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

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RL24 Hiking Rule

Whoever drafted the rather unique RL24 hiking rule stuffed up in using the word sheer line. They should have used the word sheer strake. The sheer line is a line running fore and aft on an elevation view of a boat’s design drawings and it shows the amount of fore and aft sheer on the main deck of a boat. It is impossible for anybody to ever be outboard or inboard of the sheer line as they can only be above or below this line.

The sheer strake refers to the top and usually thicker plank of the hull of a wooden boat. I myself prefer the word gunwale which refers to the upper edge of a boat's side and is the part of a vessel where hull and deck meet.

If a crew member hangs out like in the photo in the Australian Sailing magazine and has his bottom on the RL 24 hull then by using a vertical line up from the gunwale it would come out of his legs just behind his knee caps. This would mean he is in conflict with the RL 24 hiking rule (see below).

I also believe that the above hiking method is unsafe when being used in mixed fleet TY racing in heavy weather. Having your body down beside the hull unable to see what’s happening behind you when heavy TY’s are thrashing about in close combat, is dangerous, unseamanlike and unnecessary. Remember some of the crews might not have as much heavy weather experience and skill like the keel boat round the can racers who use the same hiking method. It is noted that the ‘bum on boats hull’ hiking method appears only to be necessary on the grand prix boats in heavy weather and this is due to their use of minimum weight keels.

I say adopt the new YA TY hiking rule in full. (torso inboard and legs outboard)


From the 2004 version of the RL 24 class rules

121 Hiking

No trapeze or similar device shall be used. Hiking is permitted, provided that when hiking in the transverse position, no part of the crew’s body between the middle of the thigh and the feet shall be outboard of the shearline. When hiking in the longitudinal position, at least one full arm and one full leg shall be inboard of the shearline.

Alastair Russell17-Mar-2009    Edit    Delete 
Re: RL24 Hiking Rule
I am sorry to see that you are still confused,and I beg to disagree with you on all of your issues.
The sheer line on a boat design as with all lines show up on a plan view as well as the elevation view and clearly shows the outer limits of the hull.
The sheer strake is simply a structual part of a timber hull and has no possable connection to a fibreglass boat.
As far as your term Gun wale is concerned I understood that the last boats with them fitted were all sunk at the battle of Trafalgar, or do you mean the sheer trim or sheer moulding?

I much prefer a hiking style where the crew faces inboard or forward, and can react to what they observe on the boat. ie. easing or hardening the sheets when required and not be caught in a position where they have to about face to react toa situation. I would just love to catch a boat on port tack with the crew facing outboard, and with their legs under the life lines, that would be a circus! and what a disaster if the life lines let go.

Re rule 121. That rule is quite OK for the above reasons.
Rob Legg17-Mar-2009    Edit    Delete 
Re: RL24 Hiking Rule

I dinnae agree with your thinking on this one and I feel you could help me out by talking me through how you would give the all clear to the crewman in the AS magazine photo. How would you take the cut off line from the gunwales? At the nationals one crewman on a boat had his ankles just inboard of the top of the cockpit coamings! If you are in favour of allowing this form of hiking on all RL 24s in CBH racing,then I am glad that this years Marlay Point race was all downwind. There were only three RL 24s in this years race, why, is no one concerned?

A sheer line is what it says it is and that is a line on a drawing and is not part of a boats or a ships construction. In the shipyard the sheer line never leaves the mould room floor and never ever gets the chance to go to sea. It does not matter what material the boat is made from, a sheer strake is the upper most row of steel plates in a ship and the upper most plank in a wooden boat. In a fibre glass boat it would be at the deck to hull joint at the gunwales as this joint is also a stiffener. Rob you cannot see the sheer of a vessel from a plan view.

From Wikipedia

Sheer - The straight or curved line of the deck line; curvature of the lines of a vessel toward the bow and stern.

Sheer Plan - A vertical longitudinal centre line section of a vessel.

