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Converting RL28 to mast head rig
Been thinking of making my RL28 into a mast head rig and wondering if there is anyone who has done this. What rigging changes are required and how did it change the performance of the boat. Did it make it easier to balance sails especially for up wind work. I use a furler and could see it being easier to keep the tension on the furler with a mast head arrangement.
Any comments, opinions or advice would be appreciated.


Marcus Dedman17-Mar-2018    Edit    Delete 
Re: Converting RL28 to mast head rig
G'Day Mark
I converted my boat to a masthead rig about two yrs ago and am very happy with it. I bought the furler and genoa off a couple in Queensland on Gumtree. I have retained the original forestay on a highfeild lever as over about 12knts the big sail overpowers the boat and she rounds up a lot.I can swap sails in about 4-5mins.
I did run an extra pair of stays from the original upper shroud base up through the spreaders to the new hounds that take the top of the furler and that has worked fine. I have been out in some heavy weather with it and other than rounding up a lot the rig worked great.Feel free to contact mee if you want more info
john lloyd21-Mar-2018    Edit    Delete 
Re: Converting RL28 to mast head rig
Thanks for the reply John. Its interesting to hear it causes the boat to round up more, that's something I was hoping to reduce with more sail forward. Its the one thing I find a problem with the RL28, the tendency to round up when beating into the wind. I have tried all the techniques to balance including rear stay tension and early reefing. I find early reefing helps but reduces power to the boat before its really needed. I was hoping that a mast head rig with a furler would allow the headsail size to be adjusted to balance the sails. Cheers Mark
Mark Dedman22-Mar-2018    Edit    Delete 
Re: Converting RL28 to mast head rig
Hi mark ,Not sure if my experience is useful but i wonder if your "smallish" heady being a self tacker is part of the problem

I always begin reefing from a position where i have an appropriate size heady to begin with although the self tacker may be convenient to a specific wind strength perhaps a heady sheeted more outboard may help you better carry the sail area forward of the mast .

The other thing which may not help on one tack over the other is your headsail offset tack arrangement , usually it would be on the center line.
It would go without stating that you need to be capable flattening the main and really strapping it down as the breeze kicks in.

Is your main backwinding or ragging when you begin rounding up ?
Is your heady luffing before rounding up ?

I know the mainsheeting and traveller controls on my rl28 dont lend themselves very well to single handing up wind work .
If you are becoming over powered in the gusts you really need to quickly and easily dump the main and likewise in the lulls re power and having those controls above the companion way dont make that easy not as awkward if you have a dedicated main trimmer but a bit tough when single handing.
Keep us informed of your findings they are helpful.

shane22-Mar-2018    Edit    Delete 
Re: Converting RL28 to mast head rig
I agree with Shane's comments. It's also probably worthwhile changing your pintles to be more perpendicular to the waterline of the boat, something similar to setup shown in the jpeg. I did it to my RL24 and it worked a treat then and remedied the weatherhelm problem. By the way, that's a great looking RL28 you've got there Marcus.
Alex22-Mar-2018    Edit    Delete 
Re: Converting RL28 to mast head rig
I'm not sure a larger headsail will solve your problems. My boat will round up when excessively heel, on one tack like a normal boat, on the other tack like a rabid dog, completely uncontrollably. Plumbing up the rudder as suggested will help but I feel it is a characteristic of the boat. I am currently considering that, apart from some basic imbalance in the hull/foils/mast/sheeting angles combination it's possibly because of excessive heel and a short keel.
The next step is experimenting with early reefing whilst keeping and eye on boat speed and more to the point, VMGs. Bear in mind that most people, in my opinion, reef too late.
In answer to your question though, if you do go masthead I would install some diamond stays to stiffen the mast above the hounds. If you check photos of RL28's, a lot of them have them. Mine came with diamonds but I took them off as I run a fractional rig and the damn thing is heavy enough to start with.
Robin23-Mar-2018    Edit    Delete 
Re: Converting RL28 to mast head rig
Thanks Shane and Alex.
I don't generally fully round up, although when she really jumps around I'd say the main luffs first but I sheet the main this way to stop it fully rounding up(thats my theory anyway). Having the dinghy on the davits probably exasperates the problem with a lot of windage at the rear although only really a problem when it exceeds 20 knots of wind. In fact in 30 knots I have tried no main with only the headsail and dinghy on the davits and the boat seems well balanced without rounding but quite underpowered.
The main problem is the tiller pilot doesn't cope with the boat's twitchiness beating into the wind with a zig zag path and up and down in speed. My last boat was a mast head rig and was rock solid beating into the wind with the tiller pilot. I find the boat becomes more stable when I match the the main and headsail size by reefing the main making it into a scaled down underpowered mast head rig the with the tops of the sails at approx the same level. Hence the interest in if a larger headsail would allow better sail balance in winds under say 15 knots.
I agree the self tacker is problematic and I am very tempted to go back to the standard set up for the headsail. The offset furler does make a slight difference on different tacks but for my cruising not really a great problem in most conditions.
My understanding is moving the pintels to make the rudder more vertical would reduce the steering pressure on the tiller but not entirely sure how much it would change the tendency to round up. For memory I think I read a post from Rob Legg to that effect but I could be wrong. My last boat had a rudder I could adjust back and forward when under way so I could adjust tiller pressure.
Having said all this I love my RL28, she is brilliant reaching and running but a bit more work when close hauled. Thanks for all the input.
Mark Dedman23-Mar-2018    Edit    Delete 
Re: Converting RL28 to mast head rig
Thanks Robin. Mine has the skiff rig with the diamond rigging up top. Wasn't sure if this would be enough strength with bigger headsail. I agree that RL28 needs early reefing, I usually throw in the first reef approaching 20 knots. I think Shane is right that my headsail is very small and that I should try my Genoa without the self tacker first and see how that affects the ability to balance the rig. A bit more experimenting is in order before any bigger changes.
Mark23-Mar-2018    Edit    Delete 
Re: Converting RL28 to mast head rig
Thanks Shane. I have 2 headys, a small one made specifically for the self tacker and a genoa which is considerably bigger. I'll give the genoa a try sheeted normally and see how that goes first.The offer is appreciated.

