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International Soling
Soling insigna.png
Class symbol
Soling Line Drawing.svg
DesignerJan H. Linge
RoleDesigned for the Olympic Games 1972
Crew2 or 3
Draft1.3 m (4 ft 3 in)
TrapezeDroop hiking
Hull weight1,035 kg (2,282 lb)
LOA8.15 m (26.7 ft)
LWL6.1 m (20 ft)
Beam1.9 m (6 ft 3 in)
Hull appendages
Keel/board typeFixed 580 kg (1,280 lb)
Rig typeBermuda rig
Mast length9.3 m (31 ft)
Mainsail area15.6 m2 (168 sq ft)
Jib/genoa area8.1 m2 (87 sq ft)
Spinnaker areaMax: 45 m2 (480 sq ft)
Min: 35 m2 (380 sq ft)
Upwind sail area23.7 m2 (255 sq ft)
D-PN82.3[fn 1]
RYA PN914[fn 2]
Former Olympic class

The Soling is an International open keelboat class designed by Jan Linge from Norway in 1965. In 1968, it was selected to be an Olympic class for the Games of the XX Olympiad in Kiel 1972 (GER). The Soling maintained this status until her final appearance at the 2000 Olympics.

The Soling is a strong boat designed for any wind and sea condition. The boats are one-design originating from an authorized single plug and mould and made of glass reinforced polyester, making competition as equal as possible.

The lifetime of a Soling is long. Those produced in the early days are still in competition (more than 50 years after being built). At the 2019 North American Championship the 5th place was taken by a German team (GER 1) sailing a refurbished Soling build in 1968.[fn 3]

Characteristic for the Soling is the droop-hiking technique.[fn 4]

Soling on a reach

Since 2008, the Soling is one of the Vintage Yachting Classes at the Vintage Yachting Games.



The Soling history actually began in the mind of Jan Linge during the late 1950s while he was doing design work and tank testing on a 5.5 metre to be built for a Norwegian friend for sailing in the 1960 Olympics. This friend, Finn Ferner, was a successful businessman and an outstanding helmsman, an Olympic medalist and winner of many international events. Linge had become convinced that a slightly smaller boat with a detached spade rudder and short keel could be a fast seaworthy boat with the likelihood of great popularity – though such features were not allowed under the 5.5 rules. After 1960 Linge completed his design sketches to demonstrate his ideas for promoting a Norwegian national class.

By the time of the 1961 IYRU meetings, the forces for change had organized themselves to seek four new classes – a single hander as companion to the Finn, a two-man keelboat to complement the Star, a three-man keelboat like the 5.5 or Dragon, finally a catamaran. The underlying goals for these new boats were not explicit, but hinted: "high performance" and "popularity" were key words for whatever boat was chosen. The two-man keelboat process started in 1962 under the auspices of the Dutch sailing magazine De Waterkampioen with the announcement of the design competition, to culminate at the 1963 IYRU meetings, and Trials perhaps in 1965. This resulted in the Tempest.

It was the public announcement by the Class Policy Committee (CPOC) in mid-1963 that started events leading to the adoption of the Soling's Olympic status four years later. The American magazine Yachting undertook to accept design sketches for presentation at the November 1963 meeting with the aim of a compromise between maximum speed and maximum seaworthiness. Obligatory maximum limits and features were:

  • LWL: 22 feet (6.7m)
  • Draft 4'6 (1.37m)
  • Displacement 3799 pounds (1723 kg)
  • Sail area 310 sq. ft. (28.8m2)
  • Non-sinkable
  • Built-in buoyancy
  • Capable of racing in open sea conditions
  • Open cabin

Linge was determined to develop his version of a three-man keelboat. His next door neighbour, Sverre Olsen (See S.O. + LING) became interested in backing the effort. A wooden prototype was built, for experimenting with sizes and placement of rudders, keels, and rig. Finn Ferner, the champion skipper and Linge's 5.5 client of 1960, became an important skilled partner in this activity. By mid 1965, Linge and Ferner were satisfied enough with their work to manufacture the moulds needed for producing complete fibreglass boats. In November 1965, the IYRU scheduled trials to be held off Kiel during September 1966.

The high performance revolution was underway: The Tempest was given recognition, Catamaran trials were set for 1967, and a 1966 re-run of the single hander event which had had no wind in 1965 was held. During the winter of 1965–66, five fibreglass Solings were built which were extensively sailed against one another during the following summer. This competition was destined to be helpful in the heavy weather ahead at Kiel – chosen as a windy challenge for what the IYRU desired.

The first race was in moderate air, but thereafter for ten of the eleven races, Kiel lived up to its breezy reputation. The final race may have been worth all the rest for the Soling: a meeting of helmsmen gathered in view of the forty knot wind. Not surprisingly, the Committee's desire to race was persuasive. By the windward mark only the Soling was left to sail the course, and so was able to demonstrate her outstanding ability to handle heavy air. The Selection Committee, consisting of chairman British Frank Murdoch, Italian Beppe Croce, American Bob Bavier, Greek Costas Stavridis, British Sir Gordon Smith and German Hans Lubinus was impressed.

