Rigs, Riggers and Fabricators

Background, How I found John the Rigger and Red the Fabricator

John the Rigger
John the Rigger

In December, I had come down to see my friend Paul, who lives in Coconut Grove.  He introduced me to John Duffy, the Rigger.

John and I talked about what I wanted and I gave him the 120 pictures I had taken of Larry and Lena’s Krogen 42, Hobo. I also gave them the files Kadey Krogen had given me of the blueprints done long ago.  A few weeks later, he called to say he had sat with Red, the fabricator, and he gave me a quote of a little less than $10k.  I was ecstatic since the numbers I had been hearing for installation of paravanes (flopper stoppers) was in the high teens to mid $20s.

They did say they wanted a rig that was lighter, elegant and took advantage of the materials now available.  Admittedly, this did make me a bit nervous, as I was happy to replicate Hobo’s rig.

We decided I’d come back to Miami the beginning of February to start work on this project.


By mid-February, planning was underway.  John and Red had visited the boat a few times and took some preliminary measurements. In late February, they came and told me they had a design that would not utilize an “A” frame as Hobo had, but instead a number of guys and stays, the Fore guys, the “up-down” guys and the line attaching the fish (aka bird) all using 8 mm Amsteel blue. The aft guy would use 3/8” Stayset and John would add two stays to the mast, as well as a compression fitting with two large pulleys (they have another name) for the up-down lines.  This would also allow the up-down line to transfer stress from one pole to the other and at the same time both the mast and pole would be under compression.

Underway with poles out
Underway with poles out

I was a bit more nervous, as it got further and further away from the design I thought needed to be done.  But at this point I also felt either I trusted  that John the Rigger and Red the Fabricator knew what they were doing, or I didn’t, and in either case, my course was clear.

My friend Richard was with me and he helped, in that I had someone to talk to who understood my angst, thus allowing me to talk it through.  In short order, I told John, “Go for it,” and decided I was all in.

Now, it’s end of February.  Having decided I was all in, I wanted to get this show on the road.

For the next three weeks, John would come by periodically, take some more measurements or install some fitting and disappear again for days.  He told me Red was working on the fabrication and both Red and John promised I would be able to leave Miami by April 3rd. (two weeks away, at this point).


It’s two weeks before my drop dead date (well, someone is going to die).  So far, John has installed just two chain plates for the two mast stays.  I’m nervous, very nervous.

Ten days before some more action. John assures me that Red has completed all the fabrication and now the installation is just a piece of cake. I’m crossing my fingers, but still nervous.  John claws up the mast to install the compression post and pulleys.  I start to see he knows what he’s doing.

My drop dead date is the following Friday, a week away. John comes out, brings a few things, and says he’ll start installation Monday.

Monday dawns sunny and bright (I’m in Miami after all).  I awake eager with anticipation, like a first teenage date.  John comes by, ready to install– no, he is going to meet Red at the solar panel warehouse.  I ask to go along, if for no other reason than he will have to return.  The warehouse is not far from the boat, and the price on solar panels is so good, I decide to buy 4.  This is something I’ve been thinking about and it has never a question of doing, only when to do it.  At $110 for a 110 watt mono crystalline panel (47”x26”), this is too good a price to pass up.

We get back to the boat, unload the panels and John tells me he’ll be back tomorrow.  I’m past the point of worrying.

Fish in the water
Fish in the water

Well, just as advertised, all the installation was finished by Thursday, giving us Friday to adjust some lines.  I was very pleased and upon reflection I realized that the long drawn out process really worked to my benefit, as I was able to understand and absorb what was going on piece by piece.

So something that just a month earlier I had looked at as like magic, now, I knew what every part did and how to adjust or replace as needed in the future.

The installation went so quickly because I was only 80’ from the entrance to Hopkins Carter marine Supply. http://www.hopkins-carter.com/

I literally ran in there to get stuff probably 50 times a day Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  I will write more about them, but needless to say, being there made this process so much easier.

