It has been a while since I was active on the thread. I have gone through all the 100 pages or so created since my last visit and want to share with you some more experience from my Opium 39 bought last year and located on the Swedish west coast.
Basic impression is as I wrote last year, after first season. As I feared you need to go the extreme, if I may say so, set up of a Pogo to be able to reach the figures Eric is qouting from his 12.50. I often get questions from people on the quay if the boat start planing early and to be honest, it does not. Basically you need big waves and a big gennaker in 20 knots + wind to start planing. So very much the same as any performance cruiser. But on the other hand we have so much fun sailing it anyway. As pointed out by Paulo, the feel of the boat is so crisp, like a Porsche, not a dull BMW and so comfortable so in the end you always arrive earlier than expected and with no bigger effort or problems.
Thanks to the twin rudders and good hull shape (?) you are always in control and it never stand on it's nose, as many modern wide beamed boats, but instead lifts is nose and take off, leaning on the aft leeward corner of the hull.
We try to find boats to compete with but always ends up with loosing them as tiny dots at the horizon behind us. Still without any magical numbers on the instruments but with a very high average speed due to good control and efficient set up. We also find the boat quite good at pointing, contrary to Erics note on the Pogo, both in low and high winds, but of course perhaps not as good as a competent sailed pure performance cruiser.
Switched to a bigger gennaker (130 sqm) this year and it is a very good size for the boat.
We still marvel at the excellent storage space and the very good look out of the boat through low and big cabin top windows and even level between cabin sole and cockpit.
So in summary, it does not plane very easily, at least not loaded with windlasses, bikes, outboards, dingy, bow thruster, inlines, beer, wine etc. But it shurely beats any Xp38, Arcona 400, Dehler 41 or other similar in my books, taken into consideration the whole package. As my fellow countrymen Mr W seems to think, my closest alternative, perhaps besides the new JFK 38 would be a Dragonfly.
You have been so long away that I was worried:i have recommended that boat to you and I was affraid something was wrong
. Glad to know that you and the family like the boat and suits your lifestyle.
Regarding what you say about the boat, it meets my opionion except that story about beating a XP 38 (or a similar boat). You will go faster downwind but upwind, specially with some wind and waves, the XP will go away sailing more comfortably.
By the way I have read a test sail of the new Solaris 37 on a French magazine (voile and Voiliers) and as you know the French hate to say good things about Italian boats. What they say also confirms my opinion about the boat: Not as fast as a XP38, but a lot of speed in style. They say as a conclusion:
"An impecable compromise: With an interior space of a cruiser boat and performances of a race boat the Solaris 37 is directed to demanding owners that don't want to lose in comfort nor speed. Easy to sail by a couple it is a very attractive sailboat but the very high building quality doesn't make us forget its high price. "
Now if you have the money (the boat tested costs with VAT about 350 000€) that could be an ideal boat for most couples,specially the ones that sail a lot upwind
Some speeds with the standard small front sail (Jib):
5k wind at 50º: 4.3K
10K wind at 70º: 7K
14K wind at 70º: 8K
11K wind at 50º: 7.5K