50 years after the first RL24 Nationals were sailed at Holywell Sailing Squadron in August 1974, the RL24 Owners Association of Australia (RL24OAA) is excited to return to where it all started.

This year the 50th National Championship will be an exciting family focused event filled with sailing, racing, cruising, and lots of social functions to celebrate this remarkable achievement.

When first released, the Seacraft 1973 magazine stated that the RL24 was ‘Australia’s fastest trailer sailer.’ and concluded with these glowing comments: ‘I have no hesitation in saying the RL24 is the best trailer sailer I have sailed.  This is a big boat, spacious enough family cruising’.

Rob Legg designed and started making RL24s at Shark Cats on the Gold Coast, Queensland in 1974.  These were known as Mk 1 RL24s.  He started his own business Rob Legg Yachts Pty Ltd in March 1978.  Rob initially modified and upgraded the Mk 1 hull to produce the Mk 2 RL24.  By 1979 he introduced the Mk 3 RL24.  The Mk 3 swing keel was designed to attract people who were interested in cruising more than racing.  The Mk 3 was heavier with an additional 10cms height on both the hull and in cabin.  Additionally, the gunnels were widened to make sitting on them more comfortable.

Finally, to satisfy the continuing demand for a racing version of the RL24, Rob introduced the Mk4 version which came with a drop keel, Spartan interior cabin furniture, and used lighter weight new technology materials (eg Kevlar) in the hull construction.  In total about 637 RL24s were produced by Rob Legg.  Also, there were some Western Australian made RL24s by Court Yachts, and about 300 RL24s produced under license in Minnesota, USA. 

The RL24 is known as a fast, yet family friendly yacht that has introduced many new families to the sport of sailing and cruising.  The class has maintained a dedicated body of regular sailors who enjoy close sailing, camaraderie and support within the class.  Sailing a RL24 teaches numerous team and tactical skills that promote growth within the class and sailing in general.

Family involvement is encouraged and is something the class is very proud of.  It has proven to keep people returning to the Nationals each year, often the annual family holiday is incorporated with National Championships where lifelong friends catch up each year.  Some families have had 4 boats over the years while others are sailing the same boat that has been in the family for 3 generations.

The first National Championships were held in August 1974 at Hollywell Sailing Squadron, with boats coming from three states, and as far afield as Whyalla and Port Pirie.  The series was won by Scarlet Lady sailed by Des Stanaway of Brisbane.  50 years later, a fleet of 25 RL24s will compete for the same National Championships with Ohau Rua sailed by Simon Walsh and Whatever sailed Mitchell Dyer among the competitors seeking to gain ‘bragging rights’ to be the newly crowned Drop Keel National Champion and Swing Keel National Champion respectively.

So just because you sail with your kids, doesn’t mean you can’t be competitive or gain improvement from attending.  Get involved you’ll love it and we will see you at the 50th Nationals at Hollywell.

As part of the 50th Nationals a special memorial service will be held on waters in front of the SYC Hollywell Club house.  This service will remember Rob Legg by a) recalling all the timely advice Rob provided to RL sailors, and b) scattering his ashes on the Broadwaters that he loved and where he sailed most often.

In conclusion, this quote is arguably the best epitaph about Rob Legg:

“Queenslander Rob Legg is arguably the designer most responsible for taking trailer sailer sailing in Australia from dumpy family cruisers that were flogged around the buoys into the realm of unadulterated high performance.” Trailer Sailor Annual (1986, pp. 24-26).

Colin Boylan,
Secretary, RL24 Owners Association.