The gunwale (pronounced /ˈ¨Àʌnəl/ "gunnel" to rhyme with "tunnel") is a nautical term describing the top edge of the side of a boat.
Wale is the same word as the skin injury, a weal, which, too, forms a ridge. Originally the gunwale was the "Gun ridge" on a sailing warship. This represented the strengthening wale or structural band added to the design of the ship, at and above the level of a gun deck. It was designed to accommodate the stresses imposed by the use of artillery.

In wooden boats, the gunwale remained, mounted inboard of the sheer strake, regardless of the use of gunnery. In modern boats, it is the top edge of the side where there is usually some form of stiffening.

Alastair17-Mar-2009    Edit    Delete 
Re: RL24 Hiking Rule
Very strange but every boat that I ever built left the factory with a sheer line, and if you wish to belabour this point take it up with Google, and sorry but my boats were built without a gunwale as a strengthening piece, only some Teak or Alloy extrusion capping to cover the hull- deck joint. Hence the term sheer moulding or trim.
Rob Legg18-Mar-2009    Edit    Delete 
Re: RL24 Hiking Rule

I standby what I said in my original post that the words used in drafting the hiking rule are substandard. All class rules for sailing boats must be clear and concise and not create one iota of confusion.

I dug out my copy of the American Bureau of Shipping Standard for Reinforced Plastic Vessel --- 1978 (just a wee bit out of date) and they define the sheer line (not shearline) as being and I quote: For the purpose of these Rules, the sheer line is the line of intersection between the side of the vessel and the top of a deck.

So if we use the term sheer line as against gunwale, we just run a perpendicular line up from the hull and not the rubbing strake because that is part of the gunwale, you will then see that the hiking method in the photo is not in compliance with the class rules.

In engineering terms all flanges are structural stiffeners especially against external pressure. The joining flange between the deck moulding and the hull moulding along with any bog, pop rivets alloy extrusion or teak rubbing strake is a stiffener and this in my opinion makes the deck to hull joining flange a gunwale.

I had a look at a wooden boat book from USA and I see that they use the word sheer when referring to the deck and hull join in hard chined boats. It goes keel, chine and sheer so I am thinking that drawing you showed was probably a USA designed boat.

Rob, I will finish off by saying that all the above is just nit picking and bit of a waste of time and takes us away from the real problem facing many RL 24 racers. Our national CBH number is based on the performance of our top boats that appear to have resorted to using this ridiculous form of hiking for a trailer yacht. They must realise that their actions will have an affect on the performance of the not so fit RL 24 racers in any mixed CBH racing who, cannot hike in this fashion. No wonder the Queensland RL 24 owners are moving over to performance handicapping and away from CBH racing.

Alastair18-Mar-2009    Edit    Delete 
Re: RL24 Hiking Rule
You will be pleased to know that permission has been granted by "Australian Sailing" to make use of that photograph of "Ohau rua" at Geelong, and I am sure that Keith will make use of it in the near future

I can not comment on the hiking style of "Ohau rua" except to say it is very much a family boat, each member with their own hiking style and I admire the ability of that mainsheet hand to be able to do what I can no longer do, and isnt that what trailer sailers are about? you see I really put my foot in it last year when I commented on a photograph taken at the Bay to Bay race. I remarked that the forward hand of a certain boat would do a lot better if he concentrated on watching his spinnaker instead of the beer in his hand, not knowing that the boat had already crossed the line.

As a matter of interest I was talking to the chap that had the extrusions made that were used around the sheer line of the 24s, and he insisted that the extrusion was a "Fender" extrusion but he did agree that it was for covering covering an ugly weld between the hull and deck on the sheer line of his boats.

