The Solo is a boat with a relatively simple rig. Once you are on the water there is little adjustment possible. It is essential therefore that you get the right rig settings before launching. When setting up a new boat you need to establish the following:

Mast foot position

You should have 2 mast foot positions, essentially a light/medium setting and a medium/heavy setting. This measurement is from the front of the mast heel to the outside of the centre of the transom.

Please note different builders and different mast fittings may not allow this exact measurement but as close to these as possible is preferred:

Flat water (inland conditions)
0-16 knots – 3052mm
16 knots + - 3065mm

Choppy/rough (sea conditions)
0-12 knots – 3052mm
12 knots + - 3065mm

Forestay tension

More rake is now used where possible, the same principle applies to forestay tension on either mast foot position you use. NB. This is measured without the sail up.
When the back of the mast touches the mast gate the forestay should just be in tension.

Preferably you have a mast with the track cut out, you can then use much more rake, in this case the forestay should be just in tension when the mast (where the track is cut out) is 5mm from the back of the gate.

Shroud tension

The same principle is used for either mast foot position. When the shrouds are just in tension the mast should be 5mm from the front of the gate. If you sail on flat water or are over 85kgs you can sail with tighter shrouds to limit sideways bend, in this case the shrouds can be in tension when the mast is 10mm from the front of the gate.

Centreboard position

Turn the boat on it’s side and fully lower the board so that the handle is touching the thwart. In this position the board should have 25mm of forward rake, now lift the board and mark the handle when the leading edge is vertical (LV), relative to the bottom of the case. Lift the board further until the trailing edge is vertical (TV) and mark the handle. The board needs to be just tight enough in the case so that it stays where you set it, but you can easily adjust it with your foot when hiked upwind.

Mast chock

Use 1 x 10mm chock to be used as per the tuning matrix below.


0-5 knots

 6-10 knots

11-16 knots

17+ knots 

CentreboardLeading edge verticalTrailing edge vertical40mm up from TV mark40-100mm up from TV mark
ChockChock behind mastChock in frontChock in frontChock in front
KickerSlackSlackTension to control leechMax. kicker
Outhaul50mm depth in foot100mm depth in foot50-100mm depth in foot until overpowered then tension progressivelyMax. outhaul with crease along foot
Inhaul  15mm from back of mast10mm from back of mast5mm from back of mast0-5mm from back of mast
Traveller0-50mm from centreline50 - 150mm from centreline150-50mm from centreline0-50mm from centreline
CunninghamSlackSlackTension progressively to depowerTension to depower
Boom PositionEnd above inside edge of tankEnd halfway between tankEnd over outside edge of tank to 100mm outside 50mm-250mm outside

Because Solo’s are relatively easy to sail a boatspeed advantage is hard to find. The settings that have been used for this tuning guide are based around a Solo sailor weighing 84-86kg using a Selden D+ mast and North sail. However these settings still apply providing you use the correct mast and sail combination for your weight.

The settings are dependent on sea state, weight, mast, sail and fitness. So in a force 3 a 90kg helm would be on full power settings whereas a 75kg helm with the same rig would be on overpowered settings. The overlap between settings can be achieved with a combination of rig, sail and centreboard adjustment. There are different ways to achieve the same result. If for example you are caught out with light/medium settings in strong breeze  raise the centreboard further, use more kicker tension (to bend the mast) cunningham and outhaul tension.

Use a combination of mainsheet tension, kicker tension and traveller position to find the best speed upwind. As a general rule start in light winds with the traveller on the centreline and little mainsheet tension so that all the leech tell tails are flying. As the wind increases use more mainsheet tension and ease the traveller to stop the boom getting too close to the centreline. Kicker tension in light winds should be set just slack so that it controls leech twist out of tacks.  As the breeze increases and you have to ease the mainsheet to keep the boat flat use kicker to control the leech profile, and adjust the traveller (usually move inboard) to keep the boom roughly over the outside edge of the quarter. Once fully overpowered use kicker upwind to increase low down mast bend and flatten the mainsail.

In a Solo body position is extremely important. In very light airs your body weight should be centred on the thwart, but do not move forward of this point however light it is. Once you are sat on the side deck move back so that your front leg is pressed against the thwart. As you become fully hiked move back to 150mm from thwart, and then up to 300mm as the wind increases.


Use only enough centreboard so that the rudder is neutral when the boat is flat with the following sail settings:

Light airs

Leave the outhaul on it’s upwind setting. The inhaul (if adjustable) should be released so its slack. The kicker should be slack or just in tension to stop the leech opening too much in gusts.

Medium airs

Ease outhaul so that lens foot is fully eased (you should have a knot in the control which hits the bottom of the boom when lens is fully eased). Ease the inhaul until slack. Set the kicker so that the top batten flies approximately 90 degrees to the boat, this allows the leech to open and maximise speed. If planing is a possibility keep the boat as flat as possible and take the mainsheet 2:1 from the boom.

Heavy airs

Only ease the outhaul on reaches if you can use more power. Ease Inhaul until slack. Once on the run ease outhaul to allow a little depth in the foot. Set the kicker as for medium airs or ease to depower on the reaches. This is also very quick on the run but can be very tippy! By spending time on the water preferably with a tuning partner you will be able to establish the right settings for all conditions. This will allow you to concentrate more of your energies on finding the quickest way round the course.

Good luck on the water!

Contact the Solo Experts:

Charlie Cumbley
+44 (1329) 443430 Work