Rigging 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.

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.

Installing a Simrad AP12R autopilot

The guts of an AP12R Autopilot

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.

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.

Lenco electric trim tabs

Lenco trim tabs in the starboard stern corner

What We Wanted to Install In Toy Boat 2

Here is our original “wish-list”:

Hull add-ons

  • Keel protector (we occasionally go freshwater fishing, wanted to be able to put the boat up on the beach without scratching the keel too much)
  • Trim tabs
  • Raw water washdown (to wash dirt, blood off the decks)
  • Permanent horn

Anchoring gear

  • 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)


Furuno and Lowrance monochrome sonars

Furuno and Lowrance monochrome sonar units

Electronic gear

  • Sonar capable of reaching 300 – 400 feet in salt water
  • GPS chartplotter
  • 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)

Fishing gear

  • 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
Bait tank plus a small rod rack

Bait tank extras…

Other necessities & junk:

  • Charts
  • Spare prop
  • CG required safety kit
  • First aid kit, tools and spare parts
  • 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!
Ditch bag plus gear

A ditch bag with some gear