Two boats were recommended: Shillalah II, designed and sailed by US Star class Champion, E. W. "Skip" Etchells, and Soling, the boat referred to as "the undersized entry". Several new boats, a fibreglass Shillalah, also a 5.5 and a Dragon to compare speeds, assembled in Travemünde for the second Trials – this time in what became a moderate air series. Again Shillalah was the big winner, but again Soling finished respectably. This time she was sailed by Per Spilling with Sven Olsen and Linge again as crew. Without comment, the Observation Committee recommended Soling alone; this result passed unanimously through the IYRU meetings. The Soling had become an international class.

The 1968 Games in Mexico were held before the class acquired its Olympic status. Because there was a five-class limit set by the International Olympic Committee, the CPOC had recommended 5.5, Soling, Tempest (its two new boats), FD and Finn – these at the cost of Dragon and Star for the 1972 Olympics. The Permanent Committee was heavily lobbied by Dragon enthusiasts and so dumped the 5.5; in the same process the Star owners forced abandonment of IYRU's Tempest. In April 1969, after this battle, the IOC relieved the pressure on the IYRU by allowing a sixth "event". The IYRU then added the Tempest.

The news of the trials' results not only assured the Soling's status, but stimulated a building spree: three hundred in 1968 and as many or more in 1969. Elvstrøm became the dominant builder in Europe, particularly after he won the first Soling World Championships off Copenhagen in 1969. One of the best American helmsman, George O'Day, was given a license to build for the US market, just as Bill Abbott Sr. (Chief) acquired the Canadian market.

Present day

The International Soling Class is still very active. Yearly world, continental and many national championships are organized and well visited. Fleetsracing with more than 40 competing boats are no exception. Local club racing is also very popular in the Soling. Boston, Massachusetts, maintains one of the largest active Soling racing clubs, with competitive racing every week through summer and fall.

Soling in Boston Harbor, sailing through Hypocrite Channel




| style="align:center;" | 1972 Kiel

 |style="vertical-align:top;"| United States (USA)
Harry Melges
William Allen
William Bentsen |style="vertical-align:top;"| Sweden (SWE)
Stig Wennerström
Bo Knape
Stefan Krook |style="vertical-align:top;"| Canada (CAN)
David Miller
Paul Côté
John Ekels

| style="align:center;" | 1976 Montreal

 |style="vertical-align:top;"| Denmark (DEN)
Poul Richard Høj Jensen
Valdemar Bandolowski
Erik Hansen |style="vertical-align:top;"| United States (USA)
John Kolius
Walter Glasgow
Richard Hoepfner |style="vertical-align:top;"| East Germany (GDR)
Dieter Below
Olaf Engelhardt
Michael Zachries

| style="align:center;" | 1980 Moscow

 |style="vertical-align:top;"| Denmark (DEN)
Poul Richard Høj Jensen
Valdemar Bandolowski
Erik Hansen |style="vertical-align:top;"| Soviet Union (URS)
Boris Budnikov
Alexandr Budnikov
Nikolay Poliakov |style="vertical-align:top;"| Greece (GRE)
Anastasios Bountouris
Anastasios Gavrilis
Aristidis Rapanakis

| style="align:center;" | 1984 Los Angeles

 |style="vertical-align:top;"| United States (USA)
Robbie Haines
Rod Davis
Ed Trevalyan |style="vertical-align:top;"| Brazil (BRA)
Torben Grael
Daniel Adler
Ronaldo Senfft |style="vertical-align:top;"| Canada (CAN)
Hans Fogh
Stephen Calder
John Kerr

| style="align:center;" | 1988 Seoul

 |style="vertical-align:top;"| East Germany (GDR)
Jochen Schümann
Thomas Flach
Bernd Jäkel |style="vertical-align:top;"| United States (USA)
John Kostecki
William Baylis
Robert Billingham |style="vertical-align:top;"| Denmark (DEN)
Jesper Bank
Jan Mathiasen
Steen Secher

| style="align:center;" | 1992 Barcelona

 |style="vertical-align:top;"| Denmark (DEN)
Jesper Bank
Steen Secher
Jesper Seier |style="vertical-align:top;"| United States (USA)
Kevin Mahaney
Jim Brady
Doug Kern |style="vertical-align:top;"| Great Britain (GBR)
Lawrie Smith
Robert Cruikshank
Ossie Stewart

| style="align:center;" | 1996 Atlanta

 |style="vertical-align:top;"| Germany (GER)
Jochen Schümann
Thomas Flach
Bernd Jäkel |style="vertical-align:top;"| Russia (RUS)
Georgy Shayduko
Dmitri Shabanov
Igor Skalin |style="vertical-align:top;"| United States (USA)
Jeff Madrigali
Jim Barton
Kent Massey

| style="align:center;" | 2000 Sydney

 |style="vertical-align:top;"| Denmark (DEN)
Jesper Bank
Henrik Blakskjær
Thomas Jacobsen |style="vertical-align:top;"| Germany (GER)
Jochen Schümann
Gunnar Bahr
Ingo Borkowski |style="vertical-align:top;"| Norway (NOR)
Herman Horn Johannessen
Paul Davis
Espen Stokkeland


