RL24, RL28, and RL34 Trailable Yachts
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RL24 Outboard motors
G'Day all. I've been reminded of a promise I made at the last AGM to put together some form of proposal regarding a minimum horsepower of engine when racing an RL24. The issue arises because the rule in the Blue Book is a little vague, requiring the engine to push an RL at a certain boatspeed into a headwind. This appears to be leading to a situation where owners are able to stick a lightweight 2 hp engine on the stern and assert that it has passed the required test. I don't think this is healthy for the Association. Of course when racing we would all prefer not to have dead weight sitting in the stern, but it is an issue of safety that we can't avoid. Further, I don't think it's healthy for one boat to be able to perform better than the next due to having 20kg less hanging off the stern. On the flip side, there are a number of owners who, for various reasons, have difficulty lifting the larger motor and have purchased smaller outboards for that reason. My own feeling is that an RL24 really does need a 5hp outboard to get out of trouble in adverse conditions, and it's my intention to draft an amendment to the class rules to reflect this. However, I'd like to hear others' thoughts on the matter so I'll leave it for 2 weeks and see what comes of the discussion. Let's call it a Green Paper.
James Shannon30-Jul-2008    Edit    Delete 
Re: RL24 Outboard motors
James, I am not a racer so I probably should not get into this discussion, however I did a lot of work some time ago figuring out what engines fit into the Mk4 well and suit the RL24. I have also done enough miles in pretty ordinary conditions to make a judgment on my RL24's performance and safety with a 5hp Mariner (Tohatsu) two stroke with high thrust propeller.

After 4 years I have no issues with the performance of the yacht. This included motoring into 30 -35 knot winds where I was able to comfortably hold 2-4 knots boat speed at less than full throttle.

I would consider an RL24 with less power than the 5hp inadequately powered because safe operation requires a little bit of power in reserve to give some extra steering or acceleration.

I understand why people like a bit more power, especially if their yacht is carrying a lot of gear.

I also recall many keel boats met the AYF propulsion requirements with 3.3hp Tohatsu outboards. This was probably acceptable where there were plenty of crew and rescue boats but I would not consider using such a marginal capacity outboard responsible.

I believe the responsible action for the RL Association would be to stick with your 5hp outboard motor suggestion as a conservative specification that should be safe for all concerned.

Good to see the association bringing common sense to the rules, I can't imagine anyone being disadvantaged by your suggestion.
Greg31-Jul-2008    Edit    Delete 
Re: RL24 Outboard motors
I can not see the problem ! I have been thru the current (2005 2008) blue book, and feel that the current rule is quite clear and fair, so why make an issue of it? It appears that by the formula a RL24 would require a speed of 4.5 knots. If your boat will achieve that in the prescribed twelve knots of wind(hardly adverse conditions) with an existing motor, and on your normal sailing course, then why put potential competitors to the expense of a new motor. If you refer to the current survey on motors, you will see that only one 24 in the survey has a motor less than five HP. and the potential speed is also controlled by engine condition and propellor selection. It does not appear that the rule was origonally intended to be a saftey measure as twelve knots of wind is hardly survival conditions, and seeing that far more boats participate in division events rather than championship events why add a further penalty to the 24s
Rob.31-Jul-2008    Edit    Delete 
Re: RL24 Outboard motors
Hi Rob. Yep, clear to you and I, but not others, it would seem. A couple of boats have turned up recently with 2hp on the back having passed "the test". In my view, the test is subjective and it will in fact cause everyone to downsize their motor to "remain competitive". The vast majority from what I have seen, and this website has surveyed, have 5hp or more. So there will be little reason to upgrade. However, if the boats at the front of the fleet all start getting smaller engines, remembering that it's these crews who are least likely to be reliant on an engine in a storm situation being generally better boat handlers, then it will undoubtedly filter down the fleet with the in my view inevitable consequence of a lesser experienced crew getting in more major trouble, and not having the guts in their outboard to get them out. I'm not so much concerned about class racing as the more open events, like Geelong, where they send you out miles without a rescue boat. Over the years we have unfairly been branded unsafe and reckless by other classes, however if we all start carrying insufficient horsepower on the back, then I fear the accusation may well be justified. I think the simplest and most sensible option is to declare a minimum motor weight, equivalent to a 5hp 2 stroke, and if owners want to go smaller (for reasons of motor handling and they sail inland or something, then they can carry some lead in the stern when class or open racing. I think that's preferable to everyone downsizing their motor in order to "remain competitive".

As to being competitive in open fleets, our handicap is performance based and is currently representative of our rating against other classes. Some would say our handicap is stuffed especially in lighter winds. If, as I fear, racing RLs move to smaller engines, then, all things being equal, it will in time reflect in the CBH, and then the more part time racers, who have not gone to the trouble of downsizing their engine, will be disadvantaged further. I cannot think of a reason why a motor would be required, except for that of safety. I think the wording in the Blue Book, especially using 12kn as the benchmark windspeed, is pretty poor.

