A friend and owner of a RL24 related this story of what happened to him early one summer morning.
He was a wheat farmer from way out west near the NSW-Qld border, 600 Km from the sea and had been keen enough to build himself a TS 16 in a shed on the property, and he mainly sailed it on a local dam. Wishing to upgrade and extend his sailing experiences he bought an RL24, and after a good season on the farm, he bought a holiday house on the water at Runaway Bay. He was in the habit of taking an early morning sail on his own before the wind picked up.
Here on the Gold Coast we have a saying about our weather "Beautiful one day, and perfect the next". Well, this was one of those perfect mornings!
It was around 5am and the sun was just about up. It was warm and there was just the lightest breeze from the west. He couldn’t wait to get down to the boat, no need to get dressed, just stay in his shortie pjs, and what better than to go exploring up some of the canals.
He was a very sociable person and loved to chat and wave to everybody. This morning suited him fine, as people were already breakfasting out on their balconies overlooking the water. He was having a great time sitting down to leeward sailing slowly along on a broad reach, and exchanging greetings as he went.
In the summer the early morning breeze is often from the west and it is not unusual for it to freshen suddenly and change direction, and that is just what happened on this particular morning.
Suddenly finding himself down to leeward and the boat heeling dangerously, he instinctively jumped up to windward, main sheet in hand, lost his footing, and fell over the side.
Holding on grimly to the main sheet, he found himself being dragged along some ten meters behind the boat; his Pjs down around his knees and in danger of losing them altogether. The mainsail was now on hard ,and the boat travelling quite fast.
What to do ! !
Would he let go and salvage his pants, and reputation, and possibly damage his boat, or risk losing his pants and then have to climb aboard naked in front of his now very interested audience?
Like all good sailing boats the RL24 rounded up and came to a halt, and now able to pull his Pjs back in place, he was able to scramble back on board, his boat safe and his reputation intact.