(from the Introduction of 'Rigging"by Danilo Fabbroni, ed. Incontri Nautici, p. 7-9).

Many times in the past, I have wondered deeply about the meaning of a book on rigging and especially what the meaning of such a book might be in Italy. The question is only apparently idle. And in any case, before talking about rigging, the concept of yachting should be clarified and brought into sharp focus. In this regard I will recite offhand the beautiful definition given by Carlo Sciarrelli in his inimitable book The Yacht: ?...the common characteristic (of the yacht) is that it is used for walking around in the manner most pleasing to the owner? *.

Within the overall framework of this leisurely wandering at sea, which is yachting, as opposed to sailing for profit [...] the branch of rigging is only one piece of the whole sailing mosaic. A piece, yes, but a vital one. A piece that effectively unites the hull, mast and sails into a whole, and allows the crew to enhance the performance of the boat according to the needs of the moment. On the other hand, drawing a comparison with the automotive sector, how much would an engine, even the best in its field, be worth without adequate transmission components? Well, rigging is nothing more than the set of transmission components that have the task of transmitting the power stored in the sails to the hull. In this regard, I would like to recount a significant episode to illustrate what rigging means.

In the late summer of 1985 I had to bring the Brava Les Copainesa racing boat, from Porto Cervo to Palma de Mallorca, where the world championship was being held. One Ton Cup. During the transfer, the alternator belt broke. I made up for the serious inconvenience that would shortly leave us without instruments on board due to the lack of power by building a new belt made by splicing a piece of Kevlar rope onto itself, which lasted until our arrival in port. The sense, function and purpose of rigging is to transmit the energy potential from the sails to the hull. And this is achieved both with fixed rigging, known as dormancy, which holds the mast in position, and with mobile rigging, known as running rigging, which instead serves to raise and trim the sails.

If we take a look at a vocabulary, the?Orlandn this case, we find the following definitions under the heading of rigging:

  1. rigger (of a ship); preparer; rigger; belt pulley (mechanical); vessel with protruding scales (navy); vessel equipped in a certain way;
  2. dishonest person; hoarder **;
  3. equipment (of a ship); truss.
[?] But the most beautiful, precise and dazzling definition of rigging that I know belongs to a rigger from Maine, Brion Toss, who goes like this: Rigging is the art of moving and holding things in place with ropes and knots.?***. The terms ropes and pulleys have been used on purpose because contrary to the narrow-minded sailor's view, rigging does not only and exclusively mean halyards, sheets, shrouds, blocks and winches on a sailboat, but is instead a vast field of sailing. umbrella on the terrace; the myriad of tie-rods that support a colossal bridge like the one in Denmark and the four ropes that allow us to hang out our laundry; the infinity of rod rods that are the framework of I.M.Pei's pyramid. In front of the Louvre in Paris, such as the special recovery rope used by mountain rescue helicopters.

We must take the same broad view when we talk about rigs. In fact, the rig does not only mean the type of rigging of a sailing boat, but also the framework that holds up a theatre stage, or music****, and even the scaffolding that is used for the maintenance of a building.

It is likely that the current Anglo-Saxon term rigging had a distant origin (similar to the genoa, from Genoa) from ancient Italian riggewhich designated systems formed by ?iron rods, or chains, with one end attached to the trowel collar of the main spars or a suitable collar placed immediately below the trowel collar, known as a riggia collar?*****.

Now [...] I have focused on what the sailor, regardless of whether he is a helmsman of a Optimist or the owner of a MaxiWhether you are an incurable globetrotter on a cruising boat or an unbridled racer on a racing boat, you want to know, to know and to master, taking it for granted that you are already capable of boating: is your boat best equipped for the tasks it is called upon to perform? [...] I have always maintained that even a suitably educated Alpine could splice beautifully: splicing is not the art of the contest. Bernard Moitessier used to say that life is too short to learn how to splice! Splices are useful pieces in a rigging discourse, but knowing how to splice does not automatically mean either being a rigger or understanding when and why to choose one rigging manoeuvre over another. If the reader, reading these writings, understands this last "why", he will certainly not have become a rigger, but certainly a more competent sailor, and I will have hit my target.

* Carlo Sciarrelli, The YachtEd. Mursia, p. 5.

** Reading the association of the term rigger with dishonesty brought a smile to my face: perhaps some literature on the subject could help the yachtsman sort wool from silk.

*** Brion Toss, The Rigging HandbookAdlard Coles Nautical, p. XIV.

**** In this regard, it is significant that in the Anglo-Saxon world, the team that sets the stage for bands is called a 'crew' like the crew of a boat, and 'setting up a stage' translates into 'rig the stage'.

***** O. Curti, ?The Complete Book of Naval Equipment?, Mursia, p. 126.