Combining and updating the renowned Rigger's Apprentice and Rigger's Locker, meets the changing face of modern materials and technology while remaining true to rigging's best traditional principles and practices. It's much more than a knot book, though the knots a sailor needs are all here. It's a book for sailors who want the satisfaction and hard-cash savings of stepping their own masts, inspecting and maintaining their own rigs, and turning their own tailsplices and wire eyesplices. It is for boatowners who want to replace an entire gang of rigging themselves--measuring, choosing appropriate wire, turning soft eyes, leathering, and serving. It is for bluewater voyagers who want to feel secure in the knowledge that, should a shroud carry away far at sea, they will be able to repair it.
The Complete Rigger's Apprentice is also a free-roaming collection of useful ideas and tips on everything from supplementing winches with block and tackle, to rigging snubbers at anchor, to using pantyhose for an emergency fanbelt. In short, it's the definitive book on the art of rigging, written by its most entertaining practitioner.
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81 of 83 found the following review helpful:
Not as good as it ought to be May 12, 1999
Brion Toss is a demi-god among modern riggers -- not only a master rigger but someone who, judging by his TV appearances and classes, can also teach and explain. I bought this book expecting it to be a lucid compendium of everything one might want to know about rigging. It falls short.
1. Many of the illustrations and explanations are difficult to understand. There's a difference between artistic illustration (which is used in the book) and good technical illustration (which it should have). There's also a looseness with written explanation, eg, "bring it up even with the mark" where it's not clear which "it" is meant.
2. The book is fraught with typos. For example, Fig 4-15C shows a braided core buried for "4 rope diameters" when it should be 14 (the text has it right). Someone who has done eye splices in braid (like myself) and is using the book as a refresher would probably follow the figures rather than the text -- and get hurt. In another place, 8mm line is referred to as "1/16 inch" when it should be 5/16.
3. The eye splice for standard braid can be done as described only by using Brion's proprietary Splicing Wand. Not only is this a $50 item, but it can't be used with 1/4" or smaller braid (which I do have some of on my boat). I would have expected someone of Brion's stature to tell how to do a splice using a Uni-fid (or regular Samson fids) and then "here's how it's easier with my wand if you want to buy one."
4. Tables for things like sheet and halyard loadings are published without comment (and, in fact, contradictory data is given between Fig 2-1 and the Lewmar data in the Appendix -- almost a 2:1 difference in mainsheet loading for a 35' boat!). I would certainly thing someone of the author's experience would have his own opinions about these vital numbers.
Shortly after I bought the book I decided to completely replace all the running rigging on my 36' boat. While I had New England Rope's instructions, I turned to this book for a second opinion on how to splice ordinary braid, StaySet-X, and T-900 (this experience obviously colors my feelings about the book). After experiencing the difficulties I reported above, I discovered my local library had Barbara Merry's (out of print) Splicing Handbook. While the latter doesn't have some of Brion's exotics like the Mobius Brummel splice, what it does cover is how this book should have done it.
Will I keep this book? Yes. Will I refer to it? Yes. Do I think it provides one-stop shopping for everything I ever wanted to know about rigging? No. The next time I want to do some rigging work will I go to other books for alternate views rather than implicitly trusting this book? Absolutely.
65 of 74 found the following review helpful:
there is more to rigging a sailboat than knots! Dec 15, 1999
By T. Oneill
If you want to impress your friends with rope and knot tricks buy this book. If you were looking for a book that would actually assist you in rigging a sailboat ,save your money. Where is the info on standing rigging?,wooden spars sailtracks, spreader placement ,masts head configuration, boom vangs etc not in this book. This is just another book for armchair sailors with very little for the average sailor trying to build, modify, improve or just maintain their sailboat.
23 of 24 found the following review helpful:
The only thing like it for traditional craft Dec 04, 2003
By Ryan McNabb
Brion Toss has become "da man" in modern rigging in many ways, and a lot of that is attributable to this great book. It's a big, thick thing, loaded with information, not all of it easily absorbed on the first read. It's meant to give you a firm grounding in what rigging is, what it does, and how to inspect and maintain your own rig, how to adjust it, how to replace worn sections. Will it tell you everything you need to know to design a rig from the ground up on a serious racing yacht? Heck, no. It isn't meant to. What this book does is give you the tools you need to approach your own rig without fear and trembling - to realize that, after all, it's just a bunch of parts, and that you can comprehend and work with those parts, understand their roles, and get the most from your boat. Will you be forever independant of professional riggers? Probably not. But it goes a long way toward making that a realizable goal, if you apply yourself. And it should be known that this book is especially strong on traditional rigs, the more traditional the better. You'll learn how to worm, parcel, and serve, how to lace deadeyes, and why galvanized is great and stainless isn't stainless. And if that last sentence frightens you, you're probably not in the intended demographic. Rod rigging and carbon fiber masts are mentioned, at best, in passing, and largely for comic relief. Keep that in mind. Makes an absolutely perfect companion to Marino's "Sailmaker's Apprentice."
30 of 34 found the following review helpful:
Tons of Useful Information Jul 28, 2000
By Conrad B. Senior
This is one of my favorite books--because it teaches and it makes you laugh. Brian Toss's book can teach a beginner sailor more in 15 minutes just scanning the pictures than they could learn in years just knocking around on boats. If you are like me and think traditional rigging and splicing is cool stuff, then you will love this book.
The book includes some important basic things like sweating a halyard and less well known things like how to use a marlinspike and why your lifelines should be left a little loose, and more. I was pleased to see a drawing of what I called a bowline with a tucked tail--a more secure version of the bowline that I haven't seen in any other text.
Much of the material is just not applicable to newer yachts, but there are many illustrations of innovative techniques that a modern self-reliant yachtman could use to replace, or repair, things that break. Reading this book will help you find solutions to problems you will face at sea.
I don't think I saw anything relating to rod rigging or any discussion of modern fibers and rope. If you are trying to rig a modern sailing yacht, and think this book is your solution, you will be disappointed.
I guarantee you won't regret buying the book.
17 of 18 found the following review helpful:
Good book but missing key information Feb 21, 2006
By Gregory Houtz
This book has LOTS of really good information. But it is missing some significant stuff, Brion. PLEASE PLEASE do another addition and include SOME information about the following:
1. Chainplates. Nothing. How is a proper chainplate shaped, mounted, doubled, etc? Where do they go? What should you consider when changing from single boomking backstay to double backstays?
2. Bowsprits. Hardly a word. How is a proper bowsprit mounted? What kind of materials are appropriate for a bobstay? etc.
3. Stemheads. Hardly a word. Come on, what good is a rig if it isn't mounted to something????
4. Mast steps. The rig seems to float in air with this book, and no proper consideration is given to how it MOUNTS TO THE BOAT.
Other than that, it is a great book. Lots of good info, formulas, etc. Lots of great knots, lots of funny quips, good explanation of how single and double spreader rigs are stayed and shrouded.
But most of us also have boats to go along with our rigs, and it would be nice to have a WHOLE CHAPTER on how the rig connects to the boat, because many of us need to maintain, repair, and improve that part of the rig as well.
Good book, but it is incomplete as currently published.
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