RL24, RL28, and RL34 Trailable Yachts
from Rob Legg Yachts

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Making the decision to buy
G'day everyone.
I can find heaps of info praising the RL24 for racing and cruising but not much on the cons of the vessel. I am very close to purchasing one and would like to know what other owners think are the boats floors so I can go into it with my eyes open. I have a wife new to sailing and a little wary of it and 2 young boys, one and three.
Could I sail the boat comfotably in 25kts plus for weekends away?
How much of an issue is the headroom etc.
I'm very interested to hear your thoughts. Thanks for your time,
Ben Slywa30-Oct-2008    Edit    Delete 
Re: Making the decision to buy
Do it.
Where do you live? Link up with an RL sailor and do a few trips with him to get to know the boat.
Buy your boat now if you have the chance, then get serious about learning to sail it.
Our first boat was a Hartley 16. Our kids were 2 and 3 at the time. There were a few anxious moments early but it turned out to be one of the best things we ever did.
Mike30-Oct-2008    Edit    Delete 
Re: Making the decision to buy
Thanks Mike,
I live in Rockingham in W.A and need a boat that can handle a blow as I want to be able to take the family to rottnest island etc with comfort. I sail a red witch now but that does'nt have any creature comforts and is a daysailer/racer. I want my kids to grow up on the water.
Cheers for your input
30-Oct-2008    Edit    Delete 
Re: Making the decision to buy
As your wife is new to the sport, be prepared to go gently until she adapts to the light boat. My lovely lady was quite comfortable in heavier yachts but still finds the 24 quite off-putting (even frightening) with anything much in the way of a breeze .. she doesn't really enjoy the sensation of being a beachball in a chop.

The headroom is unlikely to bother the kids and half an hour in a 24 will tell you and the good wife whether it is likely to be a show stopper or not for her. The cabin is more than comfortable for two adults away for a week or two and a couple of younger kids should not present too much of a problem providing they can adapt to somewhat confined quarters in the event that you hunker down at anchorage for a couple days in unpleasant weather

I would be looking at the usual lack of safety lines .. this also makes drying washing a real pain so you might need to look at rigging up something to suit.

I don't think that you would be too worried with 25 - 30 kt winds although you might find that you need more than your two hands to attend to tiller and sheets in a tidy manner. While I don't have any objective measure, I suspect that the strongest wind we have seen is around 40 - 45 kts and, apart from the chop problem on the lakes it represented no particular difficulty or problem.

However, don't expect to have much spare capacity to supervise kids topsides if there is much wind .. either they need to be below or the second adult is needed to attend to the monitoring role.

I suggest that you avoid a transom-mounted engine as the boat will be pretty dreadful trying to motor into a strong wind with any sort of chop .. the prop is in and out continuously .. so much so that I don't bother, preferring to tack under sail instead. Refurb coming up shortly will be looking to relocate the iron horse back into the well.

My main decision point was that the 24 represented the best size/cost available when we bought the boat. I was aware of its racing background but the bang for the buck was the driver. Once I got it, I fell in love with it very quickly.

... and, once you get used to the lack of directional stability, it is a great fun little boat. The lack of a skeg (like with the Sonatas) makes for a very useful lakes boat as you can run it up on the beach.
John30-Oct-2008    Edit    Delete 
Re: Making the decision to buy
I think the positive comments are great here and I know the RL24 has a great racing background but I have never been in one. However, as I am new to sailing, but not boating, my comments may be relevant for your wife’s level of experience. I have had Swan, an RL28 for 5 months now. The learning curve has been steep but with help I have come a long way. However, I still find sailing in winds 20knots and over in Moreton bay fairly daunting. The waves are up (1 to 1.5 m) with a short chop for which the bay is renown. I know the boat can take it but it is hard work and definitely not comfortable. I would not wish to be in a smaller boat even though in the right hands it would not be a problem and having very young ones on board would be more concerning. I guess in WA out to Rottnest the water is deeper so 20+ knots may be far less sloppy so there may be little comparison with Moreton Bay.
Your question was “Could I sail the boat comfortably in 25kts plus for weekends away (with young family and inexperience wife)?” I would have doubts initially anyway – you might need to take it slowly.
Ask me in another year or two and my opinion may be more optimistic :-)
Russell Rogers1-Nov-2008    Edit    Delete 
Re: Making the decision to buy
Hi Ben.

