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

RL Yacht Owner's Discussion Forum

Return to the Forum List

Trailers for RL 28
I am thinking of purchaseing an RL 28 that does not have a trailer. Does anyone know approx price for a suitable trailer, supplier name and any other information which may be helpful?
Many Thanks.
Donald Skuse15-May-2010    Edit    Delete 
Re: Trailers for RL 28

Be careful and take advice from a boat trailer manufacturer or read the boat trailer laws of the State the trailer is going to be registered in. You usually can read their trailer regulations in the Road Traffic Dept. website.

All the different States have different rules with Victoria having overhang restrictions (distance from last axle to end of boat). I remember seeing some beautiful wooden rowing eights being cut in half by a local boat builder. He fitted two bulkheads at the middle and the boat was trailed in two parts before the government rushed through an amendment. I think the glider trailers were in the same boat.

They would not let me register my NSW rl24 registered trailer down here in VIC when I tried. I needed to fit over ride brakes.

Hope this helps

Alastair Russell15-May-2010    Edit    Delete 
Re: Trailers for RL 28
Re Victoria, the overhang rules also have a trailer sailer concession which is described on the VicRoads website. The relevant booklet has to be carried with the vehicle combination - http://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/NR/rdonlyres/9EB0518E-760C-4BC3-B067-844F9CC410D1/0/TR2004222.pdf

Maximum overhang is 5 metres as opposed to the standard 3.7 limit. Re brakes, as I recall, anything over 750kg requires hydraulic over ride and, above 2 tonne laden, break away electric over ride brakes.
John Heddles16-May-2010    Edit    Delete 
Re: Trailers for RL 28
You will need to know the weight of your RL28 to specify the trailer. Most standard RL28s with outboard motors weight less than 2000kg on the axles so mechanical override brakes are ok. Some RL28s such as those with furler, diesel and accessories can have an axle weight over 2000kg which requires a breakaway brake system which can add $3000 to the price. A standard trailer with override brakes will be $5000 to $8000.

Redco, Felk, Boeing are all suitable trailer builders.
Greg 16-May-2010    Edit    Delete 
Re: Trailers for RL 28
I have had a look at a few web sites today to try and fathom what is going on. It is quite obvious that the TY trailer regulations through out Australia are a wee bit ‘out of kilter’. Many States have past amendments and regulatory exemptions to the Australian National Towing Regulations which all States agreed to use in Dec 1998.

I agree with John and Greg, but add, we should only use the defined names like ATM, GCM, GTM, Tare mass, Tow ball, Mass proper and Payload as used by the regulators and include any conditions that came with the State amendments.

I have attached the National Towing Regulations and I recommend that everyone from Victoria also has a look in the Vicroads website as they have a very good information bulletin called -- Trailer Yachts -- published in May 2004 (PN 01383). This bulletin covers a regulatory exemption given by VIC Roads to Victorian registered Trailer yachts (also to gliders and rowing eights) trailers from the maximum overhang restrictions (3.7 metre) mentioned in their new National Towing Regulations.

To claim some of the 5 metre max overhang, there are a few conditions and they include the mast being in the rear overhang and that the mast step must be no further forward than 1.2 metre from the tow ball. Any rear overhang beyond the old 3.7 metres limit must not be wider than 2 metres. Add to this, red flags during the day and extra red lights on boat at night as well as driving on low beam during the day (it’s all getting too much). I think too that all the lights and number plate might have to be on the boats transom. I see I was wrong in my previous post, the 5 metre overhang starts from the middle, in between the axles on double axle trailers (sorry) !

My rl24 was built in 1974 on a 1974 trailer and I towed it with a 1974 HQ Holden V8 so under the new National Towing Regs I do not need override breaks as long as the rating of my towbar and trailer tyres are OK. Back then I fitted air shocks to the rear of the car and loaded up the boot with everything, keeping the boat light as she used to start to sway at over 80k. I reckon this was caused by the wind sweeping over the car and hitting the flair of the bow at that speed. I eventually shifted the axle back on the trailer and loaded up the towbar and this solved the problem.

It is a sorry state of affairs now, that if you have an accident when trailing a TY, that the first thing the insurance assessor wants to do is check the weight of boat, the trailer and the towing vehicles towing capacity along with the tow bars rating just so that he can walk away from paying out!!!!!!!.

Australian National Towing Regulations


In December, 1998, agreement was reached by all State’s Ministers of Transport to implement national towing regulations. In essence, the national rules state that “A motor vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Mass (G.M.V.) not exceeding 4.5 tonnes must not, without the approval of an authority, tow a trailer with a mass (including any load) exceeding;

The capacity of the towing apparatus fitted to the vehicle, or

A relevant maximum trailer mass specified by the vehicle manufacturer.”