! style="text-align:left;" colspan=4|Reference:[fn 5]

|- |}

Pan American Games

|- |1979 San Juan | United States (US) | Brazil (BL) | Canada (KC) |- |1983 Caracas | Brazil (BL) | Canada (KC) | United States (US) |- |1987 Indianapolis | United States (US) | Canada (KC) | Brazil (BL) |-

! style="text-align:left;" colspan=4|Reference:[fn 6]

|- |}

World Champions

Fleet racing[1]

Match racing (Infanta Cristina)

|- |1995 Kingston | United Kingdom (GBR)
Stuart Childerley | Norway (NOR)
Herman Horn Johannessen
Paul Davis
Espen Stokkeland | Denmark (DEN)
Stig Westergaard
Jens Bojsen Møller
Bjørn Westergaard |- |1996 Cadiz | Sweden (SWE)
Magnus Holmberg
Björn Alm
Johan Barne | Denmark (DEN)
Stig Westergaard
Jens Bojsen-Møller
Bjørn Westergaard | France (DEN)
Marc Bouet |- |1998 Kralingen | Germany (GER)
Jochen Schümann
Gunnar Bahr
Ingo Borkowski | Norway (NOR)
Herman Horn Johannessen
Paul Davis
Espen Stokkeland | Australia (AUS)
Neville Wittey |- |1999 Melbourne | Sweden (SWE)
Hans Wallen
M. Augustsson
Johan Barne | United States (USA)
Jeff Madrigali
Jim Hartwell
Chris Healy | Netherlands (NED)
Roy Heiner
Peter Van Niekerk
Dirk de Ridder |- |2000 Cadiz | Denmark (DEN)
Jesper Bank
Henrik Blakskjær
Thomas Jacobsen | France (FRA)
Philippe Presti | United Kingdom (GBR)
Andy Beadsworth
Barry Parkin
Mason |-

! style="text-align:left;" colspan=4|Reference:[fn 7] 

|- |}

Continental Championships[fn 8]

European Fleetrace Champions[fn 9]

European Matchrace Championship[fn 10]

|- |31 May - 2 June 1993 Kralingen | Norway (NOR)
Herman Horn Johannessen
Paul Davis
Espen Stokkeland |Input needed |Input needed |- |1994 | | | |- |1995 Torbay | United Kingdom (GBR)
Andy Beadsworth | Norway (NOR)
Herman Horn Johannessen
Paul Davis
Espen Stokkeland | United Kingdom (GBR)
Stuart Childerley |- |1996 | | | |- |1997 St. Gilgen | Germany (GER)
Jochen Schümann
Gunnar Bahr
Ingo Borkowski | Ukraine (UKR)
Sergey Pichuguin
Dmitriy Yarovoy
Sergey Timokhov | Norway (NOR)
Herman Horn Johannessen
Paul Davis
Espen Stokkeland |- |1998 Torbole | Germany (GER)
Jochen Schümann
Gunnar Bahr
Ingo Borkowski | Spain (ESP)
Luis Doreste
Domingo Manrique
David Vera | Ukraine (UKR)
Sergey Pichuguin
Volodimir Korotkov
Sergey Timokhov |- |1999 | | | |- |2000 | | | |}

North American Championship[fn 11],[2]

South American Championship[fn 10]

Vintage Yachting Games

|- |2008 Medemblik

  | Netherlands (NED)
Rudy den Outer
Leo Determan
Ronald den Arend |20px Wildcard (NCO)
Steven Bakker
Sven Koster
Joost Houweling | Germany (GER)
Holger Weichert
Laurent Scheel
Martin Setzkorn

|- |2012 Lake Como

  | Ukraine (UKR)
Igor Yushko
Sergiy Pichugin
Dmitriy Yarmolenka | Netherlands (NED)
Rudy den Outer
Gavin Lidlow
Ramzi Souli | Austria (AUT)
Peter Neumann
Rudolf Rager
Rudolf Hubauer

|- |2018 Copenhagen

  | Netherlands (NED)
Rudy den Outer
Theo de Lange
Gabor Helmhout | Canada (CAN)
Peter W. Hall
Johan Offermans (NED)
Gord de Vries | Ukraine (UKR)
Igor Yushko
Sergiy Pichugin
Sergiy Ivansits

|- |}

National Championships

Class association

The International Soling Association, ISA, was founded as soon as the Soling became an International class in 1967. Originally an "Owners Club" became a very self-supporting organization who provided great support for the whole Soling community and guarded the Soling one-design during her Olympic tour of duty as well as in the present time.[fn 12]


External links

Licensed Builders