possible to achieve the required stiffness at an acceptable weight for "converted" plywood designs with flat panels. This was less of a problem for GRP designs such as Lasers or Larks because of the strength in the curves (like car body panels). Of course, these can't be built with ply sheets though boats like the Firefly got round this by making the ply in the shape of a boat!

28/10/2008 at 10:44am : Nick Carter [Reply] [Report]
Interested to hear that it can be difficult to tell if a boat is foam sandwich or not, as I thought it was structurally important to bring the two outside GRP laminates together at suitable places and bonded together for a couple of inches before including foam again. Externally this would be seen as a reduction in overall thickness.
I think you may have answered a second question of mine as to what foam was used ie polyester now epoxy. The foam must not break up over time or the boat would have the stiffness of a lilo.

28/10/2008 at 2:15pm : Dave Cornish [Reply] [Report]
It is easy to spot the difference. Foam sandwich have smooth floors, so look like the modern thick floor ply wooden boats. Solid GRP have embedded reinforcing stringers similar to those on older wooden floors.

The coming together of inner and outer skins on foam boats is most obvious around the self-bailer positions.

Hope this helps,
Dave 4353

29/10/2008 at 11:57am : Michael Dray [Reply] [Report]
Hi Dave,

Totally off the subject, but how is your boat? Is it a winder, and do you still find its competitive?


29/10/2008 at 1:16pm : Claire Clark [Reply] [Report]
Michael, once again this is a very open question. All boats from all builders are "competitive" - the important part to getting the best from your boat is the HELM.
Judging whether a boat is "competitive" is very subjective and would depend on the helms expectations.

Gordon's comments to you in his posting dated 21.10.08 stand again:-
"Generalisations are always dangerous. What you have to remember is that most of the businesses associated with the Solo class are in it for the long term. Those that offer poor quality don't survive, as the adverse word gets around quickly. The joy of this class is that you are not shackled to single manufacturers and therefore you have CHOICE. Initially this is bewildering, but it is the ability to keep seeking the holy grail that is but just one of the attributes that keeps members in the class for decades".

I understand that you are currently seeking a new boat and obviously want to get the best boat for your money, but at some point you have to make a choice of builder (just as you would if buying a car) and stick to it. If it turns out not to be the best design for you, there is always the option to trade on again. One thing with the Solo Class and that is if the boat is properly looked after the depreciation is fairly low.

Claire Clark
Solo Class Publicity Officer

29/10/2008 at 3:43pm : Dave Cornish [Reply] [Report]
Claire/Mike. I am happy with what I've got, but having had only four Solos, and only two in the last twenty years, I couldn't, and didn't, give a subjective, let alone objective, comparison with any other combinations. My first, in 1984 (but built in 1970), was a dog though!

29/10/2008 at 4:06pm : Michael Dray [Reply] [Report]
Hi ,

I seem to be getting into a bit of trouble about generalisation here about boats/builders etc...... Ive got nothing against any of the builders and I don't doubt that they are all Competitive with the right person holding the wheel! Like you said Claire I am after the best for my money, hence all the questions. I dont like looking around for the best all the time, I just like to have the peace of mind that if other people are happy with their boats (that will be similar to mine, age and builder), it makes me feel more happy knowing my money is going to be well spent!


29/10/2008 at 7:22pm : Gordon Barclay [Reply] [Report]
Michael, I fully appreciate why you want to get the advice and I feel sure that many members and all of the committee would be very happy to provide you with their advice, experience and opinions of relative values, but ONLY VERBALLY.

You could contact the committee by phoning them at home on the numbers in the front of the class Magazines or Yearbooks. Alternatively, as Claire has already said you could email any or all of them, giving your home number and asking them to phone you. In a similar vein, you could post on the class website, giving your home telephone, and asking members to contact you directly. In all these ways I think you can get the advice you seek BUT it will not offend the public posting of opinions which could be detrimental to some of our favourite businesses.

Hopefully you can see that this is trying to be constructive.

Gordon S4936

29/10/2008 at 5:50pm : David Greening [Reply] [Report]
A thought from Salcombe where we have plenty of representation from the three main FRP builders, its not the boat, its the nut on the end of the tiller ... good people will do well in a Boon, Speed or Winder.

The critical bit is probably having the right rig to suit your sailing weight, style and water, you can't go far wrong with any of the main players, but it is worth talking to them to match the mast to the sail and ensure that it suits your weight and sailing style.

For instance mylar sails won't suit everyone.

I would suggest that the stiffer rigs such as Cumulus and D+ are a bit more critical on control adjustment than the soft rigs such as the Wavelength i.m.o.

Hope this helps.


29/10/2008 at 1:23pm : Dave Cornish [Reply] [Report]
Mike, it's a Winder / Crawshaw / Cumulus / Edge.

It's very competitive at Club level, less so at Opens, but this is mainly due to the nut behind the wheel with too many bad (sailing!) habits and a bit too much weight in the lighter stuff, though I usually manage to compensate for this with decent Balance and Trim. Fortunately 2008 has been breezy!

I don't get to many Opens, but hope to make the End-of-Season - minimal excuses if I don't since it's only up the road from Banbury SC.

It's as well not everyone travels though, or there would be no-one left to host all the Opens!

Easy Over

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