RL24, RL28, and RL34 Trailable Yachts
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fully battened sails
We have an original Mk111 swing keel with original mast, rigging, back stay and soft sails. We are under powered and uncompetitive in mixed fleet racing in under 15 knots wind, particularly on a work, competitive from 15 knots up. I am not sure how much of the problem is us and how much is our sails. How much improvement could we expect from new fully battened sails? What is the performance difference between soft and fully battened? Would appreciate any comments.
Warwick Hall28-Aug-2003    Edit    Delete 
Primarily it will be the shape. AS a sail gets older the maximim draft (Chord) moves aft. This will effect your pointing ability for a start.

With Dacron in general the sails will be stretched out of shape and the nice aerofoil the sailmaker once deisgned will be gone.

Battons are shaped by the sailmaker to bend in a particular way- the prefered shape. They assist in keeping that shape. If your current sails are older than 10 years a new set should see you gain around ten minutes on a two hour course. Consider getting a skiff/tapered mast if you decide to go the expense of a new wardrobe.


dave31-Aug-2003    Edit    Delete 
fully battend sails
Thank you Dave. Our mast is tapered. What is the difference with a tapered skiff mast and the RL mast? What is the advantage of doing away with the back stay, is it just so you can carry a bigger roach on the main?
Warwick31-Aug-2003    Edit    Delete 
A tapered mast is designed to bend off in gusts, kind of like an automatic de-powering system. As it bends to leeward it frees up the leech and dumps air.

There are other benifits of course. Less weight aloft for instance.

Yep, you can then sail with a roachy main instead of the original triangular shape. That roach provides a lot more power up where it is needed, rather than down low at deck level.


dave3-Sep-2003    Edit    Delete 
tapered mast
Thank you Dave. All understood. I guess with the current tapered mast which is quite flexible towards the tip, we can achieve the same de-powering by pulling the back stay on hard which also frees the leech - in fact we find it very effective. However, with the backstay, we can't carry a large roach up high. We have some skiff sails but interference with the back stay is too great, impossible to tack. As we have what appears to be the original mast, which I suppose is designed and made assuming there will be a backstay, I am reluctant to do away with the backstay in case of mast damage.
Warwick3-Sep-2003    Edit    Delete 
With an original RL24 tapered mast including backstay, what is the purpose of the backstay? Is it simply for depowering the main or does it also provide some support for the mast, particularly on a run? Can we do away with the backstay without risking mast damage? Should we move the shroud chainplates back or are they OK without the backstay? Reason for asking is we have a number of very roachy skiff sails we would love to try, but don't want to do damage. Any advice greatly appreciated.
Warwick3-Sep-2003    Edit    Delete 
It depends where your chainplates are as to whether you will get by with a swept back rig. I changed my MK2 without any problems.

At first I had runners on there but after some discussion decided to remove them. The purpose of the runners was to support the mast when under spinnaker.

It might be worth talking to a couple of the local experts at your club on a sunday arvo. It would be hard for anyone to suggest making a change without seeing the setup.



da3-Sep-2003    Edit    Delete 
removing backstays
If your RL24 Mk3 rig has swept back spreaders, it should be possible to remove the backstay. The angle of the spreaders means the chainplates should be about 500mm behind the centreline of the mast for the rig to be able to support the sails. If you spreader angle is less than indicated by this measurement, you may have trouble without the backstay.

Things to remember, check your chainplates because without the backstay, your hull will experience more load on the chainplates, keep the inner stays relatively loose to help the mast bend with the roachy main.

If it works, you may wish to add adjustment to the forestay or other parts of the rig to compensate for flexibility lost when removing the backstay. My Mk4 has adjustable chainplates, most others adjust the forestay length.

Have fun.

greg3-Sep-2003    Edit    Delete 
Legend tells of a Bay to Bay race many years back when a number of RL's broke masts whilst running. From my sources, I think that most of them came back next year with backstays. There were a few ex skiffies involved so that might explain things. If you have a backstay and enjoy down-wind sailing, think long and hard before removing it.



Mike4-Sep-2003    Edit    Delete 
Thanks for comments
Mike, Dave, Greg, many thanks for your comments. We have swept back spreaders with the chainplates about 550mm behind the mast, but even so I am a bit nervous about removing the backstay becasue of the Bay to Bay experience. I'd be interested in any comments from those that have broken masts, but in the meantime, we will compromise and try a fully battened skiff #2 main that hits the back stay but we can flick it past. Thanks again for your help.
Warwick5-Sep-2003    Edit    Delete 
Kandyman photographed on the home page sails without a backstay, have a look at the mast bend on Kandyman in the photo section. I believe Kandyman's rig is similar to my yacht.

My yacht has high and low rigging for the spinnakerand spinnaker pole. I assume the high halyard is for light to medium conditions and the low halyard is for heavy weather. The low halyard is just above the shrouds and should induce less moment in the mast. I have not used the yacht sufficiently to comment on how it all performs.

greg5-Sep-2003    Edit    Delete 
I would assume the masts that were lost,were lost for two reasons. Heavy weather and spinnakers. Runners, most likely would have prevented this. (says me who has sailed without them for 5 years lol)


dave7-Sep-2003    Edit    Delete 
Masts, rigs,sails etc.
For the answers to this and many other questions, get down to Loch Sport for the RL titles between 3-8 January. Details will be sent by email shortly.
James Shannon8-Sep-2003    Edit    Delete 

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