— The website of the Sailing Vessel Beatrix, Kelly-Peterson 44 #276 (1980).

8 July 1998

Brion Toss is the most well-known rigger in the USA. His home port is in Port Townsend, Washington State.  His web site is:  After the mast was put back in Brion give us a rigging tune-up and some advice. Here are my notes:

Standing Rigging Tensioning

Standing Rigging Comments

Running Rigging Comments

Brion on Cotter Pins

Notes from Brion Toss Seminar on Jury Rigging

Brion gave a seminar at West Marine on Jury Rigging.

Normally on a sailboat we have slow failure and slow maintenance.  Jury rigging is necessary when we have fast failure and may be considered as fast maintenance.  The idea is not to replace the rig, but to get it working again.  Rigging is not a well-identified system even by boat designers.  Some boats are designed for looks rather than strength or utility (“The two-spreader rig looks more salty”).

total width x thickness x 80,000. 

Note that total width excludes the hole diameter, i.e. the total width of metal.  A chainplate needs to be 30-50% stronger than the wire.

As materials get stronger and more corrosion resistant it is harder to see failures.  Brion uses a 50-power hand scope to look for cracks.  He noted that the discoloured look on most US wire is from the mfg. process and can be cleaned up easily.  Avoid foreign wire.

Going up  the mast is easier with a 3:1 pulley arrangement using a ratchet block.  He recommends ½” regatta braid.  He uses a fishing vest to hold all his parts and pins when going aloft.  He has a specialised harness (expensive) and uses a “taco”, or rope ascender, for safety.  The “Jumar” is a brand-name for the ascender.  I bought one and it is a very nice piece of safetry gear for going aloft.

He demonstrated an “icicle hitch” which works terrifically well with modern braid.  It wraps 3-5 turns around a wire and can be used to jury-rig a broken stay.  Many of the old knots (e.g. the bowline) are not as strong or hold as well with the modern synthetic lines.  Guess I need to look into learning some new knots.

Last modified: July 03 2020 00:02