Awwwww! Just look at this deck! I mean, look at it, really. This isn´t a yacht. It´s not a boat. It´s a work of art. To my eyes, the Solaris 50 is one of the true icons of modern yacht design. I went to see the boat during last Boot Duesseldorf boat show because how couldn´t I pay my tributes to this beauty? In this, the Solaris 50 is the last of these year´s Duesseldorf walkthroughs and as the title instills, I couldn´t think of any other yacht truly worthy of concluding my 10 boat walkthrough series.

Oh, such a flush deck …

So why the Solaris 50? Why not the 55 or the 70, 80 or even 111 feet sister ships? That is because I think this particular boat has the most balanced appearance, the most delicately measured ratios, the sheerest lines and besides, although 50 feet is a big-ass boat size for almost all of us, it´s a size we can relate to. 111 feet is another dimension, thus pointless.

Flush, flusher, flushest …

What always strikes me most about Javier Soto Acebals lines is the simplicity. It seems as if the design briefing for him did contain only one word: “Flush”. The Solaris 50 is a perfect example of creating an intricately playful design in it´s simplest clarity by using just a few strokes. Flush is the theme around which everything about her appearance is grouped. Every detail, every measurement. Is. Just. Flush.

Solimar hatches, best choice.

Apart from that, walking her wide decks admiring the Solimar deck hatches, the perfect Teak decking woodworks and the level of dedication when it comes to details. For example the sprayhood. I mean, there are a few boat designs which work with a sprayhood up. Everybody would agree if I´d stated that there is no such thing as a beautiful sprayhood. Of course, in bad weather you´ll need one. But again, stowing the canvas away often makes it worse. Not so on the Solaris 50.

Engineering beauty

A wonderfully elaborated hood-cover will make it disappear as if it was never there. Of course, this stowage is flush. Seamless, not a slightest bulge or elevation. Just a flush sprayhood stowage. It is just awesome to witness how easy and beautifully arranged such a design challenge can be solved. Just a couple of hinges, flaps and a system to set it up as easy as ABC. This is where design meets practice. Done at its best on the Solaris 50.

Javier Soto Acebal: Iconic!

Although the Solaris 50 is around since 2015, which, shockingly enough, is almost 10 years now, she is a class of her own. I don’t know but it seems as if Soto Acebal has created a boat that is modern and “up to date” in every sense of the word, but also timelessly beautiful. I am sure, in another 10 years time her tempting lines will still be considered to be sexy and great.

Clean. Clear. Beautiful.

With a length of 15.40 meters and a max beam of 4.55 meters, she is a true 50-fotter. Her 14.2 tons of displacement are powered by an sail area of 155 square meters. Almost 5 tons of ballast make some 35 per cent of the boat´s weight. These are pretty good metrics, compared for example to a Grand Soleil 48 which is as similar in measurements as it gets. She displaces 12.9 tons with a ballast of 3.5 tons (27 per cent ratio) and some 137 square meters sails area.

Wide open stern: Sexy!

The “flush-theme” is best seen from astern. Solaris 50 was the first boat where I really discovered the wide, flat, open, racy transom. Since then many, if not most, of the large production companies have set out to copy this. Soto Acebal may not have been the first to come up with those sterns, but his Solaris boats in my view made this design enter the large “ordinary boat”-market.

Single handed cockpit layout

Of course, the Solaris 50 is a Mediterranean yacht. I´d say in my mind there is no other boat that embodies Med-style sailing more than a Solaris. A boat sprinting over a seemingly waveless blue Ocean, a hot sun is burning down with a moderate breeze from ashore making her effortlessly float. This is not a heavy cruiser for long distance exploration nor a boat I´d love to sail around the Horn. She is a boat to take my love out, a boat to sail into a lush summer sunset, to play with Dolphins with.

A true single-handed boat

Her layout is clearly for the single handed skipper. All lines are (flush!) diverted to the winches at the aft, the whole running rigging is operated from there. Not a single rope will enter the guest´s area, will take away the lust for life and passion for sailing. Behind the steering wheels, a dedicated skipper will gallantly manage the sails trim whilst his guests may enjoy a carefree day.

Your stage, Skipper!

In this, the steering posts are put in a prominent place. Soto Acebal – clearly for practical reasons like having the best view and such – makes them stand out like statues. Like a prominent sacred location, a bit distance put to the guest area. The Captain may be paid homage to when he stands there, steering the ship. Those wheels, the panels, the controls – this is a workplace that is fun. How many boats had I to see where it seemed like these had been the last, annoying, parts to be put somewhere. Cramped, hidden, put aside? Not so on the Solaris 50.

Absolutely awwwwwww…some woodworks!

The best awaits you when you go down. The level and quality of the woodworks are mind boggling. I mean, everywhere you look, and I mean anywhere, you will notice a spotless richness of continuous wood-grain in any wooden part. The doors match the bulkheads, front laps of the stowage, the galley … name it.

Ah, the grain!

This is not only beautiful, but absolutely painstaking to manufacture. The level of attention, of raw material quality and the craftsmanship is many levels up compared to most of the shipyards. As there is one mistake, one little defect in one single little part, a whole front of flap-covers is going to the recycling. It´s amazing!

Perfect craftsmanship.