Put simply, the most you can tow is the amount specified by the vehicle manufacturer or the capacity of the towbar - WHICH EVER IS LEAST.

If you want to know how much your vehicle can tow, firstly check the owner’s manual or vehicle sales brochure for the manufacturer’s towing recommendations. Secondly make sure that the towing capacity is as least as much, if not more, than the mass of the trailer, including its load. If you are unsure how strong the towbar is, have a chat to a reputable towing equipment specialist.

In the case where a motor vehicle manufacturer has not specified a maximum towing mass, the limit is stated to be:

1.5 times the unladen or kerb mass of the motor vehicle if the trailer is fitted with brakes; or

The unloaded mass of the motor vehicle if the trailer is not fitted with brakes.

It should be noted, however, that the above will rarely apply as apart from using a truck, just about every vehicle that is likely to be used for towing a caravan, boat trailer, horsefloat or similar has a manufacturer’s towing recommendation.

Owners of 4WDs and light commercial vehicles should also be careful that they do not exceed the Gross Combined Mass (G.C.M.) of the vehicle. The GCM refers to the maximum vehicle plus its load, including a trailer, is permitted to weigh. It is possible that when a motor vehicle is loaded with, for example, five adults, their luggage and camping gear that the maximum allowable trailer mass has to be reduced so as to not exceed the GCM.

While this may sound a little confusing, it is important that this is considered so as to not void the warranty or insurance.


Since December 1998 all trailers can be towed at the speed limit for that particular road with the exception of Western Australia.

You should remember that in some cases motor vehicle manufacturers place speed restrictions on a vehicle when towing over a certain mass. Ford only permits 100km/h if the load is less than 1200 kg. At 1600 kg this drops to 90km/h. The speed further reduces until at 2300 kg, 80km/h is the maximum. Holden takes a similar approach but also ties the vehicle speed to the type of towing equipment fitted. Spending a few minutes reading the trailer towing section in the owner’s manual is highly recommended.

In 1989 Australian Design Rules (ADRs) were introduced which affect the construction and towing of trailers, including caravans. Currently there are no towing regulations which specifically refer to ‘caravans’. The ADRs include the requirement for plates on trailer drawbars which amongst other information states the aggregate, or maximum, mass of the trailer and data on the towbar which indicates the rating of that towbar. It should be noted that ADR 62 states that the rated capacity of the towbar …. “shall not exceed the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations”. Below is a summary of the rules relating to towing weights which should assist in the selection of towing equipment and/or caravan and the towing speeds applicable to various states.

While there are some variations in the Road Traffic Regulations in different States, most agree on the following safety aspects:

The trailer must not be bigger or heavier than the driver can safely control,

The total or laden mass of the trailer must not be more than:

- the maximum mass (A.T.M.) determined by the trailer manufacturer and as stated on the trailer plate,

- the load rating of the trailer’s coupling of the towbar fitted to the towing vehicle,

- the total load rating of all the trailer’s tyres.

The combination of tow vehicle and trailer must be “properly set up”. This means that there is a load of about 10% of the total trailer mass on the towbar and that the outfit has a level attitude. Generally this necessitates the use of a load distributing device.

Exceeding the maximum towing load as recommended by the towing vehicle manufacturer can:

* Invalidate warranty

* Nulify insurance, and

* Effect long term vehicle safety and reliability.

The new towing regulations allow the owner of a 4WD, ute or car to tow a trailer weighing up to the vehicle maker's recommended maximum.

Unbraked trailers with an all-up weight under 750kg are approved under the new uniform law, but trailers weighing more then 750 kg must be fitted with brakes.

The changes are a result of uniform vehicle standards proposed by the National Road Transport Commission and approved by Federal Parliament.

The only exception to this is in Western Australia where the maximum speed limit is 100km/h for vehicles towing a trailer with an ATM of over 750kgs. reference


ATM (Aggregate Trailer Mass)
The total laden weight of a trailer, which includes the tow ball mass and whatever you add as payload (eg. water, gas, luggage). The ATM is specified by the trailer manufacturer and must not be exceeded.

GCM (Gross Combination Mass)
The maximum laden mass of a motor vehicle plus the maximum laden weight of any trailer it can tow. The GCM is specified by the vehicle manufacturer.

GTM (Gross Trailer Mass)
The total permissible mass which includes whatever you add as payload (eg. water, gas and luggage) that can be supported by the wheels of a trailer. This does not include the mass supported by the tow ball. The GTM is specified by the manufacturer and must not be exceeded.

Tare Mass
The unladen weight of the trailer.

Tow Ball Mass
The weight imposed on the rear of the tow vehicle's tow ball from the coupling of a trailer or caravan.