Mark23-Mar-2018    Edit    Delete 
Re: Converting RL28 to mast head rig
If your RL28 is suffering from excessive weather helm try raising the keel a little and sailing the boat more upright, as it will be the greater heeling angle that is causing the heavy helm and not necessarily the sail combination
Rob Legg23-Mar-2018    Edit    Delete 
Re: Converting RL28 to mast head rig
Something that may be influencing the imbalance is i have noted that neringa seems to float stern down on the waterline perhaps thats raking your mast back which will not help weather helm
shane23-Mar-2018    Edit    Delete 
Re: Converting RL28 to mast head rig
The old master, Rob, is right I reckon. The boat's tripping over its own keel and needs to give way a little to stay vertical and unload the helm. Just like a dinghy, try incrementally lifting the board until you're sailing flat and then watch the VMG improve. It works for me on my RL28 and Tasar.
As far as reefing goes, I have to throw the first reef in at about 15 knots. Maybe I'm too cautious! Cheers Alex
Alex23-Mar-2018    Edit    Delete 
Re: Converting RL28 to mast head rig
Thanks for all the suggestions. I will try them all and see how it goes. I have recently added 140kg of ballast at the base of the keel box and the boat heels less quickly. I haven't really had her out in much more than 20 knots for a long run since so things may have improved. There was one 30 knot day but I was only sailing a few KM and only used the headsail with the dinghy on the davits and on that occasion she felt a lot more stable in terms of rounding. I will definitely lift the keel a bit next time I am out for a long run in a good breeze. The RL28 has so many positive attributes and I am happy to work on this one small thing. For me getting to a point where the tiller pilot can manage on long cruising legs beating into the wind without too much trouble is my goal. Even at her worst if hand steering there is no problem beating into the wind.
Cheers Mark
Mark24-Mar-2018    Edit    Delete 
Re: Converting RL28 to mast head rig
I have since altered my rudder box so that the blade is another 300mm deeper and now cruise with my water tanks full, 200ltrs which has settled the boat down heaps. Being single handed makes her a bit light. When I first put on the big headsail my mast didn't have enough rake(none)once that was pointed out to me and I fixed it most of my problems have gone away.I'm still not the fastest boat in the fleet but at least now the others are starting to look over their shoulders. I also have a telescopic tiller so that I can keep my weight fwd and reach the traveller etc. AND the madman remote is super great when I am up fwd setting the kite.
Keep at it! I Love My Boat More Every Time I sail Her
john lloyd24-Mar-2018    Edit    Delete 
Re: Converting RL28 to mast head rig
Thanks John. There's not worry about keeping at it. I love my RL28 and do so more every time I sail her. I haven't had a really good trial with the extra 140kg of ballast I have added. I sure that in itself will settle the boat down. In fact over christmas new year I had 6 adult guests on board in 25 knots and she was very well behaved then now that I think about it when beating into the wind. I still like the idea of the mast head rig on a furler to have the option of really powering up in light winds and having more options in balancing the rig as the wind increases. I'm a cruiser not a racer so super speed is not that important except during longer passages. The deeper rudder may be a useful mod as well. Truth is I have a headsail in the shed that is the right size for the job so I might still have a bit of an experiment with it when time permits.
Cheers Mark
Mark25-Mar-2018    Edit    Delete 
Re: Converting RL28 to mast head rig
Am I misunderstanding things ? Are people really talking about a reluctance to reef in 20-25 knots ? It's a trailer sailer, not a keel boat. As I said earlier, most people reef too late. B
Keep in mind the trade off between perhaps slightly less boat speed and significantly reduced leeway and increased comfort.
Robin25-Mar-2018    Edit    Delete 
Re: Converting RL28 to mast head rig
I am firmly an early reefer when it comes to sailing. I reef for comfort and believe that if done appropriately the reefed boat keeps up with the non reefed boat that spills more air due to the higher heel angle. I do like the idea of more sail power in light conditions as I use the motor more than I like to make a destination in an appropriate time when cruising. I would like more headsail to play with on my furler for balancing the rig especially when carrying the dinghy on the davits and also for poling out for downwind runs as I am not a big fan of spinnakers when solo sailing.
Mark26-Mar-2018    Edit    Delete 
Re: Converting RL28 to mast head rig
Hey Mark
How are you going with your masthead conversion? There are a couple of furlers here in Portland that would fit the RL. You are very welcome to come down and check out my boat and take her for a sail to compare yours and mine and see if the changes you want to will suit your sailing style.
john lloyd8-Apr-2018    Edit    Delete 
Re: Converting RL28 to mast head rig
Thanks John. Been busy last 2 weeks, just bought a house in metung overlooking box's creek that we have been working on. Haven't done any more investigating on the mast head rig yet. I do have a sail and currently use a ronstan furling drum and swivel. The easiest way for a trial would be to make a foil for the larger sail I have and hoist it using the spinnaker halyard. If happy with the result I would make more permanent changes. Thanks for the offer on the furlers and looking at your boat. Looks like this house is going to take a bit of spare time away for a while.
Cheers Mark
Mark15-Apr-2018    Edit    Delete 

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