Even the floorboards match the continuous grain. Absolutely unbelievable. This is not just luxury manufacture, it has a very clear effect on the eye of the beholder. Take any production boat: The veneers are nice, the design is nice and the quality is nice too. But every flap, every board, ever bit is different. There are breaks in the wood grain all along. Not so inside the Solaris 50: This is one homogenous room. Subconsciously this creates instinctively a wholesome coziness, a unity, that is instantly felt and appreciated by your eyes. Amazing!

Just love the details

Solaris is clearly an upper brand. As such, there are fittings and details never to be seen on most of the other boats. You know that I am a big fan of Oyster Yachts, boats which have a similar approach to quality and craftsmanship, Solaris definitely takes it to a new level. This is where the money goes: Attention to spotless details.

Cozy and modern interiors

But behold: This is not just any front page beauty: Sexy but stupid. The Solaris 50 is a practical boat that can and should be used as a cruiser. The Salon comes in my favourite layout with a slightly offset to starboard walkway and a large seating area with a dinner table to port side.

Clean and spotless salon

This settee offers four persons more than enough space and table area to enjoy a full dinner. Many of these U-settees are either too cramped with too big sized tables or are too small. With the Solaris 50 this seems all in balance. When lowered, the table can be turned into a cozy surface, either serving as a huge sleeping/lounging area or the place to put someone suffering from seasickness.

Note the stowage

Vis-a-vi a small 2-seater sofa with an adjoining navigation station is situated. Even on the smallest Solaris 40 this dedicated chart table with a single Captain´s seat is put and I really like it. This working area for the skipper provides a large enough chart table to so some navigational planning and logbook entries, as well as from here the skipper can operate the main switch board and the VHF.

A good nav station

The galley to portside (where it belongs) comes with my favourite L-shape design. Good proportioned fridge/freezers, loads of stowage in cupboards and cabinets as well as a huge countertop to prepare the food. Unique – and I love it – is the position of the sinks in the Solaris 50 adjoining the entryway ladder down. And check where the big and small sinks are positioned – role model!

Perfect ship´s galley

In this, the beauty has a very practical side to her. She is indeed not only nice to look at any maybe quick to sail: She provides with a great interior. This is definitely a place I can imagine myself being for weeks and weeks and weeks. Let´s take a look into the cabins then …

Two fore cabin choices

The Solaris 50 can be ordered as a three-cabin boat solely. Of course there is a catalogue of options and designs, but essentially, three cabins are set. For the front cabin where usually the owners reside, there is a big choice to be made: Classic central island bed with a bathroom to portside or – like seen in this particular yacht exhibited in Duesseldorf – with a forward facing bed and a bathroom in the foremost part of the cabin.

Well, a no from me.

Even if there may be some pro-arguments for the shown fore cabin, I´d never go for such a boat. A bed like this is dangerous in heavy seas, especially when the boat heels to starboard side. The toilet will be rendered inusable in heavy seas as the up and downward motion will make you puke before you´ve take your first dump. Maybe this is the choice for people who only stay at the mooring?

I´d go for the classic layout

I can see why some may prefer this: The small sofa to get dressed/undressed to starboard side, the feeling of being really “disconnected” from the guest area … it has a lofty feeling to it. But as a sailor, this layout is not what I´d go for definitely. Just take the bathrooms: There is nothing better than having a toilet on either side!

Big bathroom in the front

Why? Because, if she sails on a starboard tack the aft bathroom is the place to go. Heeling to the port side, the portside bathroom will be better to use. I many boats, maybe because it saves some money, I see two bathrooms on the same side. Which is stupid in my eyes. So please, build me one with the classic configuration then …

Being a guest aboard Solaris 50

As much as I like the space and roomy feeling of the frontal bathroom, a normal head does it as well. Considering the fact that in 99 per cent of the cases we spend only a fraction of time in there, the buzz around heads is ridiculous. I mean, you are literally just taking a piss here, brush your teeth and occasionally take a shower! How big of a bathroom do you want?

Carbon counter top?

When I was confronting Kristian Hainsek from Seascape with the very small bathroom in the First 36, he looked at me and asked: “Do you want to sail or do you want to shit?” I mean, that´s also ridiculous, but he has a point: We need some degree of comforts, but it´s a sailboat at last. Looking at the cabins, the buyers of the Solaris 50 can choose between a standard double berth cabin or a 2-berths cabin with separation.

Very practical

I don´t think that many 50 feet-owners already employ a crew, but kids or a skipper/trainer will appreciate the separation offer for sure. The big area hull windows will surely make for much natural light and a nice atmosphere in all of the cabins, I am a huge fan of these. Solaris makes them really big, what a difference to those small, narrow arrow slits in some boats.

An old flame never dies

And so, after a wonderful half an hour aboard the Solaris 50 I thank the crew for letting me enter the ship, and go. She might not be the newsworthiest of all boats, she might not be a breakthrough in technology, but she is indeed iconic. A homogenous, balanced work of art. She truly belongs into the clear blue waters of the Med.

What a beautiful boat!

It´s amazing how this boat can still turn me on. The Solaris 50 – not unlike my own new yacht, the Omega 42 which is an icon too, but from a much more distant past – is proof that you may not always need to be the loudest bang or have the latest bells and whistles. Since I attend Boot Duesseldorf I cannot remember that Solaris has changed their stand concept. Quality, beauty … is just timeless. Maybe this is the most important teaching I take with me as I wave this beauty goodbye.


You may also like to read these articles:

At the Solaris yard in Aquileia

Talking to Javier Soto Acebal about Solaris

Solaris 40 – entry level flush at its best