The Stabilizer Rig

In the end, Dauntless ended up with a rig that clearly was designed by Red and John with a sail boat attitude in that pieces not only had to be strong, but also light.  They made it clear they did not want to clutter the boat with heavy hardware and brought a sailor’s perspective to it.  Red had also worked on real trawlers and he also clearly understood the stresses the boat is under when rolling and having to stop that roll.

Also, when I told John of my adventures, having one bird in the water, not two, he confirmed the rudder deflection (5°) confirmed the amount of stress the bird puts on the boat.  He also told me that’s why he added the two additional forward stays to the mast.  How he could know that I would test it asymmetrically on the second day, I can only guess.

Also, when the bird is in the water, the angle between the line the bird makes to the pole is about 45°, which means that the stressed are divided equally between the fore guy and the up-down line to the mast and the other pole through the compression post.

We decided not to put a permanent chain plate on the bow, as I wanted to be able to adjust the lines, so we used the bow and stern hawsers for the guys.  I did have to readjust the port side guys by about 6 inches.

The largest waves we have seen so far were 4 feet.

Tomorrow, 16 April will be the real test

The installation of the solar panels is almost complete.  The rest of the work I have had done in Stuart, the new Fridge/freezer, the almost new Splendid washer/dryer, and the Katadyn 160E water maker are all ready to go.  Also, many small projects, like the wooden frame that covers the generator Racor (which had already been hit twice by the 30 lb. hatch cover).  We also got permanent wiring and control for my winch and new lines for the boom pulley, as well as the wiring for the 240v to 120v transformer.

I sold the Sea King satellite system, which won’t work in Europe, and my too-large dingy, which didn’t work for me.

The cold front that is affecting the entire east coast from Nova Scotia to the Bahamas will also be affecting our planned trip tomorrow.  With good weather, I had hoped to take a NE course from Stuart FL direct to Beaufort NC.  That won’t happen now.  Stay tuned, but it will probably be a slow crawl up the coast.

You can follow Dauntless on Marinetraffic.com and search for Dauntless mmsi # 367571090.




Author: Richard on Dauntless

I’m an eclectic person, who grew up in New York, lived overseas for many years and have a boat, Dauntless, a 42 foot Kadey Krogen trawler yacht. Dauntless enables me to not only live in many different parts of the world, but to do it in a way that is interesting, affordable, with the added spice of a challenge. Dauntless also allows me to be in touch with nature. As the boat glides through the ocean, you have a sense of being part of a living organism. When dolphins come to frolic, they stay longer if you are out there talking to them, watching them. Birds come by, sometimes looking for a handout; sometimes grateful to find a respite from their long journey. I grew up on the New York waterfront, in the West Village, when everything west of Hudson St. was related to shipping and cargo from around the world. For a kid, it was an exciting place of warehouses, trucks, and working boats of all kinds: tugs and the barges and ships, cargo and passenger, they were pushing around. My father was an electrical engineer, my mother an intellectual, I fell in between. I have always been attracted to Earth’s natural processes, the physical sciences. I was in 8th grade when I decided to be a Meteorologist. After my career in meteorology, my natural interest in earth sciences: geology, astronomy, geography, earth history, made it a natural for me to become a science teacher in New York City, when I moved back to the Big Apple. Teaching led to becoming a high school principal to have the power to truly help kids learn and to be successful not only in school but in life. Dauntless is in western Europe now. In May and June, I will be wrapping up the last two years in northern Europe, heading south to spend the rest of the year in Spain & Portugal. Long term, I’m planning on returning to North American in the fall of 2017 and from there continuing to head west until we’re in Northeast Asia, Japan and South Korea, where we will settle for a bit. But now, my future lies not in NY or even Europe, but back to the water, where at night, when the winds die down, there is no noise, only the silence of the universe. I feel like I am at home, finally.

3 thoughts on “Rigs, Riggers and Fabricators”

  1. You have a washer-dryer in there? Wow, Dauntless is now officially a more luxurious place to live than my present Queens apartment. It was already more spacious inside than my previous Queens apartment.

  2. Hi Richard & Julie, I can’t tell you how impressed I am (awed is more accurate) with your travels and travails. I am envious, except that I know that I could never pull this off. All the best. Gerry

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