The Rigging Handbook – by Brion Toss

2020-06-18T23:02:46+01:00 February 13th, 2020|Books|0 Comments

Incorporationg The Rigger’s Apprentice and The Rigger’s Locker

“Once every few generations a writer comes along who adds to the real body of knowledge available to the ropeworking world, and here indeed is a first class practical book on rigging,” is how the knot and ropework guru Des Pawson describes this book in its forword.

And that forword includes praise by the famous engineless cruiser Larry Pardey, and Peter Spectre, one time doyen of Wooden Boat magazine. Toss himself introduces the book as an apprenticeship, and certainly if you are doing some practical rigging alongside then this is a great book to learn the ropes – of rigging on sailboats, to use the American parlance.

Since 1998 the book has become a bible for bosuns and mates as well as full time riggers. The approach is that of the hands-on sailor with diagrams and a no-nonsense writing style that talks you through the situation, explaining how the knot, tackle or splice works, while you cross reference to the simple black and white diagrams that cleverly manage to convey how a multiplait rope can be spliced say.

This is the book that you need for making repairs at sea, especially if gear gets carried away and you need to improvise. And it’s good for the yearly fitout as well – you’ll find yourself dipping back into the chapters on rig tension or checking the tables to see what size wire you need. Throughout the work Brion’s tone is that of the classic sailor; slightly put out with the way the world has gone with swaging instead of splicing and other areas where the sailor is less encouraged and so soon-less-inclined to use his own materials and skill. Talking about the uses of a constrictor knot, for instance, he asserts: “… old knots never die; they just wait for us to come to our senses.”

That kind of humour runs through the pages making this a delightful read as well as an informative one. DMH

This book is currently out of stock in most places and we hope it is republished soon. It now retails from £70 or so from Amazon (please use the link to support CS): HERE

Pub Adlard Coles Nautical, 2004, £30 (see above), hardback, 392pp

Post script: It is with great sadness to report that Brion died in early June 2020 after a fight with cancer. Some great tributes have been made, especially on his facebook page: