Tao of Rigging - Ice chest lids

Rear-facing lids eliminated the need for latches to keep them closed when trailering

Our Rear Ice Chests

We use 25 quart ice chests as stern quarter seats. They’re working out the way we thought they would, but when first installed, we mounted them so that the opening faced forward. Seemed logical at the time, but since these ice chests did not have lid latches, the lids would blow open whenever the boat was towed over 30 mph.

Our first inclination was to add some stainless steel latches. But we do a lot of fly fishing, and any type of latch attracts loose fly line like a magnet. Also, latches would be at just about the right height to gouge a shin if we fell against it.

The solution? We flipped the chests around so the openings faced the stern. The wind naturally blows the lids shut, and the rear-facing openings work just fine. Again – simple, and a natural “go with the flow” kind of thing.

Rod Rack Bungee Cord Hold-downs

When we added horizontal rod racks to the boat, we bought a model with the bungee cord hold-downs coming from the top, with the catch notch on the bottom. Seemed logical – when un-hooked, gravity would just naturally have the bungee cord loop fall down so that they would be near the”closed” position.

However, we soon discovered that bungees cords coming from the top was a mistake. Many times while fishing, rods are laid in the rack with the bungee cords unhooked. That means that the bungee cords wind up getting caught underneath the rods, making it difficult to untangle them when it’s time to secure the rods.

A better way to attach the bungees is to mount them on the bottom of the rack, with the catch notch on top. That way, the bungees naturally fall out of the way when unhooked. While you might think that turns the cords turn into a tripping hazard, in practice, that’s not the case. We didn’t come up with this idea – the rod racks used by Jones Brothers Marine use this approach.

Tao of Rigging - downward-facing bungees

Top-down bungee with bottom catch notch

Tao of Rigging - upward-facing bungees

Bottom-up bungees with catch notch on top – on a Jones Brothers 26′ LTE

Stabilizing the Outriggers

Tao of Rigging - stabilizing monopole outriggers

Original install (left), versus revised install, which places the outrigger under tension (right).

When we first installed our skiff outriggers, we assumed that they would be strong enough to support themselves when running in the upright “travel” position. That turned out to be a bad assumption. On our first run in heavy chop, we heard several ominous cracking sounds coming from the base of the ‘riggers, where the pole attaches to the stainless steel ferrule.

The problem? Similar to the issues we had with our radio antenna, the 12′ long fiberglass outrigger poles placed tremendous stress on the ‘rigger ferrule-pole joint when the pole was swaying back-and-forth while running.

The solution? At the suggestion of a friend of ours, we placed a secondary eye further astern on the gunnel, and put the outriggers under enough tension to flex them into a shallow bow. This simple triangulation method completely eliminated the problem.