Payload is specified by the manufacturer. It must not be exceeded under any circumstances. Safety, insurance & warranty may be affected if the specified payload is exceeded.

National Transport Commission

Alistair Russell17-May-2010    Edit    Delete 
Re: Trailers for RL 28
"keeping the boat light as she used to start to sway at over 80k. I reckon this was caused by the wind sweeping over the car and hitting the flair of the bow at that speed. I eventually shifted the axle back on the trailer and loaded up the towbar and this solved the problem"

Standard dynamics problem - a trailer has a speed initiated instability if the CG is aft of the axle. You corrected the problem by moving the axle to the rear. A cheaper solution would have been to put some more load in the front of the boat (ie forward of the axle station).

The trailing airflow from the car is probably reasonably symmetric and, if anything, probably provides a small downforce on the bow rather than a lateral oscillation

John Heddles17-May-2010    Edit    Delete 
Re: Trailers for RL 28
Thanks for your input.

I bought my rather rundown mark 1 RL24 along with its poorly matched trailer very cheaply in 1981. The boat was apparently sold as a kit to be home assembled! She was poorly finished off and the hull also showed signs of being damaged and then roughly repaired, this along with the very substandard rig and sails made her a real shocker to sail.

On her first sail/race the boat handled very poorly and also leaked. She had no mast prop inside the cabin and the mast pumped the cabin top up and down. I even remember losing a wheel from the trailer when on my way down to a Marley Point race. It landed in a wheat field and I search for it for ages and never found it! I just hope it did not damage the farmer’s harvester later on at harvest time!

The boat appeared to overload the independent rubber torsion tube suspension system on the trailer. There was not enough room between the hull,the tyre and mud wing to fit the very necessary light truck tyres!

The C of G of the unit was OK when not in motion and I remember I had the maximum allowed weight on the tow bar then (NSW). I also kept the petrol tank in the anchor well along with a good few metres of anchor chain. The outboard was always removed and placed in the boot of the car when towing.

It was strange, the minute I hit the 80K speed she would start to sway. I never needed to look at the speedo as the back of the HQ Holden used to start getting into the swing of things too! On the trailer the boat was trimed by the stern and this meant the bows stuck up in the air above the car.

Anyway it did not cost me too much to fix. I bought and fitted a new axle with the proper leaf springs and hubs (no over ride brakes needed then) and also fitted light truck tyres to the trailer. This and fitting pump up air shock absorbers to the back of the Holden solved all my trailer problems.

Alastair21-May-2010    Edit    Delete 
Re: Trailers for RL 28
You're a braver man than I.

[I'm glad we never had that problem with all the detail as an exam question .. I guess your instability was due to something in the axle/wheels setup rather than the simple CG situation .. I can recall a knowingly misloaded trailer full of lengths of wood ... about 25 mph was the trigger .. but I got the wood home and that was the priority]
john heddles22-May-2010    Edit    Delete 
Re: Trailers for RL 28

I built a road trailer in Scotland for my flying fifteen in the 1960’s using these horrible torsion rubber suspension units (no override brakes). I towed it with my Mini Cooper S and you should have seen the look on the faces of the other drivers when I came round the corners in Scotland going like the clappers! The hull of the FF was of course higher than the roof of the car!

I remember coming back from a FF meeting and coming down the hill from the highest village in Scotland (forget its name) when the cars brakes started to fade. I stopped and put my hand in to see how hot they were and ended up with four burnt fingers!!!

My better half Meg says that the hill was called the devils elbow!!

Enough Said

Alastair25-May-2010    Edit    Delete 
Re: Trailers for RL 28
A trailer was supplied with Swan (RL28) when I purchased it 2 years ago. As Swan was in a marina berth and no way I wanted to own a vehicle that could legally tow it, I sold it for $6k. It was in excellent condition having never been used. It was a Belco and manufactured in Brisbane. Belco gave me a price at the time of around $8,000 to replace. It was very solid, a monster being the full length of the boat with electric brakes etc.
If you are in Brisbane I can give you the name of the original owner who had it built to check if Belco still have the design.
Russell Rogers27-May-2010    Edit    Delete 
Re: Trailers for RL 28
Hi I bought the trailer (made by BELCO) from Russel and brought it back to Bendigo, it has carried the RL28 (Counter Point) some 2000 km since, no real problems. The electric brake controller driving hydraulic disk brakes on all four wheels is very sucessfull. It is towed with a diesel disco (manual).

The regulations regarding large trailers are very explicit as above.
The trailer and boat with outboard and other extras come to a total mass some where near 2.5t.

Cheers Ewen

Ewen Boord27-May-2010    Edit    Delete 

Return to the Forum List       Add a message to this discussion