So there you go. You learn something every day.
Rob Legg18-Mar-2009    Edit    Delete 
Re: RL24 Hiking Rule
Do keep the arguments going .. I'm an aeroplane person slowly coming up to speed with the nautical side of things ... and such discussions advance my rate of learning significantly.
John18-Mar-2009    Edit    Delete 
Re: RL24 Hiking Rule
The photo of Ohau Rua is up under "RL24 Drawings". There is a second photo under "RL24 Specifications" where I am hiking in the same way on Darryn Dyer's "Whatever". I remember the photo being taken because Darryn said at the time "James, if you'd hiked like that all weekend instead of just when the cameras were out, we might have won this regatta". He was right. It takes fitness and a bit of strength to do it for any length of time, said fitness coming from lots of practice and training, and a bit of intestinal fortitude. The kind of attributes one associates with successful sportspeople. I can no longer do it for any more than a couple of minutes. The mainsheet hands on the leading RLs have been doing that for as long as I remember and I can assure you that it is impossible to get out further than mid thigh without bending your shins, unless, I guess you are 8ft tall, because if you measure from the coaming (seat bit) to the sheerline (or strake or gunwale or timber or aluminium extrusion) that is always further than half the length of a normal hammy.

I'm not sure that Whatever is a Grand Prix RL and Darryn can answer as to the weight of his keel. Alistair, perhaps you could define which are the RLs that you regard as "Grand Prix", as in name them because I'm not aware of any that are carrying keels substantially lighter than others. In fact, not long ago the complaint was that the "Grand Prix" RLs were carrying bulbs on their keels which meant that they didn't have to hike as hard.

I love the hiking side of it. I love that when the wind gets up over 15kn, and every other TS is battling around with flogging mainsails and spinnakers, we get to strap ourselves in and enjoy the conditions and the ride. I enjoy that hard work gets you a better result.

As far as "Sheer lines" are concerned, I always thought that they were when you could see the line of a girl's knickers if she was wearing too tight a skirt.......back when I used to be allowed to look. I'm glad that's been corrected, could have been embarrassing!!
James Shannon18-Mar-2009    Edit    Delete 
Re: RL24 Hiking Rule
Sorry to dissapoint John, but I think the two old codgers concerned have just run out of WIND
Rob Legg19-Mar-2009    Edit    Delete 
Re: RL24 Hiking Rule
Yes, I agree with the Rob,I am totally becalmed. I must add though that the photograph is a classic shot and a great credit to the RL24.
Alastair19-Mar-2009    Edit    Delete 
Re: RL24 Hiking Rule
From the Australian Trailable Yacht and Sports Boat Rule


11.01 ----- Standard equipment as described in individual class rules shall not be relocated or removed when racing.

11.02 ----- Outboard motors shall be fitted in their operating position, but may be retracted out of the water while racing.

11.03 ----- Unless otherwise specified and approved by class rules, or use of hiking devices has been included in the original request for CBH by the builder/owner and reflected in the CBH, no crew member shall sail or manoeuvre the boat with his/her torso outboard of a vertical line from the gunwale with the boat in its sailing position at the time.

11.04 ----- Open Sports boats may use hiking straps, trapezes, or hiking wings (maximum beam 3 .5m) to increase stability. This rule excludes Open Sports Boats from Section 11.03.

11.05 ----- Open Sports Boats with a sailing beam exceeding 2.50 m shall not use a trapeze(s) or sliding beams.

11.06 ----- A boat may use hiking devices to increase stability if allowed by the registered individual class rules.

11.07 ----- Standard Sports Boats and Open Sports Boats shall be single masted.

11.08 ----- Standard Trailable Yachts/Open Trailable Yachts/ Standard Sports Boat shall not use any attachment to the hull in a manner to remove the crew beyond the maximum beam of the hull unless permitted by Section 11.03.

Alastair5-Apr-2009    Edit    Delete 
Re: RL24 Strake
I would like to replace the strake on my RL24, has anyone got any idea where to purchase them in Australia.
Paul Edge10-Mar-2017    Edit    Delete 

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