When I started rigging raceboats and high-performance pleasure boats almost 30 years ago, there were quite a few independent players in the game. And it was a competitive game at that with the likes of John Tomlinson and Gary Stray in Florida and Bob Teague out West, three of the finest craftsmen to ever lay out an engine compartment, often going head to head. But the move toward today’s easy-to-install outboard engines and away from sterndrive power during the last several years—plus boat manufacturers doing their own rigging—has made the likes of us, if not a dying breed, an endangered species.
With the outboard engine trend, demand for independent riggers is fading. Photo courtesy/copyright Grant’s Signature Racing.
Fortunately for Grant’s Signature Racing, our custom rigging business remains strong.
Of course we do our share—more than our share—of outboard engine installs. At present, we’re rigging a couple of 32-foot Doug Wright catamarans, which will head to Arizona once they’re finished, with Mercury Racing 450R outboards. But we also have three big sterndrive Skater projects in our rigging shop.
In its hey-day, custom rigging was fiercely competitive. That suited me just fine as I am fiercely competitive by nature. I am competitive in everything I do, from running my business to tying my shoes.
To enjoy the complete feature on the 2021 offshore racing season, subscribe to Speed On The Water digital magazine.