Mate I don't want to sound like a wet blanket in all of this, nor do I want to offend other RL24 owners, but a few of your questions have made me think that the RL24 is NOT the boat for you.

We started up a Cruising Club here quite a few years ago and also run the annual Whale Watching Adventure Cruise each year. We have seen plenty of new and novice sailors, with families and young kids, and you really need to tread carefully.

Firstly I have an RL28 with a wife and kids who are experienced sailors HOWEVER I would NEVER take them out in a 25 knot breeze unless I had too.

I have seen it happen way too many times where an experienced sailor takes out his inexperienced wife and young kids to show them the joys of sailing, only to scare the daylights out of them because the wind was too strong, or the boat healed over too far, or any of a dozen other reasons. The result is that the family get put off sailing forever, especially the kids, and you are left with a boat that only you enjoy.

I looked at an RL24 as my first trailer sailer and found the lack of head room a major issue. I opted for a Southern Cross 23 which had a pop top, creating full standing headroom.

My wife and kids loved it and they still come sailing with me today. We have since owned a Cole 23 and now the RL28.

Don't get me wrong, I love to go out and sail hard..... but on someone elses boat. I have a mate who owns a Farr and when its just "the boys" on board, he will sail it hard until the windowns are almost touching the water. HOWEVER once his wife and kids get on board it is sailed very gently.

The RL24 is a great boat, but unless you want to race it on a regular basis, I would opt for something a little more sedate.

Please understand, plenty of people cruise is RL24's and enjoy the experience, but I really think you need to eaze your wife and kids into the sport very gently.
As your sons get older they will build up more of a love of the sport and will then want you to push the boat harder and harder. And Mum will not be as panic stricken when you do, when the kids are 10 & 12, rather than when they are 1 & 3.

My sons started sailing with me when they were 8 and 10. My 10 year old had a horrific experience first up when he capsized a Catamaran in Crocodile infested water and could not right it. (Don't ask why he took it out on his own as that is still a very sore point for me!!) He is now 23 and has only ever sailed 4 or 5 times since and does not enjoy it at all.
My 8 year old is now 21 and was never been exposed to anything traumatic in his ealry stages (sailing wise) and still loves to sail today. He went through the ranks of Sabots and onto Paper Tigers and had wanted to get involved with the 18 foot skiffs.

My daughter has sailed with us since she was 2 and did have a traumatic experience when she was 6 when we were caught out in a huge storm with 40 knot winds and 5 meter seas. She refused to get back on the boat for a few years after that. She is now 14 and is still hessitant getting back on the boat, but once on she enjoys the experience.

My 21 year old son (above) was also on the boat when this storm hit us, but because he had quite a few years of enjoyable sailing experiences behind him, he weathered it much better.

I think you should really involve your wife in all the inspections and decisions as to which boat to buy.

I hope this helps.


Garry Beattie1-Nov-2008    Edit    Delete 
Re: Making the decision to buy
I have been watching this discussion with interest, and many good points have been made.
When we built the first RL24 we had two children about the same age as yours, my wife and I had many years of sailing experience, and never allowed the children on board unless wearing a life jacket, they were taken out sailing in good weather on the sheltered waters of the South Port broadwater, but never out on the open waters off the coast.
From my experiences of the waters between Fremantle and Rottnest Island and with the Doctor blowing at 25 knots, I would NOT be interested in making the trip in any TS with just two very young children and an inexperienced wife. By all means buy a RL24, they are an enjoyable boat to sail, but have fun, and learn to sail it on the Swan river for the first few years, set up a good reefing system and learn to use it, at twenty knots in your summer afternoon breeze it will make life a lot easier.
Just for the record dont consider a transon hung motor, as a motor in the well is far superior in choppy water, especially if you are motor sailing.
Good luck, and please take care.
Rob Legg1-Nov-2008    Edit    Delete 
Re: Making the decision to buy
Hi Ben. I've done RL24s all my life and would consider a trip across to Rottnest an adventure, not a cruise. I'd have a couple of experienced mates on board and the Coast Guard would know every detail of my plans. If that's your plan, then I'd be looking at AT LEAST an RL28. As well I'd be getting someone professional to check the boat over for strength etc. And I'd be sending the wife and kids down to a good sailing school for lessons. Sailing is an unreal game, right up until the point that you bite off more than you can chew. Other than that, what Rob said.
James Shannon5-Nov-2008    Edit    Delete 

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