I like development of the class, and I am in favour of anything within the rules that improves performance. However I think that this is an area where what should be an objective rule has been made subjective. All RL24s in my view ought to start on a level playing field in terms of minimum weight, and I think that ought to apply to motors. A working 5hp engine will get an RL out of most adverse situations, and I think it's a good time now to draw a line there, before the "racers" decide to engage in a "who has the smallest...." contest.

Greg, please don't feel as though your "non-racing" status precludes you from having an opinion on this. Firstly I have asked for opinions and secondly, I think this affects RL owners all over Australia. Hopefully the outcome will be that everyone knows what is required in terms of an engine and this will make the decision when purchasing motors simpler in the future. Finally I should point out to all that I am not the Association, in fact I don't think I've yet paid my $25 bucks so I'm probably not even financial. This is a proposal that will be put by me to the Association and voted on at the AGM, so I guess if it interests you in terms of voting, then it's a great time to join. That's right, $25.
James Shannon31-Jul-2008    Edit    Delete 
Re: RL24 Outboard motors
Hi James and fellow RL sailers. My vote is for minimum 5HP. I have a standard 5HP Johnson which is barely adequate in a 30 knot headwind on the Gippsland Lakes. The boat stops dead crashing into waves at that wind strength, which gives me a very slow average speed. Maybe a high thrust prop would improve things but there is no way a 2HP outboard would get an RL out of trouble.
Trevor Jones1-Aug-2008    Edit    Delete 
Re: RL24 Outboard motors
Hi James great to see you have put this issue up for comment, as I said at the last AGM, when I broke my rudder in a race on Moreton bay it was not in 12 knots of wind it was in 30 knots and at the time we were 2 mile off shore with a steap chop 4-5 feet high, at the time I had the better half and 2 boys on board, I have a 5 horse Marina which gave me enough power to push and hold me head to wind, a 2 horse would have been good to use as an anchore but thats about all this is an issue about safety not speed, I am unable to make it to the nationals this year, have a good one I'll see you at the next ones.
Andrew1-Aug-2008    Edit    Delete 
Re: RL24 Outboard motors
Is it broke? If not, don't fix it.
I have tried several outboards on our Mk3, which has the motor on a bracket on the transom.
A 2.5 Tohatsu will move the boat at 5 knots in flat water without wind hinderance but in a chop cavitation is a problem. I have used this motor in sheltered waters on a couple of occasions and would do so again if I had to. My usual motor is a 5 hp Suzuki and it is certainly adequate, better than an older but lighter 5hp Mariner with a very ordinary prop which I also use from time to time. The Suzuki did a good job on a trip back from Wathumba to Hervey Bay in 20 to 30 knot headwinds but fuel consumption went through the roof and we finished up having to sail the worst bit from Moon point to Urangan so we had eough in the tank to get into harbour. Lesson learnt.
I have a mate who also has tried a couple of different options, a 10hp Honda which he uses for cruising, overkill but economical as it only has to operate at half throttle. His motor of choice for events like the Bay to Bay is a 4hp Mercury (Tohatsu) and that is, I believe, about where the bottom line should be. A LOT of Bay to Bay contestants use 3.3 Mercury's (which I think are rebadged 3.5 Tohatsus) and those motors do a great job in flat water. Punching the fast runout tide and 20 knot headwinds into Urangan harbour is a different story.
I would be a bit ticked off if I bought a new 4hp (as I would do if I won lotto) and then found someone had changed the rules "in the interest of maintaining a level playing field". I thought that's what handicaps were for.

Mike1-Aug-2008    Edit    Delete 
Re: RL24 Outboard motors
James, I like the idea of specifying the weight of the outboard and using the minimum 5hp weight. That would allow those who want to use lighter outboards to do so with ballast to adjust the weight.
I do believe a fuel requirement of at least 10 liters (possibly at the end of a race)with caveats for days when there is lots of motoring.

Some States might still have power limits on registration allowing yachts with lower horsepower to avoid the taxes, the weight rule should help those owners to comply with the rule with whatever they use.

A caveat that the safe configuration of the yacht is the entrants responsibility, hence the entrant is responsible for providing sufficient power to maneuver the yacht safely might help avoid criticism of the rule if someone comes to grief because they chose to race with a 1.5 Evinrude and got run down by a Sydney ferry.

