Swift Solo North American Championships in Port Townsend

On July 8, 9, 10 the Northwest Maritime Center will be hosting a series of races for the Swift Solo Class.  The Swift Solo is a high performance three sail single-handed skiff designed in 2000 by Bram Dally.  The boats are mostly owner-built out of cedar. The class was formed in 2003 and has a championship each year.  Last year was in the Columbia Gorge.  This year the event is in Port Townsend.  The boats will sail off the Maritime Center pier beginning at noon on Friday, July 8 and 11 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

The boat is S-glass/carbon Kevlar construction with a cedar core (instead of foam) for durability and a long competitive life.  It has a self-tacking jib and a mainsheet that controls the trim of the jib with the main.  The sail plan is roughly similar to a 49er with an asymmetrical spinnaker that is self-dousing.  Here’s what Julian Bethwaite had to say about the boat:

“Having a jib on a single-hander combined with the main/jib sheeting system keeps the boat balanced across a wide wind range; it also has excellent windward performance. It needs a softer mast to take full advantage of the sheeting feature, but even as it is rigged now, when bearing away in a puff the boat responds immediately and impressively! Most single-handers can’t respond like this.

A second advantage to sloop-rigging is that it lowers the rig plan compared with cat-rigging. This allows the  [Swift Solo] to perform well without wings because the rig aspect is more moderate (compared with a boat having racks and a cat rig setup) therefore the boat is easier to sail through gust/lull wind variations. You won’t get dumped in the water when the wind drops and it is easier to respond to sudden wind changes. The moderate sail plan has low drag and goes upwind surprisingly fast. I easily stayed in front of a 5o5 going to weather.”

To introduce the Port Townsend community to this boat, the class intends to have a speaker or two on Thursday, July 7, at the Maritime Center at 7:00 p.m.  Copies of the building manual will be available for purchase.  If you’ve ever wanted to build your own high performance skiff out of wood, this is your chance!

For more information, go to swiftsolo.com or see issue #173 (July/Aug 2003) of W0oden Boat.