• RL24's close racing in 2017 National Champs. Photo Christie Arras.
    RL24's close racing in 2017 National Champs. Photo Christie Arras.
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The RL24 Owners Association of Australia have planned a special “Rob Legg Day” to honour Rob Legg’s long list of achievements and his huge input into sailing and trailable yachts in Australia.

As an opener to the 46th RL24 National Championships, a special sail past and celebration day is planned for all Rob Legg yacht owners, crews and families, past and present.

Rob and his family will be at Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron in Manly, Brisbane, from 12.30pm Sunday 6th January 2019 for this momentous occasion .

To register for the Elliott Automation Rob Legg Day and help celebrate Rob Legg’s achievements along with his 90th Birthday, please confirm your attendance, by visiting our website http://www.rlyachts.net/default.asp to download and email a registration form.

Rob Legg became a keen yachtsman from an early age and started his working life as a sailmaker and shortly after, turned boat builder, he just loved designing, building, and sailing boats.

Rob had a huge input into early fibreglass trailer sailer design in Australia. He turns 90 on the 2nd of January and still actively keeps tabs on how his classes are performing via the internet and gets quite a buzz out of seeing them feature in the results of major events such as the Bay to Bay, Marlay Point Overnight Race, Lord Mayors Cup and the Goolwa Classic, all events that he has competed in the past.

Around 50 years ago, Rob Legg began toying with the notion of a new concept in sailing craft. Rob wanted a boat which had sleeping accommodation for at least four people, was fast, safe and exciting to sail, was simple to rig and handle and yet could be trailed easily behind the average family car thus giving access to sailing waters all over the country.

The idea wouldn't go away until finally Rob drew out the lines of a boat he called "Tiki II". He built her in ply in the late 1960's and "Tiki II" thus became the prototype and forerunner of what has become arguably one of the world's most versatile trailable yachts, the RL24.

After some years of sailing and refining "Tiki II" on most of the waterways of the eastern seaboard of Australia, including the Gippsland Lakes, Rob was persuaded to begin manufacturing the RL24. At this time Rob was helping out at the Sharkcat factory and due to this connection, the first fibreglass examples of the class emerged from the Sharkcat factory on the Gold Coast in Queensland

The first GRP RL24 named “Tiki” was launched in July 1973 and displayed at the next Brisbane Boat show, after spending a weekend at the show Rob came home with five orders, and many requests for a demonstration sail.

Rob along with wife June and her girl friend raced in every event that they could enter a trailerable yacht in, besides local events they raced successfully in Brisbane's Lord Mayors Cup, and won the "Bribie Island Cup" by half an hour.

By 1974 there were fifty RL24s sailing around Australia and an association had been formed, the RL24 Owners Association of Australia is still very active and are about to conduct the 46th RL24 National Championship. More information on the RL24 can be found by visiting https://www.facebook.com/RL24Sailing/ and http://www.rlyachts.net/

The RL24 was manufactured from 1973 until 1987 and is still one of Australia's most popular trailer yachts with over 640 sold including exports to NZ, Japan and PNG. Sleeping 4 in comfort, this yacht offers outstanding performance, easy launching, retrieving and rigging and particularly for the boating family the RL24 has many safety features and is the winner of the Good Design Award.

Mick Shannon who has owned a number of RL24’s has been in the class since 1975 and says, "Rob is a genius! An extremely modest genius.  He designed a boat which is beautiful, fun to sail, easy to tow and launch, can be sailed and raced by families or serious yachties, is comfortable for cruising and economical.  He had the foresight to anticipate developments in sailing and established a set of class rules which were flexible enough to encourage development, but restrictive enough to maintain the essential characteristics of the boat and ensure fair racing.  He established and continues to support a class association which has survived to this day and has enabled all of us to make new and often lifelong friends.  I feel privileged to have known him and thank him on his 90th birthday for all he has done for me, my family and the hundreds of families who have been lucky enough to know him and his outstanding boat."

Due to the success of the RL24 Rob set about designing a larger cruising style trailersailer the RL28.

The first RL28 was launched in 1978, with a total of 218 being built. At the time the RL28 was regarded as the “Maxi” of trailable boats with 6 foot headroom and six berths.

Then in 1983 came the RL34, with 37 built.

The RL34 was designed with the Queensland Barrier Reef very much in mind. Headroom in the main saloon is nearly 2 metres, and combined with her excellent accommodation of up to 8 berths makes the RL34 a very comfortable boat for her day.

Rob Legg Yachts were also the registered builder of the Status 580 in the 80’s. These boats were originally designed by Van de Stadt in Holland in 1974 and continue to be a very popular learn-to-sail boat today. 22 Status 580’s were built by Rob Legg Yachts from 1980.

This list of classes are Rob’s main achievements however only minor in numbers compared to the total number of boats he has built over the years. There are many more listed under the “RL story” on the Rob Legg Yachts website http://www.rlyachts.net/default.asp

- Darren Dyer

 

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