This will be a good change to the rules because it helps keep the RL configuration stable and the rating relevant to the fleet.
Greg1-Aug-2008    Edit    Delete 
Re: RL24 Outboard motors
Fair dinkum you guys, Rob has designed a magnificent trailer sailor that does every thing it supposed to. Recently an RL proudly won the wintersun with a mast head spinnaker, was this how the boat was designed, I dont think so. I could go on about full batten sails on earlier models and various mounts for motors but my typing lets me down. If you guys want to race really fast T/Ss then go buy an elliot or somthing stop trying to modify a really good design. Thanks Rob for my great boat!
martyn2-Aug-2008    Edit    Delete 
Re: RL24 Outboard motors
I do appreciate your remarks, but I would like to make my position clear.

Over the years many owners ideas have contributed to the success of the RL24, and I was happy to hand over control of the regulations governing the class to the National Association. I have not been disappointed in this respect.

This debate has merit, and should be argued out, but not on the basis of the "Yachting Australia" rule book, as I do not think that under "Category 5" the intention was ever a safety issue, "while boats are racing in protected waters during daylight hours with limited rescue available", but rather the conveniece of self reliance. However, if the majority of Association owners would like to opt to carry 5HP outboards (as a class rule) that is fine with me, but if safety is the issue, I feel that ensuring the flotation rule is adhered to would be more important, as sometimes even uncapsizable yachts sink.

Finally, if it is decided that boats are to make up to the weight of a 5HP motor, then that weight should be made up with something useful, and neutral in bouyancy such as extra fuel or drinking water to be stored in the motor well, instead of some dead weight.
Rob.2-Aug-2008    Edit    Delete 
Re: RL24 Outboard motors
Thanks Rob for your reply, to see me sail my RL you wouldnt see my super competative nature. Now you have endorsed development of your designs I can better understand the vairiances I see on the bay. No more whinging from me about an uneven playfield. Once again thanks for your support
Happy sailing all
martyn6-Aug-2008    Edit    Delete 
Re: RL24 Outboard motors
I think James and Trevor who are committed racers of Rl24s are creating unnecessary safety concerns and confusion in their posts. If you race your boat in Australia at the moment you must comply with the YA Racing Rules of Sailing 2005---2008 book and any amendments declared to that book.

I disagree with James that the rules are vague and as he did not tell us which YA Category the two 2hp RL24s were racing under at the time, I can only take a punt and say that they were probably complying with the rule book if both the 2hp engines were mounted in the operating position. Down here I think only the Marley Point race is a Cat 5 race for TY and if keelboats are racing in your division (mixed fleet), the Rl24 will have to comply with the Cat 1 and 2 (ocean racing) 3.24.1 rule engine power formulae (see Robs post). This means you have to be able to do 4.5 knots into a 12 knot head wind.

There is no need to change the class rules in this case, if you feel there is a need for the change just state in the National titles sailing instructions that all boats have to comply with rule 3.24.1. A 5 HP outboard is overkill on an Rl 24 and we all know the extra weight down aft on any as built RL24 (with no outboard plug) would operate the water scoop/brake, which slows the boat down substantially. I have a 5 hp outboard with correct prop fitted on my 1943 designed 2 tonne full keel folkboat and it can do more than 4.5 knots in a 12 knot head wind (I checked it out). I do note too that the YV application form for a CBH number does not ask for any outboard power or weight!

If RL 24 owners are concerned about the 2 hp outboard being a safety and performance advantage issue that has been missed by all the appropriate YV committees and also Yachting Australia in their rule book, they should also be concerned that many RL24s will fail the YA TY pull down test. As a consequence any boat failing this test has to have enough flotation installed to float the boat in an upright condition.

While I am on the subject of the racing rules, I refer to rule 78.1 where the owner or the person in charge is held responsible for ensuring the boat complies with the class rules. If for example he has taken his RL 24 out of the 20:20 square metre sail area rule he should ensure he enters his boat in the race as a modified RL24. If he doesn’t he is not only upsetting fellow Rl 24 owners but he is also helping to put another nail in the coffin of the CBH handicapping system.

I see that the top of the performance range in trailer yachts have pulled the plug on the CBH system and YV have introduced a measurement SMS rating system for sports boats. The new Australian Sportsboat Association has been recognised by YA and they now are saying “its no longer ‘dartboard’ handicapping”. I think they start off at the old .800 CBH number and this means the Elliot 7 will be at the bottom of the SMS range. The system is very close to the YV AMS system and all boats are measured and weighed individually and all the class boats can have slightly different ratings. Maybe this is the way to go for all TY’s but it is possible even now for an RL24 owner to put a big rig and a large asymmetrical on and get rated as a SMS boat and go sport boat racing. I see the Airlie beach race week organisers have dropped the trailer yacht division from the event!

Remember what I have said in a previous post “the RL 24 was the first sports boat in the southern hemisphere as it was designed to get up on the plane from day one". Well maybe it’s time for all the keen RL24 racers to forget about outboard engine powers and start looking into setting a 36 square metre asymmetrical on a bowsprit!!!

Alastair12-Aug-2008    Edit    Delete 

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