North Sails NEWS

Story Contributors: Aaron Cole


North’s Aaron Cole Breaks Down Salt’s Custom Sail Design Package

📸 Windcraft Yachts

The newest Australian Solaris 50, Salt, embarked on her maiden journey from Sydney to Melbourne last month. Owner Ian Fankhanel gained first-hand experience of her performance with North Sails Melbourne’s Loft Manager, Aaron Cole, on board for the delivery.

This semi-custom production boat from Windcraft, is designed for luxury cruising and impressive performance with a striking hull shape hand-laid for optimal strength and stability.Understanding Fankhanel’s desire to combine luxury cruising with performance racing, Cole took the opportunity to join Fankhanel on the trip south to Melbourne. 

“It was great to be on the Solaris 50 for her delivery to see the various bits and pieces, while learning the boat and how it performs” said Cole. 

“Ian and I had many phone calls and met a few times – and then to live in each other’s pocket for the next three days sailing from Sydney to Melbourne was really exciting.”

“Tight running down the New South Wales coast with 30 knots of breeze on the first night put the newly launched cruiser-racer through her paces, cruising comfortably between 12 and 16 knots throughout the night.”

Fankhanel plans to race the Solaris 50 locally at Sandringham Yacht Club, while the destination regattas are firmly in the calendar, with a cruise north to Hamilton Island scheduled for May of this year, prior to Hamilton Island Race Week in August. 

Soaking up the expertise Fankhanel had onboard, the delivery showcased the versatility of the setup and design throughout the 550 nautical mile trip, running down the Australian south-east coast in heavy conditions followed by cruising right in close to Wilson’s Promontory in Victoria, where the wind settled down for the final night of the three-night trip. 

📸 Windcraft Yachts

“Looking at the sheer scope of the boat, we discussed a sail inventory to suit a wide range of conditions that was not only durable but held their shape under sheet load during racing.”

“Ian and I chatted over the phone a few times about his plans for the boat, and discussed a few options. He’d spent the most part of 25 years off the water, and has now decided to get back into sailing, so we wanted to give him the most range across conditions with the least number of sails to be moved around downstairs.”

“We decided on 3Di sail design for the mini square-top mainsail, as it best suits the owners’ desires for the program.”

“The downwind inventory includes a bright pink A2 gennaker and a Helix Structured Luff Code Zero. These are two of the widest ranging sail designs to cover most conditions Ian will experience through his sailing. And as we learn more about the boat, we can add other sails to fill the gaps as needed.”

“The Solaris 50 with this sail design package is capable of cruising to New Zealand and beyond, as well as racing at Hamilton Island Race Week with a chance of taking the win.” Cole finished. 




📸 Windcraft Yachts

Story Contributors

Australian Solaris 50 Salt Sets Sail headshot
Aaron Cole

Loft Manager, One Design Expert, Sail Expert — Melbourne, Australia

Aaron Cole is the Loft Manager in Melbourne and a former America's Cup, Volvo Ocean Race, and Audi MedCup sailmaker. Aaron has a wide range of expertise in both offshore and inshore high performance yacht racing. He's competed in 16...

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