This is the fourth and final installment of our series on the philosophy of rigging. We’ve got some examples of “going with the flow” when rigging the boat, and some miscellaneous tips to make your life easier. Previous posts reviewed what we were going to install in our project boat, covered the ten laws of rigging, and some observations about selecting equipment.

Going with the Flow

When an installation just doesn’t seem to be working the way you want it to, there is usually an easier way to do it. Many times, it will follow or take advantage of some sort of natural condition or flow. Here are some examples from Toy Boat 2:

Our 8′ VHF Radio Antenna

In order to get maximum height, we first mounted our 8′ VHF antenna on top of Toy Boat 2’s console grab rail. What we soon discovered was that the weight and length of the antenna caused the mount to slip when running in rough water.

When mounted on the side section of the console grab rail, the antenna would swing between port and starboard. When mounted on the front cross bar of the grab rail, it would swing between the bow or stern. Nothing solved the problem permanently, including rubber pads inside the clamps, and over-tightening the mounting bolts.

The solution? How about moving the mount to one of the vertical console supports, as shown in the second picture below. Side -to-side tilt is eliminated, and the ratchet keeps the antenna from fore-and-aft fore-and-aft. A simple and natural fix…

Tao of Rigging - Antenna base, mounted to top console rail


Tao of rigging - Antenna mount on vertical stanchion


Drip Loops

Everyone has to drill holes in bulkheads. On modern center consoles, the main reason is to run cables for electronics. Sealing or protecting the hole so that water does not intrude is a classic rigging problem.

If you don’t care about removing the cable, you can seal it with caulk. If you want to be able to easily remove the cable later, the traditional way to rig the wire would be to protect the exit point with a small, downward-facing clamshell cover, and add something called a “drip loop”.

Drip loops are simply a downward curve in the cables just before they enter the bulkhead. Water splashed on, or running down the cable will naturally gravitate to the bottom of the loop and drip off, rather than run to the bulkhead holes and seep in. Simple, effective and definitely “low tech”. Admittedly, this was more important before we started using cable clams (see below), but you get the general idea.

Another variant of this is how we ran the cables for our VHF radio. When we first decided to mount our waterproof VHF on the side of our console, we ran the cables through a hole we drilled in the side bulkhead, and tried to use a Cable Clam to seal the hole.

But the cables were too bulky, and we never got a good seal. So we decided to take advantage of the air gap that was present on the rear edge of Toy Boat 2’s tilting console, and just routed the cables out and around the bottom back edge. This resulted in natural drip loops to keep any water on the cables out of the console.

Tao of Rigging -a drip loop epitomizes the philosophy.

Drip loop + Cable Clam

Tao of Rigging - Console radio cable routing resulting in natural drip loops

Console radio cables, with natural drip loops