Pop 25 Solaris - A silent revolution is coming

The race for the first Pop 25 to be launched is becoming a challenge of unpredictable outcome. A couple of months ago it was considered that Horus, the Pop 25 being built by our friend Daniel D’Angelo, in City Bell, Buenos Aires, Argentina, would win hands down. However Daniel slacked down the pace of his construction for a while and now other Pop 25 are getting closer to the stage of construction of our leading runner.

This competition actually doesn’t exist, of course! What is amazing is the speed of construction of the boats whose owners have blogs relating the progress of their work. This performance may be considered a break-through in amateur boat-building.

We are old salts in designing projects for amateur construction, but even for us it is surprising how fast our builders are managing to assemble their hulls. Fernando Santos, who is building the Pop 25 Solaris, has scheduled the turning over barbecue for this December; some scants two months after starting the construction. Other builders being more of the weekend workers type, like Marcelo Schurhaus, Francisco Aydos and Marcelo Bonilla, builders of respectively Konquest, Rancho Alegre and Mandala, are taking a little longer to reach this landmark, but nonetheless are showing impressive speed in their constructions. Nothing compares the emotion of seeing your pipe dream taking shape so quickly. You feel like working non-stop just to see your shoot becoming a floating home.


An exciting construction is that of Konquest, a Pop 25 being built on the slab of her owner’s home garage. Marcelo Schurhaus started building her in a less radical plot, which, however, didn’t belong to him. After having to face some logistic problems, he decided to go to this new location, knowing that from now on he will not need to worry about building location. Marcelo is publishing a blog, http://pop25konquest.blogspot.com.br, also with link from our site: Pop 25 Konquest. There you can follow the steps he already overcame. Even though the text is in a foreign language, the photos tell for themselves.

Pop 25 Konquest. This boat is being built on top of a house garage slab. Marcelo Schurhaus, from Santa Catarina, Brazil, is an amateur without any previous experience. He is finding the Pop 25 construction to be easier than he thought it would be. Courtesy: Marcelo Schurhaus.


The most advanced construction after Horus is Rancho Alegre, being built by Francisco Aydos, from Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, Francisco already sheathed his hull with fiberglass and soon will be turning over the boat to start the interior construction. We can notice how motivated he is with the quick progress of his work for the entries in his blog http://veleiroranchoalegre.blogspot.com.br (see in our page of links: Pop 25 Rancho Alegre).

Francisco Aydos, (the first from the left), from Porto Alegre, Southern Brazil, managed to sheath Rancho Alegre’s hull with two layers of fibreglass plus peel-ply, with the assistance of two buddies, in just a couple of days. Since there is no need to overlap the cloth panels vertically, the hull may be plastered without requiring sanding, except for the longitudinal seams. Courtesy: Francisco Aydos

Another Pop 25 showing impressive speed in construction is Mandala, being built in the state of Santa Catarina, Brazil, by Marcelo Bonilla. Marcelo is a great admirer of Gaudi, the internationally renowned Catalan architect and plastic artist, and perhaps is for this influence that he is so committed with the search for perfection.

Marcelo Bonilla, besides building Mandala for the use of his family, is also producing transverse bulkhead kits for the nautical market. Courtesy: Marcelo Bonilla

Marcelo has some advantages over other builders for the fact that he owns CNC cutting equipment. He owns a company that produces civil construction miniature replicas, and, taking advantage of his facilities, he is the most high-tech builder among our clients. The good news is that he is offering the transverse bulkheads kit of the boat for a very affordable price (R$ 5,600 in local currency, approximately U$2,700), delivering the package F.O.B., but with the beveling of the edges already made and the plywood surfaces protected with epoxy. This option is especially interesting when a group is formed with the intention of constructing various boats together. The package being relatively flat and compact represents low freight cost to anywhere in the world, and for the quality of his workmanship, we think it is a bargain. Mandala has also its blog: http://veleiromandala.blogspot.com.br, also accessed by our link: Pop 25 Mandala. Marcelo’s contact is: gaudi@gaudimaquetes.com.br.

Marcelo Bonilla is producing Pop 25 kits already bevelled and saturated with epoxy, ready for assemblage. He employs green seal woods and marine plywood in the construction of the kits, having everything to do with the proposal of the project, that of being an environmental correct cruising sailboat.


Another Pop 25 that advances fast towards conclusion is Solaris. This member of the class, the only one being built in Rio de Janeiro, is being constructed by John Matheson, a passionate Pop 25 fan, for our client Fernando Santos. John is an old friend of ours who has built other boats from our design, being an unconditional supporter of our work. He accepted the challenge of building this Pop 25, more for the curiosity of learning how the Pop 25 will look like when sailing, than for necessity. As it always happens in cases like this, the results are amazing. In two months of work the hull is already completed and in the first week of December a barbecue is being planned for toasting the turning over of Solaris

Solaris is a Pop 25 being built in Rio de Janeiro by John Matheson (the one on the left) for our client Fernando Santos. The hull was assembled in two months and in the beginning of December it is scheduled a barbecue to commemorate its turning over. Fernando Santos was the first owner to order an electric auxiliary motor for his boat.

However the reference we made in the headlines of this article about the silent revolution doesn’t concern the speed of construction. It means the electric auxiliary propulsion suggested for the boat. Nowadays a boat to be considered ecologically correct deserves being equipped with an electric motor. We have the feeling that in the near future nobody will feel comfortable throwing heaps of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, burning fossil fuels accumulated during hundreds of millions years. That electric motors are silent, this we all know, but that they represent a revolution in auxiliary propulsion for sailboats, we bet this will be the trend from now on. Being a new experience for us, we have been flirting with some brands available in the market, at least to boost the enthusiasm of our builders for the cause. As far as we know, the first client to go electric was Fernando Santos. He already bought his motor, the Electroprop 5.5kW (10kW peak) motor, manufactured by Propulsion Marine, from Santa Barbara, California. Their site is: http://www.propulsionmarine.com/catalina-30-showboat-with-electric-drive:

Solaris motor is already in Fernando’s residence. The stainless steel tray, where the gear box is bolted to, has its fixing flanges with the same height as the centre of the propeller shaft coupling, a good help for the motor alignment.

Fernando ordered the motor directly from the factory, and the package was already delivered by FEDEX, now being exposed in his guest room as the jewel of the crown. The package, besides the motor, consists of an electronic controller, a display for easy monitoring, wire harness, custom made motor mount and reduction gear. It is easy to be understood the instant love affair that took place in Fernando’s heart, and now the Pop 25 community is quite anxious to see how will Solaris perform with such a piece of art.

Electropop 5.5kW (10kW peak) electric motor produced by Propulsion Marine, from Santa Barbara, California. This was Fernando Santos’ choice for his Pop 25 auxiliary propulsion. Courtesy: Propulsion Marine

Click here to know more about the Pop 25.