Setting up a small boat for ocean use requires some careful planning. Materials, products and tools can be critical for long-term reliability; the Internet has made shopping both a treat and a chore.The Tao of Rigging - Simrad AP12R Install

This article discusses what we learned in rigging Toy Boat 2, and how it has evolved into a philosophy that guides us when working on the boat: The Tao of Rigging.

Just so we’re clear – this is NOT a general guide to rigging your boat. There are lots of places to go to find information about tools, types of wiring, procedures for drilling gel-coated fiberglass, cutting thru-hulls, etc., etc., and also a fair amount of stuff about rigging small boats for offshore fishing (see our reference post).

This article is a tongue-in-cheek review of some of the highlights and lowlights of rigging our project boat. This includes tips, products we found useful, problems we encountered & their solutions, and other miscellaneous comments.

What we describe may not be the best solution to a problem – if you have suggestions for a better way to do things, by all means, let us know, either by e-mail or on our Facebook page.

We’re in the process of putting together a gallery of Toy Boat 2 photos when she first launched 15 years ago, and a comparison gallery of her current configuration. We’ll also spend some time discussing the various changes we made along the way.

But for now, let’s start with:

What We Wanted to Put Into Toy Boat 2

Here is our original “wish-list”:


  • Keel protector (we occasionally go freshwater fishing, wanted to be able to put the boat up on the beach without scratch the keel too much)
    Lenco Trim Tab

    Lenco electric trim tabs

  • Trim tabs
  • Raw water washdown (to wash dirt, blood off the decks)
  • Permanent horn


  • A good primary anchor, 300+ feet of rode
  • A secondary anchor
  • Sea anchor (for drift fishing as well as a safety item)
  • Lots on galvanized chain

Propulsion (in addition to the gas motor)

  • Tilt indicator
  • Water pressure gauge
  • Fuel flow meter
  • Salt water electric motor (24V) (secondary propulsion, slow trolling, freshwater bass fishing)


  • Sonar capable of reaching 300 – 400 feet in salt water
    Tao of rigging - Furuno and Lowrance Sonars

    Furuno versus Lowrance sonar units…

  • GPS
  • VHF radio (25 watt)
  • Dual battery system, both batteries charged by engine
  • On-board battery charger

Additional Safety Equipment (beyond Coast Guard requirements)

  • Inflatable life vests
  • Emergency Position Indicator Radio Beacon (EPIRB)


  • 2-3 scoop livewell
  • Outriggers
  • Rodriggers
  • Downrigger
  • Horizontal rod racks for 16+ rods (May seem like a lot, but with two people who fish both conventional and fly gear, this actually is not enough)
  • Gunwhale rod holders for 4 rods

In addition to the above, we needed to be able to carry the usual array of necessities & junk:

  • Charts
  • Spare prop
  • CG required safety kit
  • First aid kit, tools and spare parts
    battery switches

    Perko and Blue Seas battery switches

  • Manual bilge pump
  • 2-3 large tackle boxes
  • Camera case
  • Foul weather gear
  • Fenders and mooring lines
  • Binoculars
  • Food and drink
  • And of course, some fish!

Wow…that seems like a lot of stuff, doesn’t it? Well, it all fits into the boat, in one way or another.

In the follow-up posts we’ll be talking about:

We’ll also have posts on:

  • What Toy Boat 2 looked like at first launch
  • SLAGIATT (Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time)
  • Where we are now
  • Some ideas for the future

Next up: The 10 Laws of Rigging